The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ironsides (Propeller), U12091, sunk, 15 Sep 1873

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Detroit, Sept. 15 - LOSS OF THE STEAMER "IRONSIDES" - A severe southwest gale prevails over the upper lakes today. The steamer IRONSIDES, of the Milwaukee and Grand Haven Line, foundered about noon, 6 miles off Grand Haven.
The sea was running very heavy. Three of the IRONSIDES boats reached shore with 23 persons, the other boats have not yet been heard of. It is not known how many were on board. Six schooners have gone on the beach at Grand Haven since morning.
      The steamer IRONSIDES belonged to the Engleman's Line, connecting with the Detroit and Milwaukee Railway, was one of the largest steamers on the lakes. Her signal of distress was hoisted at 9 A.M., but so terrible was the sea that no assistance could reach her. She laboured in the trough of the sea from about 8:30 A.M., until the time she sank. The passengers and crew prepared to leave her at about 10:30 A.M., and the last boat left her at 11:50, and had got about a quarter of a mile from her when she went down. There were five boats filled with the crew and passengers. One boat containing five men and four women, capsized and only one man of the party reached shore. Four boats have reached shore up to this time. One boat containing Captain Sweetman and his wife and five passengers, have not yet been heard from. It is feared they are among the lost Thirty-two persons are known to have been saved, and fourteen bodies have been recovered.
      The Toronto Mail
      Tuesday, September 16, 1873

MARINE DISASTER -- LOSS OF THE PROPELLER IRONSIDES WITH FIFTY PASSENGERS. -- The propeller IRONSIDES, of the Milwaukee and Grand Haven route on her way to the latter port, went down four miles off Grand haven, in the gale of Monday morning last. Fifty lives were supposed to have been lost. We have, up to the hour of our going to press, received no further particulars of the disaster.
      Charlevoix Sentinel
      September 20, 1873
THE IRONSIDES. -- The steamer was built at Cleveland, by Quayle & Martin, and commenced plying on the lake Superior line route in 1864. She continued on this route until she was sold in 1867 to the Engelmann Transportation Company, for the route between Milwaukee and Grand Haven. During this she has been commanded by Capts. D.H. McBride, Trowell, Saveland and Sweetman, the last named sharing the fate of the unfortunate craft. She had been nine years in service, and when first commissioned she had no superior on fresh water.
      Charlevoix Sentinel
      September 27, 1873

THE IRONSIDES:-- Mr. Engelman has been quietly buying up the interests of the insurance companies in the propeller IRONSIDES; which foundered off New Haven several years ago, and says he will make an effort to bring her to the surface as soon as wreckers become more reasonable in their charges. Mr. E. feels confident that the steamer can be rescued and is of the opinion that her hull will be found in nearly as good condition as the day she went down. - - - Milwaukee Sentinel
      Cleveland Herald
      November 8, 1876

      Steam screw IRONSIDES. U. S. No. 12091. Of 1,123.75 tons, 1,284 horsepower. Home port, Milwaukee, Wis.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1871

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Reason: sunk
Lives: 21
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 43.06307 Longitude: -86.22839
William R. McNeil
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Ironsides (Propeller), U12091, sunk, 15 Sep 1873