The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Waukesha (Schooner), U18175, sunk, 6 Nov 1896

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Schooner WAUKESHA Went to Pieces in the Gale on Lake Michigan.
      Muskegon, Mich. Nov. 9. -- The schooner WAUKESHA broke up while trying to ride out the gale at anchor near here and only one survivor of her crew of seven has been rescued. He is still too weak to talk.
The vessel had a load of salt and apples, which was taken on at Manistee Saturday morning. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon she was sighted running with the gale with torn mainsail.
An attempt was made to enter Muskegon harbor, but the schooner drifted a mile south of the pier and then her anchor was dropped. She was riding three-quarters of a mile from shore at dark.
The engineer and firemen of the city pumping station watched the lights until 9 o'clock, when they disappeared.
      Shortly afterward wreckage began coming in, and today nothing can be seen of the lost boat above the water where she anchored.
All night long the wreckage continued to come up on the beach, and five bodies have been recovered. The names of the dead cannot be learned, as nothing about the clothing will identify them.
The surviving sailor was washed ashore unconscious and nothing can be learned from him.
The WAUKESHA is one of the old fleet of "canalers," and true to all tradition she has taken almost her entire crew down with her in her last disaster. She was owned by F. H. Head, of Chicago and was formerly known as the NABOB. She was built at Manitowoc in 1864 and rated 295 tons. Sbe had a valuation of $2,500 and was given a rating of B 1. She has been engaged in the salt trade between Ludington and Manistee and Chicago for Joy, Morton & Co., all the season.
      Delach, the Survivor, Says the Captain Refused to Signal the Life-savers For Help.
Muskegon, Nov. 9. -- Last evening Frank Delach, the only survivor of the wrecked schooner WAUKESHA, made affidavit to the effect that there were seven men aboard the WAUKESHA, Capt. Duncan Corbett, the mate, four seamen and a colored cook.
When they arrived off Muskegon, Delach said the captain, mate and some of the sailors were very drunk. They signaled for a tug but showed no distress signals and no tug under these circumstances started out in the heavy sea.
The captain anchored a mile south of Muskegon harbor. The craft began leaking badly but the captain refused to light the torch to make known their condition to the life-saving crew. The crew donned life preservers, their yawl boat having been washed away.
They let go the large anchor cable and the schooner drifted towards shore somewhat, with the smaller anchor dragging, all hands taking to the forward rigging. The craft, however, began sinking rapidly and a sudden lurch threw some of the men from the foremast. As part of them clung to the rigging the main topmast broke off and fell upon them striking some of them and sweeping all into the lake.
Delach said he contrived to get together a raft from the wreckage to which five of the men hung for a time. They dragged the captain with them, but he was too helplessly drunk to hold on and they had to drop him. Delach and one other sailor stood it till 5 o'clock in the morning, but finally the other man gave up and sank and Delach was shortly afterward taken off by the life-saving crew.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Monday, November 9, 1896

The three masted schooner WAUKESHA of Chicago, sank off Muskegon on Saturday night and was the cause of six being drowned and one rescued. The Captain and mate were supposedly drunk. The WAUKESHA was owned by F.H. Head of Chicago and was loaded with apples and salt from Ludington to South Chicago. She was built in 1864 and rated at 295 tons.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Monday, November 9, 1896

      . . . . .

      The schooner WAUKESHA, wrecked off Muskegon, she came ashore 3 miles below Lake Michigan Park, and will be a total loss. Built 1862 of 310 tons and 138 feet length and 26 feet beam.
      Toronto Globe
      November 10, 1896

      . . . . .

      One of the victims of the schooner WAUKESHA disaster at Muskegon has been identified as Albert Forter, 22 years of age, who leaves a wife at 149 South Halsted Street, Chicago. Another of the victims proves to be one McGuire, a batchelor who makes Chicago his home. Two bodies remain unidentified, and will be buired in the Potter's Field.
      Milwaukee Wisconsin
      November 12, 1896

      . . . . .

      A Muskegon correspondent attributes the talk of prosecuting Frank Dulach, the sole survivor of the schooner WAUKESHA disaster, for Mutiny, to a strong desire to collect the insurance, which might be vitiated by proof of Capt. Corbett's drunkenness.
      Milwaukee Wisconsin
      November 13, 1896

Schooner WAUKESHA.* U.S. No. 18175. Of 310.38 tons gross; 294.87 tons net. Built at Manitowoc, Wis., in 1862. Home port, Milwaukee, Wis. 137.6 x 26.5 x 11.6
      * Formerly schooner MABOB
      Merchant Vessel List, U.S., 1891

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk
Lives: 6
Freight: salt, apples
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 43.23418 Longitude: -86.24839
William R. McNeil
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Waukesha (Schooner), U18175, sunk, 6 Nov 1896