The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Wahnipitae (Schooner), U81115, aground, 26 Oct 1890

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      The story of the wreck of the WAHNAPITAE was correctly and graphically told in the columns of the Courier-Herald said Hon. R.A. Loveland yesterday. "The boat has been abandoned to the insurance companies, and will without doubt prove a total loss."
      The WAHNAPITAE was insured for $20,000 as follows:
      Marine Insurance Company, of London. . . . . . . $10,000
      Commercial Insurance Company of New York . . . . $5,000
      Reliable Marine Insurance Company, Liverpool . . $5,000
The freight list was also insured for $4,000 in the Marine Insurance Company which insures to the owners of the wrecked vessel payment of the freight charge on the cargo. This included 400,000 feet of bill stuff and 1,400,000 feet of boards, intended for the construction of an elevator at Fairport.
      Saginaw Courier-Herald
      Thursday, October 30, 1890

      . . . . .
      Cleveland, Oct. 27. -- The barge WAHNAPETA ,(sic) in tow of the steamer JOHN M. NICHOLAS, was cast off while opposite this port last night and undertook to make the harbor. On account of the high wind she drove, a helpless wreck, on the breakwater. The Life-saving crew succeeded in saving all on the barge but John Williamson of Algoma, Mich., and Ora W. Smith of Oswego, sailors. The sea is sweeping over the barge and she will probably go to pieces.
      Buffalo Evening News
      October 27, 1890

NOTE:-- Proper name of barge = WAHNIPITAE

      The barge WAHNAPITAL will no longer blocade harbors. The monster barge struck on the Cleveland breakwater Sunday night in trying to make the harbor; going to pieces a little later. The cargo is scattered along the beach for several miles. Oria W. Smith, a sailor, was lost overboard. The cargo will probably be recovered.
      Buffalo Evening News
      October 28, 1890
Capt. McLeod wires the underwriters that the barge WAHNAPITAL is a total loss at Cleveland. She has gone to pieces, a Cleveland paper says.
      Buffalo Evening News
      October 29, 1890
      . . . . .
      James Davidson of Bay City built the WAHNAPITAE, which was wrecked at Cleveland on Sunday, in 1885. She had 1,880.000 feet of lumber aboard when wrecked. She was bound for Fairport and the lumber was scattered along the lake shore for many miles. Very little of the barge remains.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Wednesday, October 29, 1890

      . . . . .
There is no particular mourning over the loss of the big barge WAHNAPITAE. She was so long and wide that she was very hard to handle, and always threatened destruction to whatever came in her way. She was, to aN extent, a demoralizer of freight rates, and as such will be missed without regret.
Nothing definite was known by the Union on Dry Dock Company about the report that the Clover Leaf Line would build three more steamers this winter. The company are well pleased with the S.C. REYNOLDS, and if, as is claimed, new connections have been arranged that will insure greater traffic, they will probably build one duplicate at least.
      Record of Wrecks and Heavy Losses.
The largest barge on the lakes, the WAHNAPITAE was carried against the Cleveland breakwater within 100 feet of the entrance, and was broken into three parts, and went to pieces. She had 180,000 feet of lumber aboard, for Fairport, and lost her deck load just before striking. Light keeper Hatch put out in a skiff and taking Capt. Hazen's wife and one of the crew in, he rowed only a short distance when the boat was swamped and he swam quite a distance with the woman to the light house. He already has a first-class gold medal and deserves another. Capt. Goodwin and his life saving crew picked up two, while the tugs rescued the rest of the crew. The WAHNAPITAE was built by Davidson, in 1886, to carry saw logs across Georgian Bay had B. rating, was valued at $20,000 and was owned by the Loveland Tranportation Co. Insurance on the barge and cargo, amounts to $37,500 Almost 75 feet of her is anchored close to the west breakwater and is dangerous to vessels entering. Ora Smith of Oswego was the only one lost, although the whole crew were washed off the breakwater.
      Marine Review
      October 30, 1890
      . . . . .

      The wreck of the big barge WAHNAPITAE which went to pieces on the west breakwater at Cleveland last fall, is a dangerous obstruction to navigation. Wrecker Reid says the wreck is about 300 feet long and 50 feet wide. It is floating about 5 feet from the bottom and extends into the channel just east of the west breakwater. It would cost but very little to remove this obstruction, and something should be done at once.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      April 21, 1891
      . . . . .
James Davidson of Bay City built the WAHNAPITAE, which was wrecked at Cleveland on Sunday in 1885. She had 1,880,000 feet of lumber aboard when wrecked, she was bound for Fairport and the lumber was scattered along the lake shore for many miles. Very little of the barge remains.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Wednesday, October 29, 1890
The obstruction on which the steam yacht SAY WHEN struck at Cleveland is supposed to be a part of the schooner Wahnapitae, which went to pieces just outside the breakwater October 26, 1890. By the occurrences of last week the harbor of Cleveland is getting a bad name. It contains too many submerged obstructions to make the sailing of yachts or other small craft a pleasure. The fragments of the vessel were washed inside the harbor and now lie scattered in various places. The part of the Say When which struck was scarcely two feet below the surface of the water. The launch of the Priscilla struck the same or similar obstruction near by a few days before and a hole six inches or more in diameter was stove through her timbers. Several logs or timbers project above the water, but those that are dangerous are out of sight. Anyone walking along the west river pier can count a number of wreck fragments lying in the water. Many of them are pieces of the Wahnapitae, which was a schooner of 1,359 tons. But besides these there are also various other concealed menaces to navigation in the harbor. One or two old tugs, with machinery gone, lie on the bottom of this so-called refuge.
The junk shop collection, strewn in rich profusion through the shallow waters, has been forming perhaps ever since the year 1832. And in the assortment, too, are many old river spiles, which bob about in the water like submarine ghosts, one end heavy enough to touch bottom, the other near the surface. To strike one of these old oak logs, at the proper angle, would bring destruction to almost any craft that floats in the river harbor.
Most of the hidden wrecks lie in water over which the government does not exercise control. The harbor proper stands inland from the breakwater 1,700 feet. It is comparatively free from wrecks. But in the shallower water nearer the shore lie the obstructions. The big freighters and passenger boats do not invade that territory for if driven by stress of weather to the harbor, they usually enter the east harbor, or at least try to keep within the deeper water near the crib. But the shallow craft, yachts fishing boats, and even skiffs are constntly menaced by the dangers lurking below the surface.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 27, 1895

Schooner WAHNIPITAE. U. S. No. 81115. Of 1.431.54 gross tons; 1,359.97 tons Net. Built West Bay City, Mich., 1886. Home port, Port Huron, Mich. 260.0 x 51.1 x 11.0
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1890

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Reason: aground
Freight: lumber
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ohio, United States
    Latitude: 41.4995 Longitude: -81.69541
William R. McNeil
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Wahnipitae (Schooner), U81115, aground, 26 Oct 1890