The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Midnight (Schooner), U16438, aground, 20 Nov 1889

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Charles E. Eastman has been in Detroit the past ten days attending a lawsuit in which he is particularly interested. November 26, 1889, the propeller S.S. WILHELM took the schooners MEARS and MIDNIGHT in tow at Cheboygan for Buffalo. The wind freshened as they came down the lake, and when abreast of Thunder Bay northeast gale was blowing and the MIDNIGHT lost her deck load. She hung up a red light, which is a signal of distress, and for the propeller to seek shelter No attention was paid to the signal and the next morning, after having hugged the west shore, the propeller turned out into the lake so quick as to part the tow line and the two schooners went ashore and were stranded. They were a total loss and one of the MEARS' crew died from exposure, the others barely pulling through. The owners of the MEARS sued the owners of the WILHELM in the United States court for $27,778.85 damages, claiming gross negligence on the part of the propeller, and it is this cause, Mr. Eastman being one of the owners of the WILHELM, which has been on trial.
      Saginaw Courier-Herald
      Thursday, February 26, 1891

It was thought when Circuit judge Jackson held court in Detroit a few days ago that several cases other than that of Vance et. al. vs. the steamer WILHELM, involving liability for the loss of the schooners MIDNIGHT and MEARS, would have been heard. Among them was the famous NORTH STAR-SHEFFIELD collision case and also the RANNEY-MERRICK collision case. The inability of Mr. Rae of Chicago to appear was the cause for postponement in the first of these cases. Attorney Canfield of Detroit, acting for the MERRICK, was also unable to appear. judge Jackson has not as yet given his decision in the case of Vance against the WILHELM. This was one of the cases heard by District judge Eli S. Hammond of Nashville, Tenn., about the time that judge Swan of Detroit was appointed to office. It was in the discussion of this case that Judge Hammond said : "From the ancient ground hog to the modern superintendent of the weather bureau the weather-wise are as often false as true prophets and their miscalculations are the daily subject of good humored derision by the public."
      The Marine Review
      December 3, 1891

Judge Swain of the United States district court, Detroit, has granted an order allowing the owners of the steamer WILHELM to avail themselves of the law limiting their liabilities to the value of the boat in the decree obtained against the WILHELM for the loss of the barges MEARS and MIDNIGHT in the storm of November, 1889, on Lake Huron. The amount of damages awarded by the United States circuit court of appeals is more than the value of the WILHELM. The judge named Alex McVittie of Detroit as trustee to sell the WILHELM and divide the proceeds
      The Marine Review
      November 8, 1894

RIG: Schooner
LOA: 135.7
BEAM: 26.2
DEPTH: 11.1
GROSS: 287.78 (Pre-list; 1869; 1870; 1871; 1872; 1873; 1875; 1876; 1877; 1878; 1879; 1880; 1885
NET: 273.39 (1885
CITY: Cleveland
HOME PORT: Cleveland, OH (Pre-list; 1869; 1870; 1871); Chicago, IL (1872; 1873; 1875; 1876; 1877;
1878); Port Huron, MI (1879; 1880); Bay City, MI (1885
YEARS LISTED: Pre-list; 1869; 1870; 1871; 1872; 1873; 1875; 1876; 1877; 1878; 1879; 1880; 1885

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Remarks: Got off
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 45.00001 Longitude: -83.39997
William R. McNeil
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Midnight (Schooner), U16438, aground, 20 Nov 1889