The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Egyptian (Propeller), U8988, fire, 30 Nov 1897

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The steambarge EGYPTIAN, bound up with coal, burned to the water's edge last night 15 miles northeast of Sturgeon Point on Lake Huron. The crew was taken off by a passing steamer. She was built in 1873 and owned by Nelson S. Whipple of Detroit.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Thursday, December 2, 1897

      Completely Destroyed While On Lake Huron, But The Crew Is Saved.
      Detroit, Dec. 3. - The crew of the steamer EGYPTIAN, which was destroyed by fire on Lake Huron Tuesday night, was brought to Detroit yesterday afternoon by the steamer SIR WILLIAM FAIRBAIRN of the Rockfeller fleet. Considerable excitement was caused along the river front when the FAIRBAIRN was seen to drop two lifeboats in midstream, and a little later the U. S. Mail tug took off the crew. The two yawls were picked up and towed ashore. The EGYPTIAN was between Black River and Sturgeon Point when the fire caught aft of her boiler house. I was then about 7 o'clock in the evening. The wheelsman on watch states that he looked aft and saw a red light, and ported his wheel. Then he heard the alarm of fire struck on the ship's bell, but the flames spread rapidly, and soon he was driven from the pilot house. The crew were ordered to quarters, and started the stream from the fire hose. The steamer FAIRBAIRN then hove in sight, and rounded to alongside of the burning boat. Her crew also started a hose on the fire, and shortly after the Minnesota steamer MASABA came in sight and rounded to on the opposite side from the FAIRBAIRN, and got another hose on the fire. She remained in this position for half an hour. The FAIRBAIRN remained by the EGYPTIAN until she sank. The crew were taken off in its own boats, despite the heavy sea. From the deck of the FAIRBAIRN the flames could be seen creeping up the EGYPTIAN's masts and finally the topmast fell over the starboard.
      Most of the crew lost all of their belongings. Some were able to carry trunks and bags, and one old German sailor saved an old violin, which was all he thought of preserving out of his entire outfit.
      The EGYPTIAN sank in 30 fathoms of water. She was an old wooden steamer, having been built in 1873, at Lorain, O. She measured 232 feet in length, 36 feet beam, 14 feet deep and rated at 1429 tons. Her Lloyds' rating was A 2. She was owned by Nelson Whipple of Detroit and commanded by Capt. Frank Goodrow
      The cargo of the steamer EGYPTIAN was 2000 tons of coal, and was consigned to R.P. Elmore & Co., of Milwaukee. It was insured for $4,000.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Friday, December 3, 1897 4 - 3

      . . . . .

      Steamer EGYPTIAN lost by fire on Lake Huron December 2, 1897. Owned by N.S. Whipple, Detroit. Of 1,950 tons. Value $35,000.
      Total Losses on the Lakes, 1897
      Marine Review
      December 23, 1897

      . . . . .
Steam screw EGYPTIAN. U. S. No. 8988. Of 1429.78 tons gross; 1206.18 tons net. Built Black River, Ohio, 1873. Home port, Detroit, Mich. 232.4 x 36.2 x 14.0 Of 708 nominal horsepower.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1897

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: fire
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $35,000
Cargo: inc.
Freight: coal
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.640833 Longitude: -81.768055
William R. McNeil
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Egyptian (Propeller), U8988, fire, 30 Nov 1897