The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
John Ritchie (Schooner), aground, 28 Jun 1888

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      Toledo, June 27 - Word was received in this city this evening that the barge JOHN RITCHIE has gone to pieces off Turtle Island Light, near the mouth of the Maumee, and that one man was drowned. She was in tow of the steambarge MICHIGAN from Cheboygan to Sandusky. The steamer dropped her outside, to go onto Cleveland, when she dragged her anchor and broke in two.
      The tug BIRCKHEAD has been down this evening, but has not yet returned.
      The CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE reported when she came in that the barge was on her beam ends and was spilling her deck load. The GREYHOUND, which came in later, reported seeing nothing of the RITCHIE. No particulars of the accident can be learned.
      The name of the man that was drowned was not known. The barge had 4 or 5 men on her. The wind has been high this afternoon and evening and the lake rough.
      Chicago Inter Ocean
      June 28, 1888

      Toledo, June 27 - The stmb. MICHIGAN came in with the lumber laden barges LILLIE MAY and CLINTON from Cheboygan today. She dropped the JOHN RITCHIE at Turtle Light. After leaving the 2 barges the MICHIGAN, which is bound for Cleveland, went out to pick up the RITCHIE and tow her to Sandusky, where she was to unload. There was a strong east wind and a heavy sea rolling, and the RITCHIE's steering apparatus broke, and soon the towline parted and the RITCHIE drifted toward the Michigan shore. the captain, his wife and child and all except one of the crew of the RITCHIE got in a yawl and reached the MICHIGAN.
      The man on the barge refused to leave her and the MICHIGAN could do nothing but steam to Toledo. The Captain of the WAITE saw the RITCHIE at 6:00, and she was about 2 miles in shore badly listed to windward and her deck load was being washed overboard. When the GREYHOUND came in at 7:00 she was not visible and it is thought she has gone to pieces. She carried 250,000 ft. of lumber. The MICHIGAN goes out at daybreak.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 28, 1888

      Toledo, June 28 - As this morning's Free Press said would probably be the case, the barge RITCHIE has gone to pieces. Capt. Gallerno, who was saved from the wreck, says she began to break up before the MICHIGAN reached her. The crew saved nothing but the clothes they wore. They believe the man who said aboard did so to get the jewelry and articles left by Mrs. Gallerno and the crew. This morning the crew went down to the lake in a tug to see if anything is left of the RITCHIE.
      The JOHN RITCHIE was built at Algonac in 1870 and belonged to Smith & Martin of Cheboygan. She had neither class, rating or valuation at Lloyds and was not worth over $1,200. The MICHIGAN had a tow bill of $270 against her.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 29, 1888

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: 1
Freight: lumber
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 41.75255 Longitude: -83.39076
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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John Ritchie (Schooner), aground, 28 Jun 1888