The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Marian Teller (Propeller), U91130, sunk, 29 Jun 1900

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The tug MARION TELLER sank in Lake St. Clair near the lightship on Friday night about 8 o'clock. Three are missing and two were rescued. The TELLER had the schooner CANTON in tow and sprung a leak. The tow was dropped and the boat headed for shore because the pumps wouldn't work.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Saturday, June 30, 1900

      MARIAN TELLER Built March 189 Steam Tug - Wood
U. S. No. 91130 33 gt -21 nt 52.2' x 14.4' x 5.9'
Sank on Lake St. Clair June 29, 1900; 3 lives lost.
      Frank Wheeler & Co., West Bay City Shipbuilding Master List
      Institute for Great Lakes research
      Perrysburg, Ohio
      Engineer, Cook And Fireman Of The MARION TELLER Drown In Lake St. Clair.
Port Huron, Mich., June 30. - The tug MARION TELLER sank in Lake St. Clair last night, and three men, Al Holmes, engineer John Kirk, colored cook, and George Moison, fireman, all of Detroit, went down with the boat. Captain John Cornwall and his son, Ray Cornwall, were rescued by hanging to the overturned small boat and were picked up by the steamer NORWALK, and brought to this port.
      When the tug went out on Lake St. Clair she sprung a leak, and every effort was made to work the pumps, but they were clogged. The lines of the schooner she was towing was dropped and an attempt was made to beach the tug. The crew became excited and neglected the fires, which began to go out.
The two Cornwalls and Holmes jumped into the small boat, which immediately capsized. The Cornwalls managed to hang on, but Holmes sank.
A few minutes later the tug turned bottom up, carrying Kirk and Moison to the bottom with her. The tug was valued at $5,000.
Captain Cornwall tells the following story of the accident: "We were two or three miles north-west of Gross Point Lightship, towing the barge CANTON, when we discovered that the tug was leaking. We started the pump, but the siphons failed to work, and almost in a minute the tug began to fill with water. I immediately cut off the tow and headed for the American shore, but it was too late.
"When I saw we could not beach her, I called to the boys to save themselves, and we all rushed for the tug's small boat. My son Ray and I got in each end, and John Kirk, the cook, and Al Holmes, the engineer, jumped into the center. The little boat was immediately swamped.
"George Moison, the fireman, was still on the tug, and seeing the condition we were in, he evidently concluded to stay on the tug and that was the last I saw of him. Holmes got away from the little boat and the last I saw of him he was drifting on a plank and getting away from us rapidly. When the tug sank our little boat was capsized and we were nearly drowned then, but three of us got hold of the boat again and then I found we were still tied to the tug, which must have sunk in about 15 feet of water.
"I managed to cut the rope and we drifted away, still hanging on as best we could. I think the cook must have been injured in some way or else the water strangled him, as he only hung on for about ten minutes and then let go. I think he sank immediately.
"I would not take the ownership of all the tug on the lakes and repeat our experience of the next five hours. Three or four times boats passed within sight of us but we could not make them hear.
      "My boy was so nearly exhausted that twice he told me he could no stand it any longer and was going to let go. I cheered him up the best I could and begged him to hang on a little longer and that by daylight we would surely be picked up.
"At last a vessel passed near enough to us to hear us, but did not stop. This was nearly the death of us, as we had about lost our courage, but it seems the boat that passed informed the crew of the NORWALK and they came to our rescue, just in time.
Capt. Cornwall thought it might be possible that Engineer Holmes was picked up, but a heavy sea was running and the chances for his rescue were slim. Capt. Cornwall is one of the owners of the tug and says he stopped in Detroit, on his way down before and consequently was thought to be in Lake Erie.
      Saginaw Courier-Herald
      July 1, 1900

      . . . . .

Captain A. Moisan of the FARRAGUT reports that he has located the sunken tug MARION TELLER in Lake St. Clair. She lies in seventeen feet of water, with a potion of her pilot house visible below the water. A diver found the tug right side up, with the life preservers stowed away in the hold. No trace of the drowned sailors could be found. The Beaubien Ice Company is negotiating with wreckers to raise the tug.
      Milwaukee Library Scrapbook
      July 6, 1900
      . . . . .
Preparations are being made to raise the tug MARION TELLER from the botton of lake St. Clair.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Friday, August 3, 1900
      The tug WAU-BUN with two scows, left Detroit yesterday to raise the tug TELLER, which recently sunk in lake St. Clair and drowned three men.
      Detroit Free Press
      August 9, 1900
      . . . . .
      The diminutive tug MARION TELLER is afloat once more. Diver Fecteau, who did the job, is quoted by an afternoon paper as saying that, contrary to the stories of her master and his son, that she foundered because of heavy leaks that put out the fires, that he can find no evidence of a leak; that the hull is in good condition, and that she must have gone down through shipping seas from above.
      Detroit Free Press
      August 13, 1900
Steam screw MARIAN TELLER. U. S. No. 91130. Of 33 tons gross; 21 tons net. Built West Bay City, Mich., 1879. Home port, Detroit, Mich. 52.2 x 14.4 x 5.7
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1901

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Reason: sunk
Lives: 3
Remarks: Raised
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 42.38615 Longitude: -82.91186
William R. McNeil
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Marian Teller (Propeller), U91130, sunk, 29 Jun 1900