The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
St. Louis (Propeller), U23356, collision, 1 May 1896

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While off Point aux Barques, Lake Huron, the steamer V.H. KETCHUM, towing the barge WADENA, collided with the consort of another steamer. The stem of the KETCHUM was torn off, and as the force of the collision stopped her headway the WADENA struck her amidships, tearing a hole in the starboard side from the deck to the water line, besides carrying away about 50 feet of rail. The KETCHUM is not leaking. The name of the barge which she struck could not be learned. The KETCHUM and WADENA have coal cargoes for Milwaukee. The vessels are owned by Captain W.S. Mack of Cleveland.
      A dispatch from Detroit states that the vessel which collided with the KETCHUM was the steamer St. LOUIS and not a tow barge. The St. LOUIS passed down with her stern badly damaged.
      The KETCHUM and WADENA will arrive here early tomorrow morning. Capt. W.S. Mack, the owner of the vessels, arrived in Milwaukee this evening.
      Milwaukee Wisconsin
      May 26, 1896

      . . . . .

      Among the arrivals here last night were the steamer V.H. KETCHUM and barge WADENA, which became involved in a collision with the steamer St. LOUIS off Thunder Bay, Lake Huron, at 6 o'clock Monday evening during hazy weather. The upper part of the stem of the KETCHUM is shattered from the effects of the blow administered to the St. LOUIS, and a hole in the starboard side, abreast of the after hatch, indicates the forcible manner in which she was immediately afterward struck by the WADENA. The break in the hull extends nearly to the loadline of the steamer. The heavy planksheer and planking are cut through, and the deck is broken nearly to the hatch coanimgs. But for the fact that the stem of the WADENA flares the KETCHUM would have been cut deeper and sunk. The WADENA's upper stem is somewhat shattered.
      The captains of the steamer and barge agree in placing the blame for the collision upon the St. LOUIS. They state that although the powerful whistle of the KETCHUM was sounded at regular intervals, not an intimation of the presence of the St. LOUIS was given until she sounded an alarm whistle dead ahead and then put her helm to starboard instead of port, even though the KETCHUM gave the port signal. It was not until the steamers came together that the captain of the KETCHUM became aware that the St. LOUIS had a tow, and an effort to avoid the latter led to a collision with her own consort. A survey of the damage will be made by Harbor master John Blend and Joseph Davidson after the KETCHUM's coal cargo is discharged. This survey will determine the cost of repairs, of which an estimate at the present time is out of the question.
      Milwaukee Wisconsin
      May 27, 1896

      . . . . .

      The steamer St. LOUIS which was in collision with the V.H. KETCHUM last week, has been surveyed at Tonawanda by Frank Williams of Bay City and C.F. Strasmer of the Anchor Line. The steamer is pretty badly injured, as her stern is not only smashed, but her steel arches are buskled several inches. It is figured out at Buffalo that when the St. LOUIS heard the KETCHUM she turned sharply away from her, thus exposing her stern, but the KETCHUM must have made direct for the St. LOUIS and thus gave her own consort, the WADENA, a chance to strike her amidships.
      The captain of the St. LOUIS attaches blame for the collision to the KETCHUM and legal proceedings must result. The cost of repairs on the craft is estimated at $4,000.
      Milwaukee Wisconsin
      June 3, 1896

Steam screw St. LOUIS. U. S. No. 23356. Of 985.37 tons gross; 795.36 tons net. Built Cleveland, Ohio, 1864. Home port, Suspension Bridge, N.Y. 193.0 x 31.9 x 11.7
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1895

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Reason: collision
Lives: nil
Remarks: Repaired
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 45.00001 Longitude: -83.39997
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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St. Louis (Propeller), U23356, collision, 1 May 1896