The steamer B.W. ARNOLD, which had in tow the barge SUMATRA when the latter foundered off Milwaukee harbor with the loss of four lives, lies upon the beach near Salmon Trout River, Lake Superior, a burnt out hulk and total loss.
The ARNOLD was bound from Duluth for Chicago with 800,000 feet of lumber, and had in tow the barge JAMES MOWATT, also lumber loaded. About noon on Saturday, off Ontonagon, fire broke out in the deck load forward, and despite every effort to check it spread the entire length of the steamer, compelling the crew to take refuge on the MOWATT, after which the tow-line was cut and the steamer allowed to drift away.
The Portage Lake lifesavers reached the burning craft at 5:30 P. M. after having rowed a distance of fifteen miles and finding that they could do nothing better, assisted in navigating the MOWATT to the canal, which point was reached at midnight.
The tug VALERIE steamed to the burning craft from Houghton with the intention of towing her to a point where an effectual fight might be made against the flames, but a line could not be run on account of the heat. Hence the ARNOLD continued to drift before the wind, a burning pyre which lighted Lake Superior for miles, until she fetched up on the bottom near Salmon Trout River, and there was slowly consumed to the water's edge. The steamer and her cargo are a total loss.
Insurance on the ARNOLD to the extent of about $13,000 was carried in the agencies of Worthington & Sill of Buffalo and C.A. McDonald & Co. of Chicago. The remainder, about $25,000 was placed with what is known as the Port Huron pool, made up of vessel owners at that point. The SUMATRA, which foundered off Milwaukee was similarly insured, and the loss on that vessel is said to have virtually wiped out the premiums for the season of the Port Huron pool people.
The B.W. ARNOLD was built at West Bay City by F.W. Wheeler in 1885 for the Mills Transportation Company of Marysville, Mich., the present owner. Her net tonnage measurement was 674, rated A 1*, and Inland Lloyds valuation $50,000.
November 23, 1896
The B.W. ARNOLD, on fire and abandoned by her crew, went ashore near Salmon Trout River in lake Superior Saturday morning. She had a cargo of lumber from Duluth to Chicago. About noon off Ontonogan on Saturday fire was discovered in the deck load in the forward part of the ship. The fire continued to spread and rage for 5 hours after repeated attempts by the crew to put it out. The crew escaped on the tow barge MOWATT. She was owned by Mills Transportation Co., of Port Huron. She is ashore 6 miles west of the Portage Ship Canal entrance.
Port Huron Daily Times
Monday, November 23, 1896
B.W. ARNOLD Built September 1885. Bulk Propeller -Wood
U. S. No. 3333 944 gt -673 nt 102.3' x 36' x 13.2'
Burned November 21, 1896, near Salmon Trout Point, Lake Superior
Frank Wheeler & Co., West Bay City Shipbuilding Master List
Institute for Great Lakes research
Steam screw B.W. ARNOLD. U. S. No. 3333. Of 944.30 tons gross; 673,56 tons net. Built West Bay City, Mich., 1885. Home port, Port Huron, Mich. 102.3 x 36.0 x 13.2
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1890