The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
John Mitchell (Propeller), U203943, sunk by collision, 9 Jul 1911

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      Five Or Six Buffalo Passengers Now On Boat At Bottom Of Lake Superior.
      Vessel In Collision With Steamer WILLIAM H. MACK At Vermillion Point.
      Boat Left Here on Friday Morning Bound For Duluth With Coal.
      Sault Ste. Marie. Mich., July 10. -- Three lives were lost early today when the steamer JOHN MITCHELL of Chicago was sunk in collision with the steamer W. H. MACK off Vermillion Point, Lake Superior.
The JOHN MITCHELL was 420 feet long, 52 feet beam and 28 feet deep. She was a steel vessel with a gross tonnage of 4468 and was built in 1906.
The WILLIAM H. MACK is 354 feet long and belongs to the Jenkins Steamship Company of Cleveland.
      Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., July 10 (United Press) - according to members of the crew of the Steamer MATAO today, the steamer JOHN MITCHELL, west-bound, was sunk last night off Vermillion Point when she collided with the steamer WILLIAM H. MACK.
The WILLIAM H. MACK is reported lying just off the Point with her bow stove in and her superstructure just above water. No trace of the JOHN MITCHELL can be found. The MATAO reports passing through wreckage consisting of window screens and life rafts and life-preservers indicating the total loss of the JOHN MITCHELL. The MITCHELL was lorded with coal for Superior, Mich., and the MACK was bound down, light, from Marquette, Mich.
      Carrying five or six Buffalo passengers and a crew of 21 men, the steamer JOHN MITCHELL, which steamed out of the harbor here at 2 o'clock Friday morning, early this morning sank off Vermillion Point, according to messages received here this morning.
The names of the Buffalo passengers could not be learned in any of the local offices, and, with one exception, the names of the crew are unknown. Joseph M. Frew, aged 21 years, of Princeton, N. J., a fireman was shipped at the office of the Lake Carriers and Seamen here.
Capt. John Massey was master of the MITCHELL, C. W. Elphicke Co., of Chicago own the craft. A load of 7,000 to 7,500 tons of coal was taken here at the Erie coal dock and was consigned to the Pittsburgh Coal Company, at Duluth. The ship was due to arrive at that port at sundown tomorrow.
According to the meager information received, the MITCHELL was in collision with the steamer WILLIAM. H. MACK, of the line of A. T. Kinney & Company, of Cleveland. The MITCHELL, it is reported, sank in deep water with all on board; the MACK being driven ashore and saved, though badly damaged.
Vermillion Point, where this latest tragedy of the Great Likes occurred, is about 15 miles west of Whitefish Point, at the entrance to Lake Superior, and about 30 miles from the Soo.
      Buffalo Evening News,
      Monday, July 10, 1911 1-8

      . . . . .

      Three of Crew of JOHN MITCHELL, Sunk in Lake Superior, Still Missing.
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., July 11. -- Second Mate Archie Causly , steward Albert Clemens and Watchman George Austin of the crew of the steamer JOHN MITCHELL of Chicago were missing when the steamer WILLIAM H. MACK of Cleveland arrived with the surviving passengers and crew of the MITCHELL, which was sunk in a collision with the MACK in a dense fog off Vermilion Point, lake Superior, yesterday.
Three men and three women left the MITCHELL in a yawl, which soon capsized. Miss Fay Clemens, daughter of the lost steward, proved her self a heroine in the rescue her fellow passengers in the small boat.
      She called to the crew of the MACK to throw them a line and she fastened it to the boat in such a way that the MACKÆs crew were able to right the yawl. All six were saved.
      Buffalo Evening News
      July 11, 1911

      . . . . .

The steamer JOHN MITCHELL, which collided with the WILLIAM HENRY MACK, near Vermillion Point, Lake Superior, lies in 200 feet of water, and It will be impossible to raise her. The MITCHELL was valued at $350,000 and carried at the time of the collision , 7,000 tons of coal.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Saturday, July 15, 1911

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JOHN MITCHELL. Built November 28, 1906 Bulk Carrier
U.S. No. 203943. 4468 gt - 3246 nt 420.0 x 52.0 x 23.0
      Sunk in collision with steamer WILLIAM H. MACK near Whitefish Point, Lake Superior, on July 9, 1911; three lives lost.
      Great Lakes Emgineering Works, St. Clair, Mich., Master Shipbuilding list
      Institute for Great lakes Research
      Perrysburg, Ohio
Steam screw JOHN MITCHELL. U. S. No. 203943. of 4,468 gross tons. Built 1907. On July 9, 1911, vessel collided with steam screw W.H. MACK at Vermillion Point, Mich. With 28 persons on board, 3 lives were lost.
      Loss Reported for Amerivan Vessels
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1912

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk by collision
Lives: 3
Freight: coal
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 46.76308 Longitude: -85.14899
William R. McNeil
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John Mitchell (Propeller), U203943, sunk by collision, 9 Jul 1911