The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
W. B. Phelps (Schooner), U80367, aground, 19 Nov 1879

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      A telegram from Glen Haven, Mich., last evening reports the loss of the schr. W.B. PHELPS, of Oswego and the drowning of 5 of her crew. The vessel went ashore and was wrecked near Glen Arbor on the night of the 19th. The names of the lost are: Capt. Daniel Kelly, Oswego, George Kelly of Oswego, Frank Golden, cook, of Sandusky, Robert Downey, Oswego and one man who shipped at Milwaukee, name unknown. It is expected that the bodies will be recovered.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      November 22, 1879 3-5
      . . . . .

      A telegram from Traverse City, Mich., says the saved from the lost schr. W.B. PHELPS are John Hourigan, first mate and Edward Igo, who clung to the rigging for 16 hours. The vessel is mostly broken up. One body is visible frozen fast to the wreck.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      November 24, 1879 3-4

      . . . . .

AN ALLEGED ROBBERY. -- The following letter was published in the Chicago Tribune, and is self explanatory:
Chicago, Oct. 25. -- I wish to call attention to a communication published in the Tribune of October 15th from one L. F. Sheridan, of South Manitou, Mich., in relation to the alleged robbery of relatives of mine who were drowned off the wrecked schooner PHELPS. Sheridan, is the light-house-keeper at the South Manitou Island. What first attracted my attention and suspicion that my brother-in-law had been robbed was from a man I met in Wolf & Davidson's ship-yard at Milwaukee, who informed me that there had evidently some crooked work regarding the bodies of the crew of the schooner PHELPS. A man who had heretofore been able to eke out a scanty livelihood at his trade there had ceased to work, and was spending considerable sums of money, far in excess of what he could honestly earn. While at South Manitou lately I had a conversation with a fisherman there, and he said the person suspected of the robbery could not be induced to work, and was displaying large quantities of money (gold). The postmaster, Mr. Kitchen, also informed me that so strong had become the suspicion that the bodies of the crew of the unfortunate schooner PHELPS had been robbed as they washed ashore that it was being seriously agitated to have an official investigation made. I accuse no one directly of robbing my drowned relative, but it seems that the mere mention of suspicion has caused considerable of a flutter in the minds of some people there. As far as Sheridan's letter is concerned, I have not charged him or any particular person with the robbing of the dead bodies of the schooner PHELPS, but do say that Captain Dan Kelly, and one of his seamen, had a considerable amount of money on there bodies at the time they were drowned, and of whose bodies or the money no trace has ever been found, although the bodies of the others on board were washed ashore and buried, and for that reason desire an official investigation of the matter.
      Michael Maloney, Captain schooner PHOENIX.
      Cleveland Herald
      Friday, October 28, 1881

Schooner W.B. PHELPS. U. S. No. 80367. Of 297 tons gross. Built Sacketts Harbor, N. Y., 1873 by A. Field. three masts. Wrecked Glen Arbor, Lake Michigan, Nov. 17, 1879
      Herman Runge Notes

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Reason: aground
Lives: 5
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 44.8975 Longitude: -85.98537
William R. McNeil
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W. B. Phelps (Schooner), U80367, aground, 19 Nov 1879