The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Alpena (Steamboat), U404, sunk, 16 Oct 1880

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Chicago, Oct. 20 -- The excitement and suspense which has been hourly increasing in the three days, respecting the fate of the ALPENA, has changed to profound sorrow. The offices of the Gooderich Line were filled yesterday with mournful faces. It is not deemed possible that any person has been saved from the wreck. Some believe that the vessel struck a rock somewhere off the eastern shore and went to pieces a considerable distance from the beach. There is much complaint of the company having no list of passengers. The crew was 30 strong. It was stated, when the vessel left Muskegon that she had 70 passengers and took five at Grand Haven, mostly women. Gooderich thinks, however, that the passengers did not exceed 25 or perhaps 20.
Grand Haven, Mich., Oct. 20 -- The passengers on the ALPENA , as far as learned were: W.S. Berham, editor of the Grand Haven Herald, and wife; M. Crossman; Miss B.F. Curtis and Capt. H.V. Squier, Grand Haven; Mrs. Bradley and two daughters, Sante Fe; Mrs. A.B. Cole, Illinois, sister of the agent of the Gooderich Line; H.E. Locke, New York; Rev. Farrell Hart and wife, White Pigeon, Mich.; Mr. Rider, agent of Glass Works, Syracuse; John J. Bowen, ex-steward, of the ALPENA; John Osborne, wife and three children, Chicago; Maggie Mack, ex-stewardess of the ALPENA; M.A. McGillivray, St. Joseph, Mich.; a man with three children, name not known; C. Kusterer, Fred Spaieth, and G. Hattinger, Grand Rapids, and L. Landreth, Muskegon. The following are supposed to have been on the ALPENA: L.D. Peyton, New York; Harry L. Stecker, Chicago; W,C. Pettibone, Chicago; Bob Linsey, scrap iron buyer, Chicago.
      Detroit, Mich. Oct. 20. -- Vessels are beginning to arrive from above. The storm was less severe on Lake Huron than feared. The harbor of refuge at Sand beach has been full of vessels during the past four days. No disasters are reported on Lake Huron. From Frankfort on Lake Michigan comes the tidings of the fatal loss of the schooners. J. H. HARTZELL and HOPE, the former loaded with iron ore and the latter with provisions. The HARTZELL's stewardess perished in the rigging. The rest of the crew have been saved. The HOPE's crew is safe.
      Chicago, Oct. 20. -- Despatches to the Gooderich Line state that one more lady was washed ashore near Holland, Michigan; but before it could be secured under the law it was carried into the lake. The wreckage has been fully identified by the agent of the Company as that of the ALPENA. The schooner AMERICAN, on the Eastern shore during the storm, is missing.
      Kingston Whig-Standard
      October 20, 1880

      Chicago, Oct. 21. -- Mr. Ryder, of Syracuse, reported to have been lost on the ALPENA is here alive. The victim of the disaster, whose name has not been heretofore published, was Mrs. Vandecar. Mrs. Peyton, reported lost, is here. It is supposed that the casualty occurred about 10 miles from shore, in which case it was impossible for any person to survive.
      Holland, Mich., Oct. 21. -- Prop. Scott of Hope Collage, has a leaf from a diary found attached to a moulding of the cabin of the steamer ALPENA by a small nail. It is badly chafed and water-soaked, but by the aid of a glass it can be read as follows: "Oh, this is terrible ! The steamer is breaking up fast. I am aboard from Grand Haven to Chicago. Geo, Connor." The last two letters of the name are very faint and may be Connell.
      Kingston Whig-Standard
      October 21, 1880

      The loss of the ALPENA is beginning to be charged to a rotten hull instead of to Providence, who usually is the scrapegoat of owners of unseaworthy vessels.
      Kingston Whig-Standard
      October 25, 1880

      . . . . .

      Denial of the Grave Charges Made by the Coroner's Jury.
      Chicago, Jan. 3. -- A. E. Goodrich, president of the Goodrich transportation Company, denies in toto the charges made by the coroner's jury at Grand Haven, Mich., that the companys steamer ALPENA, which went down last October with all on board, was in bad condition, unseaworthy, with inadequate and worthless life-preservers, with inexperienced sailors for a crew, and with at least one rotten lifeboat. Mr. Goodrich declares that these charges are unsupported by the facts, and that the concluson that the company should be held responsible for all damages arising from the disaster is also unwarranted.
      Cleveland Herald
      Tuesday, January 4, 1881
      . . . . .

Chicago, July 15. -- In the case of the steamer ALPENA, in which the owners - the Goodrich Transportation Company -- prayed that all claims for losses sustained by parties through the sinking of the vessel, on the 18th of October, 1880, might be limited to the value of the petitioner's interest in the vessel, and that they should not be held liable for the losses sustained by the sinking of the schooner STOCKBRIDGE on the 10th of September, 1880, through a collision between the vessels. Judge Blodgett today decided the petitioners could not obtain the relief sought.
      Cleveland Herald
      Tuesday, July 19, 1881

Steam paddle ALPENA. U. S. No. 404. Of 653 tons. Built Marine City, Mich., 1767. First home port, Detroit, Mich. DISPOSITION:-- Lost 1880 by foundering on Lake Michigan, October 16, 1880. 60 lives lost.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S. A.
      The Lytle-Holdcamper List, 1790 to 1868

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Reason: sunk
Lives: 70?
Remarks: Total loss
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  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 42.78752 Longitude: -86.10893
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Alpena (Steamboat), U404, sunk, 16 Oct 1880