The joke around Pointe aux Barques in the spring of 1895 was about the stone that sank the schooner-barge S.H. KIMBALL in Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay. It was a dark kind of humor that wasn't well received by the owners of the 137-foot-long schooner or Captain Mulholland, master of the steamer GEORGE STONE, which had the KIMBALL in tow. It was about 4 a.m. on May 8. The coal laden barge was following faithfully along behind the STONE, both boats, slicing through the foggy north bound course across Lake Huron, when the tow line broke.
Mullholand felt a surge in the STONE's engines and knew the KIMBALL was drifting free the moment it happened. He ordered his wheelsman to turn the boat around and started back to pick up his consort. Mullholand miscalculated the KIMBALL's location in the fog, however. Before anybody saw the schooner's lights, the drifting schooner loomed up out of the darkness dead across the STONE's bow.
The collision cut the Kimball almost in half. The ill-fated boat and its heavy load of coal sank in about nine minutes in about 600 feet of water. Its location was about 38 miles from Point aux Barques.
The KIMBALL's master, Capt. William Brown, and his crew of six others escaped safely to the STONE's deck before the boat went down. Nobody was hurt. The KIMBALL was bound for Portage, on Lake Superior, and the Stone was traveling empty to pick up a cargo at Duluth,
(James Donahue's shipwreck column)
Port Huron Daily Tribune
May 5, 1997
. . . . .
The schooner S.H. KIMBALL was sunk near Point Aux Barques on Wednesday morning by the steamer GEORGE STONE in heavy fog.
Port Huron Daily Times
Thursday, May 9, 1895
. . . . .
Vessel Property Lost Since Opening of Navigation.
summary of losses from the opening of navigation to June 1, shows that eleven vessels of an estimated value of $521,000 and 19,105 net tons capacity have been lost beyond recovery. The table makes no reference to cargo losses and includes only such vessels as have probably passed out of existence. Two small boats that were ashore, but have been released within the past week or ten days, the SAKIE SHEPARD and QUICKSTEP, are not included in the list, but the steamer Runnels, which burned at Ashtabula, and which will very probably be rebuilt is included. Of course not all of the lost boats in the list were insured up to the value placed on them, and some of them were not insured at all, but the underwriters have had a number of heavy losses from the stranding of steel vessels. However, it is probable that the estimate of nearly $1,000,000 to be borne by underwriters on the lakes thus far this season is entirely too high. It is safe to say that $250,000 will cover all losses thus far incurred by the underwriters on wooden boats and their cargoes, and total losses have been paid on only two steel boats. The table of total losses follows:
VESSELS LOST BEYOND RECOVERY SINCE OPENING OF NAVIGATION, 1895.
Date of Loss. Name of Vessel. Cause. Where Lost. Cap. Net Tons. Value.
April 30 Stm. EVERETT, A. Foundered Lake Huron 1,200 $50,000
May 3 Stm, FAIRBANK, N.K Fire Lake Ontario 1,650 30,000
May 4 Stm. GUIDE Fire Oswego ....... 8,000
May 8 Schr. KIMBALL S.H. Collision Saginaw Bay 600 5,000
May 10 Stm. CAYUGA Collision Straits 2,600 5,000
May 10 Stm. HURD, J. L. Collision Straits 950 15,000
May 11 Schr. KITCHEN J.B. Ashore Middle Island 650 5,000
May 11 Schr. KELLEY, KATE Foundered Lake Michigan 550 3,000
May 21 Schr. NEW DOMINION Foundered Georgian Bay 550 7,000
May 29 Stm. RUNNELS, J.E. Fire Ashtabula 1,100 60,000
May 31 Stm. NORMAN Collision Lake Huron 2,550 163,000
Total 19,105 $521,000
June 6, 1895
. . . . .
Schooner S.H. KIMBALL. Of 318.95 tons gross; 303.60 tons net. Built at Vermillion, Ohio, in 1864. Home port, Cleveland, Ohio. 137.7 x 25.9 x 12.0
Merchant Vessel List, U.S., 1891