The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
David Van Valkenburg (Schooner), aground, 18 Sep 1881

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Escanaba, Mich., Sept. 18. -- A vessel, said to be the schooner VAN VALKENBURG, is ashore at Whitefish Bay. All hands are lost except one man, who is insane from fright and exposure. The report comes from Sturgen Bay by Capt. Hart, of the steamer WELCOME.
      Cleveland Herald
      September 19, 1881
      . . . . .
      Loss of the Schooner D. A. VALKENBURG -- Lives Lost.
Chicago, September 18. -- There is no doubt the schooner D. A. VAN VALKENBURG foundered Thursday night on Lake Michigan, between Jacksonport and Whitefish Bay. All hands are lost except Thomas Breen, a sailor, who sent the first news of her destruction. The crew consisted of Captain Andrew Keith; first mate, second mate Richard Keith, and four seamen, Hennessy, Curtis, Breen and an unknown man. The vessel struck rocks, and the crew took to the boat, which capsized. The vessel left here Tuesday evening for Buffalo with 38,000 bushels of corn. The vessel was worth $12,000; cargo $20,000. All fully insured.
      Cleveland Herald
      Monday, September 19, 1881

      . . . . .

      Last night [Sunday night] the Inter Ocean received the following dispatch dated Sturgeon bay, the 17th: -- " The large schooner D.A. VAN FALKENBERG ran on the North Point of Whitefish Bay about 7 o'clock in the evening of Sept. 15, she was bound from Chicago to Buffalo loaded with corn. her crew consisted of: Captain Keith and son Robert, who was second mate; George Curtis, mate; George Harlow, steward; and five sailors, only one of whom, Thomas Green, remains to tell the sad story of the disaster.
      Vessel And Cargo.
The VAN FALKENBERG measured 539 tons, was built at Tonawanda in 1866 by A. Little, and was owned by Hood and MacMillan, of Chicago, she had new decks, some beams and other repairs in 1878, and was also overhauled the past spring. Her rating was B 1 and her valuation $6,000. The insurance is as follows:
      Boston Marine . . . . . . . $3,000
      Philadelphia Underwriters . . $3,000
      New England Underwriters . . $2,000
      St. Paul Fire and Marine . . $1,000
      Greenwich Company . . . $3,000
      Total Hull Insurance . . . $12,000
The cargo consisted of corn, shipped by Arbur, and consigned to Buffalo, which was insured in the Chicago Pool for its full value.
Last fall when so many fine vessels were lost in the neighborhood of Whitefish bay, the VAN FALKENBERG escaped with dismasting. That she was not lost then with the others was owing wholly to the seamanship of her master and to the strength of her own good hull.
      The J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, June/Sept., 1881

Notes from the Sturgeon Bay Advocate: There is now 14 feet of water in the canal. The schooner JENNIE BELL was capsized, in the door, on Saturday, and sunk near Chambers Island. The schooner FELICITOUS, with lumber from Menominee, went ashore in Sand Bay, on Tuesday, but was pulled off. The VAN VALKENBURG has gone entirely to pieces.
      Cleveland Herald
      Tuesday, October 4, 1881

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: 5
Freight: corn
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Wisconsin, United States
    Latitude: 44.90777 Longitude: -87.20371
William R. McNeil
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David Van Valkenburg (Schooner), aground, 18 Sep 1881