The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Post and Tribune (Detroit, MI), Thursday, Aug 23, 1883

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The propeller W. H. Barnum arrived down at an early hour yesterday morning, bringing the crew of the lost schooner Sunnyside, with the exception of the captain, who remained on the schooner Dewy with his wife. Robert W. Kerr, first mate of the Sunnyside, makes the following statement regarding her loss:

We left Escanaba with 928 tons of ore Sunday morning, August 19, in tow of propeller W. H. Barnum, the schooners S. H. Foster and A. J. Dewey also in tow. We had thick weather all day until about 5 p.m., when it cleared off abreast of Poverty Island.

Crossing the foot of Lake Michigan we had the wind about south by west, with quite a sea running. It began to look squally about 9:30 p.m. and we took in all out canvas but the foresail and foretopsail. A very heavy squall, accompanied by blinding hail and rain, struck us about 10:30, parting all our tow lines. In the height of the squall we discovered the Foster close on our lee bow, heading up across our bows.

The Foster was so close that a collision was unavoidable, so our wheel was put down so as to strike her at as an acute an angle as possible. We struck her just abaft of the main rigging, which, with the mainmasthead, was carried away, also a number of stanchions.

Our bowsprit, jibboom and foreyard were carried away. The bowsprit in slewing around opened up her stem, and she commenced to fill immediately. The pumps were sounded and the water was found to be over the sounding rod. We made a hole in the forecastle floor and found the water nearly up to it. We were satisfied that she could not be kept afloat and lowered the boat and put the captain's wife on board of the Dewey, which was hove to a short distance to leeward, and then returned to the Sunnyside. Going on board we found the water even with the top of the hatches forward. We hastily secured her books and papers and pulled off a short distance. In less than 10 minutes after we left her, and an hour after the collision, she went down head foremost in 30 or 40 fathoms of water.

North Fox Island bore about south by east three or four miles distant. We pulled off down the lake and met the barge about 20 minutes afterwards coming back after us. It picked us up and hoisted the boat on deck. The Barnum picked the Foster up at daylight, but as she was leaking so badly she took a tug at Cheboygan and towed in there. Captain McGregor of the Barnum is a perfect gentleman. He and all on board used us handsomely. We saved nothing but what we had on.


Special dispatch to The Post and Tribune.

Escanaba, August 22. - Capt. Corin of the Ed. Kelley reports passing yesterday a quantity of wreckage evidently belonging to a large schooner and which showed evidence of a collision, between North Fox and the Beaver, and a wreck with the head of a broken spar six or eight feet out of water, about three miles off the head of the North Fox. It is supposed here that the wreck is that of the Sunnyside, which left here Sunday morning in tow of the steamer W. H. Barnum.

Media Type:
Item Type:
The matter-of-fact coolness of the crew and officers make this an interesting account of the loss of a large schooner. The location given in both articles is at odds with the modern spot usually cited for the wreck, which is six or seven miles to the SE.
Date of Original:
Thursday, Aug 23, 1883
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Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Post and Tribune (Detroit, MI), Thursday, Aug 23, 1883