The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Post and Tribune (Detroit, MI), 7 Apr, 1884

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Considerable controversy has recently arisen among old-time vessel men as to whether there had ever been a time in the marine history of the lakes when such a craft as a full-rigged ship was afloat on fresh water. Inquiry shows that there have been three. The first was the Julia Palmer, which came out in 1836 and was subsequently converted to a side-wheeler; the second, the Milwaukee, came out the following year, and the steamer Superior was converted into a full-rigged ship about the same time. Capt. Bob Wagstaff, the father of Harbormaster Wagstaff, commanded the Palmer for the first few years after she came out, but she was hauled across the Sault Portage after being built over and was lost on Lake Superior in 1847. - [Sand Beach Times.

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JULIA PALMER (260 t.) was built at Buffalo by John Carrick, converted to a steamer in 1839 and went ashore in the fall of 1847 just west of Whitefish Point, ending her career - though her hull was later used as a dock facing.
SUPERIOR was the second steamboat on the upper lakes, built at Buffalo by Noah Brown in 1822, using the engine from the steamer WALK-IN-THE-WATER, and converted to a ship in about 1837. She was reportedly still in that rig when wrecked near Michigan City, Indiana, in October, 1843.
MILWAUKEE (actually MILWAUKIE) had an even more checkered career. Records show her as a 285.85 t. ship, old measure, launched in 1836 at Grand Island, NY, but she is registered as a 401 t. steamer late in 1838. Her engine was reportedly removed and placed in the steamer NILE about 1842, with the hull going in ordinary. In 1847 she was re-engined, but records list her as "abandoned" on 1849.
sources: Lytle-Holdcamper list, Wisconsin Marine Historical Society, History of the Great Lakes, Detroit Free Press, Walter Lewis' web page
Date of Original:
7 Apr, 1884
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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), 7 Apr, 1884