The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Julia Palmer (Steamboat), storm damage, 1 Nov 1847

Full Text

The JULIA PALMER -- At our last dates from the Saut, previous to the arrival of the LOUISIANA, night before last, great fears were entertained for the safety of this boat, and nearly all hopes of her safety were gone. She arrived at Copper Harbor last Saturday, an hour before the FREE TRADER left for the Sault.- having been 16 days out from the Sault, probably in the most critical and trying circumstances, during a continued gale, that was ever experienced on the Western Waters. For several days, all hopes of her safety, by those on board, had nearly vanished. Everything on board which would make fire, and keep up steam, was burned - even to provisions, grain, furniture, and cattle and sheep. The news of her safety was brought to Mackinaw by overland express, after the FREE TRADER arrived at the Sault, on Monday last. -- Det. Adv.
      Cleveland Daily Herald
      Saturday, November 27, 1847

      . . . . .

      The Detroit Free Press publishes a letter from a gentleman who was on board the steamer JULIA PALMER during her sixteen day rough and tumble trip from the Sault to Copper Harbor, Sunday evening a furious gale in the open lake, took off about nine feet of the smoke pipe, and the boat was driven back into the St. Mary's river, Tuesday the weather moderated and the boat made another trial, but was driven to haul up under White-fish Point, and stay out a second gale and snow storm. The writer says:
      Our next attempt, brought us through a strong sea, to the harbor of Grand Island, where we remained until Saturday, 11 o'clock A. M., when we made for Bete du Gris Baie - atmosphere raw and dense. In the night, supposing we were in the neighborhood of Stannard Rock, but fog so heavy and darkness extreme, that it was thought proper to lay
the boat to until daylight. Weather being heavy - then made for, as we supposed, Copper Harbor, and at 11 o'clock, blowing agale, the smoke cleared away, and we saw the north side of Kewena Point, about 18 miles from us; whilst, nearly out of fuel, we were being driven before the wind in the direction of Isle Royal, unable to change our course. At from 3 to 4 P.M., our boat labored very heavily, and it was impossible for man or furniture to hold position, and we were thrown from side to side of the vessel like so many foot-balls, At six o'clock our guards were torn up, and several of the guard beams broken, and with one accord, all manfully responded to the order to throw the deck freight overboard, and in a few minutes she was lightened of 250 barrels. The wind now suddenly veered about, and we were driven in a southerly direction, until 10 o'clock at night, which probably saved us from the rocky shores of Isle Royal, against which we must have been inevitably dashed to pieces. Again the wind shifted, and we were driven in a north-easterly course,, every other minute apparently buried in the sea, with the water sweeping our deck and washing torrents through the ladies' cabin, with dead-lights driven in in the steerage, snow, rain, sleet, and hail, and the most dismal fowling wind, that ever moaned the requiem of shipwreck; then still again would she emerge from the depths of the waters, shake her prows, as if in defiance of the racing elements, for a moment dash onward in triumph, and anon plunge again, all reeking, into the foam of the engulfing abyss. And thus, for seventeen hours, without a moments respite, did she wrestle with her fate, when we entered the harbor of the State Islands, and breathed anew again. And strange as it may seem to you, of the forty-five souls on board this boat, none quailed, nor did a lip quiver, a cheek flanch, or a nerve tremble.
      Cleveland Daily Herald
      Monday, December 6, 1847

The steamer JULIA PALMER is considered the first steam vessel hauled over the portage into Lake Superior in 1846, wrecked in the fall of 1847 at Two hearts River, Lake Superior, Capt. Stanard.
      Marine Record
      May 15, 1884

The first full-rigged ship on the lakes was built at Buffalo in 1836 by Col. Alanson Palmer, and called the JULIA PALMER, of about 300 tons burden. She proved inadequate for the trade, was converted into a steamer and lost on Lake Superior in 1847.
      Marine Disasters of the Western Lakes, 1871
      By Captain J. W. Hall

NOTE: -- The steamer JULIA PALMER was (arrested) for a Custom's violation in May 1848 ?

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: storm damage
Lives: nil
Remarks: Repaired
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Julia Palmer (Steamboat), storm damage, 1 Nov 1847