MICHIGAN Built Oct. 30, 1890 Car Ferry -Steel
Can 98904 1730 gt -1410 nt 296.5' x 41.3' x 15.6'
Reduced to barge in 1926. Stranded on Lottie Wolf Island, Georgian Bay, November 14, 1943.
Frank Wheeler & Co., West Bay City Shipbuilding Master List
Institute for Great Lakes Research
BARGE "MICHIGAN" BREAKS UP ON LOTTIE WOLF SHOAL
AND WILL BE A TOTAL LOSS.
The lighter MICHIGAN from Owen Sound is lying with a broken back on the Lottie Wolf Shoal, in the lee of the S.S. RIVERTON, aground on the same shoal since November 14. The MICHIGAN had gone to lighten the stricken RIVERTON, and met the same fate herself in a wicked gale on the night of November 23, which swept her on to the rocks near midnight.
The Michigan, owned by John Harrison and Sons of Owen Sound had joined the tugs' "Northern" and "Favourite" with their lighters, in removing grain from the Riverton which is lying amongst the rocks with her hold full of water. The Michigan had come cautiously around the starboard quarter of the helpless Riverton hulk, and was attempting to place
pumps on platforms in the cargo hold to pump out the water and soaked grain to lighten the Riverton. The Favourite, mother-ship to the lighter Michigan was lying to the leeward side of the Michigan, so that the three ships were side by side - Riverton, Michigan and Favourite. .
The Michigan's crew had succeeded in getting the pumps only to the deck of the Riverton, when the wind and sea became so heavy that the three ships began pounding one another with dangerous force. It was necessary for them to get out of their side-by-side positions' or be battered to pieces against one another.
Carefully, Captain Russell R. McPherson of Sault Ste. Marie. Skipper of the tug Favourite, pulled his ship out of the formation and steamed off to the North West in preparation to sending out a tow-line to the lighter Michigan which had no mobile power of its own. The Favourite dropped anchor, and rode back on the anchore chain to a proper pick-uo position Ibut the force of the gale drove her back further, and she dragged anchor. She steamed up again into the wind, and the same thing happened. Afer several attempts, a line was finally cast to the Michigan which was still alongside the Riverton. The line was secured and the Favourite began to tow the lighter out.
TIMBERHEADS GIVE WAY.
All went well for a few mlnutes but the fury of the elements halted the manoeuvre. The straining tow-line yanked the timberheads clear of the Michigan, and she was driven sideways by the gale hard onto the shoal. There she perched, on the jagged boulders, with all her crew aboard
Removal of the crew was impossible until daylight came. In the meantime, the wind and the sea had pounded the lighter in two at about 3 a.m. and the crew spent a harassing niglht on it. They signaIled with their lights that they were all right, and the Favourite and tug Northern hovered about in the darkness waiting for dawn.
As soon as it was light enough; the Favourite dropped storm oil on the waves to calm the water sufficiently for rescue of the Michigan crew. By means of the oil slick they were able to launch a lifeboat safely, and the men rowed to the wrecked lighter on the shoal. The lifeboat was manned by Captain Russell McPherson, Herbert Sussman of the cargo underwriters, Lee Company, Buffalo; Don Twaits of Toronto, First Mate on the Riverton, Clarence Coxton of owen Sound, fireman on the Riverton; George Stegman of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; and Phillip Cole, also of the Sault, Michigan.
A ticklish problem it was to take the Michigan crew from their stranded lighter; but the manoeuvre, was successfully accomplished. The crew, of the lighter were S. McGregor, Captain; Mr: and Mrs. John.McComb. Dan McBride, Alf Allan, Norman Smith and Dave Otter, all of 0wen Sound. The lifeboat pulled back to the Favourite, and all the men and the one woman were transferred safely to the tug.
TAKEN TO OWEN SOUND.
The Favourite then hove anchor and:came in under Giant's Tomb. The tug. Northern had been previously signalled. to stand by for the transferral of the Michigan crew, and was waiting there for them. The exchange was. made, and the Northern steamed back to Owen Sound with the crew.
Midland Free Press
December 1, 1943