The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Michigan (Barge), U91847, sunk, 1 Jul 1891

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Chicago, July 28. -- The big schooner MICHIGAN, which has been unloading coal at Erie Street Sunday, broke in two early yesterday morning. The coal unloaders had been working on her all day, and had her well emptied out amidships, but had left the coal in her ends, although the captain had protested against this manner of unloading, saying it would break his boat in two. The MICHIGAN had three steel arches on each side. The middle one is broken on one side and pulled down on the other. The planking on her sides is pulled apart, and on the decks it is either pulled apart or broken in two. Repairs will cost several thousand dollars. Gilchrist, of Alpena, her owner, has been telegraphed for, and nothing will be done until his arrival.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      July 28, 1891

The barge MICHIGAN which was broke in two while at a coal dock in Chicago Monday morning, was an old Canadian ferryboat at one time and was not a strong craft but the accident is one of the things captains of all long wooden vessels have feared. The MICHIGAN has three steel arches on her sides. The middle one on one side was broken in two and on the other side it was pulled down, her planking was pulled apart and she became as crooked as a rail fence. Who will bear the loss is a question. The captain had warned the coal dock men that by unloading her amidship and leaving the coal at both ends they were endangering the safety of his boat, but whether that renders O.S. Richardson liable or not is in doubt. The insurance companies may hold that they took no risk against any such mishap, and that they are therefore not liable. It is certainly a warning to all captains to see that their orders are regarded by coal unloaders, and to stop work altogether when their vessel is placed in jeopardy.
      Marine Review
      July 30, 1891

      Some exception has been taken to an item about the MICHIGAN breaking in two. Of course there was, as it injured the value of the boat. The next day after the mishap it was represented that the Michigan was going to an elevator to load grain, but she hasn't gone yet, nor will she go until the insurance companies feel assured that her serious damages are so far repaired that she call take a load of grain without risk.
      Marine Review
      August 6, 1891

Chicago, Aug. 7. -- The owners of the barge MICHIGAN today retained Robert Raet to bring suit against O.S. Richardson for damage to that boat, It will be claimed Richardson has entered into contract to properly unload MICHIGAN and that his foreman was in charge. Coal was taken out to the skin of 40 feet amidships, while both ends were untouched, which was done against the protests of the captain who said the boat would break in two. The suit will be important as defining the liability of shippers in handling cargoes.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      August 7, 1891
Schooner barge MICHIGAN.* U. S. No. 91847. Of 1,290.05 tons gross; 1,227 tons net. Built at Walkerville, Ont., in 1873. Home port, Detroit, Mich. 271.2 x 41.8 x 15.6
      * Formerly British schooner MICHIGAN.
      Merchant Vessel List, U.S., 1889
MICHIGAN. Paddle-wheel train ferry. Built at Sandwich E., Ont., in 1873. Of 1465 gross tons. 265 x 38 x 14. Rebuilt as barge in 1884.
      Preliminary List of Canadian Merchant Steamships
      Inland & Coastal, 1809 to 1930

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Reason: sunk
Remarks: Repaired
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 41.85003 Longitude: -87.65005
William R. McNeil
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Michigan (Barge), U91847, sunk, 1 Jul 1891