The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
H. E. Runnels (Propeller), U96320, fire, 29 May 1895

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The steamer H.E. RUNNELS bound from Buffalo to Milwaukee with coal was towed into Ashtabula Wednesday afternoon after a heroic fight with fire, which had continued from 4:30 in the morning. At that time she was 30 miles on Lake Erie when a lamp exploded in the firehold. At 7:00 the NEW ORLEANS answered the distress signals and had two streams of water plying on the fire. Half an hour later the MILWAUKEE came alongside and joined the NEW ORLEANS in fighting the fire. Then they towed her to Ashtabula. The RUNNELS was towed to the head of navigation where she sank. She looks like she will be a total loss.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Thursday, May 30, 1895
      . . . . .

      Vessel Property Lost Since Opening of Navigation.
      summary of losses from the opening of navigation to June 1, shows that eleven vessels of an estimated value of $521,000 and 19,105 net tons capacity have been lost beyond recovery. The table makes no reference to cargo losses and includes only such vessels as have probably passed out of existence. Two small boats that were ashore, but have been released within the past week or ten days, the SAKIE SHEPARD and QUICKSTEP, are not included in the list, but the steamer RUNNELS, which burned at Ashtabula, and which will very probably be rebuilt is included. Of course not all of the lost boats in the list were insured up to the value placed on them, and some of them were not insured at all, but the underwriters have had a number of heavy losses from the stranding of steel vessels. However, it is probable that the estimate of nearly $1,000,000 to be borne by underwriters on the lakes thus far this season is entirely too high. It is safe to say that $250,000 will cover all losses thus far incurred by the underwriters on wooden boats and their cargoes, and total losses have been paid on only two steel boats. The table of total losses follows:
Date of Loss. Name of Vessel. Cause. Where Lost. Cap. Net Tons. Value.
April 30 Stm. EVERETT, A. Foundered Lake Huron 1,200 $50,000
May 3 Stm, FAIRBANK, N.K Fire Lake Ontario 1,650 30,000
May 4 Stm. GUIDE Fire Oswego ....... 8,000
May 8 Schr. KIMBALL S.H. Collision Saginaw Bay 600 5,000
May 10 Stm. CAYUGA Collision Straits 2,600 5,000
May 10 Stm. HURD, J. L. Collision Straits 950 15,000
May 11 Schr. KITCHEN J.B. Ashore Middle Island 650 5,000
May 11 Schr. KELLEY, KATE Foundered Lake Michigan 550 3,000
May 21 Schr. NEW DOMINION Foundered Georgian Bay 550 7,000
May 29 Stm. RUNNELS, J.E. Fire Ashtabula 1,100 60,000
May 31 Stm. NORMAN Collision Lake Huron 255 163,000
      Total 19,105 $521,000
      Marine Review
      June 6, 1895
      . . . . .

      The H.E. RUNNELS will be raised.
      The wrecked schooner QUICKSTEP was released from the beach at Sheboygan yesterday afternoon and is now in port to be repaired.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Wednesday, June 5, 1895
      Steam screw H.E. RUNNELS. U. S. No. 96230. Of 862 tons gross; 694 tons net. Built Port Huron, Mich, 1863. Home port, Port Huron, Mich. 182.0 x 35.0 x 13.2
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1898

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Reason: fire
Lives: nil
Remarks: Rebuilt
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ohio, United States
    Latitude: 41.86505 Longitude: -80.78981
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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H. E. Runnels (Propeller), U96320, fire, 29 May 1895