The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Waller (Steam yacht), U81221 ?, sunk, 21 May 1903

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      The WALLER is Supposed to Have Run on a Sunken Spile.
What seemed to be one of the prettiest and most successful launchings ever made on Lake Erie had a disastrous ending yesterday when the new steel steam yacht, WALLER, owned by Adam Kammarer of Niagara Falls, was loosened from her dry-dock at the foot of Genesee Street. The yacht was built by the Empire Shipbuilding Company at a cost of about $10,000 for the private use of Mr. Kammarer. Yesterday afternoon the neat little craft, about 80 feet long and 20 feet beam, was ready to take to the water. At 3 o'clock a party of interested persons gathered at the dry-dock and the yacht was cut loose. Mrs. Adam Kammarer, wife of the owner, broke a bottle of champagne on the bow of the boat, christening it the "WALLER."
      For several minutes the yacht rode gracefully on the water and drifted out about 200 feet. Then someone noticed that her bow was settling. It was not long before it was clear the boat was filling up with water, and the cry, "She's sinking," was given. Three man, who were on the yacht for the launching, threw a line to shore and pulled the boat in as near as possible. She was only a foot above water when a small tug threw a line to her and pulled her still nearer. The yacht then swung around against a large steamer and both her spars were snapped off about three feet from the top.
      It was thought the yacht had settled to the bottom and the three men aboard were getting ready to leave her when suddenly there was a rush of water and the yacht settled still deeper, leaving only two feet of her smoke stack above water. The three men on board then had to seek safety. John Jrader, the mate, and James Martin, captain, reached the stack and sat upon it. Chief Engineer Thomas Dray was in the stern of the boat when she settled. He swam to a big floating log to which he clung, while William Swisher made for him in a small ferry boat. When Swisher reached him Dray was nearly exhausted. He was pulled aboard. The other two men were taken into the rowboat and landed.
      Those who watch the launching said the yacht struck an old sunken spile which tore away some of her steel plates, and made the big hole which caused the yacht to sink.
      Buffalo Evening News
      May 22, 1903
Chains have been placed around the sunken yacht WALLER and it is expected to raise her today.
      Buffalo Evening News
      May 29, 1903

Steam screw WALLER. U. S. No. 81221. Of 56 tons gross; 28 tons net. Built Buffalo, N.Y., 1887. Home port, Niagara Falls. 80.6 x 14.9 x 7.2 Crew of 3.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1903
NOTE:-- The above launching gives the yacht as NEW, however WALLER, of No. 81221 was built at Buffalo by David Bell in 1887. The Runge List gives her as becoming Canadian in 1903. Perhaps she was relaunched after a rebuilding ??

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Reason: sunk
Lives: nil
Remarks: Repaired
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  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
William R. McNeil
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Waller (Steam yacht), U81221 ?, sunk, 21 May 1903