Steam paddle MILTON D. WAR. U. S. No. 90163. Of 141.10 tons gross; 421,08 tons net. Built Marine City, Mich. 1870. Home port, Detroit, Mich. 182.5 x 28.5 x 7.8 Nominal horsepower, 500
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1891
PROUD SHIP NOW IN THE BONEYARD.
The MILTON D. WARD had a decidedly varied and interesting history -- River rivalry and court fights.
Probably no steamer on the Great Lakes has had a more varied or interesting history than the MILTON D. WARD, once one of the finest steamers plying the waters of Detroit River, now occupying a berth in the bone-yard at the western end of Detroit.
Her history has been one of strife, and there was never more than a year or two when she was not either the subject of a lawsuit or the main factor in a fight for supremacy of the trade on the river between Detroit and Port Huron.
Although she has passed out of existence, so far as her usefulness is concerned, she still figures in a lawsuit and the old broken up and charred hull, as shown in the accompanying illustration,[*] will continue for some time to come in the legal battle between the city and her former owners.
The MILTON D. WARD was built by Chester at Marine City in 1870 for the River & Lake Shore Line, of which Capt. Sol Gardner was president. Her machinery came out of the old CANADIAN. When she first came out she was not the sharp bowed vessel, as those who saw her in prime remember her. She was built bluff forward, and her designer, Capt. Blodgett, built her up with the idea that be being full at the bow she would offer less resistance to the water than a sharp boat, riding on the top of the water than cutting through it.
Her first master was Capt. Lathrop of Trenton. The WARD was the central figure in the fights between the Star Line, the Red Star Line and the Star-Grummond Line, running at times with the Star Line and at others independently, as the various owners had their business quarrels and split and went into opposition lines. The old EVENING STAR, the DOVE, the old NORTHWEST, later the IDLEWILD, all figured in the history of the MILTON D. WARD.
She became the property of Capt. John Pridgeon, who sold her to the Star Line, of which Montgomery was manager, for $49,000 and Montgomery rebuilt her, made her sharper at the bow and lengthened her 25 feet. The EVENING STAR and WARD were in the Star Line and ran twice a week to Port Austin.
David Carter and others finally accured the Star Line, bought the SAGINAW, and with her and the WARD formed the White Star Line and ran opposition to the EVENING STAR and the IDLEWILD. When George McMillan became president of the White Star Line the WARD was sold to Steve Grummond, and in 1886-7 ran opposition to the Star Line. Next year James McMillan and others bought the NORTHWEST, converted her into a river boat and formed the Red Star Line. The Red Star Line finally became owners of the EVENING STAR and IDLEWILD and previous to the coming out of the GREYHOUND, Grummond made a deal to run the WARD with the Star Line. At this time George King sailed the WARD for Grummond, and then began the cut in rates and the WARD was laid up for a season.
When the smallpox and cholera epidemic broke out the city chartered the WARD for a hospital, and while she was thus being used she burned, both the city and Grummond denying ownership, and a lawsuit, which is now in the higher courts resulted. her hull as she lies in the boneyard was recently sold for $150.
Detroit Free Press
Monday, March 10, 1902
NOTE: Built by David Lester at Marine City in 1870. The hull eventually filled in where she sat at the foot of 24th. Street, Detroit. [*] an illustration of the MILTON D. WARD in her dilapidated condition was shown in the above article
Article courtesy of Dan Lindsay