The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ship Sinks With 23 in Storm
Cleveland Leader (Cleveland, OH), 11 Nov 1913, p. 1

Full Text
Ship Sinks With 23 in Storm
1 Ship Lost, Many More Run Ashore

Great Lakes Swept by Terrific Gale; Loss of Life Certain; Steel Vessel Found Bottom Up in Lake Huron; Owners Worried.
Lake Disasters of Storm

UNIDENTIFIED VESSEL, sunk in Lake Huron.

THE D. O. MILLS, Pickands, Mather & Co., owners, James Jackson, captain, ashore at Harbor Beach, fifty or sixty miles north of Port Huron, on the Michigan side.

THE FULTON, Pittsburg Steamship Company, owners, ashore at Bar Point at entrance to Lake Erie.

THE HAWGOOD, Acme Transit Company, owners, W. A. and H. A. Hawgood, managers, A. C. May, Port Huron, captain, wrecked near Point Edward at Sarnia, Ont.

THE W. G. POLLOCK, Valley Steamship Company, owners, aground at entrance to St. Clair Flats canal.

LIGHTSHIP, driven ashore, Lake Huron


By George V. Callahan,
Marine Editor of the Leader

At least one steel steamer was lost and a number of others stranded during the terrible gale that swept the lakes Sunday and Monday. That there was some loss of life is quite certain, as no word has been received from the members of the crew of an unknown vessel that was lost at the lower end of Lake Huron.

Captain Reid of Sarnia last night reported to President Livingstone of the Lake Carriers' Association that the wrecking tug Sarnia City -- which just returned from Lake Huron, found, about eight miles north by east from the lightship a large steel steamer that had turned turtle and was bottom side up. About 100 feet of the bottom of the forward end of the steamer was above water about 18 feet.

A dispatch late last night said that the steamer that turned turtle at the foot of Lake Huron was a big vessel. Her hull was painted black. She is reported to have carried a crew of 23.

The lightship was driven ashore in the storm and as the sunken vessel is right in the course of boats passing up and down President Livingstone instructed Wrecker Reid to station a tug alongside the wreck at once and notify passing steamers.

President Livingston also instructed Wrecker Reid to make every effort to learn the name of the lost vessel and report to him at once. Captain J. F. Jones, who passed up yesterday afternoon, also reported sighting the wrecked steamer.

Captain Jones, in his wireless dispatch, said the steamer was about eleven miles north, northeast of Ft. Gratiot and seven miles from the west shore.

She was probably upbound without cargo.

[p. 2] Five Cleveland steamers were reported aground in Lake Huron, in the rivers and on Lake Erie. The big steamer D. O. Mills is ashore at Harbor Beach and the wrecker Favorite was ordered to her assistance last night. The Mills is upbound light, but the wireless dispatch did not say anything regarding her condition. The big freighter is in an exposed position and will probably be pretty badly damaged. The wrecker Favorite will reach her some time today. The Mills is owned by the Interlake Steamship Company, of which Pickands, Mather & Co. are managers.

The steamer H. B. Hawgood, upbound, without cargo, is ashore at Weis Beach, on the Canadian shore about four miles above the mouth of the St. Clair River. She is high and dry but no lives were lost. Wreckers will be sent to her today. The Hawgood is in command of A. C. May of Port Huron. She is owned by the Acme Transit Company, or this city and W. A. & A. H. Hawgood are managers.

The steamer Victory is aground at the head of Livingstone channel in the lower Detroit River. She is in about the same condition the steamer Pathfinder was when she stranded at that point early in the season.

The bottom is rocky and, the Victory will be damaged. She will have to lighter part of her ore cargo. The Victory is operated by the Interstate Steamship Company.

The steamer W. G. Pollock is aground at the entrance to the St. Clair Flats canal.

The wireless dispatch did not say anything regarding her condition. W. H. Becker is manager of the Pollock and she is owned by the Interstate Steamship Company.

Many Boats Overdue.

The steamer Robert Fulton, of the Pittsburg Steamship Company, bound down with ore, is on the bottom at Bar Point. The stranding was due to low water and the Fulton will be floated as soon as the wind shifts and the water comes up. She will not be damaged much if any. There are a large number of freighters long overdue and it is feared that more accidents have occurred.

Aside from the wireless dispatches no reports on vessels were received by Cleveland managers yesterday and boats that are late at both ends of the route have not been heard from for several days. The delay in reporting, however, in many cases was due to the telegraph and telephone companies being out of business. No word was received from the steamer Mary C. Elphicke yesterday. She was aground at Bar Point Saturday but the high northwest wind would keep the water down at the point and she is stalled.

Seeks Word of Many.

Many of the freighters that were due at Lake Erie ports Sunday and Monday were not heard from yesterday. The steamer John P. Reiss with ore from Escanaba which was due at 6 o'clock Sunday night did not get in until late yesterday afternoon. The steamer Cuyler Adams also due Sunday with ore did not get in until last evening. The blinding snow storm made navigation very difficult and dangerous and masters would not try to make ports on the south shore. It is expected that many of the vessels that are late will be reported today.

Vessels were held in port all around and the passenger steamers for Buffalo and Detroit did not sail Sunday night. The steamer City of Detroit did not leave Detroit until 3 o'clock Monday morning on account of the storm. She reached Cleveland at 11:30.

Five of the barges of the Pittsburg Steamship Company that were laid up under the east breakwater broke adrift during the storm. The Sidney G. Thomas went aground at the foot of E. 40th street and the Alexander Holley is resting against the Lake Shore Saw Mill and Lumber Company's dock. The Martha is close to the beach and the anchors of the other line barges held before they reached the beach.

The tugs J. M. Truby and Frank W. went out to the barges but the sea was too heavy to work on them. The barges are not much damaged and they can be released without much trouble with good weather.

Storm Is General.

The storm was general and boats lost as much time on Lake Superior and Lake Huron as they did at this end of the route. at the Soo last night a northeast gale was reported and the wind was blowing at the rate of fifty miles an hour from the north at Mackinaw.

Regarding the storm on Lake Superior a dispatch from the Soo, dated November 9, said:

"Perhaps not for years have so many vessels lost their anchors in the heavy storm which swept Lake Superior. The Berry returned to the Soo tonight for both anchors.

"The Farrell lost her anchors in the teeth of the gale and was steaming ahead to ease them. Five other steamers lost one anchor.

"Captain Neil Campbell, of the Sarnia, says the storm which he encountered was the fiercest he ever went through in twenty-five years sailing.

"We left Port Arthur Tuesday might. My barometer was falling but the wind had not sprung up yet. When I got around Thunder Bay cap it began to blow from the southwest.

"I saw my boat could not make it with the wind from that direction so I went back behind the cape. Five times I made the effort to get out. It was not until Wednesday night that I got started. Thursday brought me as far as Jackfish and I laid under the bluffs there until Friday night. I saw the lights of Mission Point Saturday night. I was forced to find an anchorage behind Michipicolten [sic: Michipicoten] Island, which I left this morning. It was blowing hard with snow from the northeast; as I came down I could see two or three boats trying to make their way up, but I think they put back. A big fleet hugged the south shore of Whitefish Bay as I came by."

Down bound steamers are lying up at the docks tonight. Considerable difficulty is being experienced in locking today on account of the low water caused by the high wind.

Coated with ice, the steamer Saranian [sic], which left Port Arthur Tuesday last, and has been now four days overdue, was reported at the head of the American Canal at 7 p.m. tonight.

The storm will cause a big loss to shipping and business will be set back nearly a week. Some of the freighters will lose nearly that much time and after the freighters get moving there will be a shortage of cars. The docks at most of the Lake Erie ports were idle yesterday. The railroads will be in bad shape and many of the cars will be held up on account of the scarcity of boats at the docks.

All the freighters will lose time and some of them may not be able to handle all the business that has been lined up for them. The indications are that there will be a good finish unless ore shipments are cut down by the cold weather.

The steamer W. P. Snyder, Jr., passed Detour at 9:15 Monday morning, and the captain reported that all the boats that were storm bound at that point were moving. The wind was strong from the northwest and clear. The steamer Castalia arrived at Green Bay Sunday twenty-four hours late.

Conditions along the lake were the worst in the history of Cleveland. Embattled by the giants waves, the steamers J. P. Reiss and Cuyler Adams fought their way into the harbor late yesterday and were docked only after a long struggle. The J. P. Reiss carried a cargo of ore from Escanaba and had the greatest difficulty in landing.

"We fought with the waves for more than twenty hours," said Captain James Doner, "and every minute through our time had comes. For one-half of the journey our propeller was out of the water and we had to keep reversing the engines. Just outside the breakwater the danger was greatest.

"The waves dashed over our deck and strict orders were given that no one should go above board. We expected every minute to be dashed against the rocks and lose our lives. It is the worst storm I have ever experienced and I have been on the Great Lakes for twenty-five years."

The Cuyler Adams is from Duluth, carrying a cargo of ore and had equally as difficult a time in landing as did the J. P. Reiss. It was only after two tugs had come to her rescue that the vessel was able to come within the breakwater and dock at the upper river piers.

Great anxiety is felt among local ship owners for the City of Hamilton [sic: City of Detroit II], due in Cleveland Sunday morning at 10 o'clock from Detroit. Nothing has been heard from the vessel, which is equipped with wireless and carried more than 100 passengers.

More than 1,000 feet of the breakwater behind the Union depot was washed away by the gigantic waves at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon. The waters rushed to the docks and land in the vicinity and several small boats were wrecked. Portions of the breakwater it is feared will give way and leave the harbor unprotected.

"The storm is the worst I have ever seen," said Daniel Henderson, harbormaster. "It has completely tied up traffic on the lakes at this time of the year and that is something I have never seen before to say nothing of the damage. The loss to steamship companies is unestimable. It has simply paralyzed everything."

One of the docks of the Lake Shore Sawmills & Lumber Co. was badly damaged. The Alexander Holley, one of the steel vessels, was thrown completely over the pier and lies with its side up and with only its stern in the water.

Damage estimated at $20,000 was done in the west slip of the E. 9th street pier last night when the D. & C. boat State of Ohio parted her lines at the height of the gale and rode diagonally across the slip, carrying a fleet of anchored motorboats with her and crashing them to kindling wood against the side of the pier.

Gaping holes were torn in the side of the State of Ohio and her stern was crushed. The big vessel sidewiped the breakwater tug Kittie Downs and smashed part of the tug's upper works to splinters. The Vim, queen of Cleveland's pleasure craft, was directly in the path of the big steamer. It was carried along like a match box and swamped at the side of the dock.

The Shenango Steamship Company yesterday afternoon reported two of its boats, the Schoonemaker [sic] and Snyder, lost in the storm but later in the day both vessels were reported safe at the Soo.

The steamer City of Detroit docked at the D. & C. docks early yesterday morning after a perilous voyage. There were twenty-five passengers, among them five Clevelanders, including C. F. Meyers and wife and sister, F. J. Hunt and G. Ginac. Fred J. Simpson, captain of the craft, said it was the worst voyage he had ever taken.

Captain Hansen, of the local life saving station, is certain that many lives have been lost on the lake during the storm. Many small craft, he asserts, have been sunk, and with four other men, he kept watch last night at the life saving station.

The terrific force of the wind and the enormous waves beating on the concrete walls of the station undermined a large section of concrete work. The storm signal tower was put of service early Sunday night. Government lighthouse keepers last night had been working thirty-six hours without relief, but late last night the life saving crew carried relief men to the outer lights and to the fog horn station.

Callahan, George V.
Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Publication:
11 Nov 1913
Personal Name(s):
Reid, Captain ; Livingstone, William ; Jones, J. F. ; May, A. C. ; Hawgood, W. A. ; Hawgood, A. H. ; Becker, W. H. ; Campbell, Neil ; Doner, James ; Henderson, Daniel ; Meyers, C. F. ; Hunt, F. J. ; Ginac, G. ; Simpson, Fred J. ; Hansen, Captain
Corporate Name(s):
Interlake Steamship Company ; Pickands, Mather & Company ; Acme Transit Company ; Interstate Steamship Company ; Pittsburg Steamship Company ; Lake Shore Sawmills & Lumber Company ; Shenango Steamship Company
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ohio, United States
    Latitude: 41.4995 Longitude: -81.69541
Copyright Statement:
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Ship Sinks With 23 in Storm