The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Door County Advocate (Sturgeon Bay, WI), 26 Jul 1906

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Str. John Otis in a New Role. The steambarge John Otis has been converted into a wrecking boat, and she will be stationed at ports at the foot of Lake Michigan, or wherever her services shall be most in request. The Otis, which was built in 1864 at Chicago, was up to about a dozen years ago known as the J. G. Truesdell, and for a number of seasons constituted the line between Chicago and Green Bay of the Goodrich Transit Co. She was in her day one of the best and most speedy boats on Lake Michigan, and withal (unsure?) a great money maker, being engaged in the shingle trade when that business was at its zenith at Green Bay in the latter part of the 60s and early 70s. She had capacity for about 2,000,000 besides all other freight, and as freights were about $6 per 1,000 feet on lumber it was nothing unusual for the craft to pay for herself about every year, besides paying all expenses. Capt. Thos. B. Butlin, the superintendent of the line at that time, told a friend at this port some twenty-five years ago, that the Truesdell was the greatest money-maker that the company had, and she laid the foundation for the prosperity which the line enjoyed in after years, and which it enjoys even to this day. The Truesdell was then in command of the late Capt. John McDonnell, with Capt. John Raleigh as first officer and Jas. H. Gee as purser. The two latter are still living, the first having retired to his comfortable estate at York, Ill., and Mr. Gee is traveling for the Woolson Spice Co. of Toledo O., with his home as Norway, Mich.

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26 Jul 1906
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  • Wisconsin, United States
    Latitude: 44.83416 Longitude: -87.37704
Eric Bonow
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Door County Advocate (Sturgeon Bay, WI), 26 Jul 1906