The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Marine Diasters for 1898
Door County Advocate (Sturgeon Bay, WI), 31 Dec 1898, p. 1, column 1-3

Full Text
Marine Disasters for 1898.

The following is a report of the wrecks and casualties occasioned by storms, fogs, fire and snow on Lake Michigan from the opening to the close of navigation for 1893 also a list of those lost by drowning.

In each account a brief but detailed description is given of the cause of the wreck or casualty, the date, weather conditions, loss of life, those rescued and the difficulties attaining same, loss on vessel and cargo, size and value of craft. The contents of this work is of prime importance and the information therein contained is absolutely accurate and reliable:

A total of 27 vessels, both steam and sail, passed out of existence during this period, the gross tonnage of which foots up 13,988 with a valuation of $511,500. Of this number 9 were steamers with a tonnage of 9,175 and a valuation of $407,000; 3 tugs with a tonnage of 67 and a valuation of $9,000, and 15 schooners with a tonnage of 4,746 and a valuation of $95,500. The estimated loss on cargo will reach nearly $500,000.

In drowning fatalities Lake Michigan reached out for 30 seamen. The first accident for the year occurred on the steamer Atlanta, when the watchman fell overboard on Feb. 25 off Clay Banks, south of the Sturgeon Bay ship canal. About June 1st the little schooner Lena Hall lost a man overboard off Muskegon. The schooners Pride and Norman each lost a man when these vessels capsized in Egg Harbor Aug. 22. On Oct. 1 a sailor, lost his life in going to the schooner Elva at Jacksonport from the mainland. Oct. 6th the schooner J. B. Taylor lost her captain overboard when in the middle of Green Bay. Oct. 14 the schooner Churchill carried down two when she foundered and on the 26th the steamer L. R. Doty carried down 18 with her. Nov. 9 three men comprising the crew of the little schooner S. Thal were lost with the vessel at that time. The last man drowned thus far reported was one of the assistant lightkeepers of Pilot Island light station, who capsized in his boat while going to tbe mainland.

By far tbe greatest marine disaster of the season was the loss of the steamer Doty, and in the same storm the schooner Thal was lost and her entire crew, which was the next worst on record.

Jan, 26.—The steamer City of Duluth, 1,810 tons, 202 ft. length, was totally wrecked at St. Joseph, while attempting to make the harbor in a heavy sea. She struck a bar that had formed aoross the mouth of tbe harbor and remained fast pounding to pieces soon afterward. The crew and passengers were rescued by a voluntary life-saving crew with great difficulty. Loss on vessel and cargo $37,000

Apr. 6.—The schooner Northwest 1,018 tons, 233.3 ft. length, laden with corn was sunk by the ice in the Straits of Mackinac. Loss on vessel and cargo $48,600.

Apr. 19.—The small schooner Mishicott, en route from South Haven to Manistee came near foundering. Life-savers kept her|afloat by pumping and brought her into Manistee.

Apr. 21.—The. steamer Tampa, 1,972 tons, 291.6 ft., went ashore at Sleeping Bear Pt. in thick weather was released by the steamers Susie Chipman and Pine Lake after lightering part of her wheat cargo. She was bound to Chicago from Duluth and was uninjured notwithstanding that she went out 18 inches for'ard.

Apr. 21.—The schooner A. Cobb, 945 tons, 201.5 ft. lost all of her canvas near Crow Village in a gale, but succeeded in riding the blow out at an anchorage. She was towed to Milwaukee, which port she had a coal cargo for delivery.

May 1.—The steamer Albert Soper, 349 tons, 143.5 ft. length, went on the rooky reef off Stoney Creek in a fog. She was in light trim bound to Menominee. She was pulled off by tugs and uninjured.

May 24.—Steamer Rand was disabled by the breaking of her propeller shaft when 15 miles from Manistee. The tng Bames went to her assistance.

May 24.—The iron steamer Boston of the Western Transit line, 1,880 tons, 263 ft., found the bottom at the head of S. Manltou Island in a heavy fog. She was loaded with general merchandise from Chicago to Buffalo and went out 2 ft. forward. After unloading 125 tons of general merchandise the tugs Irma and Barnes floated her. She was uninjured.

May 31.—Tug Agnes Arnold was totally destroyed by fire at Chambers island. Value of craft $3,500 insurance $2,500.

June 5.—The tug O. M. Field ran ashore on Good Harbor reef during fog. She was released by the tug Ryan. Her wheel and shaft, were broken on the rocks.

June 7.—The steamer Escanaba ore laden from Escanaba to South Chicago went ashore four miles north of Twin River Pt. during a fog. A part of her cargo was jettisoned and she released herself uninjured.

June 10.—The barge O. J. Hale, 328 tons, 138.3 ft. length, with lumber from Oscoda for Kenosha, went on Racine reef early in the morning during foggy weather and filled with water. The schooner M. Capron lightered her deckload and the Chicago tug Dickinson placed a steampump on her and after lowering the water pulled her off and towed her into Kenosha. Her bottom was badly damaged.

June 11.—The steamer Emma B. Thompson during a fog went on Fisherman shoal, near Charlevoix. She was light and went out 2 feet for'ard. The tug Taylor from Charlevoix released her and towed her to that port. The only damage was a broken shoe.

June 14.—The schooner John C. Bauer with a wood cargo for Milwaukee fluked herself at Jacksonport and filled with water and sank in shallow water. Her cargo was transferred to another vessel. A steampump relieved the leakage and she was towed to this port and docked. During the latter part of June the large steamer Minneapolis bound to Chicago from Gladstone and drawing 17 ft. 4 in., passed over a shoal about 3. miles south of the lightship on Eleven- foot shoal, Green Bay. It was a calm and clear afternoon when she passed over the shoal, which caused a general shake-up, but did not stop the vessel. Upon being dry docked it was necessary to remove eight of her steel plates on the bottom. The shoal is uncharted and must be a small one as the plates were dented in a straight line with no other damage. The new Green Bay chart shows at least 82 ft. of water in that vicinity.

July 28.—The small schooner S. B. Paige, dragged her anchor in a storm and went ashore on Green Island, Green Bay. She pounded, heavily springing a leak and finally sank in shallow water. She was raised and released. She was loaded with gravel at the time of the mishap, which had been pickled up on the shore of the island.

During the squall of July 19th the schooner Elida with a slab cargo for Milwaukee, sprang a leak off Kewaunee and put back and went into Baileys Harbor in a waterlogged condition. The life-savers assisted in keeping her afloat, and she was finally towed to Milwaukee. The scow Mary Dunn was completely, dismasted off Chambers Island that afternoon, and after drifting about helplessly for some time was picked up by the small, schooner Georgy and towed as far as Whaleback shoal, where she was anchored, the Georgy taking off her crew during the night. At Chicago the schooner Barbarian lost her mizzen-mast, the Mosher her jib-boom and mizzen boom and the Howland her jib-boom and head gear. At Menominee the schooner Jennie Weaver had her canvas torn into ribbons. At Sturgeon Bay the scow Badger had her jib-boom carried out of her and her foremast unstepped from being run into by schooner Ottawa. The Ottawa, Chas. E. Wyman and Ebenezer were lying at a dock three abreast, the Ebenezer first and then the Ottawa and Wyman. At the height of the gale the Ottawa and Wyman surged ahead breaking their mooring lines - and drove down upon the Badger and in passing the Ottawa fouled her with the above result. The scow George was also dismantled that day near Chambers Island while lying at anchor. Before the storm the crew of three deserted, to the Mary Dunn.

Aug. 3—The sohooner Bertie Calkins was partly dismasted in a gale off Milwaukee. She lost her mizzen topmast and some canvas. During the same storm the scow Dan Hayes with lumber for Milwaukee from Manistee capsized off Milwaukee North point. The deckload was washed away and foremast, mainmast and mizzentopmast dislodged. The damage including lost of cargo amounted to $1000.

Aug. 15.—The schooner Butcher Boy, 360 gross tons burden and 147 ft. length, was struck by a squall when 14 miles N. of Kenosha, and before her canvas could be taken in the fore and mizzen masts went by the board; estimated damage $2000. She was picked up and towed into Milwaukee by the I. O. T. line steamer Merrimac. The Butcher Boy was loaded with bulk salt from Ludington to South Chicago. She is owned by the Neffs of Milwaukee.

Aug. 16.—The sidewheel steel steamer City of Chicago, of the Graham & Morton line, 1,164 gross tons burden and 226 ft. length, was struck by a heavy SW gale in the early morning, and parted her wheel chains. She fell off into the trough of the heavy seas and remained there for half an hour while the stern tiller was being rigged. She made port three hours late. She was bound to Chicago from St Joseph. She was laden with passengers and freight. The wind attained a velocity of 72 miles an hour on that day.

Aug. 22—The schooner Pride, 70 tons burden, 71 ft. length, was capsized in a terrific squall while lying at anchor in Egg Harbor. Crew consisted of two men, father and son, the latter of which was drowned, being below in the cabin, whin she went over. This is one of the most phenomenal disasters on record. The wind had been variable before the storm broke and worked completely aronnd the compass. She had out about 45 fathoms of cable and was heading about NW when the wind piped out ofthe NE and blew a hurricane. The vessel did not wind at her anchor quick enough and she rolled over on her beam ends and finally bottom side up with the ends of the topmasts sticking in the mud. The Pride was recovered in a damaged condition, and is now lying at this port awaiting to be sold under the hammer.

On the same day and about the same time the small sohooner Norman, also lying in Egg Harbor at an anchorage was capsized and one life lost. The Norman proved a total loss.

Aug. 22.—The steamer Geo. T. Hope, 1559 gross tons burden and 263 ft. length, with the schooner J. C. Fitzpatrlck, 1271 tons burden, 242 ft. length, and Camden, 694 tons and 190 ft. length, in tow, stranded on St. Helena shoal during smoky weather. All were released. The tow was downbound from Escanaba with ore cargoes. The Hope was released after jettisoning 590 tons of ore; estimated damage to the Hope $5,000; Fltzpatrick $1500; Camden, none.

Aug. 25.—Schooner Condor, 31 tons burden and 58 ft. length, became waterlogged during heavy sea and was towed into Muskegon harbor in a sinking condition.

Aug. 25.—The steamer Chas. Reitz, 246 tons, 127 ft. length, with the barges John Mark and Agnes L. Potter, 299 tons, 142 ft, length and 279 tons and 184 ft. length respectively, in tow, burst a steam pipe and was beached in a heavy sea off the mouth of Muskegon harbor; the vessels were released with nominal damages.

Aug 28.—The sohooner F. Fitch 13 tons 41.6 ft: length, was run into and capsized by a lumber- laden steamer. The crew consisting of two men who were rescued by the Pt. Betsey lifesavers. The two men succeeded in saving themselves by getting on the bottom of the upturned craft. The vessel beached herself near Frankfort and was afterward released and repaired. She was laden with fruit from Frankfort for this port.

Aug. 29.—The steamer Superior, 964 tons and 188 ft. length, with the barge Sandusky in tow, both ore laden from Escanaba, encountered heavy weather after getting out of Poverty Island passage into Lake Michigan the steamer springing a bad leak. Tbe Sandusky was cast adrift to shift for herself and the steamer finally beached and sunk in shallow water near Gull Island. The crew took to the lifeboats and succeeded in reaching Beaver Island in safety. She became a total loss. Estimated value of steamer $25,000, cargo, $3,000, total $28,000. The Sandusky reached Mackinaw badly shaken up in the gale. Tbe Superior was owned by M. A. Bradley, of Cleveland.

Sept. 8.-Tbe schooner Richard Winslow, 885 tons, 16.6 ft length. In tow of the steamer Inter-Ocean, both bound down with ore cargoes from Escanaba, became unmanageable in a heavy SW gale, sprang aleak and foundered near White Shoals. The crew were rescued with great difficulty by the towing steamer. Estimated value of vessel $14,000, cargo $3,200 total $17,200 total loss. The discoloration of the water from the iron ore in her hold, extended down as far as the lightship, a distance of two miles.

Sept. 10.—The schooner Senator, 332 tons, 138.8 ft. length with a coal cargo for Harbor Springs, ran upon Skilligalee reef during a dense fog and NW Wind. The tug Salver in attempting to release her also stranded and afterwards capsized. Both crews were rescued with great danger. Tbe Senator was released by the tug Protector estimated damage to vessel $2,000. The Salver was likewise released with nominal damage.

Sept. 10.—The iron sidewheel steamer Queen of the Lakes 158 tons, 108 ft. length, while lying at anchor in the harbor at South Manitou Island caught fire and burned to the iron hull, nothing remaining but the hull, boiler and engine which floated The crew reached shore in the yawl.

Sept. 11.—The steamer D. W. Rust, 884 tons and 202 ft. length, and consort barge Ed. Kelly, 776 tons, 187 ft. length, with ore cargoes from Escanaba for below stranded on Eleven-foot shoal, Green Bay. Parts of the cargoes had to ba lightered before they could be released by the tug Monarch.

Sept 11.—The steamer Chas. A. Eddy, 2,076 tons, 281 ft. length, bonnd to Chicago with iron ore, stranded on Mackinac island. She ran out 6 1/2 ft. for'ard and leaked badly. Part of her cargo was lightered to float her.

Sept. 11.—The steamer Escanaba, 1,161 tons, 201 ft length, enoountered a heavy gale on leaving Chicago, and in turning back for shelter lost her rudder and wheel. She was rescued by the harbor tugs and towed into the Chicago river. The Escanaba was laden with steel scraps. She had a very narrow esoape of foundering while in the trough of the seas the oakum was pounded out of her seams for'ard and about the fantail. It was necessary to place a steam-pump on board to keep her afloat, and she had to be recalled all over.

Steamer Lewis Pahlow, 366 tons 155 4 ft. length, with consort barges Delta and D. L Filer. 269 tons 134 ft length and 357 tons, 156 6 ft length, ran on a reef between Plum and Detroit islands. The outfit was lumber-laden from Thompson to Chicago. After leaving Thompson the Delta lost part of her deckload and became waterlogged. It becoming necessary to drop the Filer and take the Delta alongside. The Delta was anchored under Plum Island, and tbe Pahlow in going back to look for the Filer ran upon the reef as stated above. She was lightered of part of her cargo before she could be floated. Tbe lumber was reloaded. The Plum island life saver assisted In the work.

Sept. 12.—The steamer Lewiston, 1339 tons, 280 ft. length, stranded on Scott's point, foot of Lake Michigan during NW storm and smoky weather. She released herself. The Lewiston was bound to Buffalo with grain from Manitowoc. She is of composite build and valued at $160,000.

The steamer Keystone, 723 tons, 164 ft. length, stranded on Big Summer island in a heavy NW gale, and burned to the water's edge, becoming a total loss; the crew saved themselves estimated loss on vessel $17,000, cargo of coal- $3,000 the weather was very smoky. She was bound to Manltowoc from a Lake Erie port.

Sept, 22.—The tug Ira O. Smith burned off Evanston. Loss 8,000.

Sept. 28.—The schooner La Petite, 172 tons, 119 ft. length, with wood from Ellison Bay for Milwaukee missed stays while coming out of the bay and went on the rocks just south of Ellison Bay. She filled with water having three holes in her bottom, but was afterward released and re­ paired, estimated damage $500.

Sept, 26.—The schooner Sophia J. Luff, 278 tons, 140 ft, became waterlogged off Cana island during heavy weather. Part of her deckload of ties were thrown overboard to prevent her from capsizing. The Baileys Harbor life saving crew, assisted in getting the vessel into North Bay, where she was pumped out. The Luff was afterwards towed to Chicago.

Sept. 27.-The steamer Wyoming, 1,952 tons, 241 ft. stranded on Peshtigo reef during dense Smoke; released; estimated damage $500.

Sept. 29.—-The schooner Active, 21 tons, 46.4 ft. stranded on Ford River reef in thick weather and was abandoned as a total loss. She was loaded with hay from Ephraim for Ford River. The hull is intact and is high and dry out of the water. A tug failed to pull her off. The crew escaped without danger; estimated loss $350, vessel and cargo.

Oct 4.—The steamer Niko 1040 tons, 189 ft., With coal for South Chicago sprang aleak off Kewaunee and went into Manitowoc to prevent sinking. Sne had the four sticker Tasmania in tow, which she cast adrift. The Niko had 4 ft. of water in her hold when she reaohed port.

Oct 4.—The steamer Pewaukee, 310 tons, 185 5 114.7 ft. length, with lumber for Chicago became ft., length with a lumber cargo for Chicago, was towed into the Chicago river in a waterlogged condition and afterwards sank in the Lighthouse slip. Recovered.

Oct. 10.—The tow barge Exile, 387 tons, 152 5 ft length. In tow of the steamer A. A. Turner, which also had tbe barges Wm. Croswaithe and Oneonta in tow, was dismasted in a southerly blow off Twin River Pt., estimated damage $1000. The tow was ooal laden for Racine.

Oct. 10 — Schooner Thos. H. Howland, 299 tons, 138 8 ft. length, with lime stone from Saransor, Ont., reached Death's Door with her fore sail tore in ribbons. The life-savers went to her assistance and assisted in bending the mainsail to the foremast and seeing her a safe departure. Tbe Howland soon afterward was towed into Manitowoc in a waterlogged condition. The Two Rivers life savers had a hard fight at the pumps to keep the vessel afloat until she reached the harbor.

Oct. 12.—The schooner L. B. Shepard, 215 tons, 114.7 ft. length, with lumber for Chicago became waterlogged off Twin River Pt. in a NE gale and capsized and finally drifted ashore at Manitowoc a total wreck. Crew of seven escaped in the vessel's yawl and very narrowly at that. Damage to vessel $1200, cargo $2000.

The schooner C. Gorden, 45 tons, 67 ft. length, fluked herself while leaving an anchorage in Detroit harbor and she filled and sank. The llfesavers assisted in pumping her out, unloading, loading, and also in hauling her out to stop the leak.

[Continued next week.]

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Date of Publication:
31 Dec 1898
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  • Wisconsin, United States
    Latitude: 44.83416 Longitude: -87.37704
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Marine Diasters for 1898