Maritime History of the Great Lakes

Scanner, v. 22, no. 6 (March 1990), p. 10

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Ship of the Month - cont'd. 8. of 1940). The wind hacked quickly into the west and the temperature dropped from the 60s to almost zero Fahrenheit, as blinding snow developed. The storm caused much damage and many fatalities along the upper Mississippi Ri ver, and then proceeded to wreak havoc around the lakes, with Lake Michigan taking the worst of it. Many lake ships were wrecked or damaged in the storm, but the three most se verely affected were the Paterson canaller NOVADOC (II) and the upper lakers ANNA C. MINCH (reference Ship of the Month No. 124, December 1983) and WIL LIAM B. DAVOCK. The latter had been bound for the Iroquois Works at South Chicago with a cargo of 7, 240 net tons of coal. The three steamers found themselves trapped on the lee shore of the lake in the area of Pentwater, Michigan, south of Ludington, and all three met their fate there. The NOVADOC went ashore and broke up at Little Sable Point, and all but two of her crew of nineteen were rescued. The MINCH and the DAVOCK, however, simply disappeared, and it was not until bodies began to come ashore near Pentwater that anyone knew what had happened to the two ships. Subsequently, the wreck of the MINCH was located and it was determined that she had broken in two. As a result, it was for many years assumed that the MINCH and the DAVOCK had collided during the storm and that both had sunk as a result. The collision theory was held for some thirty years, but during May of 1972, divers finally located the hull of WILLIAM B. DAVOCK. It was discovered to be lying bottom-up on the floor of Lake Michigan, in some 250 feet of water, four miles west of Pentwater. An inspection of the remains of the steamer failed to produce any evidence of a collision, and thus that theory finally was discarded. It is, accordingly, now thought that both the DAVOCK and the MINCH, although in close proximity to each other during the storm whether their crews knew it or not, did not collide, but simply were overcome by the storm and foundered, the MINCH having broken in two as she sank. No matter how the end came for the WILLIAM B. DAVOCK, it did so suddenly and it took the lives of her entire 33-person crew. As a result, a total of thir ty-six lives were lost in the violent founderings of WILLIAM B. DAVOCK and JOHN MITCHELL. The two ships truly were hard-luck sisters, and they most cer tainly deserved a better fate than what lay in wait for them. * * * Ed. Note; For their assistance in researching the details of these two most interesting steamers, we wish to extend our sincere thanks to Rev. Peter J. Van der Linden, to Rev. Edward J. Dowling, S. J., and to John O . Greenwood. * * * * * KINCARDINE REVISITED Our readers will recall that our Ship of the Month No. 174, which appeared in the issue of May, 1989, featured the little, wooden-hulled steamer KIN CARDINE, which was built in 1871 at Port Dalhousie by Stebbens Andrews and his son, William Andrews. The article, painstakingly researched by Ronald F. Beaupre, with the assistance of numerous other marine historians, traced the very much checkered career of the propellor up until the time that she stran ded to a total loss on Cabot Head, near the entrance to Wingfield Basin, east of Tobermory, in June of 1892. The wreck subsequently was destroyed by a fire of unexplained origin. Ron Beaupre has now been able to provide some further information concerning KINCARDINE. In fact, it concerns a most unusual incident, and was sent to Ron by fellow T.M. H. S. member Pat Labadie, of Duluth. The press report of the incident was datelined Detroit, Saturday, October 7'th, 1882. "The steam barge KINCARDINE, with a large load of (railroad) ties for Buffa lo, landed at Burton & Reynolds' dock in Windsor for coal (bunkers). Twentysix (also reported as six) tons were put into her starboard bunker and the

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