Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Charles S. Neff Collection
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  • Steamer St. Joseph
        The arched, twin wheel steamer, St. Joseph was built in 1867, Buffalo, N.Y.; 146 x 29; 304 gross tons. The vessel was cut down from a passenger steamer of the Goodrich Transportation Company to a lumber carrier. It was hauled out in 1886 at Manitowoc, Wis. and raised four feet ...
      The arched, twin wheel steamer, St. Joseph was built in 1867, Buffalo, ...
  • Steamer St. Joseph with wreck, City of Toledo
        Scene at Pere Marquette Lake, Ludington, Mich.,1892: The green tug, Sport, the white tug, Lulu M.Ray, and the steamer St. Joseph, engaged in righting the wreck of the City of Toledo, floating bottom up, Capt. Sam Neff in charge. Capt. Neff, who later was granted a government patent on raising ...
      Scene at Pere Marquette Lake, Ludington, Mich.,1892: The green tug, Sport, the ...
  • Tug Sport
        Listed among the old harbor tugs in Lynn's Great Lakes Masters & Engineers Directory, 1912; Inland Lloyds Vessel Register, 1893 as 23 net tonnage; built 1873 in Wyandotte, Mich. -Ludington, Mich. the port of hail. Also in Ship Masters' Assoc. Directory, 1903...
      Listed among the old harbor tugs in Lynn's Great Lakes Masters & ...
  • Sport (Tug)
        ...
      ...
  • Schooner J. H. Stevens
        During the fall of 1887, violent gales raged across Lake Michigan, causing numerous shipwrecks and loss of life. The Str. Mary Groh came upon the 100-foot schooner, J. H. Stevens, of Sheboygan, Wis., her masts gone, her yawl boat smashed, and the captain, who had sent a torch signal of ...
      During the fall of 1887, violent gales raged across Lake Michigan, causing ...
  • Steambarge M. Talcott
        The Talcott was a steam canal boat, 113 x 16, built 1876; 96 gross tons. Drawn by Charles S. Neff from his memories of old steamboating days on the Chicago river, and the Chicago area. The Talcott was a stone carrier and could tow four canal boats between the Lamont ...
      The Talcott was a steam canal boat, 113 x 16, built 1876; ...
  • Steamer St. Joseph
        The burned wreck of the Str. St. Joseph was purchased and raised from the St.Clair river, near Sarnia, Ont. in 1888 by Capt. Sam Neff & Sons, repaired, and used in the lumber trade until 1895 when it was sold to the F .W. Wheeler & Co., Bay City, Mich. ...
      The burned wreck of the Str. St. Joseph was purchased and raised ...
  • Sloop Star of Oshkosh
        The sloop, Star of Oshkosh, about 70 x 18 feet, ran on Lake Winnebago; Wis. and the Wolf river in the 1850s. About 1857, Sam Neff, 15 years old, of Oshkosh, piloted the boat which carried lime, wood, brick, stone, lumber, staves; also carried equipment for the building trade - ...
      The sloop, Star of Oshkosh, about 70 x 18 feet, ran on ...
  • Schooner Charles N. Ryan
        The lake barge, Charles N. Ryan, 160 x 31 x 11, built 1873, Sandusky, Ohio, was purchased by Samuel Neff & Sons in 1896 from Byron Inman, Duluth, for $5,500; 411 gross tons The Ryan in April of 1897 struck the north harbor pier at Ludington, Mich. and sank; no ...
      The lake barge, Charles N. Ryan, 160 x 31 x 11, built ...
  • Schooner John Shaw
        The Shaw was built at Bay City, Mich. in 1885; 928 gross tons: Listed Beers, History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 1, p. 886; Inland Lloyds Vessel Register, 1893. Wreck data (compiled by Harold H. Neff), now in the Milwaukee Public Library, says the barge was lost 13 Nov. 1894, ...
      The Shaw was built at Bay City, Mich. in 1885; 928 gross ...
  • Schooner Harriet Ross
        The Harriet Ross was at one time believed by sailors to have been the American gunboat, Porcupine, which formed part of Perry's fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie, Sept. 10, 1813. However, the Ross was the former Cambridge, a vessel which had been wrecked at Buffalo, lengthened and rebuilt ...
      The Harriet Ross was at one time believed by sailors to have ...
  • Schooner Rube Richards
        The 175-foot Rube Richards was 33 feet wide, and had a gross tonnage of 815; built in Manitowoc, Wis. in 1881. Like many vessels of the era, it existed in two worlds -sail and steam often used together. Listed in Ship Masters' Assoc. Directory, 1903; in Inland Lloyds Vessel Register, ...
      The 175-foot Rube Richards was 33 feet wide, and had a gross ...
  • Tug Thomas H. Smith
        The powerful tug, Thomas H. Smith, built 1881 at Manitowoc, Wis., was lost by collision off Racine Point, Wis. Nov. 10, 1893. It was about 140 feet long, and was owned by L. & S. T. & W. Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Listed Beers, History of the Great Lakes, Vol. ...
      The powerful tug, Thomas H. Smith, built 1881 at Manitowoc, Wis., was ...
  • Schooner South Side
        ...
      ...
  • Steamer Sheboygan
        Side-wheel steamer, Sheboygan; walking beam; built 1869, Manitowoc, Wis. by C.S.Rand; ran about 40 years between Chicago and Milwaukee; 623 gross tons; discarded. Listed Ship Masters' Assoc. Directory, 1903 & 1909; Beers, History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 1, p.886...
      Side-wheel steamer, Sheboygan; walking beam; built 1869, Manitowoc, Wis. by C.S.Rand; ran ...
  • Tug Little Ada, ex Peter Smith
        The Peter Smith was a successful lake tug, and raft tow boat; iron hull; built 1863 Glasgow; Scotland; a reputed former blockade runner. Renamed Little Ada in 1908 and Buxton in 1921. Listed Beers, History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 1, p. 888; Ship Masters' Assoc. Dir., 1903; Inland Lloyds ...
      The Peter Smith was a successful lake tug, and raft tow boat; ...
  • Tug Resolute
        The tug Resolute, 1880; sold by A. Ruelle, Detroit to A. Boller, Green Bay, Wis. for $1,500. 13x 14 engine. The Resolute towed at Green Bay until catching fire at a Green Bay dock about 1886...
      The tug Resolute, 1880; sold by A. Ruelle, Detroit to A. Boller, ...
  • Steamer Dean Richmond
        A wooden-arched, double deck package freight steamer; built 1864, Cleveland, 0.; 238 x 35 x 13.5. Her power came from twin screw steeple compound engines, and two low steam box boilers; burned to water's edge 1871, St. Mary's river. Rebuilt; gr. tonnage, 1432. This steamer operated on many routes and ...
      A wooden-arched, double deck package freight steamer; built 1864, Cleveland, 0.; 238 ...
  • Steamer Queen City
        The Queen City, an old side-wheeler built in 1856, was sold by Neff & Co., Oshkosh, Wis. to Capt. A.Taylor, Escanaba, Mich., in 1857. It ran from Escanaba to Green Bay ports for many years. It was lost by fire near the Ford river. Probably listed in Beers, p.876, Vol. ...
      The Queen City, an old side-wheeler built in 1856, was sold by ...
  • Tug Resolute
        The tug Resolute was a familiar sight in and around Green Bay from 1881 to 1886; lost by fire. Had a 13x14 engine...
      The tug Resolute was a familiar sight in and around Green Bay ...
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Charles S. Neff Collection


Charles S. Neff was born in Oshkosh, WI in April of 1870 and died in Cleveland, OH in 1940. His father Samuel Neff had been involved in shipping on the Fox and Wolf Rivers but moved his business to Milwaukee about 1880 because he did not think he could compete with the railroads. He formed the Neff and Sons Shipping Company with his sons Sidney and Charles. After their father died they tried to keep the partnership going for about a year but then divided the assets and formed separate companies. Charles lived during the time of sail, steam power and diesel power. He collected photographs and other material of historical interest. Some of his collection is in the Maritime collection of the Milwaukee Public Library. He also made drawings using color pencils and whatever paper that was at hand. Some were drawn from memory, others from life. Some of the original drawings were given to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, WI. Color slides were taken of all of the drawings and Marcy Neff-Fisher, his daughter, prepared notes for each slide. Digital copies have been made of the slides and notes. The collection also include the volume Marcy Neff-Fisher had privately published for family and friends about the Neff family's long involvement in shipping.