Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Wave (Steamboat), U26645, burnt, 27 Aug 1874
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The steamer WAVE was destroyed by fire at Charity Island in Saginaw Bay Friday morning. Her loss is $10,000. She is insured for $6,000.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Saturday, August 29, 1874

      . . . . .

      THE WAVE
      Additional Particulars of the Loss of the Steamer Wave
A brief statement of the loss of the steamer Wave on Saginaw Bay, on Friday, was given in our issue of yesterday. In the Bay City Chronicle on yesterday we learn the following additional particulars: "The Wave was chartered by Locem Brothers to go to the Charities after timber. At a point about half a mile to the westward of the Charity light she anchored in about eleven feet of water. The crew, all but the engineer and cook, went ashore to raft the timber. They were all busily engaged in their work when, at about 8 o'clock, the blowing of the Wave's whistle attracted their attention to her. They readily perceived that she was on fire, and without a moment's loss of time got into their yawl and started for her. The fire was spreading rapidly and they made almost superhuman efforts to reach her in time to save the two of their comrades who were aboard. Their anxiety on this score was shortly diminished with regard to the safety of the two. They saw them throw a plank overboard (the only available thing the fire had left them) and jump for it. Resting on the plank they swam to the anchor chain and made fast to it, thinking they could protect themselves from the heat until the yawl came to their relief. The men in the yawl were pulling bravely, doing their best, but were not soon enough. When they had reached a point about 40 rods from the steamer the boiler blew up with a terrible explosion and scattering of water. Horror stricken at the supposed fate of their mates, the boat crew labored on with even greater efforts than before. The steamer sunk immediately after the explosion. The water, as we have stated, was only about eleven feet deep. Her stern sunk out of sight, and only a portion of her paddle boxes was visible. The fire was immediately extinguished. As the crew of the yawl grew nearer they discovered that the engineer and cook were adrift from their hold on the anchor chain, but still retained their plank, were safe, and what is more wonderful, were entirely unhurt, notwithstanding their unpleasant proximity to the explosion.
They then boarded the wreck and discovered that she was indeed a wreck. The boiler was laid wide open and great seams were discovered in her frame. The pilot house was thrown by the explosion to her very stem. The compass-box was partially burned, but the compass itself was unhurt.
Capt. Donahue was around a point of the island, but the report of the explosion brought him around. He took the crew aboard and brought them to Bay City in the short space of five hours.
She was probably worth about $10,000, and was insured for $6,000. The fire originated in the fire hole and spread with amazing rapidity.
      Saginaw Courier
      Sunday, August 30, 1874
The small sidewheeler WAVE (US#26645) out of Bay City was a river steamer of 122 tons, and was probably normally used as a boom tug. This was the end of her. The Charity Islands are in the mouth of Saginaw Bay, centered between Pt. Lookout and Caseville. I used to go out there as a boy, and it was the only place that I have ever seen a live rattlesnake (Massasauga) in the wild in Michigan - there were a LOT of them. --- Dave Swayze note.

      . . . . .

      The steamer WAVE engaged in towing on Saginaw Bay, caught fire on the morning of the 28th. at anchor in 11' of water near Charity Island, and while burning her boiler blew up with a terrible explosion. Only two men, the cook and the engineer, were on board, who threw a plank overboard, and in this manner managed to drift until they were picked up by the boat's yawl which hastened to their relief from shore, where the rest of the crew had been engaged in rafting. The vessel is a total wreck.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Monday, August 31, 1874

      . . . . .

Steamer WAVE, burned at Charity Island, and total loss, August 1874. Loss $10,000.
      Casualty List for 1874
      Chicago Inter-Ocean, Dec. 25, 1874

WAVE propeller. U. S. No. 26645, of 153 Tons, built Newport, Mich., 1864. Home port, Detroit. Burnt at Saginaw Bay, Mich. August 27, 1874, with no loss of life.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S. A.
      Lytle - Holdcamper List, 1790 to 1868

WAVE Steam paddlewheel. U. S. No. 26645, of 122.63 Tons. Home port, Bangor, Mich.
      Merchant Vessel List of the U. S. A. 1871

NOTE: Was the WAVE a steamer or propeller ?

Item Type
Reason: burnt
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $10,000
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original
Local identifier
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 44.0314 Longitude: -83.43552
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Wave (Steamboat), U26645, burnt, 27 Aug 1874