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The Great Lakes of North America (Include the Lake Name)

Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario and their immediate areas

Great Lakes Shipwrecks - CHECK FOR UPDATES

AuntieJ AuntieJ 424 posts

Excellent websource by Dave Swaze, probably the best expert of Great Lakes shipwrecks.

Dave’s Great Lakes History site

Dave’s Shipwreck Site

JKKimball JKKimball 97 posts

I have visited daves site before, I agree, fantastic stuff.

CraigsMom CraigsMom 5766 posts

That is a great site. The first two shipwrecks listed were ships with Rogers City as their home ports. The Carl D Bradley wreck was devastating to this town. Of the 33 men that died, 23 were from Rogers City….a small town of approx 3300 people. The Bradley sank in 1958, but it still talked about frequently. I highly recommend reading Black November. It is a fascinating account of the wreck.

JKKimball JKKimball 97 posts

What a great book that is Mary Ann!
Thnx for mentioning it!

AuntieJ AuntieJ 424 posts

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum; Whitefish Point, Paradise MI link to website

AuntieJ AuntieJ 424 posts

The Lady Elgin, a wooden-hulled sidewheel steamship sank in Lake Michigan on September 8, 1860, killing 400+ passengers and crew. The paddle steamship had left Milwaukee on September 6 for Chicago loaded with passengers, including members of Milwaukee’s Union Guard, to hear a campaign speech by Presidential candidate Stephen A. Douglas, Abraham Lincoln’s opponent. September 7 was spent listening to political speeches. Captain Jack Wilson, concerned with the weather, left Chicago in order to keep a federal mail schedule. 600-700 passengers danced late into the night to a Milwaukee German brass band. The brightly lit Lady Elgin was steaming through Lake Michigan against gale force winds when she was rammed 7 miles off-shore Winnetka IL by the schooner Augusta, which was sailing without lights and in nearly on its side because its cargo of lumber had shifted. The collision occurred at 2:30 am (Sept. 8), so most of the passengers were sleeping. The Augusta continued on to Chicago, their crew still struggling to gain control of their ship and wrongly thinking that the steamer was unscathed. In reality, a hole had been ripped in Lady Elgin ’s side which the steamer’s crew attempted to plug with mattresses. Captain Jack Wilson ordered the 50-head of cattle and cargo of iron stoves in the hold be dumped overboard in an attempt to raise the hole above water level. 20 minutes later, the Lady Elgin broke apart and quickly sunk. A thunderstorm added to the drams with lightning flashes providing brief glimpses of the Lake littered with debris and clinging survivors.

The light of dawn showed 350-500 survivors. Two boats with 18 passengers reached shore. Fourteen people were saved on a large raft chopped from the deck by Milwaukee. Many others clung to parts of the wreckage. The drummer of the German band, Charles Beverung, saved himself by hanging on to his bass drum. Another passenger passenger climbed into a steamer trunk and still another rode the carcass of a dead cow. Students from Northwestern University and Garrett Biblical Institute watched the shore, looking for survivors and pulling them to safety. NWU student, Edward Spencer rescued 18 passengers over the course of six hours. He sustained injuries during his rescue efforts that caused him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

However, the heavy seas had generated a massive surf with a powerful undertow just off shore, crashing most survivors into the rocks and then pulling them under. As many as 400 many have reached the shallows, but only 160 in all were saved. Captain Wilson was dashed on the rocks and killed trying to save two women from the surf; his body came ashore 60 miles away at Michigan City, IN three days later. Herbert Ingraham, a member of the British Parliament was one of the lost. Bodies continued to wash up all around Lake Michigan well into December and found as much as 80 miles from the wrecksite. Because no official passenger list survived the tragedy, the exact number of passengers and victims will never be known. Of the 430 or so confirmed lost, less than half were ever found. Most of the lost were from Milwaukee’s German Jaeger Clubs and Third Ward Irish communities, including nearly all of Milwaukee’s Irish Union Guard. It is said that more than 1000 Milwaukee children were orphaned by the tragedy. The Lady Elgin disaster remains the greatest loss of life on open water in the history of the Great Lakes.

The wreck of the Lady Elgin was discovered in 1989 off Highwood, Illinois by Harry Zych, who was awarded ownership in 1999 after a lengthy legal battle with the State of Illinois. The wreck consists of four main debris fields that have been pillaged and stripped of artifacts through the years. Divers must obtain permission from Harry Zych and the Lady Elgin Foundation, and are expected to observe the preservation laws governing historic sites. The wreck site has been cataloged by the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago. The Lady Elgin shipwreck was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. The beach between the five mile stretch from Winnetka to Evanston, Illinois where the debris came ashore can be visited.

Note: this was not the Lady Elgin’s first accident. She had previously sunk near Manitowoc, WI and was repaired just six years earlier. She struck a reef at Copper Harbor, MI and again at Au Sable Point in 1858. She also suffered a fire and 3 separate incidents of damage which required towing to port.

website link with more detailed info, including list of known survivors and victims and tragic history of the Augusta.

AuntieJ AuntieJ 424 posts

Wisconsin Great lakes Shipwrecks – joint venture of the University of Wisconsin Sea grant and Wisconsin Historical Society. A very cool exploration website! link to website

AuntieJ AuntieJ 424 posts

NOVEMBER 10; 7:25 PM EST please take a moment to remember

Today, is the 35th anniversary of the sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald. The great ship, a steel bulk cargo freighter and the largest on the Great Lakes at the time, left port at Superior, Wisconsin, mid-afternoon on November 9, 1975 for Detroit, Michigan with a 26+ ton load of taconite pellets (iron ore). A gale quickly kicked up, as typical during November, known on Lake Superior as “The Month of Storms”. The ship reported waves of 10 feet/3+ meters high at 1:00 and 7:00 AM, November 10. Afternoon radio transmissions reported top side damage and listing; a half hour later, the ship lost radar and was taking heavy seas over the deck. Waves were reported to be 30 feet/9+ meters. The Fitzgerald radioed another ship nearby, the Anderson, at 7:10 PM. The ship entered a squall and disappeared from the Anderson’s radar at 7:25 PM, near the northern tip of Whitefish Point, Michigan. 29 men, aged 21-63 are lost at sea in one of the fiercest storms ever on Lake Superior.

All around the Lake Superior region, bells will be rung today 30 times – once for each of the 29 crew members who died on the Fitzgerald, and once for all of the rest of the victims of shipwrecks on the Great Lakes.
Let us not forget these souls lost at sea, November 10, 1975:
Michael Armagost; Iron River, Wisconsin
Frederick Beetcher; Superior, Wisconsin
Thomas Bentsen; St. Joseph, Michigan
Edward Bindon; Fairport Harbor, Ohio
Thomas Borgeson; Duluth, Minnesota
Oliver Champeau; Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Nolan Church; Silver Bay, Minnesota
Ransom Cundy; Superior, Wisconsin
Thomas Edwards; Oregon, Ohio
Russell Haskell; Millbury, Ohio
George Holl; Cabot, Pennsylvania
Bruce Hudson; North Olmsted, Ohio
Allen Kalmon; Washburn, Wisconsin
Gortdon MacLellan; Clearwater, Florida
Joseph Mazes; Ashland, Wisconsin
John McCarthy; Bay Willage, Ohio
Ernest McSorley; Toledo, Ohio
Eugene O’Brien; Toledo, Ohio
Karl Peckol; Ashtabula, Ohio
John Poviach; Bradenton, Florida
James Pratt; Lakewood, Ohio
Robert Rafferty; Toledo, Ohio
Paul Riippa; Ashtabula, Ohio
John Simmons; Ashland, Wisconsin
William Spengler; Toledo, Ohio
Mark Thomas; Richmond Heights, Ohio
Ralph Walton; Fremont, Ohio
David Weiss; Agoura, California
Blaine Wilhelm; Moquah, Wisconsin

The S.S. Edmund Fitrzgerald is immortalized in the song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, released by Gordon Lightfoot in 1976. The ship was found in May 1976, broken in two sections in 530 feet/161.5 meters of water.. The bell was raised in 1995, restored and replaced on the ship by a new bell with the names of the 29 men aboard who lost their lives. This is the last time that the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald will ever again be legally dived upon.


Other websites:
ssefo event timeline
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
University of Wisconsin Space Science and Engtineering Center
Great Lakes Shipwrecks File (Dave Swaze)
Great Lakes History (Dave Swaze)
Boat Nerd
SS Edmund Fitzgerald

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

(opening lines of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, by Gordon Lightfoot)

AuntieJ AuntieJ 424 posts

Brendon Baillod’s Great Lakes Shipwreck Research-

AuntieJ AuntieJ 424 posts

The Lucerne was a schooner loaded with 1,256 tons of iron ore leaving Ashland Wisconsin on November 15, 1886 to Cleveland Ohio via Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The Captain unsuspectingly launched into a vicious two day northeaster. The schooner made it to Ontonagon Michigan but turned to head back to the shelter of Ashland’s Chequamegon Bay. It sank on either November 17 or 18 off Chequamegon Pt., near Ashland. The La Pointe (Long Island) lightkeeper discovered the ship wrecked off the beach in 17 feet of water on the morning of Nov. 19; it’s masts jutting out of the water. Three of the crew had climbed and lashed themselves to the masts in an attempt to escape Lake Superior’s freezing waters; they were found dead, encased in 6 inches of ice. Another of the crew washed ashore later. The remaining 5 crew members were never found. At the time of its sinking, the Lucerne was considered one of the staunchest vessels on the Great Lakes.

The Lucerne still rests at the bottom of Lake Superior at 25 feet. The hull is intact and upright on the sand bottom. The cargo of iron ore is still visible around the wreck. It is within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore; U.S. Parks Service and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, 1996. Diving permit required. Link to photos of the Lucerne today.

AuntieJ AuntieJ 424 posts

The Big Blow, November 6-12, 1913- the convergence of two large storm systems formed an epic Great Lakes storm that caused the worst shipping disaster on the Great Lakes. 12 ships sank, and 30 others were reported stranded on four of the five lakes and connecting Lake St. Clair, St Mary’s and Detroit Rivers. More than 250 people died, and more $5 million in ships and cargo was lost (about $100 million in today’s currency).
Lake Superior
Fred G. Hartwell: cargo unknown; stranded near Point Iroquois Michigan; no loss of life
Huronic: cargo- passengers; stranded near Whitefish Point Michigan; no loss of life
J.T. Hutchinson: cargo unknown; stranded near Point Iroquois Michigan; no loss of life
Leafield: cargo- railroad rails and equipment; sank Nov. 8 near Angus Island Ontario, never found; 18 victims, all hands; second sinking
Major: cargo unknown; stranded near Crisp Point Michigan; no loss of life
William Nottingham: cargo- wheat; stranded near Sand Island Wisconsin; 3 victims (while rowing to shore for help)
Scottish Hero: cargo unknown; stranded, location unknown, Ontario; no loss of life
Henry B. Smith: cargo- iron ore; sank Nov. 10 near Marquette Michigan, found May 2012; 25 victims, all hands
Turret Chief: cargo unknown; stranded near Copper Harbor Michigan; no loss of life
L.C. Waldo: cargo- iron ore; stranded near Gull Rock Michigan; no loss of life
Saint Mary’s River
Meaford: cargo unknown, stranded; no loss of life
Lake Michigan
Halsted: cargo- lumber; stranded near Washington Island Wisconsin; no loss of life
Louisiana: cargo- empty; stranded near Washington Island Wisconsin; no loss of life
Plymouth: cargo- cedar posts; sank Nov. 11 near St. Martin’s Island off tip of Garden Penninsula Michigan, found in 1984 near Poverty Island Michigan; 9 victims, all hands; second sinking
Lake Huron
Acadian: cargo unknown; stranded near Thunder Bay Michigan; no loss of life
Matthew Andrews: cargo unknown; stranded at Corsica Shoals Michigan (due to Lightship 61 also being stranded); no loss of life
Argus: cargo- coal; sank Nov. 12 near Kincardine Ontario, found in 1972 off Grindstone City Michigan; 25 victims, all hands; sister ship of the Hydrus also lost
SS James Carruthers: cargo- wheat; sank Nov. 11 near Kincardine Ontario, found in 1980 (disputed); 25 victims, all hands; she was brand new
Howard M. Hanna Jr.: cargo- coal; stranded near Port Austin Michigan; no loss of life
Henry A. Hawgood: cargo unknown; stranded near Weis Beach Michigan
Hydrus: cargo- iron ore; sank Nov. 11 near Lexington Michigan, never found; 28 victims, all hands; sister ship of the Argus, also lost
J.M. Jenks: cargo unknown, stranded near Goergian Bay Ontario; no loss of life
Lightship LV 61 aka Corsica Shoals: cargo- none; stranded, forced from Corsica Shoals Michigan to Point Edward Canada; no loss of life; contributed to Matthew Andrews being stranded
Matoa: cargo- coal; stranded near Port Austin/Point aux Barques Michigan; no loss of life
D.O. Mills: cargo unknown; stranded near Harbor Beach Michigan; no loss of life
John A. McGean: cargo- coal, sank Nov. 11 mid-lake, found in 1985 off Tawas/ Harbor Beach light Michigan ; 28 victims, all hands; was considered unsinkable
Northern Queen: cargo unknown, stranded near Kettle Point 44 Ontario; no loss of life
Pontiac: cargo unknown; stranded near Simmon’s Reef; no loss of life
Charles S. Price: cargo- coal, sank Nov. 10 near Huronia Beach/Port Gratiot light Michigan, 28 victims, all hands; floated upside-down in the shipping lane for several days; sister ship of the Isaac M. Scott, also lost
Regina: cargo- steel pipe & general freight, sank Nov. 10 near Port Sanilac Michigan, found in 1985; 20 victims, all hands; 2 divers died in 2000 when their gear became tangled in the wreckage
Isaac M. Scott: cargo- coal, sank Nov. 9 or 10 near Thunder Bay Island Michigan, found in 1976; 28 victims, all hands; sister ship to the Charles S. Price, also lost
A.E. Stewart: cargo unknown; stranded near Thunder Bay Michigan; no loss of life
Wexford cargo- steel rails; sank Nov. 10 near Grand Bend Ontario, found upright and intact in 2000; 17-24 victims, all hands
Lake Saint Clair
W.G. Pollock: cargo unknown; stranded near St. Clair Flats Michigan; no loss of life
Saxona: cargo unknown; stranded, location unknown; no loss of life
Detroit River
Victory: cargo unknown; stranded at Livingston Channel Michigan; no loss of life
Lake Erie
Donaldson: cargo unknown; stranded near Cleveland Ohio; no loss of life
C.W. Elphicke: cargo- flax; stranded near Long Point Ontario; no loss of life
Fulton: cargo unknown; stranded near Bar Point Michigan; no loss of life
G.J. Grammer: cargo unknown; stranded near Lorain Ohio; no loss of life
Pittsburgh Steamship Co. Barges: cargo unknown; stranded near Cleveland Ohio; no loss of life (unmanned)
Lightship LV 82 aka Buffalo: cargo- none; sank Nov. 12 near Waverly Shoal/Buffalo New York, found in 1915 and salvaged; 6 victims, all hands

AuntieJ AuntieJ 424 posts

100 year old shipwreck, Henry B. Smith, lost in The Big Blow is found!

AuntieJ AuntieJ 424 posts

The Griffin is still lost in Lake Michigan.!

(Answer the stupid questions to “reveal” the full article.)