Lake Superior Shipwrecks




Under Sail


More Calendars:

In this area of the WhimSea site, we list information about shipwrecks in Lake Superior. Much of this information is compiled from many sources.

Remember, email us if you have something to add. Just click on any date for more information.

November 2009



















November 1

  • D. McLeod (1932). Burned in Finley Bay near Silver Islet, Ontario.
  • Frank Crawford (1882). Ran ashore and foundered near Portage Bay, Grand Portage, Minnesota.
  • Free Trade (1890). Destroyed by fire in the harbor, Duluth, Minnesota.
  • Glenlyon (1924). Stranded on Menagerie Island, Siskiwit Bay, Isle Royale, broke in two.

November 2

  • Cecilia (1883). Disabled by storm waves and abandoned 20 miles out of Port Arthur in a sinking condition.
  • Mary M. Scott (1870). Foundered near Grand Island.

November 3

  • M.R. Warner (1893). Stranded in Sand Bay, Bayfield, Wisconsin.
  • William Moore (1887). Driven ashore on Presque Isle, Michigan, while salvaging the schooner PLYMOUTH along with a lighter. Captain Thomas Carpenter injured with no hope of recovery.

November 4

  • F. Morrell (1874). Drove ashore and wrecked in fog and big seas on the northwest corner of Grand Island. After being ashore a few days, she was reportedly broken up by a northeast storm.
  • Josephine (1877). Stranded off LaPointe Wisconsin.

November 5

  • A.C. Maxwell (1908). Twenty feet of her bow was sheared off by the big steel steamer R.W. ENGLAND, which went out of control and struck her on Woolworth's Dock, Sault St. Marie, Michigan. She was considered a total loss and abandoned in place. She had also been sunk in 1883 and 1885. In the 1885 incident, near Goderich, Ont., a group of Canadian fishermen rescued her crew and were later awarded lifesaving medals by the U.S. Lifesaving Service.
  • J.L. Crane (1925). While in tow, broke loose from propeller HERMAN H. HETTLER, and foundered near Crisp Point Michigan with her entire crew.

November 6

  • Wasaga (1910). While sheltered at Copper Harbor, Michigan, she caught fire and burned to a total loss.

November 7

  • Algoma (1885). This luxury railway steamer was thought to be one of the sturdiest ships afloat, but she was blown aground, broken in two and destroyed by storm of Greenstone Island, Isle Royale. Later she was pushed off the rocks and sunk. 48 lives were lost and 15 saved.
  • G.M. Neelon (1892). She broke from a tow of the steamer S.L. TILLEY and struck the rocks of Gull Rock in heavy seas. She was abandoned.
  • J.C. Keyes (1874). Torn from her dock, driven on the beach and wrecked in Duluth. It was thought she could be salvaged, but she was finally given up in 1880.
  • Mary E. McLachlan (1921). Foundered, Nipigon Bay.
  • V. Swain (1907). She burned to a total loss during a fire at the dock at Howard's Pocket near Superior, where she had been laid up since springing a leak and sinking in 1903. The salvaged after end of the steamer LAFAYETTE was docked beside her.

November 8

  • A.C. Keating (1900). Her tow steamer J.H. OUTHWAITE developed engine trouble in a storm and left her at anchor at Coppermine Point, Ontario, with two other barges. She slipped her hold on the bottom and was driven into the rocky shore where she broke up.
  • Chester A. Congdon (1918). Struck the south reef off Canoe Rocks, Isle Royale, then broke in two aft of the number six hatch.
  • Leafield (1913). Overwhelmed by a huge storm (probably the most violent ever recorded on the lakes) and driven on the rocks twenty miles east of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Waves ripped up her bottom, then shoved her into deep water.

November 9

  • Harry B. Smith (1913). Foundered with a crew of 23 twenty miles off Marquette Michigan.

November 10

  • City of Superior (1857). Struck a reef off Copper Harbor and foundered. She was fourth months old and on her sixth voyage.
  • Edmund Fitzgerald (1975). Sank in a gale fifteen miles north of Point Crisp, all hands lost.

November 12

  • D.H. Keyes (1901). Driven ashore in a storm at 14 mile point.
  • John Owen (1919). Foundered with all hands between Manitou Island and Stannard Rock. 22 lives lost.

November 13

  • B.L. Webb (1856). She stranded and later burned, Waiska Bay just west of Soo. One life was lost in the accident. She was only 47 days old at the time of the loss and was a $50,000 loss. The gutted hull was recovered the next year and rebuilt.

November 14

  • H.E. Runnels (1919). Pulled out of shelter to soon and was struck by a terrific storm just outside of Grand Marais, Michigan. Local fisherman and crew of a Coast Guard subchaser sheltering nearby took her crew off just before she went to pieces and sank. She had been upbound.
  • Invincible (1816). Found for Fort William she was driven ashore near Whitefish Point. First shipwreck on Lake Superior.
  • Marquette (Schooner) (1872). She stranded in heavy seas in the west channel, Munising Bay. Initial salvage attempts failed and it was hoped that she could winter over and be taken off in the spring, but late fall and winter storm tore her to pieces, and she was later abandoned as a total loss in May of the following year.
  • Strathmore (1906). Stranded and burned on Michipicoten Island on trip from Fort William, Ontario for Port Stanley, Ontario with a load of grain.

November 15

  • T.H. Camp (1900). Foundered near La Point Michigan.
  • W.W. Arnold (1869). Drove ashore in the great gale of November 1869. The violent storm tore the schooner apart and she quickly sank. Loss of life included several passengers. Downbound from Marquette for Cleveland.

November 16

  • Alfred P. Wright (1915). While seeking shelter at lower entry, Portage Ship Canal, fire discovered in coal bunker. She burned to the waterline.
  • Manistee (1883). Foundered off Ontonogan, 23 lives lost.
  • Wabash (1883). Upbound in tow of tug SAMSON with schooners C.G. KING and C.H. JOHNSON, broke her tow line and was forced into the shallows near Grand Portal Point by a blizzard gale, below pictured rocks, Munising, Michigan.

November 17

  • Florida (1886). In the mouth of Whetstone Brook, near Marquette, Michigan, she slipped anchors and was driven against a dock, where she was pounded to pieces. Her mate fell between the schooner and the rescue tug GILLETT and was crushed.
  • Lucerne (1886). A schooner launched in 1873, She foundered off LaPointe, Wisconsin in violent seas and a heavy storm, nine lives lost. She was wrecked in 17 feet of water, 60 miles from where she was last sighted. The LaPointe lightkeeper discovered the ship. Its spars were jutting out of the water.
  • Robert Wallace (1902). Stern pipe broke; vessel filled and sank about thirteen miles southeast of Tow Harbors, Minnesota. The crew was resuced by the consort ASHLAND, which was towed into Two Harbors by tug EDNA G.; no lives lost. Vessel was bound from Superior, Wisconsin for Cleveland, Ohio.

November 18

  • Alice Craig (1887). Built as the U.S. Revenue Cutter JOHN B. FLOYD, sold civilian and renamed in 1864. As a revenue cutter, she was stationed on Lake Superior early in her career and on the East Coast during the Civil War. She was damaged in a storm near Duluth in 1872, but managed to save two boys from the crippled FRANCIS PALMS. Stranded off Cornucopia, Wisconsin.
  • Middlesex (1881). She had just arrived at Hebard and Thurber's Lumber Company dock with her barge MELBOURNE and was unloading when a fire broke out in her cabin. A gale which was blowing at the time prevented effective fire fighting or even scuttling and she burned to a total loss. She later drifted ashore nearby and broke in two. She was a loss of nearly $50,000. Owned by David Whitney, Jr., Detroit Hull later recovered, converted to a barge of the same name at Algonac, Mich. and lasted until 1929. Sold Canadian 1918 and renamed WOODLANDS - C#138504.

November 19

  • Annie M. Peterson (1914). Foundered while in tow of propeller C.F. CURTIS with SELDON E. MARVIN, she was lost from her towline, broke up and foundered in heavy seas off the mouth of Two Hearted River. All hands lost.
  • C.F. Curtis (1914). Torn apart offshore and went down with all hands seven miles east of Grand Marais Michigan. She had two big barges in two at the time. 14 miles lost.
  • D & C (1957). Struck a reef and sank at Grenfell Rock, due north of Eagle River Michigan.
  • Seldon E. Marvin (1914). While in tow of the propeller C.F. CURTIS, she was blown ashore and foundered in a blizzard with all hands, seven miles east of Grand Marais Michigan.

November 20

  • Chenago (1875). Downbound in tow of steamer JAY C. MORSE when a squall broke her towline and she went ashore, Wood Island Reef, near Munising, Michigan. Her crew weathered the storm in her cabin in two feet of freezing water for 36 hours.

November 21

  • Bannockburn (1902). Left Port Arthur (Thunder Bay) Ontario for the Soo. Foundered with all hands, twenty lives lost. Is the legenday "flying Dutchman of the Lakes".
  • B.W. Arnold (1896). Bound Duluth for Chicago with schooner barge JAMES MOWATT in tow and caught fire off Ontonogan, Michigan. Crew abandoned to MOWATT. ARNOLD later drifted ashore seven miles below Portage Entrance to ship canal, where she burned out.
  • Samuel Mather (1891). Sunk in collision with BRAZIL in fog about eight miles out from Point Iroquis, Ontario.

November 22

  • Independence (1853). Her boiler exploded violently and she sank in the river near Sault Ste. Marie. One crewman was blown 2-300 feet into the air and lived. Parts of her wreck have been recovered and made into souvenirs at various times. She was the first prop built on Lake Michigan and first steam craft on Lake Superior. She was portaged around St.Mary's Rapids in 7 weeks in the winter of 1845-6. She used a tremendous amount of fuel in going very slowly and had to stop for fuel every few leagues, until re-engined in 1844. After that she was much faster, making a trip from Soo to LaPointe and back in less than a week in 1847.
  • Michael Groh (1895). Lost her rudder and became disabled. Her fires were doused, she was driven ashore at Pictured Rocks, near Munising, Michigan.
  • Myron (1919). Towing schooner MIZTEC and began to leak in a gale 1.5 miles off Whitefish Point. Her crew cut the barge loose and prepared to abandon her but the seas were to high. Despite the efforts of the steamer ADRIATIC creating a lee and three attempts by lifesaving service she foundered with seventeen hands lost; one survivor.

November 23

  • Herman Hettler (1926). En route to Duluth with a cargo of bulk table salt, the 36 year old wooden steamer was looking for shelter from a fall gale in Munising Harbor when a compass variation caused her to veer off course and slam into the rock reef of Trout Point. She hit so hard that it ran up the rocks to her third hatch and forced the bow three feet out of the water. The seas slammed into her, working her against the rocks and opening her seams.

November 24

  • South Shore (1912). She split her seams in a heavy gale seven miles west of Grand Marais, Michigan. She was run to shore but sank just short and broke up in place. The Lifesaving Service from Grand Marais saved her nine crew and four passengers.

November 25

  • Lydia (1932). She capsized and sank just off the harbor entrance at Grand Marais, Michigan, in a violent gale while running for shelter. Crew of five lost.

November 26

  • Tioga (1919). Stranded on Sawtooth Reef, Copper Harbor, Michigan.

November 27

  • Charles C. Griswold (1872). Foundered offshore in a gale, off Whitefish Point with all hands, eight lives lost.
  • Jupiter (1872). Bound Marquette for Wyandotte, Michigan, she was driven ashore near Vermillion Point and wreck by an arctic gale. Tow of steamer JOHN A. DIX with the schooner SATURN, when towline parted.
  • Saturn (1872). Bound Marquette for Wyandotte, Michigan, she was driven ashore near Vermillion Point and wreck by an arctic gale. Tow of steamer JOHN A. DIX with her sister schooner SATURN, when towline parted and she was driven ashore then pounded to pieces.

November 28

  • George Herbert (1905). She was enroute with provisions for a shoreside lumber camp, in tow of the tug F.W. GILLETT when wrecked by a storm. The two had been sheltering at anchor for ten hours when the HERBERT broke her anchor cable and drove ashore near Two Islands, Ontario.
  • George Spencer (1905). A wooden bulk freighter, the GEORGE SPENCER was built for the coal and iron trade and was one of the first boats to load at Two Harbors. She was towing the barge AMBOY(qv) when struck by a gale during the Mataafa storm off Sugar Loaf Landing, Little Marais, Minnesota. She cut the barge loose in an attempt to save both vessels, but both were driven ashore anyway. SPENCER was disabled quickly, but her crew made it to shore on a breeches’ buoy which had been rigged by local fishermen, directed by a SPENCER crewman who had come ashore hand over hand on a heaving line. She was later mostly removed, but remnants of the wreck are reportedly still on the site.
  • Ira H. Owen (1905). Foundered forty miles off Outer Island, Wisconsin. Seventeen lives lost.
  • Judge Hart (1942). Struck Simon's Reef, Ashburton Bay, Lake Superior, downbound with 101,500 bushels wheat from Fort William, Ontario. Steamers JOHN ERICSSON and JAMES B. EADS pulled vessel free, but her pumps failed to control water. Vessel sank in fifty fathoms of water; no lives lost.
  • Lafayette (1905). Stranded near Encampment Island, near Two Harbors, MN. MANILA collided w/ her and also ran ashore. LAFAYETTE broke in 2 & sank. Stern salvaged 1906 w/ engine placed in J.S. ASHLEY.
  • Madeira (1905). A schooner-barge built in Chicago in 1900, she had a plate keel and was shaped flat and full to maximize cargo with minimum draft. In tow of the steamer WILLIAM EDENBORN, her towline was cut and she was driven ashore near Split Rock Point, Minnesota during the Mataafa storm. The entire crew would have been lost if not for Fred Benson, a Scandinavian crewman, who grabbed a line and jumped from the deck to a rocky outcropping at the base of the cliff. With the wind and the waves pounding him against the rock, he climbed the 60 foot cliff to the top. Once at the top, he dropped the line, with a rock attached, down to the boat and rescued the five men trapped there. The first mate was carried down with the ship, he climbed the mizzenmast trying to jump to safety. The men were rescued by the Edna G. who also recovered the body of the first mate. Her remains were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. Her loss was partially responsible for the building of the Split Rock Lighthouse.
  • William Edenborn (1905). Towing the MADERIA, the William Edenborn went ashore near Split Rock, Minnesota during the Mataafa storm. One life lost. Released at a cost of $100,000.
  • W.O. Brown (1872). Downbound from Duluth in a frigid gale, she was driven ashore near Point Maimanse, ontario and pounded to pieces.

November 29

  • Boscobel (1909). Burned at Red Cliff, Wisconsin. Originally named Ottawa. The tug OTTAWA was the largest and most powerful tug on the Great Lakes until it's loss in 1909. Hired to salvage the JAMES H. HOYT. After working to release the HOYT, the crew was awakened by a huge blaze on board. It was burning out of control. The crew jumped to the HOYT and cut the lines to the OTTAWA. Though word was sent to recover her, it was too late and she burned to the waterline.

November 30

  • Amboy (1905). A schooner barge designed by Quayle & Murphy in Cleveland, Ohio in 1874, the AMBOY was originally called the HELENA. Originally sunk in 1891 she was refitted as a towbarge in 1892 by the Milwaukee Tug Boat Company. The AMBOY ran aground and broke up during the Mataafa blow at Schroeder, Minnesota. Her remains were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.
  • City of Bangor (1926). Driven sideways high up on the beach of Keweenaw Point by a terrific gale. Part of her deck cargo of new Chryslers were lost overboard, most were driven ashore on an ice ramp and later refurbished at Detroit. Crew was rescued by Eagle Harbor C.G. She was cut up in place during WWII scrap drive.
  • Kiowa (1929). The shifting of her slippery cargo in big waves caused her to become unmanageable and strike the Au Sable Reef. 16 crew were rescued, Captain and four crew members lost their lives when a lifeboat overturned while trying to make shore.

Updated: March 10, 2008


Copyright ©2006-2009.

This site was designed by BigBluElephant