Lake Superior Shipwrecks




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

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October 2009



















October 1

  • Gale Staples (1918). Stranded fourteen miles northwest of Au Sable Point, Michigan.

October 2

  • M.M. Drake (1901). Lost the line to her sinking consort MICHIGAN (qv) in a heavy gale, then collided with her while trying to take off her crew. Disabled and wallowing, the DRAKE began to sink, but the passing freighters NORTHERN WAVE and CRESCENT CITY stood by and rescued the crews in a feat of daring.
  • Michigan (1901). Foundered off Vermillion Point, Lake Superior, along with her tow, schooner MICHIGAN on October 2, 1901. Crew of both vessles rescued by the propellers NORTHERN WAVE and CRESCENT CITY. No lives lost.

October 3

  • A.L. Hopkins (1911). Became waterlogged and sank. Her crew of twelve rescued by the propeller ALVA C. DINKEY 16 miles northeast of Michigan Island.
  • Winslow (1891). Burned in the St. Louis River, Duluth. She had grounded two days earlier. They suspect water reacted with the lime.

October 4

  • Hunter (1904). Stranded in the harbor at Grand Marais Michigan, she caught fire and was destroyed before she could be released. Owned by the Booth Packing Company.
  • Sitka (1904). Driven aground near Au Sable Point by a gale, she was pounded to pieces by waves. Her crew made it to shore in her yawl.

October 5

  • Bessemer (1889). She and her consort SCHUYLKILL were struck by a rapidly-rising gale, and ran for the Portage Ship Canal when it became apparent that BESSEMER was going to sink. The two went onto a reef at the mouth of the canal, collided and broke up quickly. The crew were able to jump onto the breakwater. Her remains partly blocked the canal until cleared by dynamiting the next fall.
  • Schuylkill (1889). In tow of the steam barge BESSEMER, she was caught in a gale and grounded near the entrance of teh Portage Ship Canal while seeking shelter. She broke up within a few hours.

October 6

  • Monarch (1913). She was a total loss to fire in the harbor at Grand Marais Michigan.
  • Samuel H. Foster (1906). Driven ashore and wrecked in a gale/blizzard while in tow of the tug L.L. BARTH with the barge WAYNE in Misery Bay near the base of the Keweenaw.

October 7

  • Antelope (1897). Sank while being towed off Michigan Island, Bayfield county.

October 8

  • Charles E. Pendell (1887). While gathering logs she was caught in a deadly nor'wester and driven ashore two miles west of Whitefish Point. She was broken in two and almost completely pounded to pieces by October 20th.
  • Gordon Gauthier (1911). Destroyed by fire in the harbor at Port Arthur, Ontario.
  • Noquebay (1905). Launched in 1872, the Schooner Barge caught fire while the crew was at lunch. Apparently in the after deckhouse so no one noticed the flames until it was too late. It was October 8, and they were twenty miles east of Bayfield Wisconsin, downbound with lumber, in tow of propeller LIZZIE MADDEN. Beached on Presque Isle Point, Stockton Island, a total loss. She was bound for Bay City, Michigan. No lives were lost.
  • Pasadena (1906). Bound for Superior, Wisconsin, she was in tow of the steamer GLADSTONE when she went out of control in a gale. Her skipper had her towline cut, but she was thrown against a pier and wrecked, pouding to pieces in a few hours. Eight crew made it to shore on wreckage.

October 9

  • Charles H. Bradley (1931). Grounded in Portage Lake off Sturgeon River with barge GRAMPION in tow, she caught fire and burned to the waterline.

October 10

  • G. Pfister (1885). Missed the tow line of her tug when entering the Duluth canal and stranded.

October 11

  • Commodore (1915). Became waterlogged and sank in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
  • Cyprus (1907). Foundered about eighteen miles north of Deer Park, Michigan. 22 lives lost.
  • Huronton (1923). Rammed by the propeller CLETUS. CLETUS kept her engines at full into HURONTON until the crew abandoned. HURONTON sank after CLETUS backed out. This was near Whitefish Point.

October 12

  • Comet (1897). Built in 1881, the Comet burned to a total loss off Two Harbors, Minnesota. No lives lost.
  • Duluth (1918). Burned when a forest fire swept the dock area in the St. Louis River, Duluth.
  • E.L. Mason (1918). Burned in a forest fire, St. Louis River, Duluth. She was originally named the ELLA G. STONE
  • Grace (1882). Her engines failed, driven 25 miles before running ashore 2-3 miles south of Whitefish Point.
  • John H. Jeffrey Jr. (1918). Burned in a forest fire, St. Louis River, Duluth.
  • Mentor (1918). Burned in a fire that swept the area, St. Louis River, Duluth.
  • Plover (1871). She had been bound Duluth for Buffalo when she stranded and went to pieces in a storm. The crew was at first supposed lost, but showed up at the Soo in her little yawl two days later. Out of Cleveland, she had been rebuilt earlier that spring.

October 14

  • Annie Sherwood (1893). Bound for Chicago in tow of steamer WHITE & FRIANT, she broke away and began to founder south of Caribou Islands. The crew abandoned in her yawl and were picked up by the steamer SITKA. The wreck washed ashore near Deer Park. Lost men died of exposure in the freezing gale. Had a serious accident on L. Erie (Colchester Reef) 10/14/72. She was converted to a schooner before 1871. Rebuilt, 1879, major repair, 1884.
  • Fred and Will (1878). Burned in Sand Bay, Bayfield County, Wisconsin.
  • U.S.S. Essex (1931). The Essex was an armed naval sloop built in the 1870's by Donald McKay. The Essex served the Navy from 1876 to 1903. In 1904 it began training duties and in 1927 is was transferred to the Naval Reserve of the State of Minnesota. She was finally sold for scrap in November, 1930, taken to a beach outside the Duluth Harbor and burned to the waterline. Her remains were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

October 15

  • Bermuda (1870). A 150 foot wooden schooner, the Bermuda sank in almost the same spot in November of '69. She was raised in July of '70 and rebuilt and was on her first trip when cast into the shallows. Tied up to trees ashore, but suddenly foundered when the bank gave way. Three lives lost. She was raised again in 1883 but abandoned without repair.
  • Republic (1903). Downbound in good weather near the Apostle Islands, she sprang a leak and began to settle bow first. Air trapped in her hull blew her cabins off and broke her in two aft of the pilothouse. The crew escaped in lifeboats as she went down.

October 16

  • Jessie Hall (1936). Foundered in her 69th year of operation near Thunder Bay, Ontario.

October 17

  • Antelope (propeller) (1897). Sank while being towed off Michigan Island, Wisconsin.

October 18

  • William C. Moreland (1910). She stranded on the Sawtooth Reef near Eagle Harbor, Michigan on what was only her fifth trip. While her sterm was jammed fast, the bow, overhanging a dropoff, filled, broke off and sank in deep water. The brand new sterm was salvaged the next year, towed back to Lorrain, where a new bow portion was installed.

October 19

  • Alta (1905). In tow of the tug F.A. MEYERS east of Grand Island, near Munising Michigan, she broke away and stranded in the rocky shallows, then was broken up by big waves. Her crew was rescued by local fisherman after clinging to the wreck for over a day.
  • Lizzie Suttong (1886). She burned to a total loss while at anchor three miles west of Whitefish Point, Michigan. The crew escaped in a dinghy and were rescued by the steamer ST. MARIE.
  • Montgomery (1901). In tow of the steamer LELAND she became waterlogged and was cut loose in a gale after her crew was taken off. It was expected that she would founder, but she went onto a bar near the lifesaving station number 10 off Crisp Point and broke up in another storm two weeks later.
  • Reed Case (1888). Bound from Duluth, she dragged anchor four miles from Portage Ship Canal entrance and went on a reef in a southwest gale and pounded heavily. The captain drowned when coming ashore in her yawl and it capsized. The tug A.C. ADAMS got her off the reef and almost pulled the disabled schooner to the canal entrance before she foundered.

October 20

  • A. Neff (1886). While bound for Port Arthur, she encountered a Northwest gale and was driven ashore off Porehyria Point, Edward Island, Ontario. The crew escaped to the island in lifeboats and were picked up by a tug and brought to Port Arthur, Ontario.
  • Butcher's Maid (1886). Driven ashore on Porphyry Point she broke up in the waves shortly after.
  • City of Montreal (1888). Driven ashore on Michipicoten Island in a heavy easterly and sank after riding the storm at anchor for two days. She was towing the barge KEEWATIN, which was not injured. Bound for Chicago from Vertist, Ontario. The crew drifted three days in a lifeboat. One life lost.
  • Eureka (1886). Under tow of PRENTICE and caught in a storm her tow line broke 12 miles northwest of Whitefish Point. She foundered with all hands, six crew lost.
  • Galatea (1905). Upbound in tow of the propeller L.L. BARTH with her sister NIRVANA, she was driven so far ashore off Grand Marais Michigan that the crew could step off onto solid ground by clambering over her stern.
  • Nirvana (1905). In tow of the steamer L.L. BARTH, she was torn loose and driven aground where she split in two fore and aft. She went to the bottom 1/4 mile offshore near Grand Marais, Michigan, after her crew had scrambled to safety. She later washed up east of the piers on the beach.

October 21

  • Henry Chisholm (1898). Stranded on the Rock of Ages reef off Isle Royale, Michigan.
  • Lizzie A. Law (1908). On the tow line of L. Edward Hines and schooner barge, SHELDON E. MARVIN, in poor visibility due to forest fires, she was driven ashore and foundered.

October 22

  • George Sherman (1887). She was driven ashore by a gale near the schooner ALVA BRADLEY and wrecked. Her crew made it to shore and hitched a ride to Marquette on an ore train, where they reported the SHERMAN and BRADLEY wrecks.
  • Saveland (1903). She was storn away from the steamer GETTYSBURG and thrown against some pilings by a norther. Punchtured, she sank to her main deck, then pounded to pieces.

October 23

  • Chicago (1929). Stranded on Michipicoten Island in a gale. During salvage operations, she slid off into deep water, December 19, 1929 and became a total loss.
  • Geneva (1873). Downbound, 15 miles off Caribou Island, the violence of a storm damaged her stern pipe and bent her propeller shaft. The flailing blades cut a large hole in her stern counter and she went down by the stern. Her crew evacuated in her small boat and made it to her tow, the barge GENOA.
  • John Chassell (1876). Destroyed by fire at Portage Entry, Michigan.
  • Langham (1910). Caught fire while anchored in the lee of Bete Gris, Keweenaw Point. She was sheltering from a storm and burned to the waterline.

October 24

  • George (1893). Upbound, she was dismasted by a northwest gale. Helpless, she was driven ashore at the Pictured Rocks near Munising, Michigan.
  • Scotia (1884). Bound for Duluth, she drove ashore on Keweenaw Point, eight miles below Copper Harbor, in a blizzard and gale and was torn to pieces by waves. The crew was rescued by the steamer NYACK.
  • W.T. Chappell (1902). Sprang a leak in a gale, blown down and sunk, her crew was rescued by the Vermillion Point Lifesavers.

October 25

  • Amethyst (1888). Caught fire and burned to a total loss in Duluth, MN.
  • Criss Grover (1899). Blown ashore and wrecked. The Criss Grover often carried dynamite cargos to the mining camps when no other vessel would. Also ashore with heavy damage near AuSable, MI, Lake Huron in 1880. Declared a total loss but recovered. A prominent local judge was killed when the cannon which he and other volunteers intended to use to throw a line to the boat exploded.
  • Monticello (1851). Sprank a leak and foundered off Keweenaw peninsula.
  • Rebel (1898). She was towing a scow from Superior, Wisconsin for Pork Bay when she was overtaken by a storm. Her crew took to the scow as she foundered, and were later picked up by the steamer CITY OF LONDON.
  • Sovereign (1891). Bound Port Arthur Ontario for Buffalo, she was overwhelmed and foundered in a storm after releasing her consorts. She went down in 300 to 400 feet of water 12 miles southeast of Lamb Island Light.

October 26

  • Manhattan (1903). Her steering gear was disabled by a storm driving down the channel and she was pushed on the rocky shore near Sand Point, Bayfield. There she caught fire and was destroyed before she could be released. The crew was resuced by the tug WARD. The wreck later drifted to near Sand Point.
  • William F. Sauber (1903). Her hull failed under a heavy load of ore and she sank in a gale thirty miles northwest of Whitefish Point. Bound Ashland, Wisconsin for Lake Erie. The big steamer YALE rescued most of her crew in apalling conditions. The skipper, whose arms were broken, was unable to help himself when a line was thrown to him, and drowned. He would not take the last seat in the lifeboat.

October 28

  • Bessie Barwick (1887). Bound Port Arthur for Kingston in tow of the steamer CELTIC, which let her loose to fend for herself after her shaft broke on Nipigon Bay. The schooner was seen on the 28th, but her subsequent whereabouts were unknown for more then ten days. Westerly gale had pushed her into the shallows of Pilot Harbor, Michipicoten Island, where she pounded to pieces. Her crew were sheltered by local fishermen, later made it to the Soo in a small open boat.
  • Cleveland (1864). Upbound, she was on her regular route between Lake Superior and Cleveland, when she was driven ashore off the mouth of Two-Hearted River, Michigan by a gale. There was very little in the press about the loss, but the vessel disappears from registration at this time. Odd for what was a significant vessel at the time. It is probable that she was expected to be recovered but never was.
  • Thomas Quayle (1885). Bound for Duluth with barges ZACH CHANDLER, COMMODORE, and PECK, she came into Ontonagon and tied up at the Government Pier. There she caught fire near her boilers, burned to the waterline and sank.

October 29

  • Elgin (1906). In tow of the tug, CROSBY, she was swamped and torn to pieces by a northeast gale.
  • Lotta Bernard (1874). Stranded and broke up on Encampment Island. Three lives lost.
  • Samuel P. Ely (1896). Tow of steamer HESPER, she went out of control and was lost from tow at the harbor entrance of Two Harbors. She crashed into a contractor's scow and then wrecked on the breakwater. An heroic rescue by the tug ELLA G. STONE saved her eleven crew. Once part of the Bradley Fleet. Major repairs done in 1879, 1882.
  • Zach Chandler (1892). Downbound from Ashland, Wisconsin in tow of steamer JOHN MITCHELL, she became separated from her by a northerly gale. She was overwhelmed and broke up on shore in about 15 minutes. Five crew made it to shore in boat. Lifesaving Service saved the other two. One life lost, from a crew of eight.

October 30

  • Commodore Jack Barry (1897). Burned in Superior Wisconsin.
  • Cormorant (1907). Burned without explanation on Basswood Island, Apostles. Machinery salvaged in Duluth.
  • Grampa Woo (1996). Broke her moorings with two men aboard. Helpless due to her rudder and propeller being removed for servicing, she drifted ashore on Passage Island, Isle Royale and broke apart.
  • John L. Gross (1873). Inbound with coal for the Copper Falls mine, she struck a rock in the channel in the entrance to Eagle Harbor, Michigan, she struck a rock in the channel and was beached. She later pounded to pieces. The tug J.C. MORSE was almost lost trying to save her the next week.
  • Superior (1856). Battling a storm when her rudder was lost, was thrown into the shallows under Pictured Rocks, near Cascade Michigan and went to pieces, 35-50 lives lost.

October 31

  • D. Leuty (1911). She drove ashore in a gale while trying to enter the harbor at Marquette and later broke up.

Updated: May 3, 2008

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