Lake Superior Shipwrecks




Under Sail


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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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September 2009























September 1

  • M.D. Carrington (1902). Towing the freighter WATT when she got out of line with her, fouled her own towline, capsized and sank. The tug's engineer drowned getting to the liferaft.
  • Manhattan (1859). Trying to make shelter, she ran aground and was wrecked at the mouth of the harbor in Marquette Michigan. Her cargo was later recovered by the scow NEPTUNE and taken to Marquette, her original destination. The hulk partially blocked the entrance for almost twenty years.

September 2

  • Lewie (1904). Foundered in a gale off Two Harbors, Minnesota.
  • Iosco (1905). Foundered with all hands off Huron Islands. 19 lives lost. Had schooner OLIVE JEANNETTE in tow, also lost with all hands.
  • Pretoria (1905). The Pretoria was a schooner-barge, launched in 1900. She was one of the most colossal wooden vessels to sail the Great Lakes. Downbound from Allouez, WI for South Chicago, IL with iron ore in tow of Propeller Venezuela. She foundered NNE of Outer island. This is the same rare summer storm that took the Sevona.
  • Olive Jeannette (1905). Foundered about four miles off the Huron Islands, in tow of propeller IOSCO, all hands, seven lives, lost. Towing steamer was also lost. Vessels were bound from Superior, Wisconsin for Sandusky, Ohio.
  • Sevona (1905). Stranded on the Sand Island reef and broke in two. Seven lives lost.

September 3

  • J. Bigler (1884). Foundered in a gale off Lower Entry to the Keweenaw Waterway, about ten miles north of Huron Islands. Bound Nipigon for Chicago.
  • Steelvendor (1942). She capsized and foundered in heavy seas near Manitour Island, Michigan.

September 5

  • Bennington (1908). Suddenly foundered on a clear day while under tow off Whitefish Point. Bound Port Arthur for Soo. Two lives lost.

September 6

  • John A. Paige (1892). Burned in Cornucopia. One life lost.

September 7

  • Laura Bell (1883). Sank off Shot Point east of Marquette.
  • Niagra (1887). Broke her tow line from the steamer Australasia and foundered seven miles northwest of Whitefish Point, 3.5 miles from shore. Nine lives lost.
  • Tourist (1889). Burned at Bayfield, Wisconsin.
  • Wenona (1898). She broke away from the steamer GARDEN CITY and stranded. She lay on a beach near the entrance to Portage Ship Canal until wrecked by gale waves in September, 1900. The skipper and his wife, her owners, stayed abord for months in the hope she would be rescued. Registered out of Buffalo. Converted from prop to schooner barge in the spring of 1877. Major repairs were done in 1878.

September 8

  • Gazelle (1860). Driven ashore just outside of Eagle Harbor entrance.

September 12

  • Prussia (1885). Burned at Sand Island and became a total loss.

September 13

  • Comrade (1890). Cast adrift from her tow steamer COLUMBIA in SE (or WSW) gale and foundered with all hands (8 lives lost) somewhere between Keweenaw & Isle Royale. Bound Ashland, WI for Cleveland with 1600 tons of ore, she was a total loss of $35,000. The steamer made it to shelter after hard fight, later came out to find her charge, but to no avail.
  • Moonlight (1903). Foundered 12 miles off Michigan Island, Iron county Wisconsin. Crew rescued by towing steamer, VOLUNTEER. Vessel downbound with a cargo of iron ore.

September 14

  • Onoko (1915). An Iron hull bulk freighter, ONOKO grounded departing a Duluth grain elevator, but she freed herself and cleared the harbor. Later, she sprung a leak under engine abreast Knife Island and sank in 35 minutes. Located 13 nautical miles east of Duluth and 6.5 nautical miles south of Knife Island.

September 16

  • Hudson (1901). Her cargo probably shifted (as flaxseed was prone to do) and she capsized and sank in a terrific gale with all hands, west of Eagle River Michigan. 25 lives lost.

September 17

  • Vienna (1892). With the schooner MARIE C. BELL in tow, struck by propeller NIPIGON about four miles below Whitefish Point.

September 18

  • Henry A. Kent (1897). She was driven down and foundered in a gale. Her crew was rescued just before she went down, by her tow steamer, J.C. GILCHRIST.

September 19

  • A.A. Parker (1903). Downbound with a load of iron ore, the A.A. Parker foundered four miles north of Grand Marais, Michigan after springing a leak in a northwest gale.
  • Charles J. Kershaw (1895). Burst a steam pipe one-half mile off Chocolay Reef, Marquette, Michigan, with schooners MOONLIGHT and HENRY A. KENT in tow. Stranded on reef and became a total loss; no lives lost. Schooners later released.
  • Colorado (1898). Struck and stranded on Sawtooth Reef near the wreck of the JAMES PICKANDS.
  • Mediator (1898). In tow of KALKASKA, along with ALOHA and J.H. MEAD, broke tow lines along with the MEAD and drifted ashore fourteen miles north of Portage Ship Canal.

September 20

  • Fedora (1901). Bound Duluth for Ashland, Wisconsin, she caught fire offshore from exploding engine room lantern. Run onto the beach about five miles north of Bayfield where she burned to a total loss. Owned by the Great Lakes Steamship Company, Cleveland, who had recently purchased her.
  • M.C. Neff (1909). Burned in the St. Louis River, Duluth, Minnesota.

September 21

  • Alex Nimick (1907). She pressed on for Duluth in a gale after sheltering behind Whitefish Point for a day, then was driven on a bar thirteen miles west of Vermillion Point. The survivors made it to shore in a lifeboat. The vessel pounded to pieces in 26 feet. Six lives lost.
  • John Jacob Astor (1844). Owned by Astor's American Fur Company, reportedly the first commerical vessel on Lake Superior. She struck a reef near Copper Harbor Michigan and foundered. The wreckage was still visible in the early 1860's. Her anchor was recovered in 1970.
  • Michigan (1893). Bound Marquette for Ashtabula, in tow of the steamer CITY OF NAPLES, she sprang a leak in heavy seas and sank just east of Point Sable off Grand Sable Dunes before she could be towed to shore. Her crew was taken off one hour before she sank, by NAPLES.
  • Samoa (1909). While attempting to shelter from a thunderstom in the lake, she was struck by lighting, caught fire and burned to the waterline.

September 22

  • City of St. Joseph (1942). In tow of the tug JOHN ROEN with the barge TRANSPORT (qv), she was cut loose and driven ashore, a total loss, near Eagle Harbor Michigan. Her remains were largely cut up in place for scrap the following winter. Originally 211 feet, she was lengthened to 226 feet in 1891, then to 254 feet in 1905. She was cut down to a barge in 1937. As a steamer, she was one of the first lakers to carry a wireless. One life lost.
  • James Pickands (1894). She stranded on the Sawtooth Reef and broke up due to poor visibility due to a forest fire.

September 23

  • A.W. Comstock (1895). In tow of the steamer VIKING, with W.K. MOORE, she was separated from them in a gale and later sank 18 miles off Stannard Rock, east of the Keweenaw Penninsula. The crew took to her yawl, were picked up by the steamer J.J. MCWILLIAMS several hours later. She had only been in service about three months. Winds in the gale were estimated at 70 mph. Captain McArthur broke his leg and three ribs.

September 24

  • Golden Rule (1884). Capsized and reported foundered off Ontonogan, Michigan. Two lives lost.
  • Neebing (1937). Foundered in the Nipigon Straits with the barge COTEAU in tow, five lives were lost. 800 yards off of Eagle's Nest Point.
  • Transport (1942). Stranded three miles off Eagle Harbor Michigan. One life lost.

September 25

  • Union (1873). Blown into shallows near Au Sable Point by a westerly gale, she was later pounded to pieces.

September 26

  • You Tell (1872). Bound Thunder Bay, Ontario for Ashland Wisconsin, she struck a shoal near Washington Island, Isle Royale, in a storm and foundered. Owned by L. Tenney of Duluth.

September 27

  • Culligan (1912). Holding her own until her pumps failed her, the water gained until her fires were doused. The crew abandoned in life boats a few miles northwest of Grand Island, near Munising Michigan.
  • W.H. Ritchie (1921). Burned to a total loss at her dock in Port Arthur, Ontario.

September 28

  • Elma (1895). In tow of steamer P.H. BIRCKHEAD and two other barges, the tow broken up and soon after ELMAs steering was disabled and she was cast ashore near Miner's Castle. The first crewmember died bringing a line ashore, a second crewmember made it and spent the night exposed, the rest of the crew came ashore in the next morning.
  • Frank Perew (1891). She broke away from the tow N.K. FAIRBANK and foundered when the gale stove in her hatches and filled her. Her crew abandoned in the yawl and rowed thirteen miles to the east, but their boat capsized in the surf at Parisienne Island, drowning all but one. The sinking of the PEREW was seen from a distance by the steamer JOHN W. MOORE, which rushed to her aid, only to find her sunk when she arrived at the site.

September 29

  • Bertha Endress (1891). Bound Soo, Ontario for Michipicoten Island, with machinery for the mine there, she sank in a storm with all hands, 5 lives, lost. The sons of two of the owners of the Michipicoten Mine were among the lost.
  • Brandon (1888). In tow of JAMES A. WALKER with schooner barges, JENNIE and REGINA, she sprung a leak and foundered forty miles southwest of Isle Royale.
  • Starlight (1880). Foundered in a gale with all hands off AuTrain, Michigan.

September 30

  • Toledo (1898). Became waterlogged and beached 500' from the entrance or Portage Ship Sanal. The wreck was blown up on November 10, 1898.

Updated: March 10, 2008

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