SHIP WRECKS OF THE GREAT LAKES
The “Cyrus was a cargo ship carrying iron ore for Buffalo, N.Y.” She was only three weeks old when she sank. She sank in Lake Superior. She was coming from Wisconsin. This was her second voyage and they can’t figure out why she went down. She should have been able to handle the gale force winds.
There were crew men aboard the ship. Also there was a steamboat called the “George Stephenson”. She happened to pass the Cyrus and had noticed that something was leaking from her. “The Stephenson said that she was leaving something red in her wake”.
As the ship was having trouble, the four men went aboard an emergency life boat. “They hung on for six hours, in the very cold waters of Lake Superior. “The life boat rolled over a couple of times.” The only crew member that survived the frigid waters was “Charles Pitz”. Fortunately he was rescued by the (Deer Park Life Saving Station).
The “Cyrus is lying 460 feet deep completely untouched and intact. Except for a couple of her wooden decks that was destroyed by her sinking”.
THE EDMUND FITZGERALD
The “Edmund Fitzgerald was another cargo ship”. She was finished in June of 1958. She made her first maiden voyage in September of 1958. She made a name for herself by making a lot of deliveries over the years and by being the fastest ship of the Great Lakes.
At first she was an oiler tanker then she got switched over to an automatic boiler.
The cause of her sinking is still a mystery some people say she took on too much water, other people say she hit a sandbar.
“She was carrying a full cargo of taconite pellets which was headed for (ZUG ISLAND) near Detroit. “She could carry anywhere from 26,116 tons to 26,600 tons.
Even before the launch of the ship it was already jinxed.
A. It took Mrs. Fitzgerald three times tok break a bottle of champagne.
B. The launch was delayed for about a half hour, while the ship yard crew tried to remove her from the keel blocks.
C. Up launching she had hit the dock, and it gave her quite a jolt.
D. She had also suffered from three allusions before leaving.
E. She was forced upon the shore in 1969.
F. She also hit another boat called the “S.S. Hochelega in 1970.
G. Then she hit the Soo Locks two years in a row, one in 73 and the other in 74.
H. She had lost her anchor in the Detroit River in 74.
Another ship called “Arthur M. Anderson was headed for Gary, Indiana was behind the (Edmund Fitzgerald). Since she was the fastest ship she took the lead. Both boats encountered the severe weather, with winds up to (58mph) with waves up to (35 feet). Because of this kind of storm the Soo Locks were even closed.
Late Monday afternoon November 10, 1975. The winds were over 50 knots on Eastern Lake Superior. Anderson was struck with Hurricane forced winds over 75 mph. With this type of wind the Fitzgerald lost its radar equipment, and having poor visibility seeing due to the heavy snow. Later in the afternoon, the Fitzgerald contacted the Anderson saying she was having problems.
Also the Coast Guard had warned all the ships to find safe harbor because of the storm.
Two of the pumps on the Fitzgerald were only working and those two pumps were having problems pushing out the water.
The Light House at Whitefish Point was also knocked out due to the storm. They had no navigational radar to help any of the ships. Being blind by the storm some how the Anderson came within 10 miles of the Fitzgerald to try to guide her to safety.
At 5:45 (Captain McSorley of the Fitzgerald had radioed another ship called the Avafors) and sent a message saying the Fitzgerald was in trouble. The final communication from the Fitzgerald came around 7:10 P.M. Anderson then advised the Fitzgerald there was an up coming ship. They had asked the Fitzgerald how they were doing and they had said “that they were holding their own”.
A few minutes later the (Edmund Fitzgerald) sank. There was no distress signal from her or any radio signal at all. Then the (Anderson) tried to make communication with her and there was no response of any kind.
At approximately 8:32 P.M. the (Anderson) had advised the U.S. Coast Guard of no response from the Fitzgerald and was worried about it.
The search for the ship and survivors began.
Other ships were involved in this search. In this search the (SS William Clay Ford and the Hilda Marjanne) had made their efforts to try their search for the crew and the ship but had no success. Due to the severe that they were having.
“The Coast Guard” sent out aircraft to locate the Edmund Fitzgerald) but they didn’t have any success either. Then they sent out a buoy called the (Woodbrush) a couple of hours later. But the buoy didn’t show up until a day later. This buoy was to search for survivors and the lost ship.
The wreck was finally found by a Navy Aircraft Carrier, with a special on-board magnetic detector.
The ship was returned to with sonar on (Nov 14 and Nov 16). By the Coast Guard. This equipment picked up 2 objects lying on the floor of Lake Superior. The under water submersible.
In 1976 the Navy sent an under water camera to take pictures of the wreck. This was connected to the boat above. The submersible camera finally found the Edmund Fitzgerald laying in two pieces. The two pieces on the bottom of the lake were laying 278 feet away from each other. Laying in the middle of the two pieces were lying the Taconite Pellets.
When the boat had first broke they had believed it broke above the water. Later they had said the Fitzgerald had broke up when it hit the lake floor.
AndAmericans and the Canadians have two different theories of what had happened. One said they hit the bottom of the lake and sprung a leak. The other theory had said that the high waves had sunk the ship.
The day after the Fitzgerald had sunk a church in Detroit called (Mariners) rang their bell 30 times. One for each of the crew members on board the Fitzgerald and one more time for all other sailors that had perished in ship wrecks.
In 2006 the bells of (Mariners Church) had only ran 8 times. I feel that this is wrong. As the people on the Fitzgerald lost their lives tragically.
The bell to the Fitzgerald was found and is now sitting in the ship wreck museum at Whitefish Point Bay.
Some years later they have believed they found a life ring of the Fitzgerald. After some time of reviewing the life ring they confirmed it belonged to the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Although, the Edmund Fitzgerald was the latest ship to sink in Lake Superior. It was the most popular of ships.
The other ships that had sunk in Lake Superior were. The Invincible in 1816.
The Whitefish Point Bay had taken some 240 ships and 1, 166 lives.
GREAT LAKES TREASURE SHIP FOUND
The ship called the New Brunswick full of Black Walnut lumber cargo with a value of about 100,000 dollars was found in Lake Erie.
She sank in 1858. It was also found by an under water camera. They found this ship in 1980.
This was the first anything to England. Only four of the nine crew members survived. The four members had saved themselves by hanging onto pieces of wood they put together to make a make shift raft.
The submersible proved positive that this was the New Brunswick.
The Trade Wind lies on the bottom of Lake Erie. She collided with a boat named Sir Charles Napier. Due to heavy snow. The cargo on the Sir Charles Napier was carrying about 200 tons on railroad iron and 2 Metallic life boats.
The Sir Charles Napier said that the Trade Wind could not have hit her since she was in dock. Some time later the Trade Wind did arrive and they had collided into each other, and the crew members had barely made it to the life boats. And both boats sunk simultaneously. The Trade Wind was headed for Chicago.
Act ually the Trade Wind was hit by another boat called the Citizen.
Both the Trade Wind and the Sir Charles Napier were both headed the same way.
The steamer called Maple Hurst was destroyed in December of 1922. She sank with 1800 tons of coal in her cargo. She is now lying on the floor of Lake Ontario. There were about 20 crew members on board. Only nine made it to safety. The other members decided among themselves to go down with her.
She was first launched as the steamer called the Cadillac in 1982. Later she was sold to the Canadians and renamed her the Maple Hurst.
“They took off her machinery and later she became a hazard to other ships.”
Today she completely broken up and sits partially in the sand. Where she sunk is fairly thin waters. A use of boat is used to dive and look at the boat. As the lakes usually rough.
Six other boats have met their demise in the North –entry. They are “Red Case” October of 1888. The Bessemer and Schuhkill both in October of 1889. The Wenonalnitch in September of 1898, and the Toledo which sank on October of 1898, and the Pasadena in October of 1906.
There are thousands of that has happened in Lake Michigan. As a tragic event that happened in the southern shore of Lake Michigan. The ship was headed for Michigan City. There were 800 people on board when the boat tipped over while in dock at Chicago. All of the passengers and crew were lost. This vessel was called the Eastland before it changed names. This also sank a submarine called the (Ford Killer). This catastrophe happened in the 1800’s.
A pleasure boat called the (Lady Ellen) went down on September of 1860. She was carrying members of the “Union Guard” from Milwaukee to Chicago. 300 people perished in this incident. And the demolished remains of the ship are strewn over the lake shore to Winnetka, Illinois.
There was another ship called the (Eureka) that sank in Lake Michigan in the waters near Indiana. This was lost in 1873. The ship called the David Dows sank in 1880. The F.W. Wheeler sank in 1893. The J.D. Marshall sank near the dunes in 1894. And the George F. Williams came to rest in Hammond in 1915.
Each of these boats had met their demise in some sort of way. Whether it be taking on to much water, blown of course, came too close to shore or hitting rocks. And of course many of them had met up with unpredictable causes.
With each of these tragedies they hold a time capsule of some sort.
These vessels not only carried lumber. They carried iron ore, railroad ties, and other things as well.
Some of them carried boutiques items that only the wealthy could afford.
In the water of the Great Lakes you will find the largest group of ship wrecks in the fresh waters.
The Atlantic sank within international waters of Canada and the United States. Between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The Atlantic collided with another boat called the (Ogdensburg) in August of 1852. And lies below the surface at 165 feet.
The Atlantic is still intact.
They had found the bell of the Atlantic in September of 1984. The bell was removed by Michael Fletcher along with the telegraph, and some other items also. He wanted to restore them and put them on display for all to see.
The Mar Drive Group from California happened on Michael Fletcher’s find, they used his buoy to find the location of the ship. They too removed a large number of items and took them back to California, to gain owner of the ship wreck through the California Courts.
The Canadian Government claimed the vessel was theirs since it is lying in the Canadian waters.
Mar Dive had explained that he found a tank on board along with a submersible, or a submarine in 1851.
The Supreme Court of the United States had made a decision that the Atlantic and the Ogdensburg were both at fault for they’re collision.
The passengers on board of the Atlantic were from Norway and Ireland. They were headed for Detroit.
After the Mar Dive took control of the Atlantic they wanted to fix the artifacts up and put the on an auction block. While Michael Fletcher wanted to restore them and put them all in a museum for all to see.
The Western Wrecking Group said they had the title to the Atlantic from the Ward family. The courts in Ontario had claimed the restoration of the Atlantic was not within the rules of Ohio and therefore this was null and void.
The newpaper article had said that the transfer of the title had no weight in the court system.
There was a law suit going on between the two owners about whose vessel was at fault of the collision. The family of the Atlantic had shown no proof that the vessel was theirs. The Atlantic was abandoned in 1973.
Michael Fletcher was the first finder of the Atlantic. However he had no right of ownership of the ship, according to the Ontario Crown. Since the vessel was embedded in the waters of Ontario.
Michael Fletcher told a press conference that in light of the courts ruling the numerous artifacts he is hoping that the court will rule in his favor that these items will be displayed in a public place.
He has been down to the Atlantic plenty of times since 1987.
Michael Fletcher hopes that regular people will have something to say about the artifacts on the Atlantic. He wants people to demonstrate against the Canadian Government, and he wants to see things happen his way.
SAMUEL F. HODGE
The Samuel F. Hodge was a steam boat that sank in Lake Ontario. Die to a fire aboard the ship while still in habor. The boat sank in July of 1896. The boat was headed for Prescott, Ontario, from Cleveland, Ohio. This vessel was carrying 600 tons of (iron wire).
When the ship was off shore from Orchard, N.Y. It caught fire and it spread very quickly.
A brisk wind was keeping the flames going since it was fanning the fire. The crew members had to save themselves or they would have perished in the fire. One of the crew members had to jump through a window to save himself. The St. Joseph who wasn’t too far away from the Hodge came to their rescue. They were spraying water on the boat but to no avail they could not put out the fire. Also the St. Joseph suffered some damage from this incident.
Two men in 2007 went diving in search for a ship named (Milan) when they came upon a piece of a large ship in the waters. They were not sure if this was the ship they were looking for or not. They had found a shell of a boat that was 135 feet deep. Well beyond the safety limit for any scuba diver.
To view this ship they had to have an underwater camera. That a High Intensity lighting system to look at the images of the boat. They got a (Remote Operated Vehicle) ROV to go down and check to see what boat was laying below the surface.
They sent the ROV down and they found the boat was sitting upright in the water. The sides of the boat were well above the ship. And the mid section was covered with a fine sand.
At the back of the boat they could see the (propeller and the rudder in plain view. They also had seen up close that this ship was burned.
The masts of the vessel had fallen off the ship while it was still burning and they came to rest on the shore of Oak Orchard.
They could not find the name plate of the vessel so they had to look for other identification.
They took measurements of the vessel to determine what this ship was. The demensions of the ship were 150 feet long and 30 feet wide.
This ship along with some other ships had determined that indeed this was the Samuel F. Hodge.
There are some 500 ships that had sunk in Lake Ontario.
Some of these ships had burned in harbor, some of them crashed upon the rocks, and some of them just came on shore.
There is still about 200 ship still in Lake Ontario.
Aperson named Jim Kennard ha been exploring ship wrecks for some time now. He had found some wrecks in the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, and in the waters of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivrs. He has been doing this for about 35 years.
Dan Scoville also had a lot of experience in diving for ship wrecks. He was in charge of designing of the ROV with college students from Rochester Institute of Technology. Since the beginning of his exploration he had found three bodies that he believed were hunters from an aircraft.
Both Kennard and Scoville found a British warship named the HMS Ontario. This was believed that this is the oldest ship wreck found.
There is a person named Roland (Chip) Stevens that does paintings of ship wrecks.
There was a storm in 1913 that had claimed about 10 ships. And many more crashed upon the shore. This was a very severe storm that had claimed 235 lives.
The ship called Matoa had went under the Blue Water Bridge on Nov 9 1913. After six in the morning.
After that the Senator went upbound along with the Matoa.
Captain Frederick W. Light of the Manola had said that the warning signals were up on both the Canadian and the American sides.
Trailing behind these ships was the “Regina” coming from Sarnia. The warning flags had been up for several hours already.
The boat went by Manola some 22 miles up Lake Huron.
The captain of the “Manola” had said if the storm would keep up, he would seek shelter at Harbor Beach.
He also told the weather station that the wind had shifted to the northeast. And the waters began to rise. The storm was becoming violent. The ship had hit bottom before he could reach the harbor. With the assistance from a tug boat they were able to make it to the break wall and tie it up. At 3: P.M. the ship was ready to drop anchor. Because of the wind being so strong they were having trouble tying the
The cables to the shore since the wind was so strong, the cables was starting to snap, to keep the boat from running ashore they kept the motors running from half speed to full speed. Still the boat was drifting; she had drifted some 880 feet before the boat would be kept still. The storm was so severe that it had damaged some windows. The crew was saying that from the force of the storm that the concrete break walls were breaking up due to the force of the winds.
Some fifty miles up the lake the (Matos and Captain McLeod were trying to ride out the storm without any kind of safety from the storm.
It was around noon before the winds of the storm had calmed down, and not to 11:00 P.M. before (Captain Light made the decision to continue on the way. It has been said that there are more than 1,00 ship wrecks in Lake Huron alone.
It has been recorded that there was an European that had sailed on Lake Huron. This was also the first one ever to sail the Great Lakes.
The (Griffon) from the eastern shore of Lake Erie and the La Salle also from Lake Erie sailed up on the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair into Lake Huron made it through The Straits of Mackinac. These two boats had made it safely to (Washington Island) off the “Door Peninsula: on the western side of Lake Michigan.
They had filled the (Griffon) up with cargo and sent her on her way and she never was heard from again.
Out of a 1,000 ships only a 100 of them have been found in the Saginaw Bay. The Matos was lost in the reefs of Port Austin.
In the Georgian’s Bay, North Channel ( The largest bay off Lake Huron also had claimed many ships).
The (Manila) weighing 2325 tons lies stranded on (Christian Island) off the Georgian Bay. She was headed for Port McMichael, with a cargo of 75,000 bushels of barley. The salvagers were able to save the content of the ship.
The Hold time the life time of the ships in Lake Huron is 22 years.
As all shipwrecks are a disaster and many lives have been lost. There is always a story behind them.
The John A. McLean was a 432 feet long and 52 feet wide, and 28 feet high. That could carry 5100 tons.
Captain Chauncey R. Nye was on his second trip on her. He was well known in the Great Lakes.
On Nov. 9 1913 he was headed for Lake Superior with a cargo full of coal. Little did he know he was headed for danger. She was last seen off the shore of Tawas, and she would not be found until 70 years later.
Never in maritime history have the lakes seen a horrible disaster of the storm of 1913.
The list of total was ships 250 crew members missing, with 48 bodies recovered.
The (John A. McLean) was number 8 in ship wrecks. With 28 crew missing. With 20 bodies found.
They believe the boat turned over close to shore. As her cargo was laying on the bottom of the lake, and carried out to sea by the current. Which was much deeper.
The wreck is about 185 feet.
When two crewmen named Jim and Mac went out diving. They had found out that in some of their air tanks were out of air due to the heat of the car. Plus this was not safe for him a s he had only 1 tank. And one tank was not safe to dive that far beneath the water.
The (John A. McLean) was on a slant and they were on the deeper end of the boat.
Mac and his wife Margie would dive first while Jim would dive later.
The water was calm when they went down to view the wreck. Half way down he saw the other divers coming up and they gave them the okay signal to continue the dive.
He was a long way down when he could see the wreck. He looked below him and he could see the wreckage.
The camera he had was set for only 150 feet deep, and he was at 185 foot deep. He had to stop his exploring of the wreckage as he was running out of air. And he has not been down there since.
They found the USS Oneida near Clayton, N.Y.
This was the first warship they found in the Great Lakes waters. This was an excitement for divers as they had found the cannon and 18 guns weighing 243 tons. They were 85 feet wide and 6 inches in length.
The anniversary of this war time ship was on March 31 1809. And the divers were very excited to find such a thing in the Great Lakes.
This ship was in the war of 1812.
In the early 70’s a director of a shipyard had asked 2 men to go down and check out the location of the ship.
The cannon was saved.
Because they were doing some construction was going on in the area. They also found and recovered other a number of items and had transferred them to a museum in New York.
The Oneida was abandoned for many years and left there to rot within the elements and ice to rot beneath the waters.