Shipbuilding Record Surpassed. - With the advent of 1890 the ship- building industry assumed greater activity, and many large high-class steel steamers, exceeding 3,000 tons carrying capacity, were constructed, notably at the shipyard of the Globe Iron Works Company in Cleveland, which launched ten modern steel steamers, one each month of the year with the exception of March and September. The registered tonnage of these new boats is 23,366.16 gross tons, surpassing the output of any other yard on the lakes. The skill of lake shipbuilders seems to be amply proven in the symmetrical proportions retained in the largest carriers. Some steel barges were built calculated for through traffic to Montreal, and others built at West Bay City, Michigan, for the Atlantic coasting trade. The number of vessels built in 1890 was 236, the gross tonnage aggregating 170,870 tons and the net 145,584, which is the larges output on record to this date.
Many Vessels Stranded. - For the season of 1890, occurred a large number of strandings, which in nearly every case is due to the lack of the ordinary aids to navigation usually granted in other waters.
The greatest financial loss on Lake Erie was the propeller Chenango, through fire, and later the steel-built steamer O.C. Reynolds from the same cause. The total loss of the steamer Nevada through foundering in Lake Michigan was the heaviest in that lake for the season, though it is somewhat singular that the fatal Gray's reef, which cost the lake mariners nearly a quarter of a million dollars the previous season, only caught one vessel this year.
The low rates of freight throughout the entire season left the owners small margins to figure on, and there were some men of keen commercial intelligence who asserted that the building of floating property was being overdone. Notwithstanding this about 80,000 tons of new vessel property was added to the tonnage market for the next season.
Loss of the Annie Young. - The steamer Annie Young, owned by the Anchor Line Steamship Company, burned to the water's edge and sunk in about six fathoms of water, 20 miles off Port Huron. She left that port and steamed a few miles up Lake Huron, when she was discovered to be on fire. Every effort was made to extinguish the flames, but they spread with such rapidity that the captain ordered one of the yawl boats lowered in readiness to take the crew off when it should become necessary to leave the steamer. Against the captain's orders 12 of the crew got into the boat. Three of them, however, subsequently returned to the steamer. The yawl being towed alongside in the heavy sea, soon filled and the nine men left in the boat were drowned. In the meantime the flames were steadily and rapidly gaining possession of the steamer. The steamer Edward Smith was a few miles astern of the Annie Young. When the captain of the Smith saw the fire he cut off his tow and hastened to the rescue. The wind was fresh from the northwest. The engine of the Young was working and she was rolling in the trough of the sea, and it was an extremely difficult matter for the Smith to take off the men without catching fire herself; but finally all on board, thirteen in number, were rescued and taken to Port Huron by the Edward Smith.
Steamer Mackinac Goes to the Atlantic. - In the fall of 1890 the steel steamer Mackinac, 4,000 tons, was sent to the Atlantic coast from the shipyard at West Bay City, Mich., she being one of two sister ships built by Wheeler & Co., for ocean trade. The Mackinac was launched at Bay City, towed to Buffalo, cut in two sections, taken in this shape through the Welland canal, and the St. Lawrence river canals, and put together at Montreal, the additional expense of this work being about $10,000.
Other Events of 1890. - April: Propeller Chenango burned off Erie; was built at a cost of $60,000 in 1887. Tug McArthur burned at Kingston. Schooner Magnetic sunk off Bar Point. Dredge Munson foundered on Lake Ontario. May: Steamer C. Liken sunk on Lake Huron. Schooner Curlew sunk on Lake Michigan. Tug Wales sunk off Tonawanda island by propeller Canister. Propeller Roanoke burned on Lake Erie. Tug Tom Matham sunk by collision with the steamer Cumberland on Lake Erie. Scow Alice Strong sunk by collision with propeller Glidden. Schooner Jessie H. Breck lost near Nine Mile Point. Steambarge Ohio sunk by collision with steambarge Siberia near Mud Lake. Barge O. J. Hale sunk near Point Sanilac, by collision with the steamer Neshota. June: Steambarge Ryan foundered off Port Stanley. July: Steamer D. J. Foley burned and sunk near Charlotte. Schooner Huron sunk on Lake Erie. Steambarge Sea Gull burned at East Tawas. Steamer Fred Pabst struck by lightning near Fairport. Tug Mocking Bird burned at Cheboygan. Barge Norma burned at Sandusky. Tug John Martin foundered in Georgian Bay. Steamer Tioga explodes her cargo at Chicago; many lives lost; boat damaged to the extent of $20,000. Tug Mollie Spencer burned off Chicago; Tug Isaac May severely damaged by fire near Long Point. Schooner Verona sunk at Ashtabula by collision with the steamer Cambria. Schooner Charger sunk by collision with the steambarge City of Cleveland. The steamer St. Lawrence collided with the pleasure yacht Catherine on the St. Lawrence river near Alexandria bay. Of a party of 12 in the yacht, five were drowned. While coming across Detroit river the passenger steamer City of Detroit collided with the steamer Kasota just off Revere Range. The Kasota was struck just abreast of the mainmast, and before the headway of the City of Detroit was stopped she had cut her way nearly to the smokestack. In less than two minutes the Kasota was on the bottom, the cook going down with the vessel. The collision was said to be caused by defective steering gear on the City of Detroit. August: Steamboat Corsica sunk at Ashtabula. The wreck of the Chenango sold to James Davidson for $17,000. Schooner Two Fannies sunk on Lake Erie. Tug Annie Watt sunk near Barrier island by collision with steamer Alderson. Steambarge Monitor foundered off Milwaukee. Schooner Tasmania sunk in Lake George by the J. H. Wade. Steamer Massasauga destroyed by fire at Gibraltar. The schooner Fannie L. Jones, heavily laden with stone from Kelley's island, foundered in a heavy sea a half mile from Cleveland harbor. Capt. Thomas Raferty, who was part owner of the boat, was drowned. The crew of three men were rescued by the Cleveland life-savers. September: Schooner M. E. Tremble sunk by collision with steamer W. L. Wetmore near Fort Gratiot. Steamer Lady Washington foundered on Lake Superior. Barge Ben Brink wrecked at Eagle Harbor. Schooner Comrade sunk in Lake Superior. Barge Genesee Chief waterlogged off Thunder Bay. Schooner Delos Dewolf sunk at Sturgeon Bay. Scow I. A. Johnson severely damaged by collision with the Lincoln Dall. October: Barge Wahnapitae, in tow of the propeller John M. Nicol, went to pieces on the end of the breakwater at Cleveland and became a total wreck. Orlo W. Smith, of Oswego, New York, was lost. The remainder of the crew were rescued after much peril. Steambarge Fred McBrier sunk by collision with the Progress at Mackinaw. Steamer Ionia damaged to the extent of $18,000 by collision with the Monteagle off Waugashance. Schooner Boody sunk at Port Huron. Tug Red Cloud sunk at Ashtabula. Barge J. F. Warner wrecked near Alpena. Tug A. J. Piper burned at Sturgeon Bay. Schooner Clara waterlogged at Green island. Barge Cohen wrecked at Port Hope. Steambarge Mackinaw burned at Black river, Lake Huron. Tug Cora B. burned at Duluth. November: the schooner Caroline Marsh, one of the old-time lake craft, was driven ashore at Oswego during a gale and became a total loss. Schooner S. C. Reynolds burned near Colchester. Steambarge Bruno and consort Louisa wrecked on Marquette reef. Scow R. H. Becker capsized near Ahnapee. Schooner Jessie aground at Bois Blanc island. Steamer Messenger burned at Rogers City. Steamer Nevada sunk near Two Rivers; valued at $55,000. Barge Boscobel waterlogged at Sand Beach. Steambarge Cowie burned at Cheboygan. Barge 107, sunk by collision with a boulder at Sault Ste. Marie. Schooner David Wagstaff foundered off North Fox. The Canadian freight steamer, Lake Ontario, built at Port Dalhousie in 1872, was burned at Clayton, in 1890.
|Arrival of whaleback at Cleveland in the Fall.
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Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.