Loss of the Cummings. - The schooner M. J. Cummings, Capt. John McCulloch, foundered in the storm of May 18 on Lake Michigan, near Milwaukee, in 18 feet of water, forcing the crew of six into the rigging, where they clung many hours exposed to the fury of the gale. The lifesaving crew made a courageous but futile effort to rescue them with the lifeboat. In the afternoon the keeper and two of the crew of the Racine station and one of the crew of the Milwaukee station fell in with and assisted a party of volunteers in the attempt to rescue the survivors and surfman Gurdes, of the Milwaukee station, who had gained a footing on the wreck when the lifeboat was capsized the first time. Three of the crew of the vessel had drowned and two perished from exposure while lashed to the rigging. The last effort was made with the lifeboat of the steamer Nebraska, astern of a heavy scow in tow of the tug Hagerman. The tug took its tow well to windward of the wreck, but the boat came into collision with the scow and knocked a hole in her bow. She was slacked down without sending any crew to the rigging in which the three survivors were stationed. The mate lost his footing was drowned, but the other two embarked safely. They reached the beach without further accident. Six of the seven persons composing the crew of the Cummings were lost.
Other Events of 1894. - During the fierce gale of May 18, the schooner Myrtle carried away her rudder and drifted foul of two other schooners near Chicago harbor, causing her masts and bowsprit to go by the board, and leaving her helpless in the seaway. The life-saving crew made an attempt to tow out to the schooner, but the life-boat was capsized by the breakers and the crew narrowly escaped drowning. Shortly afterward the Myrtle stranded off Twenty-fifth street, and went to pieces, drowning all hands, comprising six men. The schooner Myrtle M. Ross caught fire early in the morning of July 10, near South Haven, Mich. Four of her crew were imprisoned in the cabin by the flames, the escape scuttle being obstructed by a cargo of cord wood. The life savers at the station took the fire apparatus to the steamer uncovered the scuttle and saved two of the crew, and with the assistance of the city fire department saved the vessel and cargo. As a result of this casualty four lives were lost. The schooner Hartford was overtaken by a storm on October 11, and went to anchor six miles south of Big Sandy station, Lake Ontario, when she foundered, drowning a crew of seven people. April: Steamer William H. Barnum sunk at the Straits. Steamer Minneapolis sunk by ice at the Straits. Schooner H. D. Root sunk near Put-in-Bay. Schooner Lottie Cooper wrecked off Sheboygan; one life lost. Schooner Island City sunk on Lake Michigan; two lives lost. Steambarge Burlington burned in Detroit river. Tug Truant burned on Georgian Bay, near Burnt island. May: Steamers S. S. Curry and A. D. Thompson seriously damaged by collision at Little Lake George. Schooner William Shupe waterlogged near Port Huron; several lives lost. Tug Pacific sunk at Upper Portage Lake Canal by collision with the H. C. Richards. Schooner Lem Ellsworth foundered on Lake Michigan; seven lives lost. June: Steamer Ocean and barge Kent sunk by collision near Alexandria bay. Steambarge W. P. Thew destroyed by fire at Bay City. Tug Giant sunk in Saginaw river. Tug Geo. B. McClellan sunk at her dock in Chicago. Dredge General Meade foundered on St. Clair Flats. July: Steamer White Star burned at Cheboygan. Schooner Glad Tidings sunk by the steamer Pathfinder near Grassy island; four lives lost. August: Steamer Roanoke burned off Fourteen Mile Point. Tug True sunk at Sandusky. Ferry Richmond sunk by collision with the steamer Puritan at St. Joseph. City of Nicollet sunk at Sandusky. Schooner Cobb sunk by collision with the steamer America. Tug Cheney crushed and sunk by the steamer Fayette Brown at Sault Ste. Marie. September: Steamer Robert Mills severely damaged by collision with the H. J. Jewett in the Straits. Schooner Mabel Wilson sunk by collision in St. Clair canal. Schooner William Howe sunk near Seulchoix Point; six lives lost. Schooner American sunk near Stony Point. Steamer Ohio and schooner Ironton sunk by collision on Lake Huron; five lives lost. October: Schooner John Wesley waterlogged on Lake Huron. Schooner Alva Bradley foundered in Lake Michigan. Steamer D. M. Wilson foundered in Lake Huron. November: Steamer Seattle wrecked near Rondeau harbor. Steamer S. C. Baldwin sunk by collision with the Iron King at Marine City. Tug Mary and Norman burned at Vermilion. Tug C. H. Lamb sunk at Sandusky. Schooner John Shaw foundered at Au Sable. Schooner Antelope capsized off Grand Haven. Schooner D. S. Austin wrecked at Ludington. Schooner N. P. Barkalow sunk at Toledo. Steamer Ida Keith sunk in Niagara river. December: Tug C. G. Curtiss sunk at Cleveland. Tug Isabel sunk at Alpena. Capt. John Pridgeon, at one time the largest vessel-owner on the lakes, died at his home in Detroit.
The following vessels also passed out of existence during the season of 1894; Steamer: James Pickard. Tugs: A. L. Smith, Crusader and Joseph Heald; all burned. Schooners: American Union, Col. Cook, Lottie Cooper, Lincoln Dall, Evening Star, Moses Gage, Prince Alfred, H. B. Moore, J. L. McLaren, Mercury, C. G. Mixer, Rainbow, Jack Thompson, Ida, Wyandotte, Jeannie Mullen, Baltic, D. G. Fort, L. M. Guthrie, Julia Miner, Silver Lake, Lulu Whiting, Gazelle, Speed, Magnolia, St. Catharines, and Ada; all stranded except the Lottie Cooper, which foundered.
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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.