Milwaukee, Wis., Nov. 22nd, 1913
Vessel Henry Cort
Mr. E.C. Collins, traffic Manager,
Pittsburgh Steamship Co.,
We first got the wind on Lake Huron on November 8th, with heavy snow, but reached Detour and picked our way up the Soo River, locking up at 7:00 P.M. November 8th. The storm signal had then been flying for twenty-four hours and the weather report was that the wind would be moderate to fresh from the north or north-east for Sunday, so I decided to lay above the Soo until morning, which I did, making fast alongside the Zenith City at 8:00 P.M. off Big Point. The wind started to moderate about midnight, and at 5:00 A.M. Nov. 9th, was blowing about twenty miles per hour from the north northeast with light snow. At 5:45 A.M. we got underway passing Iroquois at 6:55 A.M. The wind was then blowing hard from north north-east with snow flurries. There were some fifteen or twenty ship[s] lying at anchor and they were tossing about on their anchor chains and tumbling around in such shape that I decided to go up under Parisienne Island, which I did lying there about an hour and a half. At 9:10 A.M. November 9th, we left Parisienne Island and when we reached Whitefish Point the wind had moderated and it had stopped snowing. From there I let her go full speed and shaped my course for Cape Gargantua. From there I shaped my course to the northward of Michipicoten Island, arriving abreast of the east end light at 5:25 P.M. November 9th. The weather was clear and the moon was shining, could see both shores. The wind was then from the north and it was blowing very hard. Running from Michipicoten to Otter Head the mate and myself were down on deck for over an hour looking over the hatches and forward turret, because I expected some sea from Otter Head light to the Slate islands. I figured on making the Slate Islands and lying there until daylight and that would bring me into Two [partial line missing] Tuesday morning besides I thought that possibly [line missing]
We were abreast of Otter Head light at 9:53 P.M. November 9th, two and one half miles off. It was then blowing very hard with snow flurries. Shortly after passing Otter head, I checked to half speed. She was throwing a lot of spray but no heavy seas were boarding her. I figured she would ice herself up pretty badly, consequently I checked. At 12:53 midnight we hove to, between Pie Island and Slate Island. At 7:30 A.M. November 10th, both mates and myself looked things over on deck and found everything O.K. At 8:00 A.M. I let go full speed for Slate Island passing Slate Island lighthouse at 9:22 A.M. I shaped my course for Battle Island passing five miles off Battle Island at 11:50 A.M. The wind had then backed up into the north west with snow, but we could see the land five or six miles off, and steamboats about three miles. I shaped my course again from Battle Island to Lamb Island passing Lamb Island five miles off at 2:00 P.M. Once more I shaped my course half way between Isle Royal and the north shore, passing Rock of Ages at 7:57 P.M. November 10th. The weather then was clear with a good moon. I shaped my course from there to three miles off Two Harbors with the Palorus on the moon, and went to bed telling the mate to call me at Split Rock and if he did not see Split rock to call me at 4:00 A.M. November 11th. We passed Split Rock six miles off at 4:10 A.M. and checked off Two Harbors at 5:30 A.M. In regard to the hatch fastener, none loosened up, because after we left Whitefish Point there was no time when enough water came over her to loosen anything. We were so close to the north shore at all times that it was impossible for the wind to make any sea.
As for holding her head into the wind, the trouble with this type of steamboat is to keep them from heading into the wind. On this particular trip on our run from Slate Island to Two Harbors, we had to keep from a turn to a turn and a half of starboard wheel on her to keep her from heading into the wind.
We iced up pretty badly, but it was only spray. To be sure I took the [line missing] the rate the wind was blowing five miles off the land was far enough to me. I figured the wind might go northeast and blow itself out from that quarter, and I was not going to run down to Two Harbors in a north east snow storm.
I do not know of anything more I can say except that we did not do one cents worth of damage to the boat or crew and that my ship was not overloaded. She was full of coal from stem to stern but was drawing only sixteen feet, the draft she was built for and she was just like a duck.
Return to the Maritime History of the Great Lakes Home Port
This set of letters is from copies in the collection of the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society, Bay City, Michigan and was made available by Dave Swayze.