More Mishaps

Table of Contents

Title Page
The Ward Empire
The Birth of the Seabird
The Sam Ward
A Background on Lake Superior Shipping
The Seabird's First Service
A Change of Route
A First Mishap
Early Superior Routes
One Employee's Account
The Beginnings of Albert E. Goodrich
The Beginnings of the Goodrich Steamboat Line
Goodrich Purchases the Seabird
More Mishaps
The Beginnings of the 1868 Season
The Seabird's Departure
The Journey to Milwaukee
Heading To Chicago
Indications of Disaster
The Search
The Wait and the Suspense
The Seabird Sinks
More Waiting
The Bad News Arrives
The Statement of Captain Yates
The Statement of George Jacobson
The Statement of Edmund Hennebury
The Statement of Albert C. Chamberlain
The Origin of the Fire
A Third Survivor
The Statements of James H. Leonard
Another Fire Panic
Placing the Blame
Only One Body Recovered
Financial Blow
Letter Found
The Present Day

Between 1863 and 1868, the Seabird provided popular service. She was not without her adventures and mishaps, though. In her first season, beginning May 1863, she was under the command of Captain Dougal. This writer believes this is the same Captain Dougal who perished in the Sunbeam disaster later in the year.32 Because shipping was such an important method of transportation in that era, it was the custom of shipping interests to push the seasons to their limits, until they could no longer navigate around the encroaching winter ice. Ships would sail the Great Lakes waters to December and beyond. After a full shipping season the Seabird suffered her first mishap in mid-December of 1863. She was blinded by a terrible snowstorm and ran aground at the North Point of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, north of Milwaukee. Efforts to pump her out failed, so the Seabird remained grounded there until April 1864. A salvage contract was given to a Captain Kirtland who attempted to float it, but the efforts weren't successful until July 19. She was then taken to Chicago and repaired. So it wasn't until late in the season that the Seabird resumed her duties. In December of that year she had a collision with ice in Green Bay and almost sank.33

Newspapers gave accounts of other events in the next years. On March 30, 1866, the Seabird was locked in an ice jam near Sheboygan. In May 9, 1867, she crowded ashore two schooners, the Presto & Kewaunee. On September 26 she rescued two people in the lake near Sheboygan, Jerry Wood and Michael Gorman of Manitowoc. In October she had an accident in Port Washington and was repaired. On December 9 she was damaged while cutting through ice.34


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