The Present Day

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

This seemingly ends the story of the Seabird disaster. It is a fascinating, though tragic, footnote in the early history of steamboat navigation and of the opening of the Great Lakes and ultimately the West to civilization and commerce. Some histories, though, never come to an end. They just lie dormant for many years. One hundred twenty-one years after the tragedy, the history of the Seabird began again, when in 1989 a Chicago salvor by the name of Harry Zych, of American Diving and Salvage Company, brought suit in Federal Court for salvage rights to the Seabird. It appeared that the steamboat was to be a test case to challenge the constitutionality of the 1987 federal Abandoned Shipwreck Act which gave states sovereignty over their territorial waters. The case was ruled against the salvor in 1993. Except for some occasional sightseeing divers, the remains of the Seabird once again lie forgotten at the bottom of Lake Michigan


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