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Full List of Thunder Bay Region Shipwrecks

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There are reported to be over 100 shipwrecks in the Thunder Bay area. Many of these are only debris fields today, but a great many are fully intact. Approximate locations are given below. GPS or Loran coordinates are provided with the specific ship page.

About 20 ships on the Red List have been found, but a positive ID has not been made yet.

A note on terminology: During the early part of the 19th Century, steam engines were perfected and installed in shallow draft river boats. These paddlewheelers became known as steam boats and were of wood construction. Later the side wheel form of propulsion was developed and the boats could be of greater draft, resulting in more seaworthiness. Early Lake vessels were of this design until the propeller replaced the sidewheels. The engines were still steam however, so the name Steamer was retained by some authors, while others referred to them as Propellers to distinguish them from sidewheel steamers. By this time the days of sail were practically over and many schooners were striped of their masts and made into barges, towed by tugs or steamers.

Soon, all large Lake boats were propeller driven and the term Freighter became common. These came in various shapes and sizes until the classical Great Lakes shape evolved with the pilot house in the front and all machinery, crew quarters and galley in the rear. These became know as oreboats, although they could handle grain, coal, stone or other bulk cargo. They were still steamers however until the development in the early 20th Century of diesel engines large enough to drive ships. The diesel driven boats really couldn't be called steamers anymore, but Steamer became the colloquialism of any lake freighter or oreboat. All boats, of any length, whatever the engine type, are said to be steaming along while under way.

So, to keep the table below simple, all power boats, whether for freight or any mixed cargo, are called Steamers. Schooners, Barks and Brigs are sail boats. Barges are specialized scows built for that purpose, or cut down from sail boats. Tugs are small harbor craft for towing.

St.= Steel, Wd.=Wood, Bg.=Barge, Sw=Sidewheeler, length is given in feet. TBI = Thunder Bay Island. Nearly all the steamers, wood or steel were propeller driven. Today the term Freighter is the common term for the lake boats.
 

SHIP NAME TYPE LENGTH DATE LOST  WHERE LOST REASON LOST
----------------------- ----------------- ------------- ---------------- ------------------- ----------------
Acontious Schooner   10/29/1887 Presque Isle Stranded
Adriatic Bark   1872 Thunder Bay Collision
Albany Steamer, Wd., SW 210  11/26/1853 Presque Isle Stranded 
Allen, E. B. Schooner 111 11/18/1871 S. of TBI Collision
American Union Schooner 185 5/6/1894 Presque Isle Foundered
Barge No. 1 Ferry-Barge 309 11/08/1918 North Point TB Stranded
Bay City Schooner-Barge 140 11/29/1902 Alpena Dock Collision
Berriman, F. Bark 195 05/07/1877 SE of TBI Collision
Blanchard, B. W. Steamer, Wd. 212 11/28/1904 North Point Stranded
Braman, D. R. Schooner 142 1/1/1870 Off Black River Foundered
Bridge, H. P. Bark 162 1869 Thunder Bay Collision
Brooklyn Schooner 140 5/15/1892 Thunder Bay Stranded
Bruce, K. L. Schooner 126 11/8/1877 Lake Huron Unknown
Carkin, W. S. Tug   10/30/1887 Presque Isle  Stranded
Choctaw Whaleback 278 7/12/1915 Presque Isle Collision
Clifton Whaleback 308 9/22/1924 Off S. Point Foundered
Congress Steamer, Wd. 140 1867 or 1893 TBI Collision
Corsican Schooner 112 6/2/1893 Off TBI Collision
Czar Schooner 139 1/1/1875 Presque Isle Stranded
Davidson, J. Steamer, Wd. 230 10/4/1883 TBI Stranded
Deemer, E. H. Steamer, St. 239 5/20/1923 Harrisville Collision
Detroit Steamer 239 3/29/1872 Harrisville Stranded
Egan, M. Schooner 130 9/22/1875 E. of TBI Collision
Egyptian Steamer, Wd. 232 12/2/1897 Lake Huron Fire
Ellen Schooner 62 11/1856 Thunder Bay Stranded
Elvina Schooner-Barge 137 10/31/1901 North Point Foundered
Empire State Schooner 136 11/8/1877 North Point Stranded
Excelsior Bark 156 10/15/1871 N. of TBI Foundered
Fame Bark 154 1882 Presque Isle Stranded
Fish, William Brig   11/1869 Thunder Bay Stranded
Flint, O. T. Steamer, Wd. 218 11/25/1909 Thunder Bay Fire
Florida Steamer, Wd. 270 5/20/1897 Lake Huron Collision
Franklin, B. Steamer, Wd. 135 10/8/1850 TBI Stranded
Franz, W. C. Steamer, St. 346 11/21/1934 Lake Huron Collision
Galena Steamer, Wd. 190 9/25/1872 North Point Stranded
Gardner, N. Schooner-Barge 177 10/1883 Off S. Point Stranded
Gilbert, W. H. Steamer, St. 328 5/22/1914 Off TBI Collision
Grecian Steamer, St. 296 6/15/1906 Thunder Bay Foundered
Hanna, D. R. Steamer, St.  532 5/16/1919 Lake Huron Collision
Harvest Queen Schooner 137 9/13/1888 Presque Isle Foundered
Harwich Schooner   1/1/1858 False Presque I. Foundered
Havre Schooner 80 11/1845 Middle Island Stranded
Helen, C. Steamer, Wd. 186 10/14/1922 Thunder Bay Foundered
Holmes Schooner   10/4/1887 Middle Island Stranded
Hubbard, H. Schooner 52 June 1845 Off TBI Foundered
Ironton Schooner 191 9/26/1894 Lake Huron Collision
Ishpeming Schooner-Barge 157 11/29/1903 Black River Stranded
Johnson, J. T. Schooner-Barge 171 11/28/1904 North Point Stranded
Jupiter Schooner 138 9/15/1901 Lake Huron Foundered
Kaliyuga Steamer, Wd. 270 10/20/1905 N of TBI Foundered
Knight Templar Schooner-Barge 136 12/16/1905 Thunder Bay Stranded
Larson, Julia Schooner 70 8/27/1912 TBI Stranded
Mackinaw Steamer, Wd.   1/1/1890 Black River Fire
Marine City Steamer, Wd., SW 190 8/29/1880 Black River Fire
Maxwell, William Fish Tug 67 9/19/1908 TBI Stranded
Meeker, Lewis Schooner   1/1/1872 Off Middle Isle Foundered
Merrick, M. F. Schooner 137 5/17/1889 Off Presque Isle Collision
Miami Steamer, Wd. 132 8/6/1924 Off TBI Fire
Mildred Tug 49 11/6/1872 Thunder Bay Foundered
Monohansett Steamer, Wd. 164 11/11/1907 TBI Fire
Monrovia Steamer, St. 447 6/25/1959 Lake Huron Collision
Montana Steamer, Wd. 236 9/6/1914 Thunder Bay Fire
Morse, Fred A. Schooner 182 6/27/1892 SE of TBI Collision
Mowatt, James Schooner-Barge 166 10/10/1919 Alpena Hit pier, sank
New Orleans Steamer, Wd., SW 185 6/11/1849 Thunder Bay Stranded
New Orleans Steamer, Wd. 231 6/30/1906 N. of TBI Collision
New York Steamer, Wd. 269 10/1/1910 Thunder Bay Foundered
Nonpareil Schooner 55 7/7/1866 Middle Island Stranded
Nordmeer Steamer, St. 460 11/19/1966 N. of TBI Stranded
Norman Steamer, St. 296 5/30/1895 Lake Huron Collision
North Hampton Brig 119 11/1854 Thunder Bay Foundered
Ochs, Jay Tug 53 10/20/1905 Middle Island Foundered
Ogarita Schooner 174 10/25/1905 Lake Huron Fire
Palmer, E. B. Schooner 138 11/13/1892 Middle Island Stranded
Parkes, O. E. Steamer, Wd. 134 5/3/1929 TBI Foundered
Pewabic Steamer, Wd.  200 8/9/1865 Lake Huron Collision
Portsmouth Steamer, Wd. 176 11/10/1867 Middle Island Stranded
Raab, Lucy Schooner 115 11/1862 Middle Island Stranded
Raynor, Annie C. Schooner 120 11/17/1863 Middle Island Stranded
Rend, W. P. Steamer, Wd. 287 9/22/1917 Thunder Bay  Foundered
Roanoke Schooner 92 10/27/1866 Thunder Bay Foundered
Rounds, W. H. Schooner 138 5/2/1905 Black River Stranded
Ryan Steamer, Wd.   6/12/1890 TBI Stranded
Scott, I. M. Steamer, St. 504 11/9/1913 Lake Huron Foundered
Shamrock Steamer 146 6/26/1905 Alpena Foundered
Spangler, Kyle Schooner 130 11/7/1860 Middle Island Foundered
Simons, W. H. Barge 114 9/16/1933 Thunder Bay Fire
Stephens, W. H. Schooner 117 11/15/1863 South Point Stranded
Stevens, J. H. Schooner 100 5/15/1927 Presque Isle Fire
Thousand Islander Steamer, St. 166 11/21/1928 Lake Huron Foundered
Thew, W. P. Steamer, Wd. 132 6/22/1909 Lake Huron Collision
Typo Schooner 137 10/14/1899 Presque Isle Collision
VanValkenburg, L.  Schooner 138 5/3/1887 Lake Huron Collision
Venus Schooner 123 10/3/1887 Black River Foundered
Viator Steamer, St. 231 10/31/1935 Lake Huron Collision
Vienna Schooner 102 10/27/1906 Lake Huron Foundered
Warner, J. F. Schooner 127 10/13/1890 Thunder Bay Stranded
Wilson, Belle Steamer, Wd. 103 8/8/1888 Thunder Bay Foundered
Wilson, D. M. Steamer, Wd. 179 10/27/1894 Lake Huron Foundered
Woolson, Mary Schooner-Barge 179 7/18/1920 Harrisville Collision
Young, W. A. Schooner-Barge 163 11/17/1911 Middle Island Foundere

Credits, Notes and Links

  • The above table came from Thunder Bay Region, Inventory of Resources, by Kenneth Vrana, Timothy Watkins and Jay Martin, 1993, Michigan Sea Grant.
  • Thanks to John McConnell, Jay Martin, Lee Barnhill and Charles Feltner for making their research and data available.
  • Some data on boat length and tonnage from David Swayze's book, Shipwreck, 1992.
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