The John D. Dewar

Next | Previous | Return to Start

The steamer John D. Dewar carried passengers and freight between Frankfort and Manistee with stops in Watervale, Burnham, Arcadia, Pierport, and Onekama. From the late 1800s until 1906, she sailed along the lakeshore making one round trip daily.


Entering the Arcadia Harbor
Looking southwest, the new channel (opened in 1893) would be in the distance and around the bend to the right. The logs on the right are lined up along Bar Lake's northeast shoreline.

The John D. Dewar
This steamer operated between Frankfort and Manistee from the late 1800s though 1906. For a short time after that, she operated between Ludington and Pentwater before being sold to a company in Chicago.

The John D. Dewar Approaches a Dock
This is a view south along Lake Arcadia's northeast shore. The steamer DeWar is on the left. Logs are stacked along the shoreline, in a barge, and in the water waiting transport to the Starke Sawmill. 

End of Service in 1906

Leaving the Arcadia Harbor
The steamer John D. Dewar heading toward the channel into Lake Michigan.

"The small freight and passenger str. JOHN D. DEWAR also came into the P.M. [Pere Marquette] Line Stmr's. when Kitzinger bought out the Frankfort & Manistee Line from Capt. H. Robertson. She was replaced on this run by the P.M. 6 and after operating from Pentwater to Ludington for a short time was sold to Chicago parties; finally burned." -- Arthur C. and Lucy F. Frederickson. Pictorial History of the C&O Train and Auto Ferries and Pere Marquette Line Steamers. 1965.

Daily Itinerary
Recreated from a hotel registry, this schedule shows the John D. Dewar's expected route at a time when Burnham was not a regular stop. The ship would start in Frankfort at 7AM, work its way down the coast to Manistee at 10:15 AM and return to Frankfort around 5:30 PM.


The View of a Local Resident

In a story about her childhood in Pierport, Bertha Gilson, born September 3, 1888, had this to say about shipping in the area and the Dewar:

"After the Sunday School service, different groups would take a walk to Lake Michigan beach, go out on the piers which had been built to hold the lumber brought via the little train and ready to be shipped to Chicago mainly. There were times when there were as many as seven vessels anchored waiting to be loaded. ... There was one small passenger and freight steam boat, the John D. Dewar. Its course was mainly Frankfort to Manistee with stops at ports between (Watervale, Arcadia, Pierport, and Onekama). This boat brought all merchandise for the only store which was owned by C. W. Perry. ... The cost on the John D. Dewar from Pierport to Manistee was $.50 cents round trip and $.25 for children. Our Sunday School had their yearly picnic at the Mineral Springs Park in Onekama. We all went via the John D. Dewar, a gala occasion"
-- Bertha Gilson. The Way It Was. 1978.


Next | Previous | Return to Start