Map of Arcadia Area Shipwrecks
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Great lakes shipwreck researcher Brendon Baillod identified the following ships as having wrecked within an area about 5 miles south of Frankfort, Michigan and 5 miles north of Manistee, Michigan. He said, "There may be a few more wrecks in the target area, because locations given were somewhat inaccurate back in the day, but these are the essential wrecks."
Using very general descriptions such as “Arcadia” or “4 miles south of Frankfort,” the map below identifies the very approximate places where those ships wrecked. Note that the ship names stacked up at Arcadia and Pierport are all described as having wrecked at those general locations, and the order of their names does not represent locations relative to each other.
To learn more about each ship, click its name in the map or the list below.
Arab (not shown)
2-masted schooner, wood. Official Number: 106407. 88x22x6 ft. 88 gross tons. Built in 1886 in Ludington.
Incident: Lost during a storm on November 8, 1905 the ship was driven ashore and wrecked near the entrance to Portage Lake in Onekama with no loss of life. The crew of 4 was saved a by a lightkeeper and the Manistee Life Saving Service. The ship was carrying bark.
A Timely Rescue
Three Exhausted Sailors Taken from Schr. Abbie
Manistee Lifesavers Arrived on Special Train
One Man Swam Ashore through the Icy Seas
Manistee, November 8. – Early this morning the little schooner Abbie, bound from Beaver Island to Milwaukee with a cargo of bark, ran aground just north of Portage Lake piers.
The Manistee life-savers hurried to the rescue on a special train and a gasoline launch towed them to the wreck.
The vessel was submerged with the exception of the cabin on which were crouched three of the crew nearly worn out by their struggles to save themselves. The remaining member of the crew had saved himself by swimming ashore. --Detroit Free Press
Gasoline propeller. Official Number: 203404. Passenger service. 26.1x8.5x2.9 ft. 7 gross tons. Built in 1906 in Frankfort.
Incident: On October 7, 1912 the vessel foundered at Arcadia in Lake Michigan with 7 people on board. No lives were lost.
2-masted schooner, wood. Official Number: 311. 100x25x9 ft. 204 gross tons. Built in 1854 in Buffalo, New York by Lavayea.
Incident: Beached in a storm on November 1, 1883 near St. Joseph. Wreckers got her off, but on November 13, 1883 during a gale while being towed by the tug Protection, she capsized and sank well off Arcadia about 25 miles from Racine, Wisconsin (and not shown in map above). One life was lost, an engineer who was desperately trying to start her pumps when she rolled.
City of Boston
Propellor, wood. Official Number: 4375. 136x26x11 ft. 431 gross tons. Built in 1863 in Cleveland Ohio by Stevens & Presley.
Incident: Stranded and wrecked a few hundred yards off-shore during a blizzard on 11/20/1873 about 4 miles south of Frankfort near Herring Creek. Cargo: Corn and flour. Her boiler was removed during a failed attempt to raise her in 1887.
November 25, 1873. – Capt. Keating, the Marine Agent and Inspector, was in the city yesterday on his return from a visit to the City of Boston, which lies beached some 5 miles from Frankfort, on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. She was laden with corn and flour, nearly all of which will be a total loss. The steamer is a complete wreck, broken amidships, stanchions on one side gone and otherwise badly out of shape. She has been abandoned, through her machinery may be saved. --Detroit Free Press
March 28, 1874. – The prop. City of Boston, of the N. T. Co., which went ashore 3 miles south of Frankfort, last fall, has gone to pieces. The hull lies in 15 ft. of water. There have been countless thousands of wild ducks on the lake during the winter feeding on her cargo of corn. --Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
City of Toledo
3-Masted schooner. Official Number: 4548. Carried lumber. 161x25x9 ft. 245 gross tons. Built in 1865 in Toledo, Ohio.
Incident: Rolled over and held capsized by her anchors August 30, 1892 north of Pierport. All 9 lives lost.
Manistee, Michigan September 1, 1892. – The schooner City of Toledo, belonging to the Manistee Lumber Company, cleared from this port yesterday with a cargo of lumber. She was caught in the northwesterly gale and driven on the beach near Pierport, 18 miles north of here. She turned completely over in a few minutes and all hands on board were lost. She was commanded by Capt. John McMillan of this city. His two eldest daughters were on board with him. The crew consisted of six men. There was a heavy sea running when the boat went out, so much that the crew had to take to the rigging. Three hours afterwards she was sighted with her flag at half mast, making for the beach. The vessel now lies bottom up about 50 rods north of Pierport. --Buffalo Enquirer
Manistee, Michigan September 1, 1892. – The accident occurred about 2 miles off Pierport and the boat drifted to within half a mile of the beach, where it now lies. --Buffalo Enquirer
Schooner, wood. Official Number: 9188. 137x26x12. 316 gross tons. Built in 1861 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Incident: Left St. Ignace for Chicago carrying 570 tons of iron ore on November 15, 1883. The ship became disabled during a blizzard, drifted eight miles south, and sank near Burnham’s Pier just north of Arcadia.
The Flying Mist
Sunk Off Burnham’s Pier
Manistee, Michigan November 16, 1883. – The captain of the lifesaving crew at Point Betsey telegraphed the life-saving crew here last night that a disabled schooner drifted by there last evening flying a signal of distress. The tug Williams was notified, and with part of the life-saving crew started this morning to find the wreck, which proved to be the Flying Mist, loaded with iron ore. She lies sunk of Burnham’s Pier, twenty-two miles north of here, in about 15 fathoms of water. Her foremast, topmast, and jibboom are gone. The crew all went ashore in their yawl boat. --Special Telegram to the Inter Ocean
Steam screw. Freight service. Official Number: 222983. 57.9x22.3x6.4 ft. 69 gross tons. Built in 1923 in Chicago, Illinois.
Incident: On May 30, 1927, the vessel foundered at Arcadia, Michigan with 3 people on board. No lives lost.
The ship was recovered, rebuilt, and redocumented as M. L. Edwards.
Schooner-barge, wood. Official Number: 90766. 550 gross tons. Built in 1873 in Saugatuck, Michigan by J. Martel.
Incident: On November 19, 1886, while being towed by the steam barge Manistique in a 3-day northwest gale, the Marinette (and Menekaunee) broke tow and eventually washed ashore. The Marinette washed up just south of Watervale. Six of seven lives were lost including the woman cook and her 13-year-old daughter.
Schooner-barge, wood. Sister ship to Marinette, often towed together. Official Number: 90765. 172 ft. 588 gross tons. Built in 1873 in Saugatuck, Michigan by J. Martel.
Incident: On November 19, 1886, while being towed by the steam barge Manistique in a 3-day northwest gale, the Menekaunee (and Marinette) broke tow off the Manitous and eventually washed ashore. The Frankfort Lifesaving Service struggled to get their apparatus to the beach but were too late. Just north of Watervale they found a mass of lumber, gear, and bodies on the beach protected by the ship’s dog, which died soon after. All seven crew lives were lost.
4-Masted schooner, wood. Official Number: 91220. 200x35x15. 823 gross tons. Built in 1880 in Gibralter, Michigan.
Incident: On October 14, 1893 under tow of the steamer Henry J. Johnson, the Minnehaha was caught in a 90 mph northerly gale, cut loose, and ran to the beach to save her crew. The Minnehaha broke up between Arcadia and Burnham. Much of the wreckage and cargo of corn ended up on Arcadia’s beach. Six of seven lives were lost.
ONLY ONE SURVIVOR
The Minnehaha of Cleveland Goes Down and Only the Captain Is Saved
Manistee, Michigan October 16, 1893. – The identity of the four masted schooner reported ashore near here has been established, the vessel is the MINNEHAHA of Cleveland Captain William Parker, with a cargo of corn. Of the seven souls on board the schooner but one, Captain Parker, escaped. Those drowned were:
John Rafferty, mate, Cleveland.
John Rafferty, Jr., Cleveland.
Mary Keefe, cook, Cleveland.
William Ahlstrom, sailor, Cleveland.
Two sailors, names unknown, both of Cleveland.
The schooner went ashore Saturday afternoon and it was seen that she must soon by pounded to pieces by the heavy seas.
The Manistee Life Saving crew was called upon for assistance, the claim being made that the Frankfort crew could not be reached. A train was immediately made up, and the crew and boat taken to Onekama where the boat was hauled 10 miles through the woods to Starke. Upon arriving there at midnight The Frankfort crew was found upon the ground, having arrived just before dark, but too late to be of any service. The schooner MINNEHAHA had been thrown upon the beach at about noon. The sea was running very high and swept the decks clean, and the crew was all drowned except the captain, who jumped overboard with a plank and swam ashore. The MINNEHAHA was being towed by the steambarge HENRY J. JOHNSON, also of Cleveland, which became disabled during the storm, and Capt. Parker, fearing that he would go down in the open sea, cut the towline and put for shore.
The lifesaving crew then returned to Manistee bringing Captain Parker with them. The captain said that his hatches went over the rail and the hold began to fill with water when he cut loose; but a few minutes after he struck the vessel broke in two and within half an hour nothing but the bow was left. The crew were amidships while he was at the stern when the vessel broke. He took a plank and jumped. They had no life preservers on board, and the opinion of the captain was that if there had been all would be alive today.
He refused to talk about the insurance and but very little information could be secured from him. He said he did not see the JOHNSON after he cut loose, but the boat was seen off Manistee passing south at 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon.
Following is Captain Parker's statement in full:
"We left South Chicago last Friday with 58,000 bushels of corn for Point Edward. We were taken in tow off Chicago by the steamer HENRY J. JOHNSON. We proceeded down the lake on the regular course, but was caught in the fearful gale of yesterday. The steamer made a great effort to reach the shelter of Manitou Islands, but the storm steadly increased in fury, she could make no headway against the big seas, and finally we had to turn and run before it.
"When off Frankfort, about noon yesterday, the great mass of water falling on the decks of the schooner broke open two of the hatch covers. Then the water began to run through the openings thus made, and we saw that it would be but a short time before the schooner must go down. We signalled, then we headed for the beach. We brought up about a quarter of a mile from the shore. Instantly the waves made a clean sweep over us and we all took to the rigging, except one sailor, who jumped overboard and attempted to swim ashore. He was drowned so quickly that the rest of us hesitated.
"I had run up the rigging of the jigger or small mast at the stern of the boat, but this soon began to shake, and I realized that our boat was going to pieces. There was nothing for me to do but jump overboard, which I did. I finally reached shore about half a mile below the wreck, but how I did it I do not know. While I was in the water the spars began going one by one. Sailor John Rafferty made a brave struggle for his life, and nearly succeeded in saving it. He managed to reach an old pier about half a mile away, and grasped the pole with which a man was endeavoring to save him. He was too weak to hold on, and was carried under the pier and drowned. Another sailor got as far as the breakers, but he, too, was so exhausted that he could get no further, and soon his lifeless body was being tossed about by the waves." --Buffalo Evening News
See also: The Wreck of the Minnehaha
Schooner, wood. Official Number 18174. 88x22x8 ft. 148 tons. Built in 1854 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by Barber.
Incident: Caught in a storm off Pierport on October 30, 1887, she was leaking heavily, out of control, and in danger of foundering with her cargo of lumber slabs, when the lifesaving service crew in Frankfort was called. The tug Hall towed the crew and their boat, but by the time they arrived, the Napolean was ashore near the dock at Pierport, and the crew was safe. Earlier in the month, the ship had been described as “crumbling to pieces with rot, so she would be fortunate if she had safely made the trip in fair weather.”
Prince Eugene – The Earliest Wreck in the Area?
2-Masted schooner, wood. Official Number: none. 71x21x8. 104 tons. Built in 1832 in Huron, Ohio.
Incident: In November of 1834, the schooner Prince Eugene was driven ashore in a gale and wrecked 8 miles north of the Manistee River mouth with its $70,000 cargo of mixed merchandise. In the summer of 1843, a small group of adventurers salvaged a portion of the cargo by canoe. The part salvaged included fabrics, leather, household goods, and numerous disassembled parlor stoves.
November 19, 1834. Quoting the St. Joseph Statesman. – SHIPWRECK – …Lake Michigan is one of the best lakes for navigation in the west; and this has been the only occurrence of the kind, to our knowledge, that ever happened in her waters. For the want of good and sufficient harbors, accidents of minor importance have occurred in attempting to discharge their cargoes. For this reason, on merchandize destined to the southern part of Lake Michigan, insurance cannot be obtained to cover any loss occurring in site of the light house at the port of destination. Merchants living in the sector have not, therefore, generally effected insurance at all. Such being the fact, we fear that the wreck of the Prince Eugene, much individual loss will be sustained. --Detroit Democratic Free Press
2-Masted schooner, wood. Official Number: 24393. 122x26x11. 213 tons. Built in 1861 in Chicago, Illinois by Miller Bros. and Clark Co.
Incident: On November 23, 1882, the Thomas Simms was at a Pierport pier loading hardwood lumber for Chicago when a sudden, fierce storm broke her lines and sent her toward shore where she broke into pieces.
2-Masted schooner, wood. Official Number: 24234. 93x20x8 ft. 139 gross tons. Built in 1843 in Oswego, New York by A. Miller.
Incident: In a storm on August 5, 1875 the Toledo was driven ashore near Perry’s pier in Pierport where the ship broke in two. By the 17th, the ship was reported as rapidly going to pieces.
August 16, 1875. –The Milwaukee `Wisconsin' gives the following details of disasters:- "During the storm of Thursday night and Friday last, serious damage was done to vessels lying at Perry's Pier, on the east shore of Lake Michigan, thirteen miles north of Manistee, loading with wood and lumber. The vessels were the schooners TOLEDO, BUENA VISTA and the CONQUEST, all of this port. The TOLEDO was moored to the south side of the pier, heading towards the beach. The BUENA VISTA was lying on the north side of the pier, heading out, and the CONQUEST riding at anchor outside of, and her stern just clearing the end of the pier.
When the storm arose Thursday night the CONQUEST dragged anchor, and was made fast to the pier with a hawser to prevent her from going on to the beach. The TOLEDO hung on to the pier, being unable to get away on account of the position of the CONQUEST. She laboured heavily and in a short time jumped out her jiboom and bowsprit. The CONQUEST gradually shifted her position until she swung alongside the TOLEDO with her line across the latters stern. In this position both of the vessels lay for some time, pounding upon a sand-bar which was under the TOLEDO near the mizzen rigging. Not until her stern was gone above the transom did it occur to the captain to let her go upon the beach, and when this step had been taken the vessel had been rendered a total wreck, full of water, upon the beach, where she lies buried in the sand.
The CONQUEST while also pounding on the sand bar under her stern had sprung a bad leak, and the BUENA VISTA which also hung on to the pier was pounding so heavily against it as to break five planks on the port side, two of them under water, but her crew managed to keep her afloat and hanging on to the pier until the gale subsided, although in doing this all of her lines were used up. Her small boat was also crushed and one of the davits carried away.
The BUENA VISTA arrived here this morning and brought intelligence of the disaster. Captain Peacock says the CONQUEST will endeavor to come over with a hold full of wood, but she may be compelled to tow, as her leak is a bad one. It is said that she has also lost her rudder. The crew of the TOLEDO, with the exception of Captain Sinnott, came over on the BUENA VISTA. Captain Sinnott will remain at the pier to examine the TOLEDO when the seas run down, in order to determine whether she can be saved. Her canvas and other outfit are said to be badly used up. --Toronto Daily Globe