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Many of the vessels listed on the first two Doxford pages on this site (1 & 2) are 'turret' ships. A 'Doxford' design, produced in considerable numbers by 'Doxford' in the years of 1893 thru 1911. 'Doxford' themselves built 176 or 177 of them, a handful (6) were built under licence at other U.K. yards, & at least one was built in Germany.

A list of Doxford 'turret ships' will soon be available, I hope, on a later page.

A 'whaleback' image page is here. Just 6 images today, but hopefully more in the future.

Now while the 'turret' design was developed for a particular reason, specifically to have lower operating costs in the application of the then Suez Canal transit fee computation rules, the origins of the design, or many of its characteristics at least, came from the United States. There, from 1887 to 1898, 42 'whaleback' ships were built. They were mostly used in the Great Lakes, & were constructed to the design of Alexander McDougall (1845-1923, a Scottish born Great Lakes ship's master from Duluth, Minnesota). One of them however, the Charles W. Wetmore, ran the turbulent Lachine rapids at Montreal, Quebec, with a cargo of grain from Duluth, & went to Liverpool where it was of great interest & curiosity. Doxford's first effort at something similar, the Sagamore, was or was not built under licence from Alexander McDougall, according to whom you believe. The Sagamore listing provides links to sources which say it was or was not so licensed. If it was, in fact, a 'whaleback' ship, (which seems to the webmaster not to be so, since Doxford, while using the basic construction ideas, built their ship in a way to ensure it was legally different), the 42 stated above, the number built in the U.S., would become a world-wide total of 43. The webmaster must, however, leave the resolution of such matters for historians & researchers to address.

Firstly, what did a 'whaleback' ship look like? I provide now an image of a 'whaleback' ship, available via an e-Bay listing of, of all things, a c.1920s cigar box! A most attractive cigar box however. An appropriate source in reality since a 'whaleback' was said to look quite similar to a cigar, 'with its rounded deck and conoidal (
truncated to end in a relatively small disc) bow, which offered little resistance to the elements, the hull resembled a breaching whale'. The listing is now gone, but the item sold for U.S. $41.00 on Jan. 2, 2010. Again I thank 'e-Bay University' for this wonderful item, & I particularly thank gotham-cigar-museum who offered the item for sale. Two images are shown below. A third image, of the box unopened, is available here. The box had dimensions of 8 1/2 X 5 1/2 X 2 1/2 inches. In fact, you get two for the price of one, since there is another 'whaleback' vessel, an un-powered barge, in the image background! The image, incidentally, shows the vessels at Weitzel Lock, Soo, Michigan. I believe it depicts the James B. Colgate. Why do I say that? A most similar image is here, in Neil Zoss's book, (but the page I wanted you to view is no longer available). So I can only tell you that most of the scene is quite but not completely identical. I suspect that the images were taken minutes apart, back in 1893. And in that few minutes interval, a few of the spectators moved just a little.

In Oct. 2010, another 'Whaleback' cigar box was offered for sale via e-Bay. While the image seemed to be the same, the one then for sale must have been earlier than that depicted below. Why do I say that? The cost of a single cigar is 7 1/2 cents below (2 for 15c). And it was 5 cents only in that e-Bay offering. Alas, I would seem not to have retained the listing image, possibly because of the image quality.

A start on some data sources re 'whalebacks' - 1 (Wikipedia), 2 (Nov. 3, 1891 article), 3 (Alexander McDougall, with image).

Many of the images that feature whaleback ships do not, unfortunately, identify the particular ship that is depicted. But many of those images are fine indeed. A page of such images is available here.

A fine source for data would seem to be 'McDougall's Great Lakes Whalebacks' by Neil R. Zoss, published in 2007 by Arcadia Publishing of South Carolina.

I should add, however, that the vessel in the foreground above may not be representative of the totality of the 'whaleback' ships that were constructed. Why do I say that? Read on ....

Self-powered vessels

a) Passenger ships (1)

There was, in fact, one passenger 'whaleback' vessel only - Christopher Columbus, built in 1893. But what a splendid looking vessel she was!

Christopher Columbus

Like all of the other vessel listings on this total site, the data that follows is WWW derived, from a great many sources. Each of those sources refer to the vessel with content that the respective authors thought was appropriate in their particular context. What follows is an amalgam of all of such data, which amalgam it is hoped, site visitors will find to be of interest. But corrections, which surely are necessary, or suggestions for improvement would be most welcome. A few of the data sources are as follows:- 1 (data, 70% down), 2 (images galore of the vessel), 3 (summary data, including ownership data), 4 (1917 accident), 5 (image, 1917 damage), 6 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access).

Some images of Christopher Columbus. It would seem that there are hundreds of thousands of postcards of this ship available! And, (forgive me!), most e-Bay vendors seem to think that their particular postcard image must be 'unique', & list their item at a price way beyond what would seem to be the true market value. Postcard images of the vessel are truly most plentiful.

The vessel was launched on Dec. 3, 1892 & completed in May 1893. Of 1,511 tons, 110.3 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, 362 ft., 2 decks (a 3rd was added later), speed of 18 knots. She was licenced, I read, to carry 4,000 passengers, but carried many more - 7,500 were reputedly aboard her on her maiden run. She was built by American Steel Barge Company, at West Superior, Wisconsin, at an estimated cost of U.S. $360,000, for 'Columbian Whaleback Steamship Company', of Duluth, Minnesota, to ferry passengers on the 20 minute, 6 mile run between Randolph Street in downtown Chicago & the grounds at Jackson Park of the 'Columbian Exposition' of 1893.  An elegant ship indeed, in her all white livery. I read that her grand saloon & skylighted promenade deck contained several fountains & even a large aquarium filled with trout & other Great Lakes fish. Oak paneling, velvet carpets, etched glass windows, leather furniture & marble were used throughout the vessel & of course 'electric' light. Shops & restaurants were provided & doubtless souvenir shops also! I read that she carried nearly 2 million passengers on that short run during the 6 month period that the Columbian Exposition was open.

I read also that she raced with Virginia in 1893, but detail so far has eluded me. But ... Wikipedia state that in Jun. 1895, she suffered an explosion caused by a steam pipe becoming disconnected while she was underway. Some say that the explosion occurred during a race with Virginia.

When the Exposition ended, the vessel was sold to Gregory Hurson, who formed Hurson Line, of Chicago, for the 170 mile run between Chicago & Milwaukee. Gregory Hurson had been the 'secretary', but have also read the 'agent', of Goodrich Transportation Company, of Chicago. Fierce competition resulted on that route between Christopher Columbus of Hurson Line & Virginia of the Goodrich company, & that competition lasted through the 1894 to 1897 seasons.

Hurson Line was then in financial difficulties. The vessel went through a series of ownership changes, initially to 'Columbian Whaleback Steamship Company', a company headed by Alexander McDougall, the ship's designer. The ship was then bought personally by A. W. Goodrich & he resold her, in 1905, to 'Chicago & Milwaukee Transportation Company', a company he had set up in 1898 with other 'Goodrich' shareholders. Goodrich Transportation Company leased the ship for the 1899 season, for operation by 'Goodrich Transit Line'. The postcard image above shows her in the ownership of that Line or company.

A third deck was added during the 1899-1900 winter season, at the Burger & Burger Shipyard at Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

The Goodrich Transportation Company leasing arrangement continued for many years.

In 1905, the vessel collided with Ralph Campbell, a schooner, in the Chicago river. I have not read any detail as to the circumstances. In 1909, however, 'Goodrich' acquired ownership of the vessel.

'In 1917, she was involved in a collision with a tower, damaging her pilot house.' Yes indeed! On Jun. 30, 1917, Christopher Columbus was at Milwaukee, being towed towards Lake Michigan by two tugboats, with 400 passengers aboard, bound for Chicago. She was at the junction of the Milwaukee & Menomonee rivers. Suddenly, the swirling currents of the Menomonee river spun the giant ship around. The ship’s protruding stern collided with two 100 ft. supports or legs that held up a dockside water tank at the 'Yahr Lang' drug company. The ship’s snout sheared the supports, & the tank, with its 10,000 (have also read 25,000) gallons of water, crashed down into the pilot house & upper deck of the ship injuring scores & killing 16 or 18 (have read both numbers) of her passengers. Many passengers were swept overboard by the rushing water. The ship was dry-docked for repairs & did not return to service until the 1918 season.

Her service as a passenger vessel ended in 1931. In 1932/33, the vessel was 'featured' at the 'Century of Progress' Exhibition, at Chicago. She was sold at auction in 1933 for $512.90, an amazingly small sum even considering the Great Depression, to a representative of the 'First Union Trust and Savings Bank of Chicago'. But the results of the auction were in 1936 set aside by a court & the vessel was then sold to 'Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company' for the almost equally modest sum of $6,500. The ownership data recorded above may well prove to be incorrect. Link 3 provides a list of her owners & from 1933 to 1934 they advise that William F. Price, of Chicago, owned the vessel. Could he have been the 'First Union Trust and Savings Bank of Chicago' representative referred to above? From 1934 to 1936, 3 also records that 'The Chriscarala Corp.', of Duluth, owned the vessel. Anyway, the vessel remained idle until Nov. 1936, when, presumably after that court hearing, the vessel arrived at the Manitowoc facilities of 'Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company' to be broken up.

I read that at her launch she was not only the longest 'whaleback', but was also the longest vessel on the Great Lakes, gaining her the unofficial title of 'Queen of the Lakes'. And 'Reportedly, the Christopher Columbus carried more passengers in her career than any other vessel to have sailed the Great Lakes'.

Hopefully, in the future, more detail will be added to the above paragraphs. The routes that Christopher Columbus served during her lifetime are not referenced. Nor are details of the fare wars during the years of competition with Virginia. The decision of the 1936 court hearing re ownership would be of great interest. Also text written from the perspective of the later passenger experience, where dancing was a prominent feature.

A 'Delcampe' auction item in Jun. 2010 indicates that a model of the ship used to be in the 'A. M. Chisholm Museum', at Duluth, Minnesota. Which museum would seem to have been, probably decades ago, at the former 'A. (Archibald) M. (Mark) Chisholm' residence on the corner of 19th Avenue East & 2nd Street. But may today be 'The Children's Museum' at the St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center (The Depot), in Duluth.
Do they still have that model of Christopher Columbus? That is a question I cannot today answer.

b) Merchant ships (17)

i) (16) - Built by American Steel Barge Company, of West Superior, Wisconsin, U.S.A. (close to & across the bay from Duluth, Minnesota)

Miramar list of vessels. It used to be that you could click on the link that follows & get to the relevant Miramar page. But no longer! The new procedure must be to go to Miramar (here) & log in (you must be registered to view any page). And once you are logged in, return to this page & the following link should work for you:- 17 vessels. (The 17 includes Christopher Columbus, above). An extended American Steel Barge Company (& its later names) build list is here.


A. D. ThomsonAlexander HolleyAlexander McDougallCharles W. Wetmore
Colgate HoytE. B. BartlettFrank RockefellerJames B. Colgate
John B. TrevorJohn EricssonJoseph L. Colby Pathfinder
PillsburySamuel MatherThomas WilsonWashburn


A. D. Thomson, Alexander Holley, Alexander McDougall, Atikokan, Bay City, Bay Port, Bay State, Bay View, Charles W. Wetmore, City of Everett, Colgate Hoyt, Clifton, E. B. Bartlett, Frank Rockefeller, Henry Cort, James B. Colgate, James B. Neilson, John B. Trevor, John Ericsson, Joseph L. Colby, J. T. Reid, Meteor, Pathfinder, Pillsbury, Progress, Samuel Mather, South Park, Thomas Wilson, Thurmond, Washburn

The following lists all 16 merchant ships, by year of build & in alphabetic order within a year. But only a few of them (5) are now WWW researched. In time, hopefully each vessel will have a comprehensive listing.

1 Colgate Hoyt
1252 tons
Hull 106


Bay City

A cargo ship. Per 1 & 2 (Colgate Hoyt), 3 (wreck, Thurmond), 4 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 84.3 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular,  certainly speed of 15 knots but 'reputed to have a speed of 16 knots', authorised to carry 10 passengers. The first self-powered 'whaleback'. Built, at the cost of $120,000, for the builder's account i.e. American Steel Barge Company ('American') & named after Colgate Hoyt (1849/1922), a prominent business man indeed, a partner in a Wall Street firm of bankers & bullion dealers, (James B. Colgate & Co.), director of 6 railroads, etc. And ... a director of American. In 1905, the vessel was sold to Benjamin Boutell of Saginaw Bay & renamed Bay City. The vessel was taken to the coast  in 1908 & renamed Thurmond. The vessel stranded & was lost on Dec. 26, 1909 near Seaside Park, New Jersey. Can anybody provide more data?

2 Joseph L. Colby
1295 (later 1245) tons
Hull 108


Bay State

A cargo ship. Per 1 (image, Joseph L. Colby), 2 (data & 4 images), 3 (1891 tow, Duluth/Buffalo), 4 (1896 tow, Philadelphia/Montreal), 5 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 80.8 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, 265 ft. Built for the builder's account i.e. American Steel Barge Company ('American'). I have not read who Joseph L. Colby was, but he surely had an association with American, likely as a financier & likely he was from Milwaukee. In or about Oct. 1891, the vessel towed 2 barges, with a total of 220,000 bushels of wheat, from Duluth, Minnesota, to Buffalo, New York. In Jul. 1896, the vessel towed 3 barges, with a total of 5500 tons of coal, about 1600 miles from Philadelphia to Montreal - for $1 a ton. Clearly, the vessel must have braved the rapids of the St. Lawrence river to be able to start that 1896 voyage in Philadelphia. I have read (here, 50% down, ref. June 16, 1891) that she left Prescott, Ontario, on Jun. 16, 1891, headed down river, but I suspect that data is in error. From other sources, Alexander McDougall would appear to have been aboard Charles W. Wetmore at that very same time, en route to Liverpool. In 1901, the vessel was sold to Pittsburgh Steamship Co., of Duluth, Minnesota, with no change of name. In 1905, the vessel was sold to Benjamin Boutell of Bay City, Michigan, & renamed Bay State. I have read also that White Oak Transportation Co. was then the owner - perhaps that was the name of Boutell's company? It served on the E. coast of the U.S. from 1908 to 1915, when it returned to the Great Lakes. Note that I have also read that the vessel went to the coast in 1918 & returned to the Great Lakes in 1923. In 1922, self-unloading equipment was installed in the vessel at 'Leatham D. Smith Dock Company', of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The vessel was abandoned, late in its life, & broken up in 1935 at South Chicago. Clearly my text above has major omissions. I read that the vessel had 10 owners over her lifetime. Only a few owners are so far referenced above. Can anybody provide more data?

3 Charles W. Wetmore
1399 tons
Hull 112


A cargo ship. That had a very short life indeed. Per 1 (Wikipedia), 2 (lost rudder), 3 (arrival at Liverpool, Jul. 1891), 4 (Everett data & 2 images), 5 (New Zealand article), 6 (data & fine image), 7 ('ILN' Aug. 01, 1891 article), 8 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access. Miramar references the name Charles W. Whetmore). 80.8 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, 265 ft., speed of ? knots, crew of 22, 'with most unusual machinery, a compound steam engine with cranks at 180°'. Mr. Wetmore was Secretary of American Steel Barge Company (have read also Vice President & an investor, certainly a financier & a lawyer. But what did the 'W' stand for?), so Charles W. Wetmore is surely correct. Built for & owned by the builder. Launched on May 23, 1891 & completed on Jun. 10, 1891. The ship, loaded with 2700 tons of wheat ex Duluth, was the first whaleback to leave the Great Lakes - in Jun. 1891, when she ran the St. Lawrence River rapids & particularly the Lachine Rapids in Montreal, en route to Liverpool (arrived Jul. 21) on her maiden voyage (a 15 day voyage, 11 from Lachine). I have read that Alexander McDougall was in command, but it clearly was rather a Captain Saunders, who suffering from heart disease, died in his berth aboard ship, at Liverpool, on the night of Jul. 28/29, 1891, likely related to exertions that day from his rescuing a man from drowning. It would seem (despite 3) that the cargo was reloaded at Montreal. Can anybody explain why? I would guess that the cargo was removed to lessen her draught through those Lachine rapids - she was too big for the then locks. At Waterloo Dock, in Liverpool, she was an object of great attention & interest, & indeed a 'sensation'. For a shilling a head, the public could tour the ship & more than £100 (The sum raised does not seem to be very significant. Just 2,000 visitors toured the vessel?) was raised in that way & donated to the Liverpool Sailor's Orphanage. She returned to New York (perhaps in 11 days?) & carried supplies from there, & from Philadelphia & from Wilmington, Delaware also, via Cape Horn (the Panama Canal only opened in 1914) to Everett, Washington, in part re a shipyard that Alexander McDougall planned to start at Everett. En route, on Dec. 10, 1891, off Tillamook Rock, 30 miles S. of the entrance to the Columbia River on the Oregon coast, she was found by Zambezi with no rudder (the rivets had progressively fallen out) & had to be towed to Astoria, Oregon, by Zambezi, for necessary repairs. Before arriving to great acclaim at Everett, on Dec. 21, 1891, after a voyage of 93 days. She never returned to the East. In Jul. 1892 she was in dry dock at Maury Island, Washington. And, while en route from Tacoma to San Francisco with a cargo of coal, she ran aground in fog on Sep. 8, 1892, on the North Split at Coos Bay, Oregon. No lives were lost. Attempts at salvage were frustrated due to bad weather. And the vessel was abandoned & presumably broke up where she lay. An e-Bay item advised me that at least 2 blueprints of the vessel were published in 1979 by The Archer Co., of Toledo, Ohio. Each blueprint is approximately 36 x 36 in. in size. Can anybody provide more data? Two facts that I would very much like to know. i) While I have not read the dates, it would seem that the ship made 2 voyages across the Atlantic, one in ballast. Does anybody have detail about that 2nd voyage? ii) Was a sum paid to the owners of Zambezi? For her towing/salvage efforts.

4 E. B. Bartlett
1400 tons
Hull 113


Bay Port

A cargo ship. A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. Per 1 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 80.8 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular. Built for the builder's account i.e. American Steel Barge Company. The vessel was sold, in 1905, to 'Boutell Steel Barge', & renamed Bay Port. I wonder who E. B. Bartlett was? The vessel was taken to the coast in 1908 & was wrecked, at Cape Cod Canal, on Dec. 14, 1916 (have also read 1912). If anybody has data about the ship that might help advance this listing, do consider providing it to the webmaster.

5 A. D. Thomson
1400 tons
Hull 114


Bay View

A cargo ship. A listing with only limited data. Per 1 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). I wonder who A. D. Thomson was? The vessel became part of the Benjamin Boutell fleet & was renamed Bay View. It was taken to the coast in 1908 & returned to the Great Lakes in or about 1920. I read that the vessel was abandoned & junked at South Chicago in 1936. If anybody has additional data about the ship that might help advance this listing, do consider providing it to the webmaster.

6 James B. Colgate
1713 tons
Hull 121


A whaleback cargo ship. Per A (e-Bay image, James B. Colgate), 1 (James B. Colgate, biographical), 2 (wreck data), 3 (NY Times article, 1893 collision with Athabasca), 4 (1905 collision with J. Duvall, 60% down page), 5 (NY Times article, 1916 loss), 6 (1916 newspaper report re sinking, partial crew list on p.#2), 7 (sinking account ex James Wise's 'Sole Survivors of the Sea'), 8 (data & images), 9 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). A puzzle perhaps is that both Miramar & this page refer to James B. Holgate rather than James B. Colgate. Built for the builder's account i.e. American Steel Barge Company (initially Michigan Steel Barge Company?) at West Superior, Wisconsin, who owned her at least thru 1900. 93.9 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, 320 feet. James B. Colgate? James B. (Boorman) Colgate (1818/1904) was a prominent New York stock broker & noted philanthropist. In 1852 he was associated with John B. Trevor, in the 'Trevor & Colgate' brokerage firm which at about 1872 became 'James B. Colgate & Co.' The ship of the name was launched on Sep. 21, 1892. Now I read that the vessel had three later owners in her lifetime, specifically 'Bessemer Steamship Company' of Cleveland, Ohio, 'Pittsburgh Steamship Company' of Duluth, Minnesota, & 'Standard Transit Company', also of Duluth. But when those ownership changes took place has eluded me. Can you provide that data? (It would seem that 'Pittsburgh' may have owned her from 1901 thru 1916.) Similarly there is little data WWW available about her service lifetime except that she had a distinguished 24 year career on the Great Lakes & weathered many a storm over those years. However ... on Nov. 11, 1893, the vessel struck Athabasca, a passenger steamer, in Little Lake George, near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. Both vessels were damaged, James B. Colgate apparently seriously so, but the damage to both vessels was fortunately above the water line. On Dec. 5, 1905 the vessel was in collision with J. Duvall ('Duvall'), a tiny schooner, near Harsen's Island in Lake St. Clair. Duvall sank with no loss of life. The vessel met her maker in 1916. In the early minutes of Oct. 20, 1916, a day which became known as 'Black Friday', the vessel, then owned, since just Aug. 1916, by Standard Transit Company, of Duluth, Minnesota, left Buffalo, New York, for Fort William, Ontario, now Thunder Bay, with a cargo of hard coal. The vessel was captained by 40 year old Walter J. Grashaw (c.1876/1928) ('Grashaw') of Cleveland, a most experienced mariner indeed, 26 years on the Lakes, 10 years as 1st mate aboard James B. Colgate, but just 2 weeks her captain. His very first command in fact. 26 crew were also aboard (but I have some doubt about that number). The winds picked up as the vessel headed westward down Lake Erie, a roaring gale indeed, probably aggravated by the shallowness of the lake. At dawn she neared Long Point, on the Canadian side. In the furious hurricane, foaming waves crashed on the vessel all day long. She began to take water aboard. The pumps were no match for the situation & at 8 p.m. the ship began to list. There was no help at hand - no other ship nearby, no radio, no ship to shore telephone - not yet invented. Hatch covers popped open forced by water from both above & below. The bow settled lower & lower in the water & just 2 hours later, at 10 o'clock, the vessel slid bow first under the surface. Now everything loose had long since been swept overboard, so no boat was available (she only had one), or even any wreckage, for the crew to hang on to. They had life preservers yes, but the crew soon succumbed to the combined effects of the cold water & the angry lake, and were drowned. Miraculously however, a James B. Colgate life raft, 5 ft. by 9 ft. in size, bumped into Grashaw. Two men were already aboard the raft, the 2nd engineer named Harry Ossman & a 'coal passer' or stoker (joined the vessel at Buffalo & name not known), & they pulled their captain aboard. The raft was later tossed upside down, & the 3 men were thrown back into the water - only 2 of the 3 made it back aboard, the 2nd engineer & the captain. As dawn came, the raft flipped again. Again the 2 got back aboard. The engineer, however, slipped off the raft soon after dawn, totally exhausted (but I have also read that he never was able to climb back aboard the raft). Now Grashaw was totally alone. The fury of the storm however began to slacken. That Saturday night,  a passenger steamer passed nearby but did not see him. On Sunday morning, 35 hours after James B. Colgate had sunk, officers of Marquette & Bessemer No. 2, a car ferry, spotted the tiny raft & its occupant in the water off Rondeau, Ontario, & took the Captain aboard. Almost dead from exposure & hunger, they put him to bed & 6 hours later landed him at Conneaut, Ohio, where he was hospitalized. He would prove to have been the sole survivor. Grashaw lived for another 12 years after this traumatic experience. So 26 of the 27 James B. Colgate crew were lost & only the captain survived. But ... I have read other numbers & suspect that it was correctly either 21 of 22 or 23 of 24. A total of 49 lives (have read many different numbers for this too) were lost on Lake Erie that 'Black Friday', as steamers 'Marshall F. Butters', & 'Merida' also succumbed, as did 'D. L. Filer', a schooner. 'Black Friday' indeed! The above account largely originates from 'Lore of the Lakes', by Dana Thomas Bowen, published in Sep. 1940. I should note, however, that James Wise, in 'Sole Survivors of the Sea', quotes Grashaw's words extensively with a story quite different from that recorded above. Grashaw saw the Coston light on the raft which did not then bump into him. Other differences also. There is no reference to a passenger steamer passing by on the Saturday night. But Grashaw relates that a Buffalo ship saw him on the Sunday morning & then passed him by. How devastating! But Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 was closest to his raft, behind him such that Grashaw had not seen her, & the rescue honours were left to that ship. There are of course many books which relate the story - a modest library of them, in fact. I read that in 1991, the wreck was located by Len Cabral (or Cabrala), a commercial fisherman, off the shore of Erieau, Ontario. Lying upside down in 85 ft. of water 8 miles SW of Erieau. Anything to add? If so, do consider providing it to the webmaster.

7 Pathfinder
2425 tons
Hull 123



A LISTING IN PROGRESS A cargo ship. A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. Per 1 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). If anybody has data about the ship that might help advance this listing, do consider providing it to the webmaster. Francis Ferrell advises (thanks Francis!) The whaleback barge Pathfinder sank in Whitefish Bay; Sault Ste. Marie, MI & ON[Canada], near Gros Cap Light in 1902[?]. Not only that but the Pathfinder had a long somewhat hustled life with many owners until she was scrapped in Cleveland in 1934.  Francis Ferrell The "Pathfinder" was built at Superior, Wisconsin in 1892 by the American Steel Barge Company. A propeller whaleback, she was of 2424 gross tons. She was renamed the "Progress" in 1921. In 1926 she was converted to a automobile carrier. The vessel was owned by Thompson Transportation, Cleveland, Ohio in 1925. She was sold to Nicholson Universal Company in 1930. The vessel was scrapped at Cleveland, Ohio in 1934.

8 Pillsbury
2234 tons
Hull 125


Henry Cort

A cargo ship. Per 1 (Henry Cort, 1917 wreck, ex 'Popular Science' 1919, Google Books), 2 (Miramar, you now must be registered to access). A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. If anybody has data about the ship that might help advance this listing, do consider providing it to the webmaster. 97.5 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular. However, the vessel was built for 'Soo Line Railroad Co.'. In 1896, the vessel was sold to Bessemer Steamship Co. & renamed Henry Cort. I read that in Dec. 1917, the vessel was in collision with Midvale at the mouth of the Detroit River. She was completely frozen in over the ensuing winter & was carried out into Lake Erie with the spring melt. Where she sank, was later raised & repaired & continued in service. A similar experience in Dec. 1933 at Detroit. She was cut open by the ice when at dock on her last voyage of the season. Again she was raised, repaired & soldiered on. The end came during a storm on Nov. 30, 1934, when she struck the breakwater, the North Breakwater it would seem, at Muskegon, Michigan. This time she was beyond repair. She was cut up by acetylene torches & sold for scrap. The crew? Was saved, it would seem, by lifeline. Can you add anything?

9  Samuel Mather
1713 tons
Hull 120



A cargo ship. A listing with only limited data so far.  Per 1 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). I wonder who Samuel Mather was? I read that in the 1920s the vessel was sold to Cleveland-Cliffs & renamed Clifton. On Sep. 21, 1924, the vessel foundered, with the loss of all hands, in Lake Huron. If anybody has additional data about the ship that might help advance this listing, do consider providing it to the webmaster.

10 Thomas Wilson
1713 tons
Hull 119


A cargo ship. Per 1 (data, many other pages also available), 2 (many images), 3 (Wikipedia page), 4 & 5 (both NY Times 1902 articles), 6 (data & images ex 'Zoss', including an image of the damaged bow of George G. Hadley), 7 (Milwaukee Journal, Jul. 6, 1950) 8 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Note... a fine reprint of the top image at left is available from time to time by from e-Bay vendor 'lakerev'. Contact that vendor should you have an interest in acquiring a print. 93.9 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, the 6th whaleback built, could carry 3,300 tons of cargo. Its speed? Have not read its speed but Colgate Hoyt, built 2 years earlier, was 'reputed to have a speed of 16 knots'. The vessel was named after Captain Thomas Wilson, under whom Alexander McDougall served, famed on the Great Lakes & a close friend of 'McDougall'. The last whaleback to be built with flush hatches. Built for the builder's account i.e. American Steel Barge Company. Its maiden voyage was to carry a cargo of grain from Duluth, Minnesota, to Buffalo, New York. It returned with a cargo of coal. Would have carried such cargoes, & also iron ore, thru its short lifetime. The vessel ran aground in Jul. 1892, (where I wonder?), damaged its propeller & had to be dry docked for a replacement. In May 1893, while towing barge #101, the vessel collided with barge #115 under tow by James B. Colgate. Thomas Wilson was little damaged but there was $8,000 of damage to the barge's hull (I presume that means to barge #115). Thomas Wilson was under repair for 5 days from Jun. 18, 1893. In Mar. 1900, the vessel was sold to 'Bessemer Steamship Company', of Cleveland, Ohio. And in Jun. 1901, it was sold again, to 'Pittsburgh Steamship Company' owned by 'United States Steel Company'. No changes of the vessel's name as a result of either sale. On Jun. 7, 1902, Captain Cameron in command, the vessel left Duluth, at 10:25 a.m., in perfect weather with its hatches not yet closed, loaded with iron ore ex Mesabi Range for delivery at Chicago. Inbound to Duluth was George G. Hadley, a wooden steamer of 2073 tons, from Toledo, Ohio, Captain Michael Fitzgerald in command, loaded with coal from Cleveland. Most of the links refer incorrectly to 'George Hadley'. Both vessels were in or near what then was a channel or canal, the Duluth Ship Canal. Apparently the coal docks at Duluth were all full, so Annie L. Smith, a tugboat, directed George G. Hadley to go to nearby Superior, Wisconsin. George G. Hadley turned sharply to port, did not 'whistle' its intentions & did not see Thomas Wilson, fully loaded & low in the water. Thomas Wilson tried to take evasive action. George G. Hadley struck Thomas Wilson forward of the aft hatch. Thomas Wilson rolled, righted itself, started sinking by the bow & sank within 3 minutes. A depiction of the collision is here. 9 of the 29 man crew lost their lives & it would seem that their bodies were never recovered. Mostly men of the night crew, who did not have time to get out of their bunks. A list of the names of those lost is at 6. The wreck was sold, as it lay, on Aug. 15, 1902. I wonder who bought her? The wreck is still there today, in 70 or so ft. of water 'less than a mile from the entrance of the Duluth harbor at the Aerial Lift Bridge'. In relatively good condition. A listed vessel since 1994. The ship & cargo were valued at $207,000. The George G. Hadley? It reached shallow water & was beached at Minnesota Point. It later was repaired, re-floated, sold & renamed William P. Rend. Captain Fitzgerald was found to be at fault at the Board of Inquiry into the accident & his licence was taken away. Can anybody provide more data? It would be good to locate & provide access here to the official report of the Board of Inquiry.

11  Washburn
2234 tons
Hull 124


James B. Neilson
J. T. Reid

A cargo ship. A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. Per 1 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 97.5 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, speed likely of 10 knots. Built for Soo Line Railway Co., but soon, in 1896, sold to 'Bessemer Steamship Company' & renamed James B. Neilson. Sold again, in 1927, to 'Nicholson-Universal', & renamed J. T. Reid. Broken up, at Cleveland, in 1936. If anybody has data about the ship that might help advance this listing, do consider providing it to the webmaster.

12 John B. Trevor
1713 tons
Hull 135



A cargo ship. Per 1 (partial vessel history & fine image), 2 (N.Y. Times, John B. Trevor obituary), 3 (a brilliant 1880s image of John B. Trevor), 4 (NY Times, Aug. 1899 sinking), 5 (aground in Aug. 1913), 6 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 93.9 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, 308 ft. Sister to James B. Colgate & Samuel Mather. However John B. Trevor had 8 hatches only, compared to 12 on the other two. Named for John B. (Bond) Trevor (1822/1890), a prominent New York stock broker, financier & philanthropist. Who was associated with James B. Colgate, from 1852, in the 'Trevor & Colgate' brokerage firm which at about 1872 became 'James B. Colgate & Co.' 'Glenview', his New York 'Hudson River' residence still stands today. We thank Bronson Trevor III, for that data. John B. Trevor was Bronson's great great grandfather. I digressed! This has been a most difficult vessel to WWW research. References are limited, errors abound, there is lack of dates & detail, & confusion in owners' names. So what follows is my 'best efforts' at a tidy summary, a summary that doubtless will need correction - which is invited. The vessel was built for the builder's account i.e. American Steel Barge Company ('American'). Its maiden trip was on May 30, 1895, from Duluth, Minnesota, to Ashtabula, Ohio. It became owned (when?) by Pittsburgh Steamship Co. of Cleveland, Ohio. An extraordinary accident on Aug. 10, 1899! John B. Trevor, with barge #131 in tow, both with iron ore, were outbound in the St. Clair flats channel. I believe that would be at Harsen's Island, Lake St. Clair, where Lake Huron drains into Lake St. Clair. Opposite Star Island. Also outbound in the channel was Crescent City, a steamboat. Up bound was Empire City. 'Crescent City veered about and struck the whaleback's towline, swinging the Trevor so that she lay across the channel. While in that position, the Trevor was struck by No. 131, which cut a large hole in the steamer's side.' John B. Trevor sank in 8 minutes, sunk by the very vessel it had been towing! No loss of life - all the crew made it with difficulty to barge #131. On Oct. 11, 1909, the vessel, then owned by Pittsburgh Steamship Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, (or maybe by 'Steel Trust'), loaded with iron ore, James Connolly in command, was wrecked at Rocky Reef, Rainbow Cove, Isle Royale, Lake Superior, in a major storm that lasted for many days. The vessel ended up high & dry. Unsuccessful attempts were made to free her & she was later abandoned by her owners. The wreck was successfully re-floated (when?), by Alexander McDougall no less, & her hull was sold to F. S. Wiley, of Port Arthur, who repaired it & lengthened it to 370 ft. It re-entered service in Oct. 1912 as Atikokan, named for Atikokan Iron Company, of Duluth. For 'Canadian Northern Steamship Company' or maybe for 'Canadian Northwest Steam Ship Co. Atikokan, the place, is located in NW Ontario, Canada, the location of the Steep Rock iron mine. On Aug. 17, 1913, while passing down the St. Clair River at Marine City, Michigan, the vessel was blown onto the riverbank in a major storm. Have read that the vessel's steering became disabled. It knocked down several buildings ashore, owned by the Pesha Art Co., (Louis Pesha, a postcard photographer), maybe a boat house & a dock. In 1918, it was sold to Cuban interests, (to exactly whom & when?), was cut in two & towed E. down the St. Lawrence River & through the locks. Was welded together again under the Quebec bridge. The vessel was sold, on Feb. 1, 1919, to Atlantic coast owners (whom & when). In late 1919, the vessel was sold to Dominion Coal Co. It made a couple of trips to the West Indies. It was laid up at Sorel, Quebec, over the 1919/1920 winter. In the 1920s, (when?) it was acquired by Canada Steamship Lines. Or maybe by Montreal Transportation Co.? It burned, at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1922, where its cabins were destroyed by fire and the hull was sold for junk. It was repaired, & lengthened by 54 feet. Became 365 ft.? In 1926, the vessel was sold to British Empire Steel Corp. (of where, & when). The vessel was broken up, per Miramar, at Sydney, Nova Scotia, in Q4 of 1925. But other data states that in fact it was broken up in 1935, at Halifax. And removed from the registers on Oct. 20, 1938. If anybody can correct the above or has data about the ship that might help advance this listing, do consider providing it to the webmaster.

13  Alexander Holley
2721 tons
Hull 139


A cargo ship. A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. Per 1 ('', Lloyd's Register data, 1933/34, Alexander Holley). I wonder who Alexander Holly was? If anybody has data about the ship that might help advance this listing, do consider providing it to the webmaster.

14 Frank Rockefeller
2759 (later 2760 & 3383) tons
Hull 136


South Park

A cargo ship. A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. Per 1 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 111.7 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, speed likely of 10 knots. Built for the builder's account i.e. American Steel Barge Company ('American'), but sold, in 1927, to Central Dredging Co., converted into a sand suction dredger & renamed South Park. The vessel's gross tonnage only modestly changed - became 2,760. In 1943, the vessel was sold to Cleveland Tankers, converted into a tanker of 3,383 gross tons, & renamed Meteor. Later in life, in 1972, it became a floating museum at  Barker's Island, Superior, Wisconsin. It is still there today, though, I believe, not floating any more & in poor condition. But ... I have NOT WWW researched this vessel. A job for the future. Rather I have added the listing to provide links to the then e-Bay images. I wonder who Frank Rockefeller was? If anybody has data about the ship that might help advance this listing, do consider providing it to the webmaster.

15 John Ericsson
3201 or 3200, later 3650 tons
Hull 138

77226 (U.S.)

A cargo ship. Per 1 (data, 4 images), 2 ('', Lloyd's Register data, 1930/31 thru 1945/46), 3 ('Grace's Guide', John Ericsson 1803/1889), 4 (a superb model of John Ericsson), 5 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 398.5 ft. long (121.46 metres) perpendicular to perpendicular, speed of 10 knots, signal letters VCSG. The only whaleback steamer with the bridge structure forward. All the rest had their cabins aft. Have read that it was the 2nd to last such ship (seems not to be so) & the largest (seems not true either). Built for the builder's account i.e. American Steel Barge Company ('American'), but sold to Bessemer Steamship Company later in 1896. Many many later owners. It would seem that the vessel had only one name in its long lifetime of over 70 years. After years of service, with iron ore, grain & other cargoes, it was contemplated that the vessel would be preserved at Toronto & later at Hamilton, both on Lake Ontario, Canada. But that did not happen. The vessel was broken up, at 'Strathearne Terminals', Hamilton, in 1969. I have NOT WWW researched this vessel. A job for the future. Rather I added the listing to provide the link to the then available e-Bay image. The vessel was named after Swedish born inventor & mechanical engineer John Ericsson, 1803/1889, who amongst a long list of accomplishments is credited with having invented the screw propeller. Can anybody provide more data to help the page along?

16 Alexander McDougall
3686 tons
Hull 141

107372 (U.S.)

A cargo ship. A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. Per 1 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 125.9 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, speed of 10 knots. Built for the builder's account i.e. American Steel Barge Company ('American'). I read that the vessel was sold to 'Hutchinson' in 1936. The vessel was broken up at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in Nov. 1947. If anybody has data about the ship that might help advance this listing, do consider providing it to the webmaster.

ii) (1) - Built by Pacific Steel Barge Company ('Pacific'), Everett Shipyard, Everitt, Washington, U.S.A.

1 City of Everett
2556 tons


A cargo ship, which became a tanker. Per 1 (ownership history, data & image), 2 (extensive data & 6 images), 3 (Leif Eriksson, $5), 4 (Captain H. F. Lucas), 5 (Malaga), 6 (NY Times, Republic), 7 (Republic), 8 (NY Times, India, 1897), 9 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 105.5 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, 346 ft. (or 364 ft.), speed of 10 knots. A crew of 33 in 1900. Built on speculation for American Steel Barge Co., the parent? of Pacific. The launch, on Oct. 24, 1894, was a major event in the history of Everett, Washington - a grand celebration & a parade up Hewitt Avenue - floats, displays, the whole town turned out. The following really does not record appropriately the ship's greatest success - it is said in a bushel of WWW sites to have been the first U.S. ship to circumnavigate the globe & to have passed through the Suez Canal. But with no detail at all! It would seem, however, that the ship carried a cargo of corn & beans from San Francisco to Madras & Calcutta, India, in 1897, in a humanitarian effort to avert a widespread famine in India. And the vessel then carried a cargo of jute, from India to Spain, & hence would have transited the Suez Canal. The vessel, it would seem, never entered the Great Lakes. Yet I have also read that it was completely overhauled at Erie Basin in Apl. 1900. At Brooklyn, New York, perhaps? And not Great Lakes? Anyway, I have read the the vessel was built for the Standard Oil Company ('Standard'), of New York, but that would not seem to be true. The vessel was, it would seem, chartered, in 1894, to Dunsmuir & Co., for a 'Comax-San Francisco-Puget Sound' service.  In a strange quirk of history, City of Everett entered the harbour of Malaga, Spain, in 1898, seeking fresh water, unaware that the Spanish American War had commenced. I read that officials of the city came aboard the unarmed vessel & surrendered their city to the Captain! I have not read what he did with it! In 1899, the vessel was sold to 'American Agricultural Chemical Co., Inc.', of Everett. Only in 1901 was it sold to Standard, & then converted into a tanker. Now I have also read that it was converted into a tanker at Brooklyn, New York, in 1904, but that also would seem to be untrue also (see 1902 data that follows). For a few years, the vessel carried mineral products for Standard from Cartaret, New Jersey, to Port Tampa, Florida. On Sep. 8, 1902, while loading crude petroleum at Port Arthur, Texas, there was a major explosion (or 2 explosions) aboard the vessel. Caused by a defect in the electric lighting. A number of crew members, including the Captain, were seriously injured. The massive fire destroyed the ship & also the docks & wharves of the Texas Company (which company later became 'Texaco'). The ship, then valued at $280,000 was described as 'destroyed', but it was, in fact, rebuilt & survived for another 20 or so years. I wonder where it was rebuilt? Could that have been at Brooklyn? On Feb. 4, 1905, while off Cape Romain, N. of Charleston, South Carolina, the vessel was in collision with Leif Eriksson, a 2128 ton Norwegian merchant ship, which sank within 10 minutes of the collision with the loss of 2 lives (20 saved). Her wreck, lying 14 fathoms deep, was, I read, then sold for $5. A wreck recently re-discovered it would seem. At a date, likely in Jan. 1907, City of Everett, towing a barge with oil from Sabine, Texas, to New York, had a steel door to its forward turret torn off, 150 miles out of Port Arthur, Texas, & became unmanageable. Captain H. F. Lucas, came to her assistance & towed her to 'Ship Shoal' from which, once repaired, she resumed her voyage. The vessel probably could have towed Republic to port when on Jan. 23, 1909. Republic, a 15378 ton 'Oceanic Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.' (a 'White Star' company) passenger ship, en route from New York to Genoa, Italy, was in collision with Florida, a Lloyd Italiano passenger liner, in dense fog, off Nantucket. I think I have linked to the correct Florida - have I? - there were many many vessels of the name & no site of the many sites that I have visited re the Republic collision states her tonnage or indeed anything at all about her. Republic sent out an SOS since she was taking on water. 4 lives were lost aboard Republic. City of Everett, towing a barge (Standard Oil Company, #25), responded to the call, but Republic declined the help, twice in fact, preferring to rely upon the assistance of tugs of the White Star Line. Those tugs were delayed by fog & the towing efforts of Gresham, a US Coast Guard cutter were not successful. So Republic sank. The Republic passengers were transferred to Florida & then onwards to Baltic. Republic had stayed afloat for 39 hours, which time would have permitted it to be towed to safety at New York. Amazingly, it would seem that the Board of Trade in the U.K., did not conduct an inquiry into the sinking - since there were no laws to compel the attendance of witnesses from Florida, an Italian vessel, & absent such witnesses, a hearing would be considered tainted. In 1915, the vessel became owned by 'Standard Transportation Co., Inc.', of Wilmington, Delaware. And in 1918, became owned by 'Standard Oil Co.', of New York. In 1922, the vessel became owned by Abram I. Kaplan, also of New York. On Oct. 11, 1923, while carrying molasses from Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, to New Orleans, Louisiana, City of Everett foundered in the Gulf of Mexico, with the loss of the entire crew of 26. Have I missed anything of significance? Much of the above is from WWW data 'snippets', easily misinterpreted. Can anybody provide more data?

Unpowered Barges (25)

25 of the whalebacks were tow barges, or 'consorts', & almost all of them were never given a name, rather a hull number. Wikipedia advises that some of the barges had no boiler or stack, while others had a small boiler for operating winches & for cabin heat (often with a small stack off center).

Just five such barges on site today. And none WWW researched yet. Hopefully more in the future!


101, 103, 109, 115, 130, 131, Baravia, Berkshire, John Scott Russell, Lynn, Salem

101  101
428 tons

A barge. A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. No engine, of course. Built by American Steel Barge Company - for Barrett Manufacturing. The vessel sank in 1908.

103 103
1192 tons

John Scott Russell

A barge. A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. No engine, of course. Built by American Steel Barge Company - for Barrett Manufacturing, perhaps? Later renamed John Scott Russell & Berkshire. The vessel sank in 1905.

109 109
1227 tons


A barge. A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. No engine, of course. Built by American Steel Barge Company - for Pittsburgh Steamship Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The vessel sank in 1914.

115  115
1169 tons

A barge. A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. No engine, of course. The vessel sank in 1899.

130 130
1310 tons


A barge. A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. Per A (e-Bay stereoview). No engine, of course. Built by American Steel Barge Company for Great Lakes Engine Works. Later renamed Lynn. Scrapped in 1924. Note ... an 'Underwood & Underwood Publishers' stereo view of a whaleback barge is frequently available via e-Bay - showing a barge being loaded at the grain elevators at Chicago, Illinois. Such an e-bay listing was referenced above as this page was updated in Jul. 2010. The webmaster had intended to feature the stereoview in due course on page 182, since it did not seem possible to know which particular barge was depicted. He now knows that the barge is in fact barge '130', of Buffalo, as you can see in the image at left. If anybody has data about the ship that might help advance this listing, do consider providing it to the webmaster.

131  131
1310 tons


A barge. A listing which has yet to be WWW researched for this page. No engine, of course. Built by American Steel Barge Company - for Great Lakes Eng. Works. Later renamed Salem. The vessel was scrapped in 1946.

May I suggest that you navigate the site via the index on page 001.PRIOR PAGE / NEXT PAGE

Thomas M. M. Hemy Data Pages 01, 02 & 03 are now on site. Plus all of the other image pages, accessible though the index on page 05. [ ] £

To MV Danmark Slider Puzzle page & to the Special Pages Index.

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