Charles S. Price

SS Charles S. Price

1913 black ribbon

LENGTH: 504 ft.
BEAM: 54ft.
DEPTH: 30 ft.
TONNAGE: 6,322
BUILDER: American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, OH - 1910
OWNER: Mahoning Steamship Co., Cleveland, OH

It had been a good year. The 1913 shipping season, in volume of business, had shattered all previous records. More coal, iron, and grain had been moved than had ever been moved before. Every vessel that was fit for service was in commission and carrying a larger cargo than usual.

It was late on Saturday, November 8th, when the Charles S. Price departed Ashtabula, OH, loaded with coal and a crew of twenty-eight. The storm that had struck the head of the lakes in the early morning before seemed to have blown itself out and, even though storm flags were flying, the weather seemed to be improving. Sometimes everything is not what it seems and, like many others, veteran Captain William A. Black would not have been aware of the monster storm bearing down on Lake Huron as the Price passed Sarnia in the early hours of Sunday, November 9th, carrying her cargo and crew to a date with destiny and into the pages of Great Lakes history forever.

The 414 foot H. B. Hawgood had already been out on Lake Huron. Encountering the howling winds and mountainous seas, the Hawgood had turned around and headed back down the lake to seek shelter. The crew of the Hawgood were likely the last to see the Charles S. Price as they passed each other, the Price still battling her way upbound through the storm.

No one can say with certainty what the final moments would have been like for the Charles S. Price and her crew. Exploratory dives have found that her rudder is missing. Unable to see in the blinding snow, and unable to steer if she could, her top-side encased with sheets of ice it would only be a matter of time before she fell into the trough and rolled over by one of the mountain sized waves. She was found floating "turtle" just thirteen miles northeast of Port Huron, MI., taking every witness with her. There she floated, upside down, her bow partially submerged, with the Revenue Cutter Morrill and a tug, provided by the Lake Carriers' Association, standing helplessly by as silent guards to prevent other vessels from collision with her. News reports, based on the opinion of marine men, had guessed the wreck as being the Regina, even though noted that the visible hull was the wrong color. On the 15th the lake finally calmed enough to send a diver down who positively identified the "mystery ship" as the Charles S. Price.

Yes, it had been a good year.....until that Sunday in November. The shipments broke records and the rates were up. Below is a crew list of the Price who paid the ultimate cost with their lives.

 - William A. Black, Master, Cleveland, OH
 - Charles A. Hartman, Jr., First Mate, St. Clair, MI
 - Howard M. Mackley, Second Mate, St. Clair, MI
 - John Groundwater, Chief Engineer, Cleveland, OH
 - Bert L. Reynolds, First Ass't Engineer, Cleveland, OH
 - H. S. Brakeman, Second Ass't Engineer
 - Herbert Jones, Steward, Superior, WI
 - Mrs. Herbert Jones, Steward, Superior, WI
 - Steve Broski, Fireman
 - Chris Falkner, Fireman, New York, N.Y.
 - Harry Horn, Fireman
 - Fred Puttmann, Fireman
 - William DeMunnik, Wheelsman
 - Sidney G. Fennell, Wheelsman
 - Arze MacIntosh, Wheelsman, St. Clair, MI
 - Wilson McInnis, Wheelsman
 - Charles Blake, Deckhand
 - Joseph Falk, Deckhand
 - Charles St. Jacques, Deckhand
 - Frank Smith, Deckhand
 - Ernest J. Patton, Second Cook, Escanaba, MI.
 - Ives W. Morey, Oiler, Detroit, MI.
 - Herman Redecker, Oiler, Baltimore, Md.
 - Kerlin M. Sellers, Oiler, Baltimore, Md.
 - Henry (unknown), Oiler, Baltimore, Md.
 - Fred (unknown), Oiler, Baltimore, Md.

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This page last updated on  Wednesday, June 15, 2016
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