1913 black ribbon

November 8, 1913

Saturday found the storm system centered over eastern Lake Superior. A false lull in the storm had brought the boats back onto the lakes, including the Wexford which had left Fort William with ninety-six thousand bushels of wheat for Goderich, Ontario. Gale wind flags were flying over all lake ports, but went mostly ignored by vessel captains; veterans of the lakes who had weathered storms before and expected nothing worse than usual from this one. Meanwhile, over Lake Superior, the storm was regaining strength.

As 60 mile an hour winds whipped western Lake Superior and northern Lake Michigan the 253 ft Canadian steamer, Turret Chief, upbound from Midland to Fort William was blown against the rock cliffs east of Copper Harbor. Her crew was able to lower themselves by rope to the beach where they built makeshift shelters and stayed for two days.

At about the same time the L. C. Waldo was caught by the storm near Keweenaw Point. Violent waves crashed over her decks and pounded at her with relentless fury, destroying the pilothouse and knocking out her electrical systems. Captain John Duddleson and the crew battled the storm for several long hours as it tore at the Waldo until she was finally driven onto Gull Rock. There the crew, twenty-three men and two women, huddled and waited for 90 hours as the storm raged around them to be rescued.

About 8:30 p.m. the James C. Carruthers, J. H. Sheadle and Hydrus passed downbound through the Soo locks trailed by Wexford. Only one of them would survive to port.

On Lake Michigan, the first storm casualty was the 267 foot Louisiana. Bound from Milwaukee to Escanaba for iron ore she was driven ashore at Washington Island and burst into flames. She soon had company when the two-masted schooner barge Halstead was flung onto what is now Schoolhouse beach. The 225 foot schooner barge Plymouth foundered with all hands off Gull Island after being cut loose and left by Captain Donald McKinnon of the tug Martin; an act which would cost McKinnon his license the following year. The Illinois took shelter behind Manitou Island, the captain pushing her nose onto the beach and running her engines to ride the raging seas.

Nov. 6 Nov. 7th | Nov. 8th | Nov. 9th 





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