- DOOR COUNTY -

Obituaries & Brief Biographies
of the Door County Men Lost in the Sinking
of the Whaleback Clifton
September 22, 1924

(Note: the bottom of this newspaper page is very streaked and dark making it impossible to read some lines.)

Chief Engineer Walter Oertling, 43, is a marine engineer of long experience. When 16 years of age, he went into the Goodrich machine shops at Manitowoc and received his first engineering training and at the age of 19 obtained his first papers. From then on, Mr. Oertling was assistant engineer for the Pere Marquette No. 19 and then chief engineer for the Goodrich steamers Virginia, Christopher Columbus, and for the past 16 years for the Goodrich steamers Georgia and Arizona.
   A year ago last November he left the Goodrich company and took employment at the Sturgeon Bay Dry Dock company for the winter, the past spring receiving the appointment as chief engineer for the Clifton.
[steaked portion]
......Mr. Oertling by a former marriage, survive together with the following brothers and sisters: John, Crowley, La.; Herman, Milwaukee, who is captain of the Cleveland Cliffs steamer Thomas Britt; George, Milwaukee, salesman; Mrs. Carrie Orth, Milwaukee; Mrs. Mamie Burger, Manitowoc; Mrs. C. W. Sanderson, Cana Island.
   Mr. Oertling was awarded a medal fro bravery when the Str. John Duncan was wrecked some years ago. He was a member of the Marine Engineers' Beneficial association, Lodge No. 9 Milwaukee.


George Maples, 40, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Maples, who has been hoisting on the Clifton, was born at Whitefish Bay on February 20, 1883, and has made this county his home all his life. For the past twenty years, Mr. Maples has lived in Sturgeon Bay.
   Surviving are his brothers and sisters, Ruben, Roy, Harvey, Harold, Mrs. Mel Peterson, of this city, and Mrs. A. Peterson, Manotowoc; and his father and mother.
   George Maples sailed for the past fifteen years as a fireman on the Arizona, Sumac, I. W. Stephenson, and the tug Smith.

Harvey Jensen was born in Sawyer, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Larson Jensen, now deceased, in November, 1891, and was 32 years of age at the time of the Clifton disaster. In July, 1923, he was married to Mrs. Rachael Johnson at Menominee, Michigan, who with her daughter, Mildred Marle Johnson, aged 5, survives.
   Mr. Jensen attended the Sawyer graded school and the Long nautical school at Milwaukee, intending to continue his maritime schooling this winter either at Milwaukee or Cleveland, in order to get his mate's license.
   He has been a sailor for seventeen or eighteen years on such well known boats here as the Foster, Oak Leaf, Manitowoc, Rip Rap, Cumberland, Andaste, and Fontanta. His positions were all the way from decking and firing to watching and wheeling. For a time in 1915, he was stationed with the canal coast guards.

Getting basic training for mechanical engineering was the motive for Robert Stedman, 21, being on board the Clifton. He was a student at the University of Wisconsin, during [illegible] .. and 1922-23 [4 illegible lines] ...that boat arrived too late and the Clifton minus two men, was picked.
   He had no previous experience sailing and had no intention of following the marine life.
   Robert was born at Berlin, Wisconsin, June 19, 1903, and moved here with his parents Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Stedman, six years ago. He spent two years at the local high school, but took his last year at Appleton High school. At both schools he was prominent in football, basketball, and baseball, in particular being a member of the Appleton state champion basketball squad in 1921. His first year in high school was at Berlin.
   His father, president of the Door County State bank, and his mother; sister, Margaret, a student at the University of Wisconsin; and two brothers, John, also a student at the University, and Lougee, at home, survive.


Leo Brauer, 28, Institute, was born in the town of Sevastopol on August 21, 1896, and has made his home in Door county all of his life. He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Emily Brauer, and the following brothers and sisters: Henry, Joseph, William, Frank, John, George, Mrs. J. Bochek, Mrs. Joseph Meilke, Julia, and Elinore, of Sevastopol township, and Mrs. V. Londo of Sturgeon Bay.
   Mr. Brauer attended public and parochial schools in the town of Sevastopol and since finishing took up sailing and spent several seasons on other boats before taking employment as a deckhand on the Clifton about a month ago.

Pearl E. Purdy was for the past 20 years a resident of this city. He has been employed as a diver and also as a workman at both the Universal and Smith ship yards in the past. Then also for 16 years, he has sailed the lakes, so his employment on the Clifton as cranesman and runner was one obtained by long experience in marine life.
   Mr. Purdy was united in marriage in this city to Miss May Donovan, November, 1907.
   Mr. Purdy made several trips on the Clifton and just after his last one began, his wife and two children, Edward D., 10, and Kathryn L., 7, went to Detroit to make their new home. Besides his wife and two children, he is survived by three brothers, Charles, Harry and Walter, who reside in Detroit; also two sisters.


Russell Erdmann [The first two lines are illegible.] ...Julius Erdmann. He lived here since a small boy with his uncle, Henry Erdmann, attending the Sawyer graded school. Four years ago he started sailing on the tug Smith and since then he has sailed on the Cumberland, and Fontana. He was oiler on the Clifton for his second trip when the disaster occurred.
   Russel intended to make marine work his occupation for the future because his plans were to attend Long's school, Milwaukee, this winter in order to get his engineer's papers.

Lawrence Haen, 18, was not an original member of the Clifton crew and has never been a sailor. He took the last trip only to act as oiler for a man who left his job, since his work has been confined at the Smith Dock yards.
   Lawrence Haen, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Barney Haen, of this city, was born here November 7, 1905, and was graduated from the Holy Guardian Angel school four years ago last June.
   He is survived by his parents, and the following brothers and sisters: Clarence, Walter, Stanton, Clifford, Robert, Lena, Marion, Dorothy, Mrs. Frank Durkee, Mrs. Wm. Behringer, all of this city, and Mrs. Robt. Murry, of Appleton.

Bernard Haen, 19, was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Haen and was born in this city in April, 1905, living here all his life. He is survived by his parents and the following brothers and sisters: Florence, Agnes, Kathryn, Elinore, Margaret, Mary, Betty Ann, Leonard, Lester, Ralph, George, Milton, Hubert, and Raymond. Leonard, who is teaching out West, and Ralph, Chicago, were home this week on account of their brother's death.
   Bernard finished the parochial school here and two years of high school and then started sailing on the Fontana this spring. After making two trips, he quit and worked for the season in the cherry factory. Then, August 21, he started sailing again, this time on the Clifton with a job as oiler.
   "I'll see you in a week," was his last remark to his folks.

Roland Writt, 23, Escanaba, son of Mrs. P. W. Writt, of this city, was born at Sturgeon Bay January 27, 1901 and resided here until he was married two years ago to Miss Pearl Gary, of Escanaba. He is survived by his wife and an eleven-months-old baby; his mother; his sisters, Mrs. J. P. Dalebroux, Green Bay, [next line is illegible]. ...Hugh, Joseph and William.
   Roland has been a fireman and oiler since the spring of 1919 when he went sailing with his father on the I. W. Stephenson. He has sailed since on the Steinbrenner and the passenger Steamship Georgia, being only on the Clifton since after it was put into commission.
   Rolland Writt joined the navy in June, 1918, at Great Lakes and after three months was transferred to Detroit in September where he served until honorably discharged in January 1903 (sic). He was also a member of the local order of Catholic Foresters.

Harold Hart, last year a Freshman at the University of Wisconsin, taking engineering, boarded the Clifton on her last trip with Robert Stedman "for the fun of it", although he at the same time was earning money to aid in financing his future schooling, either taking up more engineering or changing his course to law. His mother, Mrs. Rubie Hart, planned on moving to Madison next February or next fall in order that her son and her daughter Marion could more easily attend the university.
   Harold was born at Green Bay in March 1905 and has lived here since he was eleven weeks old. In 1923 he was graduated from the Sturgeon Bay High school where he was prominent in activities. His Senior summary in the local annual shows the following: Lincoln Debating society, Athletic association, baseball, Junior class secretary, and member of the comic Opera cast, "All Aboard."

[No Photo] - George Husak, 21, although from 1137-17th street, Milwaukee, a son of a well-to-do clothier, is well known here among the younger people of the city, for since two years ago when he came here with the Y. M. C. A. cherry pickers, he has become attached to Sturgeon Bay and has stayed here working at several small jobs. For a time he was employed at the Langemak Billiard parlor and for the Anderson Service company.
   Mr. J. F. Husak, his father, and his mother offer a reward of $1,000 for the return of George's body. George is a recent graduate of the North Division High school at Milwaukee and is the second youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Husak to die in the past few years.
   His parents had urged him to stay at home, offering him a car and his summer vacations at their summer home near Milwaukee.

One of the youngest ship captains on the lakes was Capt. Emmett Gallagher of the ill-fated Clifton, according to reports from his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. C. Gallagher, Green Bay, whom he visited just before making his last trip.
   "Emmett was 34 years old, and single," states Mrs. Gallagher. "His home was at St. James, Beaver Island, where he was born and raised and started to work decking at the age of 16. He has always worked for the Cleveland Cliffs Iron company, taking command of the Clifton, his first boat, this year, after waiting for a change five years after he received his captain's papers.
"Three of his cousins were on board the boat, Joseph Shied and Peter Burns of St. James, and Anthony McDonough, who recently made his residence New York city.
   "Everyone who knew Emmett loved him. He was always good natured and kind and courteous to everyone."

(Source: Door County Advocate, Sturgeon Bay, WI - 3 October 1924)





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