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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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This News Article was transcribed & contributed by Kay R.

Pittsfield Sun - Pittsfield, Massachusetts - December 9, 1847


Burning Of The Propeller Phoenix..

The loss of this steamer on Lake Michigan, on her way to Chicago, is confirmed and nearly 240 persons sunk with her. About 200 of these were men, women and children, immigrants from Holland, the rest were the crew and cabin passengers. Mr. David Blish, of Southport, put Capt. Sweet, who was sick in his berth, into the small boat, with as many others as it would carry, and they reached the shore, Mr. Blish himself remaining to perish. Soon after the boat left the Phoenix, steamer Delaware hove in sight, but, before she reached the spot, the burning vessel went down, and but two of those on board, were picked up. The catastrophe happened on Sunday, Nov. 21, off Sheboygan, in a gale. The unfortunate boat had put into Manitowoc bay for shelter, where she dragged her anchors, and then went to sea again to avoid shipwreck. Fire was first discovered in the hold, and put out, when it reappeared between decks, having been communicated from the boilers. The crew consisted of 30, of whom 8 were saved, and there were 40 cabin passengers. It is estimated she had $80,000 worth of cargo, probably insured in New York. The boat was insured for $12,000.

The following is a partial list of the list of the cabin passengers:

Mr. West, lady and child, Racine; Mr. Fisk and lady, do.; Mrs. Heath and sister, Little Fort; Mrs. Long and child, Milwaukee; J. Borroughs, Chicago; D. Blish, Southport; two Misses Hazleton, Sheboygan.

About 25 other cabin and 5 to 8 steerage passengers, together with 150 Hollanders.

Of the officers and crew were lost -

D.W. Keeler, steward, Cleveland; J. C. Smith, saloon keeper, Buffalo; N. Nerril, 2nd mate, Ohio city; W. Owen, 2nd engineer, Toledo; H. Robinson, 1st porter, Chicago; J. Newgent, 1st fireman, Buffalo; deck hands - T. Halsey, T. Ferteau, River St. Clair, J. Murdock, A. Murdock, Canada; George _____; cabin boy - H. Tisdale, Cleveland, body found; wheelsman - L. Southworth, New Bedford; two colored cooks, Detroit.

The clerk, Mr. Donohue, states that there were on board 175 Hollanders, large and small, and about 100 other passengers and 25 of the crew, making in all 300 persons - 45 in all saved, 255 lost.

The Delaware, in passing on her way to Buffalo, in the track where the burning vessel was found, fell in with many floating bodies, to the number of about 100. Some of them were standing upright in the water, some of the women were lying on their sides, some - the children generally - on their faces. Some of the passengers were in full dress, some in undress, and others entirely naked - all with their heads to the northward.

They were within four miles of the land, and the wind was just drifting them ashore; so it was not deemed advisable to pick them up, as plenty of boats had been sent from Sheboygan for that purpose..

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