Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Schooner Capsizes*

The Lottie Cooper a Total Loss and E Olson Drowned.

The first life lost on the Great Lakes, for the season of 1894, was that of Edward Olson, a member of the crew of the schooner Lottie Cooper which was capsized off this port at 5 o'clock this morning. When the sun went down last evening, a heavy wind from the southeast began blowing, which later in the evening increased to a fierce gale, that lashed the water of Lake Michigan into an angry sea. The three masted schooner, Lottie Cooper, left Pine Lake, Mich., between seven and eight o'clock, Saturday evening for Sheboygan. She came to, about 50 rods south of the government piers, at eleven o'clock last night and dropped her anchor. Her torches were flashed for a tug but there was no response to the signals. A night of terror was spent on the vessel by the crew. Every huge wave that dashed over the boat drenched them to the skin. Morning dawned at last and their colors were hoisted. The companion way to the forecastle of the vessel was washed away and the bulwarks followed. She then began to fill with water and the flag was lowered to half mast, and in a few minutes, the vessel gave a lurch and keeled completely over. The crew gave a leap and sank from ten to twelve feet below the surface of the water. When then came to the surface the keel of the boat was skyward and the greater part of the cargo of lumber was caught in the rigging where the men clung to it. Edward Olson grabbed several loose boards and floated from the boat and in a short time, the men saw him lose his hold on the boards and sink from their sight. The lookout at the life saving station saw the boat careen and the crew responded with the small surf boat, but before getting to the end of the piers they had to return and take the large boat and with the assistance of the tug Sheboygan, made the perilous trip to the wreck, and rescued the live men, clinging to the moving pile of lumber, returning with them, safely to port, after about half an hours work. The men were taken to the sleeping apartment at the station where their wet clothing was removed and dry ones furnished. The bodies of the men were badly bruised, from the shifting of the lumber upon which they were compelled to cling for nearly a half hour. The Cooper was command by Capt. Fred Lorenz of this city and William Huhme of Charlevoix, was firs mate. The remainder of the crew was composed of Charles Esbach, August Pegelow and Barney Haynes, all of this city. Edward Olson, the drowned man, is a Norwegian, and his wife and two children, a daughter of 16 and a boy of 12 years, still live in Norway. He was about 50 years of age and had been in this country only three years. The Cooper left this city last Wednesday on her first trip for Pine Lake , Michigan, where she loaded 230,000 feet of elm lumber for the Mattoon Mfg. Co. The cargo was valued at about $3,500 and the vessel at $7,000. The vessel is a total loss without insurance. Part of the lumber will probably be saved. A greater part of the deck load was washed away during the night. The Lottie Cooper was built by Trumann & Cooper at Manitowoc, in 1873 and was named after a daughter of Mr. Cooper. When wrecked she was owned by Capt. Ole Groh, Capt. Lorenz, W. D. Crocker, G. B. Mattoon and Eugene Pantzer. Much credit is due Capt. Nequette, the members of the life saving crew, Capt. Ole Groh and Capt. William Groh and the crew of the tug Sheboygan for their brave and heroic work in the saving of the lives of the live men. After the crew was picked off, the lumber parted and had the tug and life boat been five minutes later, all hands would have perished in sight of their homes. Had Olson clung to the same pile of lumber, that the remainder of the men did, his life would also have been saved. The Cooper was 242 tons burden and was in good shape, as her spars, sails and rigging were all new. A large number were attracted to the beach this morning to watch the wrecked hulk drift toward the beach. There was some trouble in finding out the correct name of the man drowned. The captain of the vessel, upon which he sailed says his name is Edward Olson, and that his family reside at Orindale, Norway. The Cooper is breaking up and washing ashore. Olson's body has not been found.


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