September 1, 1905: Several vessels wrecked in Lake Superior gale

On this day in 1905, forty-two people perished when four vessels steaming from Duluth and Superior wrecked in a late summer gale. The Sevona left Superior’s Allouez ore docks headed for a port on Lake Erie when the storm struck here near the Apostle Island. The Sevona struck the shoals between Sand and York Islands when she broke in two and went down, taking Captain E. L. McDonald and ten crew members with her. Eleven others, including passengers, made it to shore in a lifeboat. Also at the Apostles, the tow line between the steamer Venezuela and the wooden barge Pretoria—both laden with iron ore—snapped, leaving the Pretoria to drift. When she foundered about a mile from Outer Island, her crew of ten climbed into a lifeboat and headed to the island. Only five made it, saved by Outer Island lighthouse keeper Captain John Irvine. Another steamer/barge pairing carrying iron ore, the Iosco and Olive Jeanette, came to an even worse fate. Like the Sevona, they were on the way from Duluth to Lake Erie, nearing Michigan’s Huron Islands when a lighthouse keeper saw the Olive Jeanette break up and go under. The next day wreckage associated with the craft washed ashore near Keewanaw Bay, and a few days later pieces of the Iosco also were discovered by a tugboat. The Iosco had nineteen crew aboard, the Olive Jeanette a crew of seven. All perished.

The schooner Olive Jeanette. (Image: Great lakes Vessel Index)

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