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Old 11-03-2016, 09:08 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Default Amazingly Preserved 132 Yr. Old Shipwreck

CLICK photo for underwater video of wreck.

The wreck of the J. S. Seaverns was found earlier in this year. This passenger steamer went aground on a reef off Michiictoen Island on My 10, 1884. During attempts to pull her off the vessel sank. The vessel was constructed up from the bottom hull of the steamer Sam Ward and was first enrolled on August 28, 1880 in Grand Haven, MI.. After the sinking, the wreck was sold to Canadian interests but never salvaged. In more recent times ...

"A team of shipwreck hunters has added another find to its long list of discoveries. Jerry Eliason, Dan Fountain, Nick Lintgen, Ken Merryman and Kraig Smith found the J.S. Seaverns in Michipicoten Harbor, Ontario, announcing it with spectacular underwater footage of the well-preserved wreck. Plates and bowls still sit stacked in cabinets, more than 130 years after the vessel went down.

The Seaverns, a passenger propeller, was built in 1880 using the hull of the J.P. Ward (which itself had already lived several lives since being built as a sidewheel tug in 1857). In May 1884, it ran onto a reef while backing away from a Michipicoten Harbor dock. During a salvage attempt, the ship foundered and sank.

Ken writes, “As far as we know no one had ever discovered or dived it. The lifetime resident owner of the marina was not aware of the wreck. There were no lines on it and obviously the artifacts were all still there. It took us one day to find it, get a look at it with a drop camera, and do our first dive, although we did end up navigating the Michipicoten River back to the marina in the dark. That was far more white-knuckle than the dive. Without giving away too much information about depth before getting the go-ahead from the provincial archeologist, I can say we dove it on air.”
More at

A look at the J. S. Seaverns in better times.


"His ship sunk, his belongings gone but for the clothes on his back, L.S. Upson surveyed the scene along the remote shore of Lake Superior 100 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Upson was one of about 60 passengers and crew who survived the sinking of the packet steamer J.S. Seaverns near Michipicoten Harbor in May 1884.

It had been a harrowing experience for the survivors — "it was a fine night or all (would) have been lost," Upson noted in a letter home that was later reprinted in the Chicago Inter Ocean newspaper.

But while they may have been glad to be alive, the passengers and crew must have lamented their lot, with their possessions and supplies now on the bottom of the lake — and a wait of indeterminate length until they all could be picked up from the isolated outpost.

"This," Upson wrote of his surroundings, "is the most outlandish out-of-a-way place in the world."

A group of shipwreck hunters with ties to the Northland met earlier this year along that "outlandish" stretch of shore, in search of the lost Seaverns.

Using historical accounts and old charts to guide them, they located the wreck in relatively short order using sonar. On further exploration the five-man team found the Seaverns to be "in beautiful shape," said Dan Fountain of Negaunee, Mich., who led the way in researching the wreck."
Continued at:

A remarkable interior photo from the discoverers of the wreck

From another newspaper article at the time:

SEAVERNS, J.S. Propeller. Home port, Saugatuck. On May 10, 1884 Propeller sunk at Michipicoten, Lake Superior, with a cargo of supplies, and became a total loss. Hull loss $12,500. Cargo loss $20,434. Insured for $28,434
Disasters to Lake Vessels, 1884
Cleveland Herald Nov. 28th. 1884
. . . . .

SEAVERNS, J.S. Propeller of 173 tons. Built Saugatuck Aug. 1880 by James Elliott. Owned by R.C. Brittain. Home port, Saugatuck. Valued at $15,000 and classed A 2 REMARKS :- Built on bottom of Steamer WARD.
Vessel Classification of Inland Lloyds
American Hulls for 1882

This little boat[ J.P. WARD] had a colorful history. She was built at Detroit by J. L. Wolverton in 1857 as a sidewheel tug and was in use as a boom tug on the Saginaw River until she caught fire in July of 1865. She was raised and converted to a schooner (US#12791) locally, at a total cost of $40,000.

She was towed to Saugatuck after the accident above and her hull was was used by Brittain to build a passenger propeller named J. S. SEAVERNS (US#76152), being launched anew in 1880. The SEAVERNS was sold Canadian in 1884 and was owned on Lake Superior when she backed onto a reef in Michipicoten Harbor in May of the same year. She foundered after being pulled free, a total loss. ] Dave Swayze note.
From: http://images.maritimehistoryofthegr...46471/data?n=1

An aerial photo of Michipicoten Harbour before it was abandoned.

Another screw steamer docked at Michipicoten Harbour

An article from the National Park Service on Lake Superior wrecks and period maritime commerce.

A 1917 chart of Lake Superior

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 11-04-2016 at 12:03 PM.
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