True Stories Of Ships And The Men That Sailed Them

Within these links are stories and pictures of ships and the men and women that sailed them, many of them lost at sea or on the Great Lakes.

Side Wheel Steamer 1860 Vintage

City of Port Huron 1867

There was a side wheel driven steamship called the City of Port Huron, built at Port Huron, Michigan, by a man named Joseph P. Arnold. Getting images of this vessel or learning anything about J. P. Arnold has been a task that has consumed hours of my time. That I once lived and worked in Port Huron, and overlooked this particular piece of the city’s marine history, is difficult to understand. Click For Story

Costa Concordia

The Infamous Fate Of Costa Concordia

The Costa Concordia became an infamous wreck off the Italian coast of Isola del Giglio after its master foolishly drove it on the rocks on January 13, 2012. Salvagers only this year managed to turn the 952-foot-long monster upright, get it riding on massive sponsons, and pull it away to be cut up for scrap. There were about 4200 passengers and crew on the seven-year-old cruise ship when it wrecked. Thirty-two people perished as the ship turned on its side and sank in shallow water. Click For Story

H. Rand

Tragic Capsizing Of The H. Rand

The 107-foot schooner H. Rand capsized in a gale in Lake Michigan, off Port Washington, Wisconsin, on May 24, 1901, killing the crew of four. Experienced sailors said they had warned the boat’s master, Captain Ralph Jefferson, that his habit of sailing with a short crew was setting the stage for disaster. They said a small crew was unable to handle a three-mast sailing ship like the Rand in a storm. They appear to have been right. Click For Story


Wreck of the Ajace

The Ajace, the 11-year-old three mast barque under the command of Captain F. Morice, was just completing a voyage from Antwerp, Belgium to New York. It was March 4, 1881, and the ship, laden with empty kerosene barrels and iron railing, sailed right into a northeaster' battering the Eastern Seaboard. The crew was blinded first by fog and then the gale. As the men struggled to control the rigging and deal with the storm, they nearly collided with another ship off Fire Island. The ship wrecked on the rocks the following morning, even as the lights of Sandy Hook were in sight. Click For Story

USS Jeannette In The Ice

Steamship Jeannette Lost On Top Of The World

It was promoted in 1879 as an incredible voyage to the North Pole. Crowds stood cheering along the San Francisco Bay as the USS Jeannette, a former British gunboat and three-mast steamship set sail with a crew of adventurers, bound for the Bering Strait and an attempt to be the first ship to ever reach the top of the world. Click For Story

Schooner Nelson

Schooner Nelson Lost On Superior

It was May 13, 1899 and the big schooner Nelson was at the end of a line of two coal-laden sailing ships under tow behind the Great Lakes steamship Folsom. They had left Sault Ste. Marie and were making their way out into the open waters of Lake Superior when the vessels got caught in a fierce late winter gale off Grand Marais. Click For More

Lost Schooner Thomas Hume

The Mysterious Lake Michigan Triangle

Like the infamous Bermuda Triangle, where aircraft and ships mysteriously disappear without trace, Lake Michigan also has a place where an unusual number of unexplained mysteries have occurred. Some writers have noted these events and are dubbing the area the "Lake Michigan Triangle." Click For More


Almirante Sunk in Collision

The steamship Almirante was carrying a cargo of fruit, mail and seven passengers when it was sunk in a collision with a U.S. Navy tanker off the New Jersey coast during the early morning hours of September 6, 1918. All of the passengers and all but five members of the crew miraculously escaped even though the 378-foot ship sank in just four minutes. Click For Story

Admiral DuPont

Civil War Era Steamer Admiral DuPont

Named for Samuel Francis DuPont, a distinguished Union naval officer whose skills in commanding a fleet of ironclad warships during the American Civil War earned him the rank of rear admiral, the little iron hulled passenger and cargo ship Admiral DuPont not only participated in the war, but became one of its casualties. Click For Story


Gallois Went Aground Fleeing U-Boat

The Gallois was a 321-foot merchant ship that holds the distinction of being one of nine vessels from World War II Convoy FS 559 that became disoriented in fleeing a German submarine attack and wrecked on the Haisborough Sands off the east coast of England. Click For Story

Sunk At The Dock

Excursion Boat City Of Cincinnati

When launched at Jamestown, New York in 1882, this 132-foot vessel began operating as an excursion ship on the Great Lakes under the name Cincinnati. In its day the steamer offered fine furnished cabins, fancy deck railings and colored sky-lights in the upper cabins. The competition on the lakes was fierce and by 1891 the Cincinnati was sold to the Chautauqua Steamboat Company for operations on Chautauqua Lake in the State of New York. For the next 35 years the vessel, renamed the City of Cincinnati, made three trips a day on the 17-mile-long trip between Jamestown at the southern end of the lake, and Mayville at the northern end. Click For More



James L. Donahue is the author of four fine books crammed with Great Lakes shipwreck and shipping history. His books, available through Thunderbay Press, can be purchased on line at Amazon, Borders and other popular book sellers. They include Steaming Through Smoke and Fire, Steamboats In Ice 1872, Terrifying Steamboat Stories and Schooners In Peril.

All written material on this site is copyright protected. Reproduction on other sites is permitted if proper credit is given and the material is not sold or used for financial gain. Reproduction for print media is prohibited unless there is expressed permission from the author, James L. Donahue.

Great And Lost Ships Of The World