Century Old Shipwreck New York Found
By James Donahue
The twin boilers and dual smoke stacks mounted side-by-side instead of parallel with the hull were
distinguishing features that helped veteran Great Lakes shipwreck researcher Dave Trotter and his team of divers identify
the wreck found in Lake Huron, off the tip of Michigan’s Thumb District, in 2012. It was the 238-foot-long package freighter
New York which foundered in a storm on October 2, 1910.
The other key to identifying the wreck was a brass cap stand, found about 50 feet from the hull that
had the name New York clearly engraved on it.
The New York, under command of Captain M. H. Humphrey, was steaming north with a cargo of coal when
it became caught in an autumn gale and began taking on water. The leak was so severe the fires in the boilers were extinguished
and the ship’s pumps stopped working.
The ore carrier Mataafa, Captain H. J. Regan, with the barge Alexander Halley in tow, passed the foundering
steamer and turned against the storm to help. As the Mataafa turned the cargo shifted and the steamer almost capsized. It
was listing by two feet as a successful rescue of the 14-member crew of the New York was made.
The New York was found resting upright in 240-feet of water about 25 miles northwest of Harrisville.
Trotter said wreck was much farther south from the location the crew reported at the time it sank.
The New York was owned by the New York Steamship Company of Detroit at the time of its sinking. The
ship was launched in 1879 and in its day, was considered among the largest steamships operating on the Great Lakes.
Trotter, who said he spent years searching for the New York, has made a name for himself because of
his extensive research and discoveries of a long list of wrecks on the bottom of the Great Lakes. His team produces videos
of the wrecks and offers public lectures of interest to shipwreck buffs.