Wreck of the Schooner Abbie
By James Donahue
The Abbie was a small two-mast schooner launched at Ludington, Michigan in 1886. It was owned by Grand
Haven interests and probably never left Lake Michigan waters during the 19 years it remained in service.
At 88 feet in length, the Abbie was especially built for small cargos and designed to be operated
by small crews. The vessel had a crew of only four men on the day it went aground and wrecked near the entrance to Portage
Lake, off the Michigan coast, on November 8, 1905.
The schooner was laden with bark and sailing south, apparently fighting against a stiff westerly wind
and hugging the Michigan coast in wintry November. The plan was to deliver the cargo at Milwaukee, on the other side of the
The vessel was driven on the rocks and there the rough November seas quickly broke the schooner apart
and sank it up to the cabin. There three members of the crew crouched until they were rescued by the Manistee life-savers
some hours later. One unnamed member of the crew successfully swam in the frigid water to shore where the local lighthouse
keeper gave him shelter and sent for help.
A story in the Detroit Free Press said the life savers arrived at the scene on a special train, and
then used a gasoline powered launch that towed their rescue boat to the wreck.