Joseph Fay


Joseph S. Fay

Joseph S. Fay One Of Many 1905 Storm Victims


By James Donahue


An estimated 44 persons died when an autumn storm that swept the Great Lakes on Oct. 19, 1905, left about 32 vessels sunk or wrecked.


Among the dead was David Syze, Port Huron, the first mate on the steamer Joseph S. Fay. His ship stranded off Rogers City and broke up.


The same gale claimed the propeller Kaliyuga, which disappeared on Lake Huron with all 22 members of its crew, and the Canadian schooner Minnendosa, which foundered off Harbor Beach with the loss of nine lives.


The storm was said to have been among the worst in the history of Great Lakes shipping. It was surpassed in terms of lives and property by the Great Storm of 1913.


Most of the wrecks occurred on Lakes Huron, Erie and Michigan. Many of the boats lost were the older, wooden hulled vessels that had outlived their years but were still plying the lakes.


The Fay was among them. She was an older wooden hulled boat, still steaming after a career of 34 years.


Wheelman George Rentley said Syze was washed overboard shortly before the vessel struck the rocks.


The Fay was steaming north across Lake Huron with a cargo of coal, bound for Chicago. She had the schooner D. P. Rhodes in tow when the storm hit.


Rentley said the gale began blowing hard around 6 p.m. He said he kept getting worse until it got so bad it took more than two men to hold the wheel.


He said Syze was lost sometime around midnight. After the vessel struck, the crew managed to escape in the ship’s yawl boat and safely reach shore.


The Rhodes also stranded just north of the Fay. It survived the storm and was later released.




The Mind of James Donahue

Great And Lost Ships Of The World