Two Rivers, WI (Off Shore) Steamer VERNON Sinks In Lake Michigan, Oct 1887

Vernon Steamer Sinks.jpg VERNON Lake Michigan.jpg

Probably not less than 30 and perhaps 60 lives were lost with the steamer. The exact number may never be known. Only one list of the passengers and crew was kept, and that was aboard of the VERNON. There is no survivor to tell the story. The managers of the line say that the crew numbered between 23 and 25, and they know the names of only eight. Wheelmen, firemen, and deck hands are changed so frequently that no effort is made to keep a list of them. Nor can they give any information concerning the passengers. The Captain of the LAWRENCE, the only other boat of the Northern Michigan Line, estimates that there were at least 50 persons on the VERNON, and there is no reason to hope that anybody escaped. In the absence of a passenger list, and the inability of the officers of the line to furnish the names of even the members of the crew, it is impossible to give a list of thelost. It is known, however, that the following passengers were aboard the VERNON:
CLIFFORD B. BAUMGRAS, of Chicago.
MISS SALLIE DURKIN, of Chicago.
MISS KATE GALLAGHER, daughter of the Postmaster of Mackinac Island.
MRS. DUNLEAVY, of St. James, Beaver Island.
ROY HAZLETON, of Chicago.
Among the crew were:
Capt. GEORGE THORPE, of Ogdensburg, N. Y., master.
Capt. JOHN SULLIVAN, of Chicago, mate.
Capt. LARRY HIGGINS, of Chicago, second mate.
F. W. BURKE, clerk, eldest son of one of the owners of the line.
CHARLES MARCAU, First Engineer.
FRANK M. HALL, of Chicago, Second Engineer, a brother of EDWARD HALL, of Chicago.
MARTIN LE BEAU, steward, and HENRY LE BEAU, porter.
It is feared that Government Boiler Inspectors REED and FITZGERALD, of Milwaukee, were on the vessel.
The VERNON was returning from Cheboygan, Mich., and had stopped at St. Ignace, Mackinac Island, Beaver Island, Harbor Springs, Potosky, Elk Rapids, Traverse City, Northport, and Good Harbor, leaving the last-named port on Friday. Telegraph offices at some of the places are not open on Sunday, but inquiries made during the day brought the names given above of passengers who are known to have been on the steamer when she went down. On her previous trip to Chicago the VERNON had about 50 passengers, most of whom were laborers who were returning from St. Ignace. She may have had as many this time, although the local agents are inclined to think otherwise.
The case of CLIFFORD B. BAUMGRAS is a peculiarly sad one. He is the son of PETER BAUMGRAS, an artist of this city. The young man was the pupil of LORADO TAFT, the sculptor, and was making splendid progress in that are. He was 18 years old, a tall, hansdome young man, the pride of his father, and loved by all who knew him. Three weeks ago he went to Cheboygan on a pleasure trip. He wrote home early last week announcing his intention of starting for Chicago upon a new boat, which he had been informed would stop at Cheboygan. Shortly after the receipt of this letter his father telegraphed him not to come home by the lakes. The hotel keeper answered the dispatch by saying that BAUMGRAS had already left by boat for Chicago. "When I learned this morning," said the grief-stricken father, "that the VERNON was lost I expected the worst. Oh, my brave handsome boy! To think that he should meet such a fate when life was so bright and full of promise."
The VERNON was owned by A. BOOTH & Sons, of Chicago. She was built here a year ago last Summer by J. P. SMITH, at a cost of $78,000, and measured 560 tons. She was a passenger boat, and was designed to make the run between Chicago and Manistique. A mistake was made in her model, and when she was launched it was discovered that the draught of water without cargo was so great that she was unfitted for the route. When ready for sea her owners sent her to Lake Superior, and she was employed last Fall between Port Arthur and Duluth. This year she was chartered for the season to tow two ore schooners between Lake Superior ports, but when the CHAMPLAIN, of the Northern Michigan Line, was burned, early in the season, with a loss of 24 lives, the VERNON was put on in her stead. She has since been running in the passenger and general merchandise trade between Chicago and Cheyboygan, and at the time of the disaster she was bound here with a cargo or miscellaneous freight.

The New York Times New York 1887-10-31