Vessel Type: Sail: schooner
GPS Location: TBA
Depth: 310 feet
Wreck Length: 137 feet
Beam: 26 feet
Gross Tonnage: 295
Cargo: Furnace sand
Launched: 1863 by John Oades in Clayton, New York
Wrecked: May 17, 1889
Mooring buoy: None
Description: On May 16, 1889, the schooner M.F. Merrick left Port Austin, Michigan, and sailed north on Lake Huron with a cargo of sand. The spring waters were still ice cold, and a dense fog shrouded the schooner as it passed Presque Isle late that night. Just after midnight, the crew heard the whistle of another vessel. Thirty minutes later, the bow of the steamer R.P. Ranney suddenly appeared out of the fog and smashed into the M.F. Merrick’s side.
Frigid lake water poured into the schooner’s hull as the crew on deck climbed up into the rigging to escape the freezing waves. M.F. Merrick sank quickly, offering little chance for the crew below decks to escape. Five crew members perished. The crew of R.P. Ranney managed to rescue the captain and one seaman.
M.F. Merrick was not seen again until 2011 when it was discovered in 310 feet of water, preserved by the cold, fresh water on which it once served. M.F. Merrick’s discovery was chronicled in a documentary titled “Project Shiphunt.”
Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive: http://greatlakeships.org/2896889/data?n=31