a black and white photo of a ship
starboard-side profile of wooden bulk carrier Ohio. Image courtesy of Great Lakes Maritime Collection, Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library
a grainy underwater shot of a shipwreck showing a boxy structure with windows
A pilot house is clearly visible at the bow of Ohio. Image courtesy of Northwestern Michigan College/NOAA

Vessel Type: Wooden bulk freighter

GPS Location: N45°30.78802' W83°30.21978'

Depth: 315 feet

Wreck Length: 202 feet

Beam: 35 feet

Gross Tonnage: 1101

Cargo: Grain

Launched: 1873 by John F. Squires, Huron, Ohio

Wrecked: September 26, 1894

Mooring Buoy Data

Description: In September 1894, wooden bulk carrier Ohio departed Duluth, Minnesota, for Ogdensburg, New York, loaded with a cargo of grain. This transit required Ohio to cross Lake Superior, pass through the Soo Locks, then traverse Lake Huron, past Presque Isle and Thunder Bay. Along this route, Ohio encountered heavy weather and busy shipping lanes, a dangerous, yet all too common, combination. Meanwhile, two schooners, Ironton and Moonlight, were being towed by steamer Kershaw. The three ships were heading north when they encountered Ohio in rough weather, 10 miles north of Presque Isle. It was during this critical moment, with the vessels about to pass each other, that Ironton’s towline parted. The schooner broke free, veered off course and collided with Ohio. Both vessels sank in half an hour. Sixteen crewmembers of Ohio got into lifeboats and were later picked up by schooner Moonlight. The First Mate was picked up by Kershaw after clinging to a floating ladder for nearly two hours. Another steamer passing nearby, the Hepard, picked up two of Ironton’s crew while five of them, including Captain Peter Girard, perished in the accident on 26 September, 1894.

Learn about the discovery in the webstory, “History Meets Technology”

Great Lakes Maritime Collection digital archive: http://greatlakeships.org/2907022/data?n=9