Detroit (1837)
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Service History


"In 1837 the steamer Detroit, whose commander was General John Crawford, ran between Michigan City and Milwaukee, making regular stops at Chicago, Pike River and Root River, the latter becoming the location of Racine and the former Southport, the Kenosha of the present day. It made connections with a line of stage-coaches from Detroit and Toledo. The Detroit was a small boat and of sufficiently light draft to clear the bar at the mouth of the Milwaukee River. She landed her passengers for Milwaukee at the foot of Wisconsin Street..." History of Milwaukee, John G. Gregory, 1931.

There are reports of another Detroit that was also built in Milwaukee in 1837 and had wrecked off Kenosha (Fox Point) in 1837. That Detroit was a wooden schooner rather than a steamer and apparently was raised and put back into service after it was wrecked. It was lost again in November of 1842 off of Gravelly Bay, Ontario. Also, the steamer Detroit was 250 tons gross burden while the schooner Detroit was either 67 tons or 109.91 gross tons.

To further complicated matters, possibly another Detroit could be involved? The sidewheel steamer Detroit built in 1833 at Swan Creek, Michigan, owned by the Detroit River Steam Navigation Company, was beached and abandoned at Kenosha on October 25, 1837. The vessel was bound from Chicago to Milwaukee with passengers. This steamer was listed as 137.66 gross tons.
Final Voyage


The steamer Detroit, built in 1837 in Milwaukee, not to be confused with the schooner with the same name, ran between Michigan City and Milwaukee, making regular stops at Chicago, Racine, and Kenosha. This may be the same steamer that was built in 1833 at Swan Creek, Michigan. She was captained by General John Crawford, whose career as a lake captain ended October 25, 1837, when the Detroit was wrecked at Southport (now known as Kenosha) in a blinding snowstorm. The Detroit was anchored just offshore because she had run out of wood but than she began taking on water and her anchor broke, sending her ashore, where her passengers got off safely and the freight was taken off.
 
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