E.M. Davidson (1871)
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By The Numbers
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Service History


In 1871 the three masted schooner E.M. Davidson was the second schooner James Davidson (Davidson Family Shipbuilders 1871-1932) built along the Saginaw River near the town of Wenona (later West Bay City, Michigan). He rented shipyard facilities from the Ballantine Shipyard of West Bay City. The E.M. Davidson was a twin to the Laura Belle and since these two schooners were relatively easy to build, they did not require extensive shipyard facilities.

In 1871 and again in 1875 the E.M. Davidsonl was valued at $20,000 and classified as A1.

Last Document Of Enrollment No.204 Surrendered: Chicago: February 23, 1881: "Total Loss".
Final Voyage


October 16,1879. The schooner E.M. Davidson was driven on the rocks at Pilot Island, Death's Door, Door County, Wisconsin. Captain William Morris and his crew safely escaped and from Escanaba had the tug McClellan dispatched to the stranded vessel. Attempts to pull her off were futile since the hull was leaking so badly. Later in October, the tug Leviathan arrived to pump out and salvage what was possible. But, late season storms had done their damage so the vessel was stripped and plans to return in early 1880 were made.

In April 1880 the tug Welcome upon inspection of the wrecked Davidson, discovered the bottom had been ripped off. By August of 1880, a salvage tug attempted to build a false bottom and float the vessel well enough to get her to a ship yard. The following month efforts were abandoned.

The E.M.Davidson was not forgotten until after the large gale of October 16, 1880. The late gale doubtless finished most of the vessels that found the rocks earlier in the season including the schooner E.M. Davidson. When the schooner Oak Leaf went thru Death's Door straits, the Davidson was pounding away in the surf; when the Oak Leaf returned, the Davidson had entirely disappeared from view. Wolf & Davidson of Milwaukee had become the new owner of the wrecked Davidson, and the Wolf & Davidson's tug Leviathan spent a great deal of time during the season endeavoring to rescue the Davidson and would have succeeded had she been favored with any sort of weather. The schooner eventually was completely abandoned.
Today


During the summer of 2016 a few Wisconsin divers while searching with side scan sonar located wreckage east of Pilot Island in about sixty feet of water. This vessel could be the remains of the E.M. Davidson.
 
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© 2017 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society