Emerald (1869)
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Service History


The wooden two masted schooner barge Emerald was built as a schooner in Saginaw, Michigan in 1869. Approximate value as of 1874/1875: $6,000 and rated B2.

1882: Rebuilt

November 17,1886: The Emerald was a consort (along with three other barges) of the propeller Chief Justice Field, each loaded with coal and bound for Milwaukee, coming from Toledo. While the vessels were opposite the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, a storm came up and one of the barges, the Dickinson, developed serious leaks and her towline parted. When near Kewaunee, Wisconsin the barge struck a rock and foundered--with three lives lost. In the mean time, the other barges, the Emerald, Lillie May, and Bissell, anchored offshore. The Emerald cut loose her anchor because she was leaking badly and drifted toward shore hitting bottom. Five of the crew members drown when their yawl boat capsized near shore in the breakers.

Spring 1887: The wreck of the Emerald was purchased, raised, and repaired. The vessel continued in service for Leathem & Smith until 1899 when the upper works were removed and she became a stone barge for the quarry. "Messrs. Leathem and Smith of Sturgeon Bay, came here on the tug Nelson last Sunday for the purpose of inspecting the barge Emerald on the beach at this place with a view to purchasing the same and taking her off the beach...."

1903: After a few more years of service, the Emerald was in such poor shape that she was left in Sturgeon Bay's boneyard along with two other schooners, Kate Hinchman and Bay State , to become submerged cribs.
Final Voyage


October 29, 1903 the remaining hull of the Emerald was reactivated one more time. Escorted by the tug John Leathem, the leaking Emerald was loaded with stone and was taken in tow headed for Ludington, Michigan. The hull was leaking so badly that by mid-Lake Michigan the crew signaled to be taken off by the John Leathem. Minutes later the barge rolled over dumping her cargo and was abandoned mid-lake. The following day the Vega reported seeing what appeared to be the upside down Emerald floating 35 miles off of Frankfort, Michigan.
 
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