Florence M. Dickinson (1855)
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Service History


The Florence M. Dickinson was originally built as the propeller T.U. Bradbury in 1855 which was later converted to a schooner. The original propeller T.U. Bradbury was built in Cleveland, Ohio by L. Moses for Frank Perew, port of hail was Buffalo and the vessel was valued at $21,000; rated A2.

November 11, 1879: The rig was changed from steamer screw to steamer barge.

1880: The T.U. Bradbury was converted to a schooner- barge at West Bay City, Michigan and renamed Florence M. Dickinson.

Last Document Of Enrollment Surrendered: 12/9/1887: "Total Loss".

"The Emerald and Dickinson, as well as the Lottie May and Bissell, have no insurance rating; in fact, they are of little value. They were what they have proven themselves to be, death traps. They were old rotten hulks which should have been confined to the boneyard years ago." Milwaukee Sentinel 11/18/1886
Final Voyage


November 17,1886. While off the Sturgeon Bay ship canal, the tug Justice Field with four barges in tow--the Florence M. Dickinson, Emerald, Lillie May and Bissel--were caught in a severe easterly gale. The five vessels were coming from Toledo, Ohio and headed for Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where the Dickinson and the Emerald were bound. Off Kewaunee, the following day, the Dickinson was forced to fend for herself after the towline parted. Since the Dickinson was badly leaking, her master attempted to run her to the Kewaunee Harbor, but she struck a reef just two hundred yards off the north pier.. Then between 7 and 8 am the Dickinson foundered. Four of the seven persons on board made it to shore on planks. At noon of the same day, the Emerald went ashore and all but one of the seven-man crew was drowned (a coroner's inquest later ruled that the Emerald did not have lifejackets and a lifeboat of appropriate size).
The tug Chief Justice Field safely made it to Manitowoc Harbor and picked up the surviving barges Lillie May and George Bissell.

Coal from the two wrecked barges continued to wash ashore for over a year and was picked up off the beaches and either resold or burnt in their stoves. Little remained of the Florence Dickinson but the Emerald was purchased, raised and repaired the following spring.
 
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