Griffon (1679)
Gallery
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Launching the Griffon
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The Griffon as she may have looked
By The Numbers
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Built
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Sank
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Lives Lost
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Depth (ft)
 
 
Final Voyage


On September 18, 1679, the bark Griffon was sent back toward Fort Frontenac (a French trading post and military fort at the mouth of the Cataraqui River where the St. Lawrence River leaves Lake Ontario). The vessel was loaded with furs so that they could be used to pay the French explorer and Griffon's master, Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle's creditors. Also, new supplies were needed which could be delivered back to the expedition at the southern end of Lake Michigan. La Salle and some of his men traveled the lake shore to the mouth of the St. Joseph River to await the arrival of the Griffon. By the end of November 1679 the Griffon had not arrived and was considered lost. The Griffon disappeared en route to Lake Erie and was likely overcome in a September storm in northern Lake Michigan and became one of the Great Lakes earliest shipwrecks that attracts considerable attention yet today.

In the three centuries since the disappearance of the Griffon, numerous reports of the vessel being discovered in various locations in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron have surfaced. None of these findings have sufficient evidence to prove that indeed the wreck of theGriffon had been found.
Service History


The wooden two masted bark Griffon was built in the Niagara wilderness from local forest materials. The keel was laid in January of 1679 and a vessel of approximately 45 feet long and either 45 or 60 tons with five brass cannons was constructed. By August of 1679 the vessel was launched and made it's way to the area of Green Bay in Lake Michigan to successfully embark in the the fur trading business.
 
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