Initially, the H.D. Coffinberry
was used in the coal trade, towing the big East Saginaw schooner-barges D.K. Clint
and in the corn trade with the Buckeye State
amongst her consorts. These were all Arnold-built ships and were owned by Rust, King & Company. The Coffinberry
later carried iron ore, and eventually she was adapted to carry lumber. The Coffinberry
had a history of groundings and accidents throughout its career.
"Evidently, some financial crisis overtook the Coffinberry's
owners around 1912 ... The limber carrier Coffinberry
, abandoned at Ashland five tears ago when the entire crew including the captain struck, libeled the vessel, assigned their claims to Ashland attorneys who sold it at sheriff's sale to satisfy the claims, after which it gradually sunk to the deck, was raised at Ashland this week by a party of Duluth wreckers, and towed to Duluth by the tug Valerie
, as soon as weather conditions warrant the attempt. It has a big marine boiler and a big engine, and its five-year repose under water may have left a still serviceable hull. Shortly after the salvage operation, the remaining hull seems to have been towed to Red Cliff Bay and abandoned."
Final enrollment was surrendered at Toledo, Ohio, December 31, 1917, "abandoned."
--From the Wisconsin Historical Society Maritime Preservation and Archaeology Files
The wreck of the H.D. Coffinberry
is located in three to six feet of water, parallel with the shoreline, at the base of a steep clay slope on the north side of Red Cliff Bay. The lakebed in the vicinity consists of sand, silt, cobble, and a few boulders. Almost all the vessel structure has broken up, leaving only the very lower hull. The surviving wreck structure consists of the keel, keelson, floors, lower starboard futtocks, stringers, and exterior planking. Neither the bow nor the stern survive: however, the remains of the vessel's boilers at the east end of the wreck confirm the orientation of the hull. The bow bears 285 degrees off magnetic north.