H.M. Scove (1873)
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By The Numbers
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Final Voyage


The Scove, taking a load of wood from Pine Lake to Milwaukee in southern Lake Michigan, was caught by a southerly gale which blew her all the way north to the Death's Door area where she stranded on the shoal between Plum and Detroit Islands. The craft carried a crew of six at the time of the disaster, all of whom were saved. She was owned by her skipper, Sam Thorson of Milwaukee. Captain John Leathem from Sturgeon Bay went up to salvage the ship, but continued stormy weather typical of the late fall hampered operations. Finally after removing the canvas and rigging, Leathem suspended operations for the year. By mid-January the Scove was frozen solid in the ice; by spring when salvage operations resumed, one side had been stove in by the ice and her jib boom and bow sprit broken off. The next spring, a number of fruitless salvage attempts were made. These included underwater patching and pumping; dewatering by three large pumps, pulling with an 11-inch diameter hawser by four tugs, and refloating by means of air-tight barrels. To complicate matters, the salvagers had to run off a group of "pirates" who were trying to snitch the Scove's cargo. Finally, the Leathem Company gave up and removed the cargo in hopes of lightening the ship. Even the removal of the cargo failed to assist the ill-fated salvage attempt. In September, the mizen mast fell and the Scove soon sank further into the water. Apparently, the wrecking company then concluded that enough money had been lost in salvage attempts and abandoned the project entirely.
Today


In 1971, divers found the remains of the Scove lying in 12 feet of water about 100 yards northeast of the red spar buoy that marks the shoal between Detroit and Plum Islands. Although considerable wreckage is present scattered over a wide area, much of it is buried under the cobblestone ballast and glacial rubble from the rocky shoal.
 
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