John Evenson (1884)
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By The Numbers
Lives Lost
Depth (ft)
Service History

The John Evenson was built for John Evenson in Milwaukee in 1884. Mr Evenson sold the tug to George Spear who moved the tug to Door County to work the lumber trade by towing log rafts. In 1890, the tug was purchased by the Laurie bothers to tow vessels through the Sturgeon Bay Ship canal and to tow barges of stone for their quarries on the north shore of Green Bay.

Last Document Surrendered, Enrollment No.28 Milwaukee 9/9/1895: "Total Loss"
Final Voyage

"Returning to Sturgeon Bay from Manitowoc after having the John Evenson's fire-box repaired, Captain John M. Laurie decided to wait off the canal for a vessel in need of a tow. Late in the afternoon of June 5 the steambarge I.W.Stephenson, with two barges in tow, signalled for assistance in getting through the Sturgeon Bay canal. The Evenson responded and while attempting to get a line attached got too close and was struck in the stern by the Stephenson's bow. The vessel was moving around 10 MPH and the force of the collision turned the Evenson sideways. The bow of the Stephenson again struck the Evenson and rolled her over sideways causing her to fill and sink almost immediately. All but one of the five crew escaped from the foundered craft and were picked up by the the boats lowered from the Stephenson's two barges, the Peshtigo and the Alert. Martin Boswell who was asleep at the time, went down with the tug."

The last document, enrollment #28, Milwaukee, June 7, 1895; "Total loss."

"The Evenson sank off Foscoro in an estimated 80 feet of water. Although valued at $4,500, she carried no insurance for accident or disaster and was considered a total loss. No immediate attempt at salvage was made. Several years later, however, proposals were made by her owners, Captain Alex and John Laurie, to recover the tug built were never carried out. The hull was located in less than 50 feet of water."

"Despite many sonar searches for this vessel using reasonably reliable historical reports, this tug has never been located."

The Nimrods Dive Club of Green Bay has offered a reward of $500.00 for the location.
© 2017 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society