The L.R. Doty
was one of six sisters and was one of the last of the giant wooden lake steamers. She was given the highest rating for lake vessels, A1, qualifying her for any cargo. She made trips as wide spread as Duluth to Cleveland carrying primarily iron ore and coal along with some grain. She normally towed the schooner barge Olive Jeanette
for additional capacity.
"On October 25, 1898, the L.R. Doty
was towing the schooner Olive Jeanette
from Chicago to Midland, Ontario. Both ships were heavily loaded with corn... At about 1 pm that day, the vessels were off Milwaukee when the winds began to freshen.
By 4 pm, the Doty
were well north of the city when the winds began to increase ... When the tow line between them finally broke at 5 pm, winds were estimated at 70 miles per hour and waves reaching heights of up to 30 feet. In the storm, the crew of the Jeanette
quickly lost sight of the Doty
, and were then forced to endure three more days of stormy weather before finally being rescued off Chicago. The Doty
and its seventeen -man crew were never seen or heard from again."