Rudolph Wetzel (1870)
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By The Numbers
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Service History


The Rudolph Wetzel was overhauled at Milwaukee in the spring of 1880 and the hull was rebuilt. Last Document Surrendered Milwaukee 6/30/1883: "Total Loss"
Final Voyage


"On 11/28/1882 at 7am while approximately 3 miles off Oak Creek, WI, the tug Rudolph Wetzel exploded, killing her entire crew of three men and went straight to the bottom. The Wetzel had been racing with the tug Sill before the explosion occurred, and the crew of the Sill, which was thirty feet astern of the Wetzel noticed the fireman leave the engineroom and run to the pilothouse and speak to Capt. Lovell, and then return to the engineroom before the explosion. It was thought that the engineer, William Keeley was responsible for the disaster, possibly letting the water in the boiler run low, and then admitting cold water after building up a full head of steam. More than a week after the accident, Jone's Island fishermen recovered a large portion of the Wetzel's hull, found floating in the lake."
 
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