Tennie and Laura (1876)
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By The Numbers
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Service History


"Built in 1876 and lost in 1903, the Tennie And Laura is representative of a little understood vessel type that was once common throughout the Great Lakes, the scow schooner. Little historical documentation exists on scow schooners' construction and operation." The Tennie And Laura was originally built for Otto Bjorkgnist and Ole Osmondson of Port Washington and over the following decades she was bought and sold numerous times. Captain John Sather became the sole owner in 1901 and used her for the lumber trade for her final two years, making weekly trips from Muskegon to Milwaukee, buying and selling his own cargos. Last Document Surrendered Grand Haven 8/05/1903 "Vessel Lost".
Final Voyage


"Weakened by the terrible strain of bailing water all night from a sinking lumber schooner, Charles Nordbach, 40, mate of the Tennie And Laura of Muskegon, Michigan, was drowned in Lake Michigan Sunday morning ten mi;es northeast of Milwaukee with rescue at hand. It was with great difficulty that the captain and crew of the steamer Mark B. Covell succeeded in saving James Sather, owner and master of the ill-fated vessel, which, broken in hulk, is now drifting toward Port Washington." "The Tennie And Laura started from Muskegon about 10 o'clock Saturday morning bound for the port of Milweaukee. Sather and Nordbach were the only men aboard." "When the schooner reached a point about ten miles northeast of Milwaukee, she began to take on water. Shortly after 3 o'clock Sunday morning, the high wind and heavy sea that had arisen after midnight staggered the little craft, dismantling her masts, tearing away her decking and washing her cargo of slabs into the lake."
Today


"The wreck known as the scow schooner Tennie And Laura lies in 325 feet of water nine miles southeast of Port Washington, Wisconsin. The vessel was first discovered during the search for the lost fish tug Linda E in 1908, and was first viewed via ROV deployed from the Coast Guard Cutter Acacia in January 1999. The coast Guard's ROV survey identified a small wooden vessel carrying a cargo of cord or slab wood. The wreck sat upright on the lake bed at a heading of 070 degrees, sunk into the bottom to nearly her hold line. At least one mast was standing. The vessel's stern cabin was missing, but several of the cabin's items remained in their former location, including a small stove, a bucket of coal, and several small cooking utensils."
 
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© 2017 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society