November 22nd, 1908. The old schooner, Berwyn
, was in tow behind the steambarge Walter Vail
en route from Chicago, Illinois to Nahama, Michigan, to pick up cargo. While proceeding through a dense midnight fog, the two vessels stranded on a rocky outcrop about 1 mile southeast of the Plum Island Lifesaving Station, and approximately two miles from the Pilot Island Light. These vessels were attempting to traverse the treacherous entrance to Green Bay known as Death's Door.
The steamer Walter Vail
soon managed to release herself and under orders of Captain Bob Evans, then attempted to pull the Berwyn
free. After breaking two heavy tow lines in this endeavor, the Vail's master, Captain Evans, decided to send for the tug Duncan City
. The tug, Duncan City
,under the command of Fred Johnson, responded to the call for help. However, before she could clear port, another call came asking for a 10 inch siphon and a steam pump belonging to Leathem and Smith Towing and Wrecking Company. After loading this equipment and picking up J.P.Bates, another owner of the Berwyn
who just arrived from Chicago, the tug finally left Sturgeon Bay about midnight of the 24th. This delay proved costly since the delays caused the Duncan City
not to arrive until early morning. In the mean time, before the tug could reach the stranded Berwyn
, the wind shifted to the southeast, driving the schooner onto a rocky ledge and pounding her side in.
Wreckers stripped and abandoned the Berwyn
with an uninsured loss of about $4000.
Last Enrollment Document: Chicago:December 5, 1980: Cause of surrender "Vessel Lost".
The three masted schooner, Berwyn
was built in 1866 as the R.C. Craword
in Algomac, Michigan. Later, in 1884, her name was changed to Captain George W. Naghtin
and later yet, 1901, her name changed to Berwyn
. She was most often chartered to carry lumber. The Berwyn
was an old schooner (42 years at the time of her demise) who went through major repairs in 1880, and 1884 and eventually was made into a tow barge.