Emeline (1864)
By The Numbers
Lives Lost
Depth (ft)
Service History

The wooden double centerboard schooner Emeline was originally built with two masts and a single centerboard (later a third mast and a second centerboard was added) in 1864 by master ship builder Myron Williams at Vicksburg (name changed to Marysville in 1859), Michigan. Some sources cite the build date as 1862. In 1874/1875 the .Emeline was valued at $5,500 and rated B1. The vessel spent most of its career carrying lumber throughout the Great Lakes region.

1864: Edward Kanter, owner of the Emeline since April 1863, had the two masted schooner rebuilt into a three masted, double centerboard schooner, increasing the length from 83.0 feet to 111.4 and the tonnage from 121.12 tons to 127.9. These were the only major changes ever made to the vessel's hull.

March 13, 1896: Adam Abrahamson became the last owner/captain of the Emeline when he purchased the vessel for $1,500.

Last Document Of Enrollment Surrendered: Chicago: 8/18/1896: "Vessel Lost".
Final Voyage

The three masted schooner Emeline, #7492, capsized August 8, 1896. The Emeline had been bound for a Kenosha tannery with a load of tamarak bark from Charlevoix, Michigan. When about twenty to twenty-five miles southeast of Bailey's Harbor, the vessel was struck by a squall out of the northwest and knocked over onto her starboard beam end. Her deck load of bark rolled off, she then righted herself only to capsize to her port side. The captain and three crew members were able to save themselves by launching the yawl boat and rowing to Bailey's Harbor. The schooner Charles Foster happened by the Emeline after the crew had rowed away and as a result mistakenly reported to the press that the crew had probably been lost.

The tug Sydney Smith from Sturgeon Bay was sent out by the Life Saving Station keeper the next day to locate and tow the Emeline into Bailey's Harbor. The vessel was found awash and drifting on the open lake. An attempt was made to right her by pulling on the mast, but this only broke the mast. The schooner Nancy Dell was used to right her but she rolled over again that night. By August 22, the schooner sank off Anclam's Pier, in Baileys Harbor, in 21 feet of water. Only her gunwales , two remaining masts and spars showed above the surface.

By January of 1897, the wreck of the Emeline had broken into pieces. The forward section of the wreck remained where it had sank, the stern section had moved 600 feet north working its way towards shore. It sat 400 feet west of the range light, in 19 feet of water. In 1903, Captain Thomas Isabell retrieved the anchors from the wreck.

Mr. Thompkins of the United States Corps of Engineers visited the wreck site in October of 1896. He stated that as long as the tops of the masts were above the water, there should be adequate notice of the wreck's presence to passing ships. Once Emeline's masts were gone and she was no longer obviously visible, the United States Lighthouse Service would consider the Emeline to be a hazard to navigation. The Emeline was dynamited in September of 1903 to allow greater clearance for navigation.

Today, the vessel sits upright, with many of its hull components intact. Many more are beneath the sand.
© 2023 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society