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Monday, April 22, 2013

The Ships: Noquebay

The Noquebay (1) (pronounced "NAHK-bay") a modified schooner-barge (2)
was built in 1872 by Trenton, Michigan, shipbuilder Alvin A. Turner. Entirely built of wood, it was large enough to carry 1,024,000 board feet of lumber, the Noquebay had a square stern, plain bow, and two short masts. 205.16' long, 34.58' wide, and had a hold depth of 12.42'.  Its gross tonnage was 684.39. It was first enrolled (US 18747) in Chicago on 13 Jul 1872.  The Noquebay was worth $23,000 in 1876.

In May of 1895 the Noquebay was purchased along with the Mautenee for $12,000. (2 May 1895 The Marine Reord p3)  

On 30 Sep 1895 she struck break-water and sank near Eire, Pennsylvania.  She was again raised and repaired and in the ensuing years it mainly traveled the route between Ashland, Wisconsin and Buffalo, NY.  She wintered in 1896 in Milwaukee (Door County Advocate  26 Dec 1896)

From 1899 to 1902 the Captain of the Noquebay was Patrick H. Ryan.

1901 May 31 Noquebay with 1080000 ft of lumber tow line broke and ran into Canadian shore .  filled with water and tuned on side.  Niagara River Buffalo Times 31 May 1901 p10 c2-3 

Andrew Bigger, previously captain of the Mautenee, took the helm in 1903.  In 1904 the Noquebay had a crew of 6.

On 9 Oct 1905(3) the Noquebay and her sister ship the Mautenee left Bayfield bound for Bay City Michigan in the tow of  the steamer Lizzie Madden.  The Noquebay was loaded with 600,000 board feet of hemlock that had been loaded by the Comstock and Wilcox Co. of Ashland, WI.  The vessels were about twenty miles NE of Bayfield when a fire broke out in the forward area, near the donkey boiler(4), of the Noquebay while the crew was at lunch.  By the time the fire was discovered the fire was out of hand.  The Lizzie Madden headed to Stockton Island and beached the ship.  The crew managed to heave about 1/3 of the lumber overboard before abandoning the ship and sailing on with the Lizzie Madden.

Captain C.H. Flynn on the tug Fashion (of Duluth) recovered anchors and lumber, but the Noquebay was beyond repair and left where she had sunk.  The schooner-barge, owned by the T.F. Madden estate, was in disrepair by this time and worth only about $7000.  Unfortunately, it was under-insured for just $3000.

Today, the Noquebay lies broken and shattered just offshore on a coarse
sand bottom. The wreckage field is approximately 230 feet long in a north-south direction, and nearly 125 feet wide, covering approximately 2/3 of an acre.  Aerial vies show large sections of the hull. The bow has broken away and lies with its port side up, largely buried in the sand. Small artifacts such as nails, a cast-iron pot, pipes and fittings, tackle blocks, wire rope, a wood auger, a mooring bitt, jib hanks, coal, small pieces of burned wood and a boiler grate are scattered around the site.  There are three major pieces of machinery at the site: A donkey boiler lies near the bow, pieces of a windlass are nearby, and the ship's steering wheel lies partially exposed.

The ship's bell can be viewed at the visitor's center on Stockton Island.

The wreckage site (N46° 55.568'  W90° 32.717') was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, and is a popular site for sports diving.

You can learn more about the Noquebay's history and archeological findings in
  1. Algonquin "barefoot" - Chippewa "Chief of the Western Regions" - A Lake surrounded by lumber stands in Wisconsin.
  2. A schooner-barge is a modified schooner created to haul cargo through hard to navigate channels where winds could be a problem.  Smaller than usual sails could be used to provide power when the wind was favorable or if the vessel broke free of its tow. The smaller sails requred fewer crew members to handle them.  Schooner-barges were generally towed by steamers and often in tandem with other schooner-barges or barges.  
  3. Sources give various dates for the fire, I believe that the report in the Bay City paper of 10 Oct 1905 stating that the fire was yesterday is the most likely to be right, therefore have adopted the 9 Oct 1905 date. 
  4. A small auxiliary steam engine used for hoisting or pumping on board.

Thank you to Chuck Madden and John Madden for pictures and information on the Madden Ships

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Family: Thomas F. Madden

(22 Feb 1854 Albany, NY - 24 Feb 1903 Bay City, MI)

Shipping was important in the lives of my Madden ancestors.  It has also led to interesting ancestry questions. This is the first of many postings about Thomas F Madden, his siblings and descendants, and some undetermined connections involved in shipping and lumbering on the Great Lakes.

Growing up near the docks of Albany, NY the sons of James Madden worked in various jobs, eventually owning vessels that were involved in the lumber shipping business in the Great Lakes. My father knew little about his family beyond the names of his grandparents and that they had lived in Bay City. I was fortunate to find help from a few of  his cousins who knew a bit more.  They have been instrumental in gathering information on the vessels owned by Thomas F. Madden, my great-grandfather.   No one, however, had information on the brothers of Thomas, beyond where they were living at the time of his death in 1903.  I spent years searching for more.  Finally, as more and more records and newspapers have become available online, I discovered that not only did Thomas maintain contact with his brothers throughout his life,  but that he was often working in partnership with his brothers and his brother-in-law.

James, the youngest brother, lived in Ashland (WI), Duluth (MN) and finally in Chicago.  He was the land based partner in the lumber shipping business.  John, a pilot,  lived in Tonawanda, near Buffalo NY, for many years.  There he married Dora Strong.  Dora's sister, Isabella, married Michael Madden of Saginaw, Michigan.  He was also a pilot on the Lakes.  This is one of those "interesting ancestry questions."  Is Michael related?  But that's a posting of it's own best left for another day.

Thomas, the oldest son of James Madden and Anna Fitzsimmons,  was born in Albany (NY) in 1854.  He left Albany sometime in the 1870s and lived in Bay City (MI) from 1880 on.  The 1880 census states that he was born in Canada. The information was most likely given by his landlord, leaving the possibility that Thomas had lived in Canada for a period of time.

Thomas married Elizabeth Silbereisen in Bay City on the 12 Oct 1882.(1)
In 1886 his occupation was listed as lumber inspector and he was living at 223 Monroe Street.(2)

Thomas was involved in the lumber trade, shipping lumber throughout the Great Lakes.  Over the years he owned a number of vessels and these will each have its own posting.  In 1901 he owned or was the manager of a three vessels, the steamer the Lizzie Madden, and the two schooner-barges the Mautenee and the Noquebay.  He also belonged to a number organizations and associations that were involved in the trade, including the Elks Bay City Lodge #88 and the Lake Carriers Association (3) 

Thomas died at the age of 49 leaving three young sons.  Elizabeth died eight years later on 19 January 1911 at the age of 52.

They had three know children, Thomas James born in 1892, Francis Martin born in 1896 and Charles Lewis born in 1899.  According to Thomas' death certificate he had 4 children and three were living.

It seems probable that there was another child born in the ten years before Thomas James was born, but to date no information has been found.  The certificate also states he was first married at age 29, the age when he married Elizabeth so it is unlikely there was an earlier marriage.

Their three sons inherited their father's share of the shipping business.  Their Aunt Lena Schramm served as Adx. of the estate, and their Uncle Michael Lynn ran the company.  The estate was not settled for many years as Charles was only 11 when his mother died.  Starting with the purchase of the AW Wright for $1.00 from their parents estate, the brothers were in partnership for many years shipping fruit and later cars.  But again that is another story. 

  1. Copied by Kitty (Lynn) Schwall, from the Family Bible of Thomas and Elizabeth Madden which was in the possession of Aunt Lena Schramm, in letter to Carl Madden and family 8/6/1951. 
  2.  Madden Thomas F, lumber inspector 8 Watson block, res 223 S Monroe: Bay City Directory 1886-7R.L. Polk & Co
  3. Marine Review 16 Jan 1896 p. 7 -  Thomas Madden attended the meeting of the Lake Carrier's Association.