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Henry B. Smith

Great Lakes storm of 1913

“The ill-fated Henry B Smith that was sunk in the Big Storm of November 1913. She is shown in Ashtabula Harbor in this 1910 postcard,”  Boat Nerd.  The Henry B Smith took all 25 lives on board, sinking off shore near Marquette, MI.  The ship has never been found, and is estimated to be 20-30 miles north of Marquette in deep waters.

It’s been 100 years since this epic storm blew across the Great Lakes. Between November 6 and November 11, 1913 marked the deadliest storm in the history of the Great Lakes.  This natural disaster known as the “Big Blow, “Freshwater Fury”, or “White Hurricane” took the lives of more than 250 people between Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie.

During the week long storm 19 ships were destroyed and another 19 were stranded.  The November storm merged from Alberta and the Rocky Mountains creating winds up to 100mph and waves over 50 feet high.

In addition to the stormy waters there were four-foot snow drifts surrounding Lake Huron and as much as two feet of snowfall in Cleavland, OH.

Ship Wrecks

Pictured above is the Henry B Smith, a 525 foot iron ore vessel, which is was the 2nd largest ship to go down during the Great Lakes storm of 1913.  Sinking off the shore of Marquette, 25 crewman lost their lives on the Henry B Smith.  The ship has never been found, and is estimated to be 20-30 miles north of Marquette in deep waters. Among the death totals, Lake Huron saw the worst…

  • Lake Superior: 2 ships foundered, 43 deaths
  • Lake Michigan: 1 ship foundered, 7 deaths
  • Lake Huron: 8 ships foundered, at least 196 deaths
  • Lake Erie: 1 ship foundered, 6 deaths

According to Wikipedia four ships have never bee found:Henry B. Smith (Lake Superior), Leafield (Lake Superior), James C. Carruthers (Lake Huron), and the Hydrus (Lake Huron).  The most recent discovery was that of Wexford (Lake Huron) in the summer of 2000.

Deadliest storm on the Great Lakes

For more information check out:
The National Weather Service
Shipwrecks of the 1913 Great Lakes storm on Wiki
Remembering the Great Storm of 1913
Michigan in Pictures: Freshwater Fury
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum


2 Wonderful Comments

  1. Cool shot of the Henry B Smith and thanks for linking over to Michigan in Pictures!

  2. j zylstra
    Feb 27, 2011

    thanks for posting the wonderful pic my great great grandfather was the wheelsman on that ship when she was lost in 1913. if anyone knows of more images of that ship i would be very greatful.

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