Two shipwrecks off the Lake Michigan shoreline are the subject Saturday afternoon (Feb. 9) in the second of the three Winter History Series presentation of the Kewaunee County Historical Society.
Former Kewaunee resident Toby Berkowitz is scheduled to present “The Tragedy of the Florence Dickinson and the Emerald of 1886” beginning at 1 p.m. at the society’s History Center, 217 Ellis St., Kewaunee.
Berkowitz researched the tragedy that occurred in the November storm of 1886 off the shores of Kewaunee.
The Emerald was a consort (along with three other barges) of the propeller Chief Justice Field, each loaded with coal and bound for Milwaukee, coming from Toledo on Nov. 17, 1886. While the vessels were opposite the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, a storm came up and one of the barges, the Dickinson, developed serious leaks and her towline parted.
When near Kewaunee, the barge struck a rock and foundered, with three lives lost. Also, the other barges, the Emerald, Lillie May, and Bissell, were anchored offshore. The Emerald cut loose her anchor because she was leaking badly and drifted toward shore hitting bottom. Five of the crew members drowned when their yawl boat capsized near shore in the breakers.
In spring 1887 the wreck of the Emerald was purchased, raised, and repaired. In 1903, after a few more years of service, the Emerald was in such poor shape that she was left in Sturgeon Bay’s boneyard along with two other schooners, to become submerged cribs.
A social will follow with a free lunch and refreshments. The final program in the series will be “The Age of the Steam Engine” and its influence on farming and rural Kewaunee County, presented by Jim Rabas on Feb. 16.