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A Foggy Crash for the Home

It was October 16, 1858, at the docks in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Captain White and his crew of the schooner Home were busy loading a cargo of wood, cedar posts, and merchandise bound for Chicago.

Schooners were wooden sailing ships with canvas sails and rigging made of rope. The tools they used to hold the sails and rigging in place were also made of wood. The crews moved the ships from one port to another when wind filled the sails. They didn’t have modern lights, radios, or engines. Their speed and safety were dependent on the weather.

At 4:00 the next morning, the Home and the schooner William Fiske crashed in a thick fog on Lake Michigan southeast of Manitowoc. The William Fiske was not damaged, but the starboard side of the Home was crushed in, and the masts toppled. The William Fiske came alongside the Home and took the crew aboard their ship to safety.

The location of the crash was incorrectly reported at the time, so the shipwreck was not discovered until April 1981 by diver Steve Radovan.

Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society


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Story read by Olivia Cuddeford

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