King of Lake Superior
Captain Barton Atkins met Mr. Cutting, owner of a mine in Lake Superior region, and agreed to go up to his mine and keep the time of the men working there and also keep an account of the provisions which were used by the miners. He remained at the mine there until June 6, 1847 when he went down to the mouth of Eagle River (south of Copper Harbor), where the schooner ALGONQUIN, was anchored. The schooner was being commanded by Captain John Halloran.
John McKay was owner in 1848. John’s son, George McKay told that his father was captain of crew that had four halfbreeds, man and himself at an age of 12 years old. the vessel befoned to a Baltimore company which failed. His father took over the ship for lost wages and sailed to Canada. Deal was made and McKay received ALGONQUIN for wages not paided and second ship was given to the reprocessors who then sold it for debts that were owed to the company. (Note: It is unclear if the incident occured in 1847 or 1848.)
The schooner changed ownership on July 27, 1848 in Sault Ste Marie District to Sheldon McKnight of Sault Ste Marie and John Halloran took over as captain.
The ALGONQUIN’S captains during the year were Lewis Bancroft and John McKay.
The schooner was at Copper Harbor with Captain Smith at the helm on July 23, 1851.
The schooner ALGONQUIN took up to Ontonagon 2000 kegs of powder.
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The schooner has another change in personnel. Cyrus Mendenhall, Haratio W. Converse, Samual Richardson were listed as the owners. Captain of the ship was Cyrus Mendenhall was listed on the enrollment that filled out on July 8, 1944.
Only two ships were suppling the needs of miners, settlers and military fort on Lake Superior. John Jacob Astor and the ALGONQUIN were running supplies. John Jacob Astor pulled into Copper Harbor and unload supplies to the Fort Wilkins. While anchored in the harbor, a terrific gale came up and the Astor lost one its archor two anchors. Winds dragged the schooner to the shore and it was battered by the wind and rocks sending America’s first Lake Superior vessel to the bottom of Copper Harbor. With only one schooner left on Lake Superior, the ALGONQUIN was faced with the mighty task of suppling the fort and settlements with winter coming.
Heroic efforts of the ALGONQUIN help save the fort and settlements by delivering winter supplies. After sinking of the John Jacob Astor on September 21, 1844, ALGONQUIN was the only merchant supply ship of any significance on Lake Superior. There were no roads and Green Bay was closest community which Fort Wilkins could depend upon for communications and supplies and Green Bay was 221 miles away.
The wreck caused alot of anxiety among the troops and miners. The fear was the Algonquin could not bring up the beef cattle for their winter supply. The fort didn’t receive its winter’s supply and fall water upon the miners. Only one oxen was on hand. The fort’s flour, was in poor supply, no beans, and insufficient amount of pork was available to carry them through the winter. The Algonquin, however came to the miners and the fort’s rescue by bring them their supplies
Registration completed on April 14, 1845, the ALGONQUIN had the same owners in the Michilmackinac District but John McKay became the Master. Captain McKay moved his family to Sault Ste. Marie so he could be the captain of the ALGONQUIN. Son of McKay, George McKay told that ship was owned by Boston company which was prospecting for copper.28 Captain MacKay later gained ownership by force in 1847 and later sold the schooner in 1853 to new owners from Superior, Wisconsin.
One of the stories related to McKay’s take over is that schooners ALGONQUIN and Nepoleon formerly belonging to a Baltimore Company which failed, owed Captain John McKay quite a sum for his salary. A faster boat reached the Sault in advance of the one which was carrying the officers who were going to seize and sell the boats. Captain John McKay and another man ran the vessels over to the Canadian shore and beached them there and finally, when the officers arrived, he made a deal with the marshal to run the ALGONQUIN back into American waters, allow schooner to be seized and he then bought it in the amount of his claim. Schooners Uncle Tom and Swallow were two of ten new vessels5 hauled around the St. Mary Falls. They join the ALGONQUIN on Lake Superior.
Sault Ste. Marie on June 12, 1945, the schooner ALGONQUIN arrived with about three tons of copper mineral from the Pittsburg Company Works, being the first sent down this season. Sent to Boston in half barrels with about 300 pounds copper ore in each. It was reported that the worth of the copper was $220 per ton when the ore was delivered to Boston.
Antoine Gordon opened a general store at La Pointe, Apostle Islands which he kept for 10 years. Meanwhile he bought the schooner ALGONQUIN and went into the lumber business, getting lumber at the mouth of the Bad River (south La Pointe on mainland) and transporting it to St. Croix, near the mouth of the Snake River, taking a stock of goods for trade with the Indians46 Later the vessel went to Fond du Lac, Minnesota.
The schooner then wintered over at Ste. Sault Marie.
On June 3, 1846 survey party arrived at Sault de Ste. Marie and sailed on the ALGONQUIN that evening. The trip from Sault de Ste. Marie to Copper Harbor took about three days.
Fleet on Lake Superior increased rapidly due to “copper rush.” Steamboats Julia Palmer 280 tons, propeller Independence 280 tons, Schooner Napoleon 180 tons, ALGONQUIN, Merchant and Swallow each 70 tons, Schooners Uncle Tom, Chippewa, Fur Trader and Siskawit each about 40 tons.
During the year, the company which owned the ALGONQUIN defaulted on payments. At lest the ALGONQUIN and Napoleon according to the former Captain John McKay
Captain Wilson and Monticello departed Ontonagon on the afternoon of September 22, 1851 on her return from Fond du Lac. While departing from harbor, a heavy floating log struck a wheel which loosened the cargo near the shaft. Leak developed which was thought to be small. Captain believed the ship could make the trip of sixty miles north to Eagle River. Ship started sinking and crew and passenger could not keep up with the incoming water. The Captain then decided to send a party from the ship to Eagle River by land. The party had a extremely difficult time in the wilderness. It took party several very difficult days to reach a settlement at Eagle River.
On Tuesday, September 30th, Capt McKay who commanded the schooner ALOGNQUIN proceeded to the wreck of Monticello and brought off the captain, crew and remaining passengers along with all its valuable property.
Captain Wilson and Monticello departed Ontonagon on the afternoon of September 22, 1851 on her return from Fond du Lac. While departing from harbor, a heavy floating log struck a wheel which loosened the cargo near the shaft. Leak developed which was thought to be small. Captain believed the ship could make the trip of sixty miles north to Eagle River. Ship started sinking and crew and passenger could not keep up with the incoming water. The Captain then decided to send a party from the ship to Eagle River by land. The party had a extremely difficult time in the wilderness. It took party several very difficult days to reach a settlement at Eagle River. On Tuesday, September 30th, Capt McKay who commanded the schooner ALOGNQUIN proceeded to the wreck of Monticello and brought off the captain, crew and remaining passengers along with all its valuable property.
The schooner ALGONQUIN, Captain John McKay arrived at Copper Harbor on the October 6th inst. with forty49 of the shipwrecked passengers and crew of the MONTICELLO, and all the articles saved from the wreck.
Soon after leaving Copper Harbor after October 7th, a heavy gale came in from the W.N.W., which made a log house shake that we happened to be in that place. Captain McKay ran in under Point Keweenaw for lee, but the wind was too much for ALGONQUIN anchors and Captain McKay was obliged to beat about under the coast for twelve hours, during which time he never left the helm of the schooner. The passengers spoke of the conduct of the captain and of his vessel in the highest terms
1851 Monticello Sinking
Light House at Eagle Harbor
1853 Harper's New Monthly Magazine
The schooner was docked at Sault Ste. Marie area. The owners advertised for two weeks that it was headed for Fond du Lac. as she took on freight. On May 29th, Algonquin took on her last barrel for shipment. The captain wanted to sail on Sunday if the weather was favorable, however the captain finally sailed two days later.