Canadian Illustrated news
  • Paddlewheel Steamer
  • 25ffw 8m
  • 300ft Length
  • Point Pelee, Lake Erie
  • 41 53.882     82 30.600

The Wreck Today: Lying on a sand bottom, the most notable feature of the wreck is her huge boiler.  The wreck is broken and spread over a large area.  There is lots of pipe and wood, a second small boiler, and a capstan off the port side of the wreck.  If you search carefully, you may find one of the brass tags labeled “M.S. & N.I.R.R.  The initials stand for Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Rail Road.  They helped to positively identify this site as NORTHERN INDIANA CAUTION: This vessel lies very close to the Pelee Point shoal waters.  Boaters need to pay careful attention to the depth to the east of the wreck.  The area is also subject to very strong currents and divers need to exercise great caution in the water.

Chronological History

  • 1852, Mar 20 Launched; sister of SOUTHERN MICHIGAN.
  • 1852, Jun 1 Trial trip, quickest to that time; collision with GOLDEN GATE at Buffalo.
  • 1852, Jun 3 Collision with schooner LEWIS CASS on Maumee River, Lake Erie.
  • 1852, Jun 23 Collision with schooner PLYMOUTH off Cleveland; repaired Cleveland.
  • 1852, Sep 2 Damaged in gale; repaired Buffalo.
  • 1853 Ran Buffalo – Cleveland & Toledo with SOUTHERN MICHIGAN & EMPIRE STATE.
  • 1853, May 11 Broke machinery, Lake Erie.
  • 1853, Aug 26 Collision with schooner TUSCOLA at Buffalo.
  • 1853, Oct 3 Aground Toledo Bay; released by EMPIRE STATE.
  • 1854, Aug 15 Holed by anchor at Monroe, MI.
  • 1854, Oct 2 Broke machinery, Lake Erie.
  • 1856, Jun 8 Broke machinery, Dunkirk, Lake Erie.
  • 1856, Jul 17 Burned, Lake Erie.

Selection of News Articles for more #

Buffalo Daily Republic 
      Friday, September 12, 1856  #

The scow TRENTON arrived here yesterday with about two-thirds of the NORTHERN INDIANA’s engine. The portion received comprises the last portion of it. The work is under the contract to Mr. John A.B. Campbell, (the derrick man who assures us that the whole of the machinery will be recovered.) Mr. Campbell informs us that the damage to the engine is not so great as was anticipated and that nearly the whole of it will be fit for immediate use. 

      Buffalo Daily Republic 
      July 22, 1856  #

Port of Buffalo, Arrived, July 21/22, 1856 
      Propeller RELIEF, Wolverton, Wreck of the steamer NORTHERN INDIANA; a portion of the machinery of the wreck C. FORBES. 

      Buffalo Daily Republic 
      August 11, 1856  #

We understand that the hull of the NORTHERN INDIANA is to be abandoned. The machinery will be rescued, and probably in good order. Workmen are now engaged at the wreck in removing whatever is valuable and can be easily recovered. But the hull of the vessel which at one time it was thought might be rebuilt and made available, is not worth the effort. We regret to learn that such has been the decision. — Toledo Blade, 7th. 

  Buffalo Evening News 
      July 17, 1902 #

      Capt. John Cronin, One Of The Few Survivors, Recalls Terrible Experience. 
Capt. John Cronin of 578 Niagara Street, this city, is one of the three known persons, now living who were aboard the passenger steamer NORTHERN INDIANA when she has burned on Lake Erie 46 years ago yesterday. 
      The other two are Thomas Green, who lives at 439 Bryant Street, San Francisco, and Thomas Goodwin, whose home is said to be near Bradford, Pa. Goodwin was steward of the NORTHERN INDIANA and Green was her pastry cook. Captain Cronin was then her cabin boy. 
      The NORTHERN INDIANA said the Captain yesterday afternoon, “was one of the finest passenger boats afloat in those days. She ran from Buffalo to points in Ohio, and did a prosperous business, for that was before the days of the present railroad facilities. There were railroads west from Toledo, but there were none between Buffalo and Toledo. 
      When the boat took fire it was about noon. She burned with great rapidity, and we should have been burned or drowned, every mother’s son of us, but for timely assistance rendered by the steamer MISSISSIPPI, which was passing and which towed us over to Pigeon Reef, on which the wreck of the old MAYFLOWER lay. As it was 56 of those on NORTHERN INDIANA were never accounted for. I remember the death of one of them, an old Quaker. When he made up his mind that the boat was doomed he calmly climbed up on the rail and dove head foremost into the lake, without even stopping to remove his broad-brimmed hat. The hat came up, but he never did. Those of us who were saved reached shore with great difficulty.”

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