• Steamer
  • 90 -100ffw
  • 250ft lengths
  • White Fish Bay, MI USA
  • 4638.301′ N 8448.370′ W

Chronological History #

  • 1890 Launched W. Bay City MI
  • 1891 May 5 Sold to Toledo, OH parties.
  • 1899 Owned Leander Burdick, et al, Toledo, OH.
  • 1901 247′ X 35.8′ X 22.2′, 1634 gross tons.
  • 1906 Disabled rudder, anchored off Port Hope, towed to Harbor Beach by tug FISHER, then ato Milwaukee dry dock by tug HOWARD.
  • 1910 Sunk near Garden Island, Lake Michigan.
  • 1912 Rebuilt at Leatham D.S. Smith shipyard, Sturgeon Bay, WI; deepened 3’8″.
  • 1916 Owned American Steam Ship Co., Milwaukee, WI.
  • 1916 May 19 Owned Massey Steam Ship Co., Fort Williams, ONT; 247.6′ X 35.8′ X 22.2′, 1634 gross tons; C138004.
  • 1975 Wreck Located

Mills List #

Built at: W. Bay City, Michigan
POWER Propulsion: Screw
DIMENSIONS Tonnage (gross):1711 236x36x24
Final Location: Whitefish Point, Lake Superior
How: Foundered (Collision)

Previous Registration: U.S.A. (1916) #

Owned by Davidson & Smith Elevator Co., Port Arthur 1917.
Built by J. Davidson, West Bay City Mich.
1890. Engine 24-46×42 by Frontier Iron Works, Detroit. Lost in collision with “J.J. Hill” 26/06/16 Whitefish Point, Lake Superior very shortly after purchase, before intended renaming could be done.

Selection of Historical Articles #

Panther (Propeller), C138004, Sunk by collision, 26 Jun 1916 #

      Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., June 27. – The steamer JAMES J. HILL of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company of Cleveland arrived here today with the crew of the steamer PANTHER, owned by the Massey Steamship Company of Duluth. The HILL collided with the PANTHER in a dense fog late last night of the Persian Island in Whitefish Bay. The latter steamer sunk. 

Buffalo Daily Courier June 28, 1916  #

   The PANTHER was a wooden steamer, 236 feet length of keel, thirty- six feet beam, twenty-four feet deep and she was built in 1890. She was recently bought by the Massey Steamship Company, of which Capt. Chester Massey is president. 
  The PANTHER was on her way to Buffalo from this port with a cargo of grain. She had just left the drydock at Port Arthur and carried a crew of sixteen. 

Provisional List of Canadian Steamships [Inland & Coastal] 1809 to 1930 

PANTHER, bulk freighter, Canadian official No. 138004. Built West Bay City 1890. Became Canadian 1915. 236 x 36 x 24, of 1711 gross tons. Sunk in collision July 1916 

Port Huron Daily Tribune November 4, 1996 (James Donahue’s shipwreck column) #

The wooden grain freighter PANTHER is one of a lost fleet of ships, lying at the bottom of Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay. The PANTHER came to a quick and unexpected end when it was struck amidships by the ore carrier J.J. HILL off Parisian Island. The accident happened in dense fog at 10:30 p.m. on June 26, 1916. Nobody was hurt because Capt. George Randolph, master of the HILL kept his wits. Knowing his ship had just struck a fatal blow when it collided with the smaller wooden hulled boat, Randolph left the HILL’s steel bow buried in the hole in the side of the PANTHER until every member of the sinking boat’s crew had the time to jump to the HILL’s deck. 
Randolph was lauded for saving lives. That his boat rammed and the PANTHER seemed to have been forgotten, or at least forgiven by the newspapers of the day. They said that the moment Randolph gave his engineer the order to back the HILL the flooded PANTHER capsized and sank in about 100 feet of water. 
‘The HILL which was only lightly damaged, took the crew of the PANTHER back to Sault Ste. Marie where the accident was reported. 
It was an uneven contest to say the least. 
The HILL, which was steaming up empty, was a 478-foot-long steel ship. while the 26- year Old PANTHER was a wooden boat measuring 236 feet. The PANTHER had been purchased by the Massey Steamship Co. of Fort William, Ont. and put in the grain trade less than a month before the accident. The boat was loaded with 65,000 bushels of wheat, bound from Fort William to Midland, Ont. 
The PANTHER was among a large fleet of wooden boats built at West Bay City. It was launched in 1890.

David Swayze Great Lakes Shipwreck File #

PANTHER Other names   :  none Official no.     : C138004
Type at loss    :  propeller, wood, bulk freight
Build info       :  1890, Jas. Davidson, W. Bay City, MI  hull# 35   US# 150497
Specs              :  237x36x19,  1373gc 1118nc
Date of loss    :  1916, Jun 27
Place of loss   :  off Whitefish Point
Lake                : Superior Type of loss    :  collision
Loss of life      :  none Carrying         :  grain
Detail              : She was rammed in dense fog by the steamer JAMES J HILL, which was kept running into the hole until PANTHER’s crew clambered aboard. She sank quickly when HILL backed away.

Date also given as 6/26.
Wreck located in 1975.
Sold Canadian, 1916

Youtube Video #

Video by Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Rescues on Youtube


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