1905 –ETRURIA sank after a collision with the AMASA STONE off Passage Island Light, Lake Superior.  contains video of the wreck

Steamer Etruria Sunk by a Stone

By James Donahue

Capt. George Mallory, skipper of the new ore carrier Amasa Stone, denied charges that he broke the rules of the lakes following an early morning collision that sank the freighter Etruria off Presque Isle Light.

The 23 crew members of the Etruria claimed that the Stone steamed off into the fog after a broadside collision that sank their coal laden boat on June 18, 1905. They said they barely had time to launch lifeboats and get off the boat before it turned upside down and went down by the stern in 68 fathoms of water.

Capt. John Green, master of the Etruria, also charged that the Stone may not have been traveling through the fog that morning in check, and he did not hear another boat’s fog signals prior to the crash.

Mallory denied the charges. He said the story of his alleged desertion was “a deliberate lie. After the collision we swung around and approached the Etruria, intending to offer her assistance. But the crew, taking to the boats, rowed off in the opposite direction,” he said.

In those days, boat captains faced fines of up to $1,000 and two years in jail if they filed to stop and pick up survivors following a collision that sank the other vessel.

At the time of the disaster, the 414-foot-long Etruria was considered the largest vessel ever to be sunk on the Great Lakes.

It was upbound that morning with a cargo of soft coal, moving from Toledo to a Lake Superior port. The Stone was steaming from Duluth with a cargo of iron ore, bound for Lake Erie.

When they hit, many of the crew members on the Etruria were asleep in their bunks. Chief Engineer B. B. Buchanan said he was awakened by the collision and thought the steamer had run aground. By the time he reached the deck, the vessel was already listing and starting to settle in the water, stern first.

The boat was gashed open on the starboard side, just abreast of the No. 9 hatch. Capt. John Green and his crew launched the boat’s lifeboats and escaped in time to watch the steamer roll over. As it turned upside down, the sailors said the hatch covers began breaking off and the cargo of coal rumbled free, dropping to the bottom of the lake ahead of the ship.

The crew was picked up later that morning by the passing steamer Maritana after the fog lifted.

The Stone was a new boat, having just been launched a few weeks before the accident.

The vessel was not having a good season. On its first trip the Stone went aground at Corsican shoal at the foot of Lake Huron.

The Etruria also was a relatively new boat, having been launched at Bay City in 1902, three years before it was lost.

Sault Ste. Marie, June 20. — Smith, Davis & Company agency held the insurance on the steamer ETRURIA, which was sunk by the AMASA STONE Sunday, amounting to $360,000. The cargo insurance was about $15,000. This will make one of the heaviest losses on one vessel ever known in Lake underwriting. Early in the season losses had reached such a figure as to make profit for underwriting for this year impossible and if no further disasters occur this year, the Underwriters are far enough behind now to make a large loss on the total business.
Buffalo Evening News
June 20, 1905
REPAIRS TO THE STONE. – Detroit, July 1, – Owing to the position of the damages on the steamer AMASA STONE, which recently sunk the ETRURIA in Lake Huron, the repair work is difficult and is progressing rather slowly. The big boat will probably not get away from Wyandotte for a week. Twenty-six plates had to be taken off the starboard bow in addition to the removal and replacing of 25 broken frames.
Buffalo Evening News
July 1, 1905

. . . . .

Investigation is still going on in the case of the AMASA STONE and ETRURIA, and thus far the preponderance of evidence seems to be against the STONE. The fact that 70 feet of one side of the ETRURIA was crushed in, causing her to sink within 5 minutes after she was struck, proves conclusively, so it is claimed, that the STONE must have been going full speed. If she had been going as she claims, under check, they would have simply come together and glanced off. Smith, Davis & Company have paid the ETRURIA loss of $275,000. This was accomplished within 30 days from the date of collision, which is a record. No effort probably be ever be made to raise the ETRURIA, or her cargo of coal, which lies between 300 and 400 feet under water. It is said that an action will be brought against the STONE, which promises a very vigorous contest.
Buffalo Evening News
August 16, 1905

. . . . .

Detroit, June 9. – Judge Henry H. Swan, in the United States District Court, established a precedent in a suit brought by the Hawgood Transportation Company of Cleveland, owner of the steamer ETRURIA, to collect damages for the loss of that vessel, sunk in collision with the steamer AMASA STONE, in Lake Huron, June 18, 1905.
Sixteen insurance companies shared in the payment of a $205,000 loss on the ETRURIA.
Judge Swan holds that the non-contributing insurance companies may share only in any residue that remains after the 10 contributing companies have been paid their full percentage of the loss incurred through the sinking of the ETRURIA.
The ETRURIA and the AMASA STONE came together in a heavy fog about 10 miles off Presque Isle.
Buffalo Evening News
Friday, June 9, 1911

ETRURIA Built 1902 Bulk Propeller -Steel
U. S. No. 136977 4744 gt -4439 nt 414′ x 50′ x 24′
Sunk in collision with stmr. AMASA STONE June 18, 1905, 10 miles off Presque Isle Light, Lake Huron.
Frank Wheeler & Co., West Bay City Shipbuilding Master List
Institute for Great Lakes Research
Perrysburg, Ohio

Steam screw ETRURIA. U. S. No. 136977. Of 4,653 tons gross; 3,415 tons net. Built West Bay City, Mich. Home port, Cleveland, Ohio. 414.0 x 50.0 x 28.0 Of 1,500 indicated horsepower. Steel buil . Crew of 25.
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1903

Vessel Masters Fined for Law Violation.
For Loss of the LINDEN, CITY OF ROME, and Big Freighter ETRURIA.
Federal authorities have taken drastic action in the collisions which occurred last season between the steamers ETRURIA and AMASA STONE and the CITY OF ROME and the LINDEN. Fines aggregating $1,200 have been imposed on two of the captains.
Capt. George B. Mallory, who sailed the steamer STONE, has been fined $1,000 for not standing by when his boat collided with and sank the steamer ETRURIA, near Detour. He has been notified of the fact and in case he does not pay the fine the alternative is two years in prison. The collision occurred on June 8.
Capt. John S. Morrison, who was master of the steamer WIDLAR, has been fined $200 without any alternative for causing the steamer LINDEN to sheer into the CITY OF ROME in violation of rule 22 of the steamboat laws. It is claimed that he passed two boats with the LINDEN in between and the suction resulted in the sheer. The LINDEN and the ROME went to the bottom as a result of the collision.
Both captains were tried before the United States inspectors at Port Huron and found guilty of violating the steamboat rules. The inspectors made their report to Collector Leach, the boats being owned in this district.
The STONE’s collision resulted in a property loss estimated at $283,189.81, but this is not figured in the fines. It is owing to the fact that the STONE did not wait to render assistance to the ETRURIA’s crew, thereby endangering their lives on the open lake.
The LINDEN sheered into the CITY OF ROME June 23. She was up-bound with a cargo of coal and the CITY OF ROME was coming down with a load of ore. The impact of the collision was so hard that it sent both boats to the bottom. The ROME was afterwards raised, but the LINDEN is still on the bottom. It is considered a menace to navigation.