The Steinbrenner was the last of the North Shore wrecks.
The Great Lakes freighter SS Henry Steinbrenner was a 427 feet (130 m) long, 50 feet (15 m) wide, and 28 feet (8.5 m) deep(4}, dry bulk freighter of typical construction style for the early 1900s primary designed for the iron ore, coal, and grain trades on the Great Lakes. Commissioned by the Kinsman Transit Co. of Cleveland, Ohio she was launched as hull number 14 by Jenks Ship Building Co. of Port Huron, Michigan. Her design featured a forward forecastle containing crew cabins topped with an additional cabin and pilot house. The mid section was a long nearly flat deck over the cargo holds only interrupted by 12 hatches fitted with telescoping type hatch covers. The aft end featured a large cabin situated over the engine room containing the galley, mess rooms, and crew quarters and was topped with a smoke stack and air vents. The Steinbrenner later featured a “doghouse” cabin aft of her smoke stack to house added crew from a change in the crew watch system on the Great Lakes. Within four hours of the sinking, three nearby ore carriers had arrived on scene and fourteen of the Steinbrenner’s thirty-one-man crew were rescued — seventeen men were lost.
Robert J. Allen, St. Louis, Missouri; porter
Howard W. Chamberlain, Buffalo, NY; coal passer
Harry R. Drinkwitz, Duluth, Minn.; 1st asst engineer (missing)
Earl M. Hemmingson, Duluth, Minn.; wheelsman
Andrew Kraft, Alpena, Mich.; 1st Mate
Paul LeRoux, Toledo, Ohio; steward (missing)
Paul T. Mattson, Aurora, Minn.; 2nd asst engineer (missing)
William J. Monahan, Pearsall, Texas; coal passer
Arthur L. Morse, Michigan City, Ind.; 3rd asst engineer
Harold O. Race, Jefferson, Ohio; chief engineer (missing)
Kenneth H. Reynolds, South Range, Wis.; fireman
Calvin E. Swartz, Conneaut, Ohio; fireman (missing)
George H. Thom, Brockway, Penn.; 2nd mate (missing)
Leo W. Thomas, Duluth, Minn.; wheelsman
Frank Tomczak, Buffalo, NY; oiler
George W. Wiseman, South Range, Wis.; 3rd mate (missing)
Jack Wolfe, East Liverpool, Ohio; fireman
STEINBRENNER TAKEN BACK.
The owners who abandoned the steamer HENRY STEINBRENNER sunk in the Soo River last December have taken her back. The underwriters will pay the repair and wrecking bills amounting to $76,000, and a large sum besides. It is agreed, however, that the owners shall make no claim against the steamer BERWIND which sunk the STEINBRENNER.
Buffalo Evening News
July 12, 1910
Steam screw HENRY STEINBRENNER. U. S. No. 96584. Of 4,719 tons gross. Built 1901. On December 6, 1909 vessel collided with steam screw HARRA A. BERWIND in Mud Lake, St. Marys River, Mich. With 24 persons on board, no lives were lost.
Reported Loss of American Vessels
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1910
Steam screw HENRY STEINBRENNER. U. S. No. 96584. Of 4,719 tons gross; 3,955 tons net. Built Port Huron, Mich, 1901. Home port, Cleveland, Ohio. 420.0 x 50.0 x 24.0
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1902
NOTE:– Vessel recovered.
The decade of the 1890’s was unkind to one of the oldest fleets on the Great Lakes, and the family that started it under Captain Philip Minch about 50 years earlier. Ships were sunk, and the family and the crews felt the pain of lost of lives in this decade. The daughter of Captain Philip Minch, Sophia, had married a young lawyer and businessman named Henry Steinbrenner, who was reluctant at first to become involved in Great Lakes shipping. However he did, and in 1901, with the older Minch fleet, he formed the Kinsman Marine Transit Company. The need for a modern fleet was apparent, and the first vessel for this new enterprise was built in 1901, and took the name, Henry Steinbrenner. This ship was built by Jenks Shipbuilding at Port Huron, Michigan, at 440 feet long, which put it among the larger boats on the Lakes. Kinsman would become a company that would haul iron ore, coal, and stone, but grain would become its main business. This first Kinsman boat would soon be joined by other newly built vessels for the fleet, but this steamer would begin a career of accidents over the years. After 52 years of service this first Henry Steinbrenner would end in one more major accident when she foundered in Lake Superior in a storm on May 11, 1953. Seventeen died, and 14 survived of the crew. Three subsequent vessels would carry this name, but the sinking of the first one is still remembered.
(Photo – Dowling collection)