maybe not perfect…

A public-private research team has located an exceptional and rare find on the bottom of Lake Huron: the wreck of a 190-foot sailing vessel with all three of its original masts still upright and standing. The vessel, identified as the 19th-century schooner barge Ironton, was found within the boundaries of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in 2019, and its discovery was first announced on Wednesday.

Ironton was a 1,250 dwt “consort” barge built in 1873. She was part of the great fleet of crewed cargo barges that were constructed to augment the capacity of  merchant steamers on the Great Lakes towards the end of the 19th century. She could sail independently if needed, but her primary function was to operate under tow.

In September 1894, Ironton departed Ashtabula, Ohio under tow by the steamer Charles J. Kershaw. She was at the far end of the tow arrangement, behind the barge Moonlight. In the early hours of September 26, as they crossed Lake Huron, the Kershaw lost power in rough weather. The wind blew Ironton towards Moonlight and Kershaw, and the crew of the Moonlight cut Ironton’s tow line loose to prevent a collision.

This left Ironton adrift in foul weather. The captain ordered the crew to raise the sails so that they could regain control of their heading, but their efforts were not quick enough. Ironton drifted across the bow of an oncoming steamer, the Ohio, and collided with her port quarter. The impact holed both vessels’ hulls, and Ohio sank quickly.  More here.