fleet: the Blodgett fleet and continued service as a lumber hooker for that fleet and its subsidiaries until 1926. By this time, the DELAWARE had been in service on the Great Lakes for 58 years, and was showing signs of age. In June of 1926, the vessel was sold to her final owners: Samuel Shields and Earl Weston of Sault Ste. Marie, MI. While we do not know how the DELAWARE’s final owners employed her, we do know that it was not for very long: On October, 24, 1927 she was declared as “unfit for further service” and dropped from documentation.
Abandonment at Drummond Island
At this point, the history of the DELAWARE becomes unclear, because the trail of official records ends in 1927. The final official record does make it clear that the DELAWARE was owned at Sault Ste. Marie at the end of her service life as a Great Lakes commercial vessel. What is not known is how the vessel actually ended up at Drummond Island. In some respects, it is not hard to imagine: the distance between Sault Ste. Marie and Drummond Island is only about 50 miles by water. Local lore has it that the vessel was brought to Drummond Island for use as a crib for a dock, but the dock never was built, so the DELAWARE was abandoned in the bay. One long time Drummond Island resident has stated that:
“Philo Leonard brought the "Delaware" to "Philo's Bay" as we used to call the bay at Nate's Marina. Later it was called "King's Bay" for the only resident of the bay, Jack King. You may not find documentation regarding the purchase (of the vessel) but there are still people on the island who were alive when the boat was brought into the bay…..”
Jim Kelley, a lifelong Drummond Island resident provided the photo of the vessel (dated 1938) notes that on the photo the bay at Nate’s Marina is called “Perch Bay.” His parents moved to the next bay over to the east in the 1940’s. His mother, Lorna Kelley (she is still alive), also a lifelong resident remembers when a boat came during World War II and scavenged the wreck for metal for use in the war effort. Over the years, the upper and side structure of the vessel has broken down and now all that remains is the lower hull structure, all of which is below the waterline. The Kelley family always called the bay King’s Bay (named for Jack King). Now it is called Sturgeon Bay.
Only the bottom of the hull and a few artifacts remain. Not of major interest to divers, except that it is in a protected area and is diveable in almost any weather. It is also very accessible as its location is only a half mile south Nate’s Marina. Snorklers and Kayakers may find the wreck to be interesting.
The wreck lies in 5 to 15 feet of water approximately a half mile south of the Nate’s Marina boat ramp. Lat/Long Coordinates are:
45º 59.920’ North
83º 49.500’ West
Sault Ste. Marie, MI
Campbell and Owen
Date of Loss:
Cause of Loss: