Lakeport men discover 1876 schooner wreck in Lake Huron

bildePaul Schmitt, Dave Losiniski and Drew Losinksi are filling in Lake Huron’s blanks. The Lakeport men look for shipwrecks — and they’re going public with one of their latest discoveries.

The Charles H. Walker, a 136-foot, two-masted schooner, lies in about 35 feet of water about four miles east of Lakeport State Park. The men, said Schmitt, found the vessel in August 2010.

His meticulous research revealed the ship sank in rough seas on Sept. 26, 1876 — the year of the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and about three months after the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana.

The Charles H. Walker was carrying a load of iron ore from L’Anse in the Upper Peninsula to the smelters of Pennsylvania, according to a story in the Port Huron Times.

“It’s still heaped on the cargo deck,” Schmitt said.

The crew members safely evacuated the ship. Its location was marked by its masts sticking above the surface, so in August 1877, a wrecking tug was reported to have salvaged some of its fittings and cargo.

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