Jo Vilas (1857)
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Service History


The wooden two masted Jo Vilas was a coastal trading schooner carrying all manner of cargo between Lake Michigan ports, notably Manitowoc and Milwaukee. The vessel was built in September of 1857. Her hull was built and launched at Two Rivers, Wisconsin and finished at Manitowoc by G.S. Rand and probably brother Hanson Rand. The official registry number was 12767 and in 1861 and 1863 the valuation was $7,300 and rating was A1. By 1874 the rating was C1 and valuation $3,000.

November 1861: Repaired damaged centerboard.

May 1869: Main mast carried away by a squall on Lake Michigan,

September 1872: Struck by lightning.

September 1873: Rescued the crew of the brig Hampton eight miles off Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Last Document Of Enrollment Surrendered: Chicago: 12/31/76: Papers Lost.
Final Voyage


October 9, 1876, the two masted schooner Jo Vilas, laden with lumber both in her hull and on her deck, bound for Chicago from White Lake, Michigan, foundered and capsized in a southwestern gale midway between Racine and Kenosha and 30 miles out from shore. The Jo VIlas began to leak soon after she started out from White Lake and the pumps ran continuously. The following day, Monday, a strong southwest gale began to blow and the deckload of lumber was washed overboard along with the six crew members. The crew managed to get Captain Richard Johnson off just minutes before the Vilas broke up and went to the bottom. The six man crew survived on a make-shift raft for six hours, withstanding horrible conditions, until, by chance, they were seen and rescued by the schooner Andrew Jackson. The raft broke up while they were being rescued by the Andrew Jackson, but all six survived even thought they were nearly drowned and frozen.
Today


The remains of theJo Vilas lie somewhere about thirty miles from shore midway between Racine and Kenosha in water that may be 300 feet deep.
 
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