Lady Franklin (1850)
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Final Voyage


The sidewheel steamer Lady Franklin sank in the Mississippi River on October 23, 1856, a few miles below Brownsville, Minnesota, at Warren's Landing, after being snagged near the foot of Coon Slough Landing which was just below St. Paul. The master, M.E. Lucas, was held responsible.

The 1878 plat map of Vernon County, Wisconsin, shows no Warren's Landing, but it does show a Warnes Landing, adjacent to property owned by a Warner, located at the foot of Coon Slough. This rises the possibility that this may be the location of the Lady Franklin's sinking.

The Lacrosse National Democrat reported in 1856, that the Lady Franklin "could not be raised", and in fact the wreck lay where it sank until at least 8/5/1894, when the steamer Reindeer collided with it and sank in seven feet of water. Whether the Franklin's remains were removed when the Reindeer was salvaged, or later dredged out is unknown.

The Nominee was also lost in Coon Slough.
Service History


The wooden hull sidewheel steam paddle Lady Franklin was built in Wheeling, West Virginia in 1850. The vessel was owned by the Galena, Dubuque, Dunleith and Minnesota Packet Company who was attempting to bring organized transportation to the upper Mississippi River.
The Lady Franklin "Ran principally on the Upper Mississippi and her first arrival at St. Paul was on June 19,1851. Took part in the opening excursion for the Rock Island Railroad, June 1854, Capt. Le Grand Morehouse."

On May 5, 1855, the Lady Franklin arrived with 800 passengers at St. Paul. She had departed from St.Louis, the captain was J.W. Malin. This trip broke all records for the number of passengers arriving at one time. Lady Franklin's official capacity was only 500 passengers!
© 2017 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society