On the evening of April 8, 1894, with a cargo of elm wood enroute from Pine Lake, Michigan to Sheboygan, the wooden schooner Lottie Cooper
was caught by a howling northwest gale. After an unsuccessful attempt to signal a tug to tow her, the crew dropped anchor to await the dawn. By morning, the Cooper's
predicament had become dire. Water was flooding into the vessel and a companionway and bulwarks were washed away. Her captain signaled for the Life Savers to come out and take off the crew, but before they arrived, the Lottie Cooper
capsized and sank. The cargo of wood planks was caught in the rigging hampering rescue attempts, but finally the Life Savers using their large surfboat along with the aid of the tug Sheboygan
, succeeded in rescuing five of the six people on board. The sixth man who tried to make it to shore on a makeshift raft of planks, drowned.
During the night the deck load of lumber had washed away. The following morning a large number of spectators watched as the destroyed hull of the Lottie Cooper
drifted into shore. Part of the 230,00 board feet of elm lumber was probably saved but the remaining portion lost. The value of the vessel was $7,000 and the value of the cargo was put at $3,500.
The owners abandoned the Lottie Cooper
and it later washed ashore, but soon the lake reclaimed her. The Lottie Cooper
remained on the bottom of the harbor near the present day boat ramps in Sheboygan. Gradually silt covered her and she was forgotten. Prior to the construction of the marina in 1992 she was rediscovered and her remains were recovered. A large portion of the wreck was removed and placed on shore in a public display. Unfortunately, the elements will eventually take their toll unless the remains are correctly preserved.
The three masted wooden schooner Lottie Cooper
was built for the Truman-Cooper Lumber and Flour Mill, Manitowoc. She was built by Rand & Burger in Manitowoc in 1876. The official registry number was 140185.
March 1876: Launched in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
May 1878: Readmeasured
November 1880: Stranded at Shermans Bay and was released four days later.
August 1884: Ashore at Port Sanilac, Michigan with a load of lumber.
Last Document of Enrollment Surrendered: Milwaukee: 4/4/1894: "Total Loss".