The steamer M.J. Bartelme
was originally the John J. McWilliams
when she was built in West Bay City, MI. in 1895. In 1915 her name was changed to Central West
, then finally when the Valley Camp Company purchased her, the name was changed to M.J. Bartelme
. She was an ore, coal and grain freighter and she had just finished delivering a load of coal to Milwaukee when she met her demise.
The M.J. Bartelme
"went aground on the southeast point of Cana Island, west shore of Lake Michigan, during a thick fog on the night of October 4, 1928. The craft was bound from Milwaukee to Escanaba, running light. Wrecking tugs were unable to get to her for several days, by which time the craft had been badly damaged, large boulders having been forced up through the steel plates in the bottom. The wrecking tugs Favorite
, Leathem D. Smith
, and Arctic
all worked on the wreck for some time, and finally abandoned the job, as continual bad weather and pounding that the Bartelme
received on the rocky reef damaged her beyond repair.
It was not long before work of cutting down the hull by different parties started to secure what salvage could be had from the steel hull. At present not a thing is left on the reef of the ill-fated Bartelme
, even the keel having been salvaged by the last wrecker that took over the craft."
"The vessel M.J. Bartelme
has been heavily salvaged; rests on rock bottom in about 15 feet of water. Most of the bulk steel has been removed, but numerous artifacts are scattered over the site, including valves, pumps, cables, rigging, machinery, and other unidentified items."