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In 1873, the Meridian was sold to A.M. Crawford of Milwaukee. This was not a good year to be in business, as the United States had slipped into a devastating recession. Due to the Panic of '73, cargoes may have been hard to come by. In late October, the Meridian, reportedly carrying no cargo and bound for Oconto, presumably for lumber, ran into a howling fall storm.

A storm of "great violence" drove the Meridian upon the shoals of the Sister Islands.
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Stiff northerly winds brought heavy snowfall and dangerous icing conditions to Green Bay. Driven up on the Sister Islands shoal, the Meridian suffered extensive damage. A Green Bay newspaper described the intensity of the late October storm:


We hear continually of the effects of the storm of last week, which exceeded in fury anything known in the memories of the oldest living inhabitants. It broke with great violence upon the east shore of the bay, sweeping away docks which have withstood the many previous storms of former years without moving a timber. (Green Bay Press-Gazette 11/8/1873)




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