the Sevona left
the Allouez docks of West Superior, Wisconsin, bound for Erie,
Pennsylvania. The steamer was carrying 6,000 tons of iron
ore and a crew of 24, including four women. Although heavy
waves were building on the lake, there was no wind or other
indication in the weather or forecast of the impending storm.
Sevona engine room crew
However, within a
few hours, the swells grew into a storm, which gathered more
force by the hour. By midnight it was an all-out
, a Lake Superior
. At 2 a.m., the Sevona was about 70 miles from
Superior, Wisconsin, and heavy seas were breaking over its
bow and running over its deck. The captain, Donald Sutherland
McDonald, estimated his position was an hour northeast of
Sand Island and decided to turn toward the southwest and seek
shelter in the Apostle Islands. Capt. McDonald, a Scots-Canadian
mariner from Ontario, had extensive saltwater experience.
He had cheated death years earlier when he and another man
were the sole survivors of a wreck off the Irish coast.