Mr. Newman Curtis of St. Martin's Island (Northern tip of the Door County peninsula, Wisconsin) had rented a dilapidated old schooner, which was too unwieldy to be safe called the George C. Smalley
, to transport his family and their belongings to their newly built home on Washington Island. Since the distance between St. Martin's Island and Washington Island was only eight miles, safety wasn't a big concern. As the ship approached their destination, the unpredictable lake suddenly whipped up and the schooner began to fill with water even with the pump in action. The family tried desperately to make shore, but just outside Indian Point, with the seas rolling terrifically, the daughter was washed overboard and drowned. Another waved washed the yawl overboard along with Newman Curtis and yet another waved washed Mrs. Curtis overboard, both drowning. The George C. Smalley
sank on the northern beach of Washington Island after drifting around the bay for many hours, but the two young crewmen, W.W. Shipman and V.I. Garrett, managed to save themselves and the little Curtis baby by clinging to a hatch and the submerged yawl.