The wooden steam tug John Evenson
was built for and by the vessel's namesake John Evenson in Milwaukee in 1884. The Evenson's
official registry number was 76523. Mr Evenson sold the tug to George Spear who moved the tug to Door County to work the lumber trade by towing log rafts. In 1890, the tug was purchased by the Laurie brothers, John and Alexander, to tow vessels through the Sturgeon Bay Ship canal and to tow barges of stone for their quarries on the north shore of Green Bay.
Last Document Of Enrollment No.28 Surrendered: Milwaukee: 9/9/1895: "Total Loss"
"Returning to Sturgeon Bay from Manitowoc after having the John Evenson's
fire-box repaired, Captain John M. Laurie decided to wait off the canal for a vessel in need of a tow. Late in the afternoon of June 5, 1895 the steambarge I.W.Stephenson
, with two barges in tow, signalled for assistance in getting through the Sturgeon Bay canal. The Evenson
responded and while attempting to get a line attached got too close and was struck in the stern by the Stephenson's
bow. The vessel was moving around 10 MPH and the force of the collision turned the Evenson
sideways. The bow of the Stephenson
again struck the Evenson
and rolled her over sideways causing her to fill and sink almost immediately. All but one of the five crew escaped from the foundered craft and were picked up by the the boats lowered from the Stephenson's
two barges, the Peshtigo
and the Alert
. Martin Boswell who was asleep at the time, went down with the tug." Door County Shipwrecks.
The John Evenson
sank off Foscoro,Wisconsin, north of Algoma, in an estimated 45 to 80 feet of water and was considered a total loss. No attempt at salvage was made. Several years later, however, proposals were made by her owners, Captain Alex and John Laurie, to recover the tug but were never carried out. The hull was located in less than 50 feet of water.
Despite many sonar searches for the John Evenson
using historical reports, the tug has not yet been located.
The Nimrods Dive Club of Green Bay has offered a reward of $500.00 for the John Evenson's location.