The wooden steambarge M.H. Stuart
was built in Sturgeon Bay by the Wolter & O'Boyle Shipyard in 1921. The vessel was powered by a fore-and-aft compound steam engine and a scotch boiler with two fireboxes that had been salvaged from the steamer J.S. Crouse
. Her official registry number was 221409.
The steamer M.H. Stuart
was primarily a fruit boat, although she also carried various other cargos such as cordwood, livestock,hay, potatoes, and even illegal bootleg during prohibition. She primarily carried grapes from Traverse City to Sheboygan, but she often would carry wood from around Lake Michigan to the sawmills at Traverse City and Charlevoix. During the Stuart's
final years, she was purchased by Milwaukee's Ship Salvage Corporation, Jack Browne, to be used as a salvage ship to recover scrap metal from shipwrecks for the war effort.
In 1944 the M.H. Stuart
was used as a scrap barge at Milwaukee Harbor. Later her cabins were removed and she was used as a barge until 1948 when she sank at her dock. At the request of the Coast Guard, she was then pumped out, filled with rocks and towed eight miles out of Milwaukee Harbor to sink her. She didn't. With difficulty they torched her and finally the Coast Guard had to punch holes in the hull to get her to go down in 200 feet of water.
In 1981 after snagging his nets on a deep obstruction, a commercial fisherman obtains the help from a local diver to find the problem which turns out to be a burned shipwreck. Not until 1985 is it dove on again and over the years and numerous attempts it is figured out that the vessel is the remains of the scuttled M.H. Stuart
The M.H. Stuart
rests upright in two hundred feet of water with fish net wrapped around parts of her bow and stern. Large portions of her has been burned but much of her decking still exists along with the rudder and propeller.