Archive for the ‘Ships’ category

U.S.S. Michigan

March 18, 2008

U.S.S. Michigan – First Iron Clad Warship in the Navy 

And Her Successors

Construction of parts of the iron ship began in 1842 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Sections of the ship were transported to Erie by Ox team and riverboat.  Ship involved in Strang affair when it carried Jesse S. to Detroit for trial in 1851, foiled Confederate plot to free thousands of prisoners on Johnson Island in Sandusky Bay.  Used as training ship, last cruise was in 1927.  President Roosevelt requested Michigan be saved, but it was scraped in 1949.  Active duty during World War I.


Foremast in Historical Society of Fairport, Ohio.  Michigan, or Wolverine, was built in Erie in 1843 by Stackhouse and Tomlinson.  Cost:  $150,000 and $175,000 and made to specifications to follow an agreement made between the U.S. and Canada.

  1. Inland Seas, Volume 13, Number 1 (spring, 1957).   Metcalf, Clarence S.  “First Iron Vessel on the Great Lakes.” 
  1. Quaife, Milo M. “The Iron Ship” in BURTON HISTORICAL LEAFLETS, Volume III, number two (November 1928).  Sources of information:  HOUSE DOCUMENT, 471, 56 congressional documents.  Much of the same ground is covered in narrative form by J. M. Fallahan’s “Agreement of 1817:  Reduction of Navel Forces on the Great Lakes,” in American History Association.  ANNUAL REPORT FOR 1895, 369-92.  An admirable account of “The Johnson’s Island Plot” by Frederick J. Shepard is in the Buffalo Historical Society PUBLICATIONS, IX, 1-50.  A paper by Captain W. B. Brooks, “Navel Annals:  Part of this city has played in making heroes,” published in the Erie DISPATCH, March 12, 1905, contains data on officers who served on the Michigan.  Some further information is to be found in James C. Mills’ OUR INLAND SEAS:  THEIR SHIPPING AND THEIR COMMERCE (Chicago, 1910), 164 ff.
  1. Bigelow, Martha Mitchell, “Piracy on Lake Erie or the Confederate Attempt to capture Johnson’s Island in Sandusky Bay, Ohio, September 19, 1846.”  In Detroit Historical Society BULLETIN, XIV, number 1 (October 1957). 
  1. U.S. Department of Navy.  Naval Militia Affairs.  Reports of officers, 1916.  MSL-documents.  Moore, Charles.  THE SAINT MARYS FALLS CANAL, Semi-Centennial Commission.  Detroit, 1907, page 87.
  1. Battleship U.S.S. MICHIGAN COMMISSIONED January, 1910, decommissioned February 12, 1922.  Source:  New York Times. 


Michigan Pioneer Collections


                        Volume                         Page


                        Volume 1                        436-437

                        Volume 4                        80, 459, 483

                        Volume 7                        358

                        Volume 9                        275, 284

                        Volume 13                        121

                        Volume 14                        529, 543       

                        Volume 18                        626, 635-637

                        Volume 21                        340, 353, 363

                        Volume 22                        315, 339, 342, 346

                        Volume 30                        328


Michigan History Magazine


                        Volume                        Page


                        Volume 27                        85, 103, 113

                        Volume 29                        420-424

                        Volume 33                        84

                        Volume 34                        272-273

                        Volume 41                        150


Executive Office Papers

            Accession 44:  Box 10, F-19, 22; Box 43.


Spencer, Herbert R. USS Michigan; USS Wolverine.  Erie, Pennsylvania,

1966.    28 pages, (M-359, S74u)


Jane’s Fighting Ships (beginning 1906-7, page 97)     


Vertical file.



Battleship built by the Navy to carry this name after the Old U.S.S. Michigan (launched December 5, 1843, see Hatcher, LAKE ERIES, pages 322-23) was renamed WOLVERINE.  See Hatcher, page 94, for picture of reconditioned Wolverine, about 1913.


Mitchell.  History of the Modern American Navy, page 139, (359 M68) pages 139-40, 180, 251.  U.S.S. MICHIGAN used to transport in World War I.


Buell, Raymond L. Washington Conference. 1922.  The Michigan is listed in “Treaties and Resolutions” among capital ships to be scrapped by the U.S. (327.5 B92 page 385).


New York TIMES, February 12, 1922, page 15, column one:  “The MICHIGAN retired.  The last entry placed out of commission was made today on the official log of the Battleship MICHIGAN at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.  Orders placing the warship out of commission were issued, it was said, because there were not enough men to provide the personnel for all ships of this class.  Eventually, the Michigan will be scrapped as a result of the arms conference.  She was built at the New York Shipyard in Camden, New Jersey, and put in commission January, 1910.  She was on patrol duty along the North Atlantic during the World War.”



February 26, 2008




1.    Saginaw Daily Courier, February 4, 1881.  Provides description of Propeller.  Lists ships:


            1 steamer built in 1849 “Buena Vista”

            21 craft built in 1867

            21 craft built in 1868

            13 craft built in 1868

            13 craft built in 1869

            19 craft built in 1870

              9 craft built in 1871

            22 craft built in 1873