Captain Stewart, shame on you! Your greed in selling that salt and those shingles made you venture out, short handed, along a heavily fog encrusted coast in Northern Michigan. With a crew of only three to battle the wintry gale that blew in that Friday evening in early May? Did you not stop to consider the consequences of failing to prepare for any emergency such as that which might necessitate saving your crew, yourself, and the boat out there in the frigid darkness? I can only imagine the terror of a numbed crew finding out that the life boat, frozen solid and immovable, could not be coaxed from its position when you and they needed it most. Was this in the midst of a white out so dire it concealed the realization of pooling, freezing water slowly enveloping you, sinking your boat, sucking the life out of all of your precious cargo? “T’would be but a short night run,” as you put it. A short run that would soon blot out the lives of all four of you careless adventurers and change forever the lives of families waiting for loved ones who would never return.
Yes, they’ve found your boat, Captain Stewart, one hundred and twenty nine years later, perfectly intact, rounded hull, lifeboat still attached! Experts say it was no collision, no encounter with a shore unseen, but simply nature, ice, that enshrined your boat off Manitou Island. They say it looks as if it floated down, “soft as a feather,” to the bottom of the big lake with no damages. It sounds so perfectly peaceful, except that it must have been a nightmare.
And I wonder how swiftly the terrors of that night simply gave in to the call of frigid water. At what point did you, Captain, and Mr. Wolfe, the Free Press Correspondent, and my teenaged boys Sonny and Marvin know the game was up and that all would be lost? Literally lost, for your bodies were never recovered. We searched, we offered rewards, we wept, we prayed; eventually we too became numb.
Captain Stewart, I lost all desire to carry on once my boys disappeared aboard the W.C. Kimble with you. And now I know, even as I lie here in this grave in Northport, that it was your doing. Your miscalculated greed and stupidity. I am done.
*Readers, please click on the link above to read the true story of a Captain Stevens. I have created a story based on this article, though my characters are not the same as the ones mentioned in the story! By clicking on the photos, you will see small newspaper clippings about the incident.