Waukegan, IL (Off shore) Steamer SEA BIRD Burning, Apr 1868

SEA BIRD woodcutting of the disaster 1868.jpg

The following passengers are supposed to have got on at Manitowoc, some of them probably disembarked at Milwaukee.
GEORGE W. EMERY.
JOSEPH D. DOUCETT.
C. ROICHER.
HENRY PFEFFER.
FRED HEMAN.
FRED HENNING.
Captain N. T. NELSON.
Captain JOHN SORRENSON.
JAMES LYKOM.
CASPER LEGRO.
WENZEL HAVLIEHORS.
ALBERT MERWAY.
R. H. HUNT.
WILLIAM BARTER.
P. C. DONAHAY.
FRITZ KLIMMEN, of Chicago.
JOHN FOUCK, deckhand.
AUG. WILDE, deckhand.
HENRY NIEMAN, deckhand.
AMOS MEYES, deckhand.
FRED FLOESBACH, deckhand.
It is believed that the above list comprised all, or nearly all who were on the steamer at the time of the catastrophe. Rendered as small as possible the loss of life is appalling, and it will be years before the story of the Sea Bird and her fate will grow old. The whole western coast is filled with mourning; and there is scarcely a port along its extent in which some family has not been specially stricken. The flags upon the shipping in the harbor floated at half mast Friday, and the lowered pennons but feebly expressed the public feeling concerning the great calamity. Anxious inquiry was still upon all lips and it was heart rending to observe the demeanor of persons who had lost friends, and who were struggling to catch a gleam of hope where all was despair. It is believed now to be vain to cherish anticipations, that the worst may have been told at the outset, and that happier tidings will yet come. It is impossible to see how more than three persons could have been saved. The combine terrors of the flaming vessel and the furious sea, almost icy cold, as it was precludes any such cheering hypothesis. The survivors tell us that those who confided themselves to the tossing waves to escape the fiery demon that was destroying their only ark of safety on the wide waters, did not live above an average of four minutes.
MR. J. H. LEONARD, of Manitowoc, one of the passengers of the ill-fated steamer, reached Evanston after a perilous and painful drifing about on the lake for over twelve hours, with nothing between him and eternity but a few fragile boards. MR. LEONARD was on his way to Chicago with his wife, but she perished in the flames. He struck the shore three miles above Evanston, about 10 o'clock at night, and then he made his way to the village, where he was hospitably received by the proprietor of the Evanston House. The Times reporter visited him the next evening and heard the following statements, corroborative of what has heretofore been published, and detailing his experience and suffering during the day.

Statement of J. H. LEONARD.
On Wednesday morning, with my wife, I embarked on the Sea Bird at Manitowoc for Chicago. During that day nothing of interest occurred, but about midnight a stiff breeze arose in the east, causing the boat to roll heavily in the sea, and rendering stoppage at intermediate ports extremely difficult. I retired about 9 o'clock, Wednesday evening, and remarked at the time to my wife that a terrible evenin, an assertion which she acquiesced in with an apprehensive shudder. On Thursday morning I arose at 5:30 and went out on the deck cabin to get the air. The boat was rolling as in the night, the lake was extremely rought, and the wind high. On the guards I met the first mate, and entered into conversation with him relative to the distance from Chicago, the weather, and the probable hour the boat would reach that city. He informed me that we were then off the clay banks, between Lake Forest and Waukegan, and about 25 miles from Chicago.
"If nothing happens," said he, "we will reach Chicago about 10 o'clock."

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