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This three masted schooner was built by John Gregory during August, 1872 in Sheboygan, WI. At 173 feet, the Higgie & Jones (US No. 18746) was one of the larger schooners to sail the Great Lakes, and weighed over 400 tons. She was considered a fast boat as in 1873 she made the round trip from Chicago and Buffalo in 13 days. The original owner was William Higgie. The Higgie and Jones was renamed Higgie on 9 March, 1882
Chicago Tribune, March 5, 1882
John M. Higgie sold one-eighth of the schooner Higgie and Jones to William F. Higgie for $3,000, and transferred three-eighths more of the vessel to the same party for $1.
Chicago Tribune, November 9, 1882
An Extraordinary Trip by the Schooner Higgie
The schooner Higgie (formerly the Higgie & Jones owned an commanded by Capt. William F. Higgie, which arrived from Buffalo Tuesday, made a most wonderful trip. She left this port for Buffalo on the evening of Oct. 27 with a cargo of grain, lay at anchor in the Straits for eight hours, was detained at Buffalo thirty-four hours unloading and loading, and was back to Rush street Nov. 7, thus making the round trip in the wonderful time of eleven days and eighteen hours, a speed that equals the best running time of the fastest lake steamers. It is doubtful if the performance of the Higgie has ever been excelled by any vessel that ever sailed the great lakes. It is needless to say that Capt. Higgie is the recipient of many compliments from all who know anything about marine matters.
Chicago Tribune, May 11, 1884
The Schooner Higgie.
Edward E. Ayer is sorry that he bought the schooner Higgie. Yesterday he filed a bill in the Circuit Court against William F. Higgie, the former owner of the vessel, and Robert Meadowcraft, a banker, to prevent them from negotiating two notes for $14,000. He alleges that he bought the schooner from Higgie for $19,000, paying $5,000 cash and giving two notes for the balance. One note for $10,000 is due Aug. 1, and the other, for $4,000, is due Jan. 1, 1885. He bought the vessel this spring. She has been chartered by David Dows & Co. to carry a cargo of wheat to Buffalo as soon as navigation opened, and as she was loaded in December he was unable to make a thorough examination of his property. Higgie, however, so Ayer says, represented that the vessel was perfectly sound and seaworthy, and stated that he would make Ayer a present of her if there was a rotten timber in her. Ayer took Higgie’s word and, May 1, sent the vessel on her voyage. The following day she sprung a leak, partly filled with water, and had to put back to port. The cargo was damaged to the extent of $3,800, which Ayer says he paid, together with $2,000 more for tow-bills, elevating, and other expenses. The cargo was removed and the vessel overhauled, when it was discovered that several several timbers and a portion of her frame-work were rotten. Ayer now claims that the vessel is not worth over $9,000, and that after deducting the loss and damage already sustained he does not owe Higgie anything. He further alleges he is losing $100 a day while the schooner is lying idle, and asks for an injunction to prevent the collection or negotiation of the notes until the difficulty can be settled. A temporary injunction was issued by Judge Moran. The Tribune has previously reviewed the facts leading to this action and Friday morning gave its readers the result of the underwriters’ survey, which proved conclusively proved that the story about a rat gnawing a hole through the Higgie’s centre-board box was a ridiculous myth. Capt. Higgie is at present on his farm in Kansas. Mr. Ayer is a prominent South Water street cedar merchant. The vessel was formerly called the Higgie and Jones, her name being changed to the Higgie at the commencement of last season. She was built at Sheboygan in 1872. She registers 419 tons and rates A2. Her insurance valuation is $17,000.
Chicago Tribune, November 17, 1885
A dispatch from Capt. Thomas Ledden, master of the schr Higgie, to Edward Ayer, owner of that vessel, states that the Higgie is ashore and full of water in Georgian Bay. The Higgie left Chicago for Collingwood ① about ten days ago with a cargo of grain. After discharging her cargo she started for Alpena to lad lumber for Chicago. Shortly after leaving Collingwood a fierce gale of wind and blinding snow-storm were encountered. It is supposed that Capt. Ledden lost his bearings as the Higgie brought up on a rock near Tobermory Harbor ②, which is at the entrance of Georgian Bay from Lake Huron. After striking the rock the vessel began to leak badly, and it was discovered that her forefoot had been sprung and her keel split as far as could be seen. By trimming the booms to leeward and running an anchor out astern the crew succeeded in heaving the vessel off the rock. She was then headed for Owen Sound, but when abreast of Cabot Head ③ she was making water so freely that it was found necessary to run her on the beach in order to save the lives of the crew. She was accordingly headed toward shore and allowed to settle on sandy bottom. Saturday afternoon two tugs came along and were employed by Capt. Ledden to tow the Higgie to Owen Sound ④, where repairs could be made. The vessel was released and a second start made for that port, but it was soon found that it would be impossible to keep her afloat and she was run into Lion Head Harbor ⑤, where she now lies full of water. Capt. Ledden concluded his dispatch with a request that a tug and steam-pump be sent at once. As the vessel is within the sacred precincts of her Majesty’s Dominion an American wrecking outfit could be not be sent, consequently Capt. Rounds left here for Detroit, where a tug will be obtained from the International Wrecking Company. The Higgie is insured for $15,000, of which $7,500 is in the Ætna, and the the remainder in the Detroit Fire & Marine and Commercial of Cleveland. Mr. Ayer, the owner, is at present in Arizona.
The Inter Ocean, November 18, 1885
Further advices from Captain Ledden, of the schooner Higgie, which is ashore in Lion’s Head Bay, Lake Huron, state that the vessel is in good shape and can be released without much expense or trouble if steam pumps are sent to her. At the present time she is full of water and is practically safe from being totally wrecked. Captain Rounds, who has gone to supervise the work of releasing her, will make all arrangements for tugs and pumps and working appliances at Toronto, and it is probable that the Higgie will be afloat again before the end of the present week.
Thunder Bay River, Alpena, Michigan
The owner, Edward E. Ayer petitioned the Treasury Department for permission to change the name to George Sturges (after 1887, US No. 95193) in 1889. She has had $13,000 expended on her.
The 4,748 ton passenger steamer William E. Reis (US No. 81688), ran into the George Sturges on 25 May 1906.
On October 3, 1908 vessel was abandoned at Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St. Lawrence. Nine persons on board, no lives lost.