Sinking of the Lady Elgin

Sinking of the Lady Elgin (HMOWR)

Location: Milwaukee, WI 53202 Milwaukee County
Country: United States of America

N 43° 1.903', W 87° 54.565'

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The loss of the sidewheel steamship Lady Elgin was one of Lake Michigan's most tragic maritime disasters. On September 8th, 1860, the ship, returning to Milwaukee from Chicago, sank following a collision nine miles off Winnetka, Illinois. Milwaukee's Irish Union Guards had chartered the grand Lady Elgin for a special Chicago benefit trip to raise funds to purchase new weapons. Wisconsin's Governor Alexander Randall, an opponent of the federal fugitive slave law, suspected the Union Guards of disloyalty to the state because they supported the fugitive slave law. Randall ordered the unit to disband and confiscated the Guards' weapons. In defiance, Union Guards commander Garrett Barry sought to arm the unit independently from the state.
Aboard the ship were more than 500 Union Guards supporters, mostly from the city's Irish Third Ward, including city officials, members of two German militia units, and the Milwaukee City Band. In the early morning hours the ship was struck amidships by an unlit, overloaded lumber schooner, the Augusta. At least 300 lives were lost, decimating the Irish Third Ward community.
Series This marker is part of the Wisconsin: Wisconsin Historical Society series
Marker Number327
Year Placed1996
Placed ByWisconsin State Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 10:14am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 425912 N 4764738
Decimal Degrees43.03171667, -87.90941667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 1.903', W 87° 54.565'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 1' 54.18" N, 87° 54' 33.90" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)414, 262
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 102 N Water St, Milwaukee WI 53202, US
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