Daily Event for May 21, 2011

The 3 masted schooner H. C. Albrecht was built by Jasper Hansen in Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1870, she was 131' long and registered at 209 tons. She was designed to sail the Great Lakes and did so for many years. In 1876 the ship was sold and it was sold again in 1877, this time to Hackley & Hume of Muskegon, Michigan. The company was a lumber concern and the ship was used to distribute the lumber cut on their property. The ship was modified to carry lumber and was renamed Thomas Hume in 1883.

On May 21, 1891 Thomas Hume and Rouse Simmons, also owned by Hackley & Hume, left Chicago bound for Muskegon when they encountered a gale. The powerful storm caused the master of the Rouse Simmons to turn back for Chicago, but for unknown reasons the master of the Thomas Hume was seen to continue on toward home. What happened after the ships parted company is unknown since the Thomas Hume and her seven man crew were never seen again.

It was not until the Rouse Simmons arrived in Muskegon around the 29th that it was realized that the Thomas Hume was in fact missing. A search was made but nothing was ever fund, no wreckage, no bodies, nothing. Word was sent out and searches were made in the hope that the Hume had put into a safe port to ride out the storm, but nothing had been heard of her anywhere.

In mid August it was reported that a bottle with a note in it had washed up in Benton Harbor, Michigan, it was supposedly from two passengers on the ship. The note read;

"We the undersigned, are passengers on the Thomas Hume; the schooner's hold is rapidly filling with water and we have no hope of escape. We are on the St. Joseph course and have been drifting for hours. We have friends in McCook, Nebraska and Elkhart, Ind. Please notify them of our fate."
Frank Maynard
Wilbur Grover

There was no evidence that these two men were onboard and it is believed that the letter was a hoax. It is worth noting that Benton Harbor is directly east and a little north of Chicago on the other side of Lake Michigan and if a bottle were tossed overboard it could very well have ended up there.

For over one hundred years the wreck lay quietly somewhere on the bottom of Lake Michigan, then in the 1990's a survey team found what they thought was the wreck of the Thomas Hume. The wreck that was located was upright and in very good condition. I don't know the exact location of the wreck, but is said to be closer to Chicago than one might think which would indicate that the ship either sank shortly after leaving the company of the Rouse Simmons or that they also turned back toward Chicago, but were overcome by the sea. To the best of my knowledge they have not yet confirmed the identity of the wreck they located.

Some years later the Rouse Simmons became a casualty of the lake herself. By 1912 she was known as the "Christmas Tree Ship" because of her yearly delivery of Christmas Trees to Chicago, but in November of 1912 she went missing on a voyage from Michigan to Chicago with the beloved trees. Like in the Hume case a bottle washed up with a note which read;

"Friday..everybody goodbye. I guess we are all through. During the night the small boat washed overboard. Leaking bad. Enwald and Steve lost too. God help us."

Also like the Hume her wreck is thought to have been discovered.

Today (May 21, 2011) on the 120th anniversary of the sinking a commemoration is being held at the Hackley & Hume Historic Site in Muskegon, Michigan to honor the career and to remember the loss of the ship and her seven man crew.
© 2011 Michael W. Pocock

I spoke by phone today to Taras Lyssenko one of the members of A&T Recovery which located the wreck and he has told me that the wreck is not believed by A&T Recovery to be that of the Thomas Hume, and that they have located a number of wrecks which fit the description of the Hume. He would not reveal the position of the wreck in question (it is policy not to reveal the known positions of wrecks located by A&T Recovery), but said it was about 15 miles off Chicago.

There are a number of stories on the internet which reference this wreck as being the Thomas Hume, but the identity of the ship that was located by A&T Recovery in the 1990's has not been confirmed as of May 2011. And that no one still associated with A&T Recovery is currently involved in researching the wreck.

2005 Daily Event
2010 Daily Event