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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Gallinipper Shipwreck (T. Thomsen photo, 2009)

Gallinipper Shipwreck (Schooner)
Lake Michigan, Town of Centerville, Manitowoc County
Construction dates: 1833, 1846
Builder: Augustus Jones

Nine and one half miles east of the community of Cleveland, Manitowoc County, the 95-foot schooner Gallinipper rests upright and intact in 210 feet of water. The small trading schooner was built in 1833 at the frontier shipyard of Augustus Jones in Black River, Ohio, for Michael Dousman, the western agent for John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company. Originally named after Dousman's daughter Nancy, the Nancy Dousman supplied the Wisconsin frontier with goods and supplies from the east, returning with loads of furs for the eastern city markets. In addition to goods and supplies, the Nancy Dousman carried many passengers around the lakes, including workers for the American Fur Company, as well as immigrants who settled the Wisconsin wilderness. In addition to his work for the American Fur Company, Dousman was an early investor involved in the developing Village of Milwaukee, where he established a warehouse, gristmill and sawmill in 1835, using the Nancy Dousman to furnish Milwaukee with supplies and to transport grain to eastern markets. The Milwaukee grain business grew to be one of the largest in the area. By 1846, the Nancy Dousman had been wrecked, sunk, raised, and rebuilt with larger dimensions to handle greater cargo capabilities and re-christened the Gallinipper. The 95-foot schooner was lost in 1851 between Sheboygan and Manitowoc after she capsized in a gale.

The Gallinipper represents a rarely documented vessel type, an early Great Lakes trading schooner, and provides historians and archaeologists the rare chance to study this little-documented vessel class. These schooners were the lifeblood of the early Great Lakes' economy, and provided essential economic and cultural links between frontier communities and the larger eastern cities. There were relatively few vessels constructed for use on the western Great Lakes in the early nineteenth century, and today very little evidence remains of the early frontier trading schooners.

State and federal laws protect this shipwreck. Divers may not remove artifacts or structure when visiting this shipwreck site. Removing, defacing, displacing or destroying artifacts or sites is a crime. More information on Wisconsin's historic shipwrecks may be found by visiting Wisconsinís Great Lakes Shipwrecks website.


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