The Wreck of the Rising Sun

All November on Absolute Michigan we are featuring shipwrecks.  Leelanau is not without its own shipwrecks stories, and the tale of the wreck of the Rising Sun is one of these (be sure to click the pic for a larger view too!). Pyramid Point – Shipwrecks of the Manitou Passage from Life Along the Manitou Passage probably tells it best:

The remains of a shipwreck can be seen if you stand on top of Pyramid Point with the sun at your back. In the water below lies what is left of the iron boiler of the steamship RISING SUN.

The date was October 29, 1917. Coming south through the Manitou Passage, the steamship RISING SUN was going south for the winter carrying farmers and their harvest from Summer Island. She strayed off course in high winds and snow and went aground at night on the Pyramid Point shoal. Passengers and crew struggled ashore through the frigid surf and sought help from farmers living in nearby Port Oneida. The Sleeping Bear Point Coast was alerted and arrived by surf boat the next morning to find only an elderly man still on board. He slept through the ship’s grounding!

An interesting side note is that the Rising Sun was owned by the House of David, a religious organization based in Benton Harbor that is a fascinating story as well! You can also check out the location of the Rising Sun and other Leelanau shipwrecks on this diving map of Leelanau.

The photo comes from the excellent online photo collection of the Traverse Area Historical Society. It was taken on October 29, 1917 by Carrie (Labare) Craker. (From the left) Martha (Popa) Craker is shown holding her daughter Julia Craker, W. A. Craker and Clifford Craker. The remainder are unidentified.

3 replies
  1. Michael Novak
    Michael Novak says:

    This was my Great Grandfathers ship. Him and my grandmother were on the boat when the wreck happened. I would like to have more information if you have it.

    • Tim R Grayem
      Tim R Grayem says:

      Hello Michael,
      My Grandfather Franklin Dechow and his father rescued 3 sisters on that bitter cold night. They brought them to the Dechow farm in Port Oneida and nursed them back to health. In 1916 there were no hospitals or 911 to call the locals just took people to their farms. Grandpa told the story many times I would love to know what you remember.
      Tim Grayem

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