Grand Haven Daily Tribune  February 11, 1898


Foundering of H. C. Akeley.



The Wreck of the “Akeley.”


(Wrecked on Lake Michigan, Nov., 1884.)


I saw her launched upon the stream,

Which forms our harbor’s safe retreat,

I saw its waters part and gleam,

When first her heart commenced to beat;

Her colors rose with proud acclaim,

And ”Akeley” was her honored name!


Like some fair bird of grace and mien,

She spread her canvas to the breeze;

And sailed away, a very queen.

Upon our great “unsalted seas”;

I type of him who hears her name

In honor, wealth and rising fame.


When last the “Akeley” steamed away

Upon our river’s glassing tide;

Its clouds of mists, and foaming spray,

Hung lovingly on either side;

The rippling waves and sand hills, too,

Seemed whispering, as she passed, “Adieu”!


Awhile, the slant November sun,

Made all her liquid pathway bright,

But soon, ere half her voyage was done,

That path became as dark as night!

So dark, God’s flat—I might say—

Alone could bring another day!


She found the storm king’s awful lair,

Where gales are born, and tempests sleep;

Where gusts are nursed with wicked care,

And grow to storms upon the deep:

Where storms to cyclones turn ere long,

And roam the giants of the throng.


The billows, heaped up mountain high!

Deep hollows, yawned like hells below!

Vast currents rose, and hurried by,

Between wave-crests as white as snow!

Above—around—and e’en beneath,

The angry storm fiend gnashed his teeth!


And there upon that stormy lake,

The “Akeley” wallows in the sea!

Her timbers, with ague shake!

Her fires are out!  Her decks are free!

‘Mid rain and sleet, and blinding snows,

She vainly struggles with her foes!


The seasick barge begins to fill!

He iron heart has ceased to beat!

Of her, the storm has had his will,

And she is humbled at his feet!

‘Tis all too late!  No power can save

The “Akeley” from a watery grave!


Her sails, in piecemeal flutter ‘round!

Her broken masts, in splinters go!

Her tackle, snaps with treble sound,

And whips the foaming surge below!

Great God!  She sinks!  The swirl is o’er,

And she will ride the lake no more!


Grand Haven, Mich.,

November, A. D. 1885.



Hunton Poem Page

Microfilm Scan: The Wreck of the Akeley

Historical information about the Akeley and the
present condition of the wreck can be found at:



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