Articles about the Phoenix disaster

The Phoenix was a ship that transported passengers across the Great Lakes. In November 1847, the ship perished on the Lake whilst carrying over 200 Dutch emigrants. Only a handful survived. This category described the events as they happened and provides background information on the passengers with special attention to the survivors.

Other resources

There are many other people who have researched the Phoenix disaster and written about it. This page gives an overview of online and paper resources with more information about this tragic event. … [Read more...]

Casualties and survivors

During the disaster, over 200 people lost their lives while less than 25 people survived. This page lists the names of the people who were or board or who might have been on board. … [Read more...]

The first few days

The trip was the last scheduled trip for the Phoenix that year, since the winter was already setting in. The Phoenix would take the passengers to Milwaukee and Chicago. … [Read more...]


Only a few hours after the Phoenix departured from Manitowoc the fireman discovered the pumps of the steam engine didn't work properly. They should pump water in the boilers to cool them down. However, the level of the cool water was far too low. … [Read more...]

Help from the coast

While the Phoenix was burning, some of the lifeboats try to get to shore. Around half past three in the morning, people in Sheboygan saw the light of the fire. … [Read more...]

History of the Phoenix disaster

In the middle of the nineteenth century a lot of people from the East of Holland emigrated to the US. One of the most popular destinations was Wisconsin. In 1847 a group of those emigrants were on the propellor Phoenix, which would bring them from Buffalo to Sheboygan and beyond. In the early hours of November 21, 1847 the propellor burnt. About 25 people rescued themselves using two lifeboats, while a few other were saved by another ship, the Delaware. … [Read more...]

The passengers

The passengers of the Phoenix consisted almost exclusively of Dutch emigrants. Most of them came from Afgescheiden (seceder) backgrounds, following in the footsteps of Van Raalte. They came mostly from the eastern part of the Netherlands. … [Read more...]

1997 sesquicentennial commemoration

In November, 1997, a group of Dutch genealogists attended the Phoenix sesquicentennial commemoration in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. We met lots of Phoenix survivor descendants there. This made me realize what an impact the Phoenix had on the community of Sheboygan, and how much larger this influence could have been if all of these people had settled there. … [Read more...]