His ship sunk, his belongings gone but for the clothes on his back, L.S. Upson surveyed the scene along the remote shore of Lake Superior 100 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Upson was one of about 60 passengers and crew who survived the sinking of the packet steamer J.S. Seaverns near Michipicoten Harbor in May 1884.
It had been a harrowing experience for the survivors — “it was a fine night or all (would) have been lost,” Upson noted in a letter home that was later reprinted in the Chicago Inter Ocean newspaper.
But while they may have been glad to be alive, the passengers and crew must have lamented their lot, with their possessions and supplies now on the bottom of the lake — and a wait of indeterminate length until they all could be picked up from the isolated outpost.
“This,” Upson wrote of his surroundings, “is the most outlandish out-of-a-way place in the world.”