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      11-27-1849: A Futile, Tragic Journey

      Four men in nothing more than a rowboat were lost during a trip from Marquette to the Sault in November 1849.
      Tragedy visited the pioneer village of Marquette as November 1849 ended and the first winter of the settlement closed in. Amos Harlow heard of a possible new iron ore deposit near the mouth of the Carp River. He wanted to establish a claim on the deposit. To do that, a trip was necessary to the land office at Sault Ste. Marie. Four men volunteered for the dangerous journey. They set out in little more than a rowboat on November 27. Weeks later, the boat was found some distance down the shore. Two bodies were found frozen at either end of the vessel. The other two, apparently swept overboard by a late November gale, were recovered the next spring. The tragedy was compounded by the sad fact that there was no ore found near the mouth of the Carp River.

      Later in December of that year, grain supplies for livestock ran critically low. A storm prevented schooners with provisions from arriving in the Marquette Harbor. The schooners, Swallow and Siscowit ran up to Lâ??Anse and were laid up for the winter.

      Two pioneer mariners in town volunteered to walk on snowshoes to Keweenaw Bay where they commandeered one of the boats and sailed it back in a blinding snowstorm. The heroic sailors arrived in Marquette on Christmas Day with the grain along with immovable frozen sails and a foot of ice on the shipâ??s deck. As weâ??ve noted before, itâ??s a wonder that this region was ever settled. The early pioneers were very hardy and tenacious.