Thursday, November 10

For those in peril on the sea

Momma and I share a love of family genealogy and I try to help her as much as possible being a time traveler.

Today she is thinking of a great uncle who died of injuries sustained in an explosion on a ship on Nov. 1, 1931.

Her grandmother didn't like to talk about the death of her only sibling so details are sketchy. Ken Wendorff of Lorain, Ohio was serving on a ship or freighter, possibly carrying ore, on the Great Lakes when an unprotected light-bulb swung and shattered against the hull. That triggered an explosion. He was transported to a hospital where he soon died of his injuries.

Zanesville (OH) Signal
(Edit: I have found the same Kenneth Cowles Wendorff. He was born April 20, 1907 in Cleveland, Ohio and died Nov. 1, 1931 in Joliet, Ill. Joliet is near Lake Michigan.) 

Momma's grandmother was considered next-of-kin (not their parents!) so she sued, requiring ships to use protected light-bulbs so disasters like this could be averted.

So why is Momma thinking of all that today?

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was a Great Lakes freighter that made headlines after sinking in Lake Superior in a massive storm on Nov. 10, 1975. Her crew of 29 perished without sending any distress signals, and no bodies were recovered.

Many theories, books, studies and expeditions have examined the cause of the sinking. Her sinking is one of the most well-known disasters in the history of Great Lakes shipping and is the subject of Gordon Lightfoot's 1976 hit song, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

RIP, Uncle Ken, the crew of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, and all sailers "in peril on the sea."

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