Lost on the Lady Elgin


Lightening tore through the slate-black sky above lower Lake Michigan during the early hours of Saturday, September 8, 1860, illuminating the palatial sidewheel steamer Lady Elgin as she lumbered north from Chicago through raging seas and gale winds.  The vessel's perilous journey would end abruptly when the schooner Augusta collided with the steamer, piercing a gaping and fatal wound in the steamer's port side.  within minutes, the Lady Elgin foundered, fording her terrified passengers and crew into the churning maelstrom.  Award-winning author Valerie van Heest, drawing on an extensive collection of primary materials on the Lady Elgin's loss and discovery, provides a copiously researched historical narrative that recounts the golden age of passenger travel on the Great Lakes, a pivotal presidential campaign, and describes in petrifying detail the loss of the Lady Elgin as four hundred souls fought for their lives.