The steamer John D. Dewar carried passengers and freight between Frankfort and Manistee with stops in Watervale, Burnham, Arcadia, Pierport, and Onekama. From the late 1800s until 1906, she sailed along the lakeshore making one round trip daily.
The View of a Local Resident
In a story about her childhood in Pierport, Bertha Gilson, born September 3, 1888, had this to say about shipping in the area and the Dewar:
"After the Sunday School service, different groups
would take a walk to Lake Michigan beach, go out on the piers which had
been built to hold the lumber brought via the little train and ready to be
shipped to Chicago mainly. There were times when there were as many as
seven vessels anchored waiting to be loaded. ... There was one small
passenger and freight steam boat, the John D. Dewar. Its course was
mainly Frankfort to Manistee with stops at ports between (Watervale,
Arcadia, Pierport, and Onekama). This boat brought all merchandise for the
only store which was owned by C. W. Perry. ... The cost on the John D.
Dewar from Pierport to Manistee was $.50 cents round trip and $.25 for children.
Our Sunday School had their yearly picnic at the Mineral Springs Park in
Onekama. We all went via the John D. Dewar, a gala occasion"
More Ship Photos
End of Service in 1906
"The small freight and passenger str. JOHN D. DEWAR also came into the P.M. [Pere Marquette] Line Stmr's. when Kitzinger bought out the Frankfort & Manistee Line from Capt. H. Robertson. She was replaced on this run by the P.M. 6 and after operating from Pentwater to Ludington for a short time was sold to Chicago parties; finally burned."
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