Le Griffon - Shipwreck


Father Hennepin wrote that Le Griffon was lost in a violent storm. Some charged fur traders, and even Jesuits with her destruction. Some said that the Ottawas or Pottawatomies boarded her, murdered her crew, and then burned her. La Salle was convinced that the pilot and crew treacherously sank her and made off with the goods. There is no conclusive evidence about any of the theories about Le Griffon's loss.

Le Griffon is reported to be the "Holy Grail" of Great Lakes shipwreck hunters. A number of sunken old sailing ships have been suggested to be Le Griffon but, except for the ones proven to be other ships, there has been no positive identification. One candidate is a wreck at the western end of Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, with another wreck near Escanaba, Michigan, also proposed. Le Griffon was the second in a string of thousands of ships that found their last berth on the bottom of the Great Lakes.

Le Griffon is considered by some to have been the first ship lost on the Great Lakes. It was another vessel used by LaSalle and Tonti, however, that was the first loss on January 8, 1679. As noted above, sources give its size as either 20 tons or 40 tons. It dragged anchor and ran aground near Thirty Mile Point on Lake Ontario, where it broke apart. Some say that this vessel was named the Frontenac, while others say the other vessel used on LaSalle's expedition was the Frontenac. Some sources confuse the two vessels.

Le Griffon may have been found by the Great Lakes Exploration Group but the potential remains were the subject of lawsuits involving the discoverers, the state of Michigan, the U.S. federal government and the government of France.

In July, 2010 the Great Lakes Exploration Group issued a press release stating that they, the state of Michigan and France had reached agreement to co-operate in the next phase of an archaeological site assessment for identifying the shipwreck.

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Famous quotes containing the word shipwreck:

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    For the bright side of the painting I had a limited sympathy. My visions were of shipwreck and famine; of death or captivity among barbarian hordes; of a lifetime dragged out in sorrow and tears, upon some gray and desolate rock, in an ocean unapproachable and unknown.
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