"The Death of a Young Sailor," by Alpha Unit

Ashtabula, Ohio, is a major coal port on Lake Erie. The coal dock at Ashtabula Harbor is a transload point for coals destined for electricity-generating plants and cement producers in Canada and the Great Lakes area. Coals from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia arrive at Ashtabula by train before being sent on their way. Other commodities coming through the port include iron ore, sand, gravel, and stone.

Among the ships you could see at Ashtabula Harbor was the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, a lake freighter that carried iron ore from mines near Duluth, Minnesota, to iron works near cities like Detroit and Toledo. A young man named Karl Peckol, barely out of Ashtabula High School, signed on to work on the Edmund Fitzgerald. He became a watchman.

Most of the crew on the Fitzgerald were veteran seamen. But there were some novices, including Karl Peckol, who didn’t necessarily aspire to a life as a sailor. Stacy Millberg says that Peckol was working on going to college. He didn’t get to go to college. He died on November 10, 1975, when the Fitzgerald sank in a storm on Lake Superior. At 20 years old, he was the youngest man on board.

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7 thoughts on “"The Death of a Young Sailor," by Alpha Unit”

    1. Gordon Lightfoot, Quebecer. I’m from Michigan and we are culturally closer to Ontario than you folks on the other side of the province.

  1. Eternal Father, strong to save,
    Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
    Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
    Its own appointed limits keep,
    O hear us when we cry to Thee, for those in peril on the sea

  2. ALPHA
    Sorry, I meant “Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald”. That was Lightfoot.
    I’m from Detroit greater area so the lakes lore is familiar to us.

  3. …Lightfoot owned a boat and would sometimes be spotted sailing in the Detroit river with a few groupies on it. This was scandalous back in 1984.
    Nowadays Charlie Sheen is accused of having his way with everything but somebody’s toy poodle.
    “Charlie Molested my toy poodle when 30 years ago”

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