Water Witch was constructed as a steamboat by Jahaziel Sherman at the mouth of Otter Creek in 1832. Between 1832 and 1834 she plied Lake Champlain. However, in 1835 the Champlain Transportation Co. bought her to solidify their position as the lake’s dominant steam-boating company. Learn more about the early career of the Water Witch in our online exhibit, Jahaziel Sherman of Vergennes, Steamboat Pioneer.
Line drawing of Water Witch.
Water Witch’s days as a steamer were over. Her machinery was removed and she was converted into a schooner. Little is known of her life as a work-a-day craft propelled by wind, but we know that it was long. In 1866, she began her thirty-fourth season. She was captained by Thomas Mock, who had on board his wife and three children. On April 26 the schooner met its end when it foundered in a gale while carrying a load of iron ore. The Mock’s infant, Roa, was in the cabin, and was lost.
Water Witch was discovered in 1977, and was later studied archaeologically. This vessel is unique for both its construction and history.
Features of Interest
- Wreck is 83′ long, 18′ wide.
- Graceful 12′ long tiller bar.
- Foremast draped over the hull.
- Intact bowsprit.
- Small boat located off the stern.
- Experience level: Very Experienced.
- Control your buoyancy. Avoid ANY contact with the fragile shipwreck.
- Lights necessary
- Depth of water: 90’
- Runoff from Otter Creek can cause zero visibility conditions after a heavy rain.
- Significant surface and bottom currents may be encountered.
- 44 13′ 59.037″N 073 20′ 04.801″W
- The wreck lies approximately ¼ mile south of Diamond Island.