A father out on a fishing expedition with his 6-year-old daughter miraculously discovered a ship that had gone down on Lake Michigan more than 150 years ago.

Tim Wollak is from Peshtigo, Wisconsin. He and his daughter Henley are fishing buddies and regularly reel in some good catches.

“I like fishing with my daddy,” Henley tells Fox 11 News.

This time the girl was hopeful that she and her father had discovered a rare 'Green Bay Octopus.' But Tim figured right away that they'd actually stumbled upon a shipwreck. He hadn't heard of one in that area, so he took some pictures and shared them on Facebook.


“I was surprised I had never seen it before because it's in an area where people regularly go,” Tim Wollak said.


Facebook Groups Help Identify Sunken Ship

Wollak's Facebook post made its way to the Wisconsin Historical Society, which eventually identified the ship as The George L. Newman, a 122-foot vessel that went down on October 8, 1871.

The vessel's crew had difficulty navigating through thick, black smoke from a massive fire burning near the shore of Lake Michigan. The boat grounded near Green Island, where its crew stayed for about a week after the ship ran aground.

A survey is planned to assess the site's possible listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Find

Wollak tells the TV station that finding the shipwrecked vessel is a memory that he and his daughter will always have.

“I don't know how we top it,” Wollak said. “I told her I'm pretty sure there's no one else in her school that has ever found a shipwreck that nobody had recorded before....I guess we'll just have to fish more and see if we can find more shipwrecks.”


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