Oliver Williams opened a dry goods store and made 2 long trips a year to get his goods. It sometimes took months to get goods by land. He knew ships could travel faster and more easily, so he decided to have a ship built. The Friends Good Will was built in Michigan in 1810 as a sales vessel. Oliver Williams built his ship at the River Rouge on the banks of the Detroit River.
Friends Good Will The Capture of The Friends Good Will
War on the Great Lakes
The Friends Good Will sailed during the War of 1812.
The British were blamed for causing problems between the Americans and the Indians. The British were blamed for causing trouble for American shipping.
The Friends Good Will was an important part of The Battle of Lake Erie.
The Friends Good Will was chartered by the federal Government to take military supplies to Fort Dearborn a small military and trading post at what now is Chicago .
The Friends Good Will was taken by the British. They were flying false colors just days before they had taken the Fort. They renamed the ship Little Belt.
The History of the Friends Good Will
On June 19 th , The Friends Good Will left Detroit to go to Fort Mackinac and then to Fort Dearborn. William Henry Harrison had contacted with the United States Government to carry supplies from Fort Mackinac in to Michigan and Fort Dearborn in Chicago.
The Battle of Lake Erie
In September 1813, Oliver Hazard Perry set sail to meet the British fleet. On September 10 the Battle of Lake Erie took place.
The Friends Good Will, under British control and renamed, Little Belt, attempted escape. It was captured by the Americans. The victory in the battle cut off British supply lines and forced them to abandon Detroit.
The battle is the only time the British Navy lost an entire squadron.
The Battle of Lake Erie is important to Michigan history because if it had been lost, Michigan people might have been controlled by the British and would now be part of Canada.
The Friends Good Will was built in Michigan in 1810 as a sales vessel. In the summer of 1812, she was told to take army supplies to Fort Dearborn, a small trading post and military, by the government. She was returning with skins when she was lured into the harbor of Mackinaw Island. The British, who had captured the island only a few days before, still bore the United States flag! It was a tragedy when the Friends Good Will was captured. The British renamed The Friends Good Will, Little Belt. She was armed and fought with the British Royal Navy.
The triumph was when she was recaptured by her creator, The United States Commodore Oliver Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie. An hour after the guns silenced, Commodore Perry mentioned her in his famous dispatch, “We have met the enemy and they are ours: Two Ships, Two brigs, one schooner and one sloop.” That Sloop was the mighty Friends Good Will!
Even More Triumph!
Today The Friends Good Will sits in South Haven, Michigan’s harbor as a replica of tall ships of her time. Students and tourists can tour her and learn about her history from Michigan Maritime Museum docents dressed in period costumes, and can even sail out into Lake Michigan on her!