Investigation by shipwreck researchers and salvagers during the late 1980s and early 1990s indicated the Anthony B. Wayne may have been carrying a safe containing approximately $100,000 in gold coins, which in today's market would be worth millions. It was also thought that the captain's strongbox may have contained another $1,600 in gold coinage. Part-time salvagers from Cleveland claimed to have located the shipwreck in 1988 in 66 feet of water, indicating the steamer to be partially buried in silt, requiring extensive salvage efforts to get through the mud and silt and into the hull. The salvagers, Matthew Roalofs and Kellog Vance, both of Cleveland, Ohio, believe their research indicates the gold exists. Others, including the Ohio Historical Society's deputy preservation officer Franco Ruffini, disagree. In 1989, a salvage permit was applied for by Roalofs and Vance to the State of Ohio, but was declined.
Federal and state law both indicated the wreck belonged to the State of Ohio, yet Ohio had not developed any type of law regarding salvage procedures. This law, from a bill (HB-264) introduced in 1991 by State Representative John Bara (D-Elyria), was passed and took effect later that year.
This law reserves shipwrecks deemed as historic to be the property of the state, and allowed for the state to choose their own salvage company if any salvage was warranted. Shipwrecks classified as "non-historic" would permit salvagers to keep 100% of their findings.
To date, the location of the wreck remains a mystery, or the location has not been revealed to others by Roalofs and Vance, who claim to have located the wreckage.
The following article appeared in the Daily Queen City Newspaper, Buffalo.N.Y. on Tuesday, April 30, 1850
(By O'Reilly's Western Telegraph.) Terrible Steamboat Explosion - Total Loss of the Steamer Anthony Wayne and From 60 to 80 Lives. Cleveland, Monday, April 29, 10 A. M.; From the Clerk of the Wayne, Mr. H.S. Vorse, who arrived here last night, we learn the following particulars:
The Wayneleft Toledo at 9 o'clock on Saturday morning, with about twenty five passengers and took on some forty more at Sandusky on Saturday night, leaving there at 10 o'clock. These, and the crew made the number on board from ninety to one hundred. About half-past 12 this A. M., (Sunday,) just below Vermillion, and some eight miles from shore, the two starboard boilers exploded throwing them into a perpendicular position, tearing away the steerage cabin above and shattering the hull badly. She sank in fifteen minutes, going down head foremost. The yawl was launched and twelve persons reached shore in it.
The life-boat half filled on launching and leaked badly, but six persons got ashore in her after six hours exertions by bailing constantly. Capt. Gore, James Edgcomb, 1st. mate, the 2nd. mate and Mr. Vorse, Clerk, are saved. Mr. J Ellmore, 1st, and Mr. Edward Burch, 2nd. Engineers are lost. Mr. D.A. Eddt, of Cleveland, was onboard, and was seen after the explosion, but whether he was saved is not known. The state room of the Captain next to the steerage cabin was blown to pieces and his bed was blown up side down, but her was unhurt.
When the Waynewent down she was on fire, and the flames were just bursting out. The cause we cannot state. The boilers were only a year old and in good condition. A fireman who escaped says that just before the accident he tried the boilers and there was plenty of water in them.
The Hurricane Deck is supposed to have floated and was thought to be seen from shore this morning. Two small vessels went out from Vermillion to pick up any survivors.
Our citizens will wait with painful anxiety to learn further particulars, and the fate of Mr. Eddy, one of their esteemed townsmen.
FURTHER PARTICULARS. Monday, 9 A. M. - One of the vessels which went out took off of the Hurricane Deck some thirty passengers, six dead. D.A. Eddy is safe and has telegraphed from Sandusky.
We learn further that the boilers were entirely new last season, and were built and put in under the superintendence of Wolcott, of Detroit. The engine is the one which was formerly in the Columbus. She exploded off Vermillion on her way from Sandusky to this port.
The Wayne was owned by Charles Howard & Co., of Detroit, and was running in opposition to the regular Sandusky line.
Daily Queen City, Buffalo; Tuesday, April 30, 1850