Overloaded with fruit, the Hippocampus foundered, leading to tragedy for Berrien County as twenty-six passengers died.

The season was so successful that seven steamships could not handle transporting the massive crop of Berrien County peaches in 1868. In September, Captain Henry M. Brown, of the Bronson, Morrison & Houghton Company, felt pressured to line the deck of the passenger steamer Hippocampus with 7,000 boxes of fruit and even to fill the lifeboat with crates of peaches.

With a large passenger load as well, the vessel grounded at its dock and had to be towed into the harbor. By 10:00 PM the steamer reached open water and headed toward Chicago. When about thirty miles offshore, the wind increased, the seas swelled, and the boat began rocking precariously. Brown ordered the fruit thrown overboard, but before the ship could be stabilized it rolled over on its side. Some of the passengers and crew died immediately; others struggled in the churning water. It took searchers more than thirty hours to find the survivors, including Captain Brown, A. Howard of Bainbridge Township, and thirteen others.  Several other Bainbridge Township residents perished, leaving the community grief-stricken