End of the Edward Blake
Schooner Days XCV (95)
And some others as well. That invaluable correspondent, John Rudolph Redfern Macdonald, Goderich fisherman, better and more briefly known as "Red," comes on deck with the fate of the schooner in which McGarrigle, Chicago's fugitive police chief, escaped fifty years ago, as already told. Incidentally, before the McGarrigle incident, the Edward Blake made a voyage from Sheboygan to London with square timber, and Aemilius Jarvis sailed in her before the mast. This was the first salt water sailing of the greatest yachtsman and skipper Canada has known.
"I GET The Telegram specially every Saturday night," writes "Red," "and sure like reading Schooner Days. You asked in one paper last year, "Does anyone know what became of the Edward Blake?" Well, here is Mr. Blake's last trip. I would have answered sooner but I was waiting to see a fellow that was in the Craftsman when the Edward Blake was lost.
"In the year 1896 the schooners Craftsman and Edward Blake both loaded mill supplies at Sarnia for Byng Inlet, and the steamer United Lumberman towed them both out through the Rapids. They had a light breeze from the southward all night, and next day, when about abreast of the Fishing Islands in Georgian Bay, it started to blow from the eastward and kept getting worse, and when they got up to the Cove Island it was coming down pretty hot.
"The schooner Erie Stewart, a long-legged fore-'n'after, was in their company, bound for Collingwood, coal loaded. The Blake and the Craftsman were, of course, three-'n'-afters, with squaresail yards.
"They were all shortened down to the last tuck, and wouldn't come in stays with the sea that was running. There being more ways of killing a cat than choking her with butter, they wore the Blake and the Stewart around on the starboard tack and stood to the northward, while the Craftsman wore around on the port tack and stood to the southward, down Lake Huron. She was blown all the way across to Alpena, lay there two days, started for the Cove, got back to Michael's Bay Light, and was blowed back to Thunder Bay the second time.
"The Blake fetched up on the Duck Islands in Georgian Bay—the Middle Duck—and went to pieces. The Erie Stewart struck the Jennie Graham shoals. The next sea lifted her clear. They kept her free with the pumps and squared her away before the wind. She finally made the Missisagi
Straits at the far end of Manitoulin Island and came to anchor on Cockburn Island.
"I will tell you about the finish of the Erie Stewart and the schooner Ontario another time. They both went out the same night.
"Capt. McPherson was in command of the Craftsman, Capt. Lyons in the Stewart, and Capt. Sidley in the Blake at this time. I knew Capt. Sidley, and the poor fellow had hard luck, though he escaped with his life when he lost the Blake. He had lost the schooner Arctic on Long Point on Lake Erie a year or so before the Blake, and two of her crew were drowned." (This is the schooner Muir Brothers built at Port Dalhousie years and years before. She might have survived her stranding on Long Point, but the waney pine used to dunnage her cargo of square timber swelled and burst off her decks.) "I heard he bought an interest in the schooner Picton of Port Hope after he last the Blake, and he was lost himself in her with all hands on Lake Ontario.
"The schooner Bavarian was lost in the same gale of wind as the Blake. The Azov, the Bavarian, and the John G. Kolfage, which my father, Capt. John Macdonald, then sailed (he got the Azov later), all towed out of Byng Inlet together, lumber loaded, for Sarnia. Capt. Munro had the Azov at this time, and Capt. Mahoney was in the Bavarian.
"It was a hard breeze. It started in the east, but went to the south and southwest. We got safely into Tobermory with the Kolfage, and were still lying there when they were taking the Blake's crew home on the passenger steamer after her loss. The steamer put into Tobermory on her way to Owen Sound. The Azov rode out the gale to an anchor, between Echo and the Cove, but the Bavarian went ashore at James Bay, on the Manitoulin, near Cape Smith. Her crew were all night in the rigging, and got ashore next day on rafts they built from her deckload."