The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 20, 1879

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p.2 Latest Telegrams - The Sailors Union having recently advanced the rate of wages, owners and captains of vessels in Toronto are much dissatisfied, and are discussing the practicality of organizing some system of towing that would be more expeditious and nearly as cheap as the present one.


Oakville, Ont., Nov. 20th - The scow Pinta foundered in about thirty feet of water this morning. Her topmasts are above the water. The sea is so high at Port Dalhousie that a tug cannot go out to rescue the crew, who are drifting in a small boat. Nothing has been heard of any of the crew as yet. The weather is very cold.

A Mr. Scofield was watching the boat and noticed the crew trying to reef the mainsail. When next he looked the boat had gone down. He saw some men in a scow drifting seaward.

The Pinta left Oakville about eight o'clock this morning for Toronto with stone. The crew consisted of B. Horvell, Alex. Mason, William Quinn and Joseph Quinn, all of this place. It is supposed the men here had no oars. The men will perish before help can reach them.

Port Huron, Nov. 20th - The following disasters occurred last night near Sand Beach Harbor during a terrific gale. The steam barge Whiting went on a reef and sunk at 1 p.m.; the schrs. Hutchinsons and Bahama are ashore; three of the steam barge Salina's tow are also ashore, and two of them have gone to pieces. The body of an unknown sailor was found on the beach. Several others are missing.

Port Colborne, Nov. 20th - The schr. Samana, from Toledo to Oswego with 17,680 bushels of corn, went ashore here last night on a reef east of the harbor. It was blowing a gale from the southwest with snow when she went ashore. She lies on a rocky bottom, in about eight feet of water. Her crew are all safe. She is owned by F.D. Wheeler, of Oswego.



The Seymour Tow - Names of the Still Missing.

A Mournful Account of the Accident.

So far as we can learn those who have escaped an untimely death by the late unfortunate lake disaster have been picked up. It is now a settled conviction that those who have not been found have perished in the storm which caused the wreck of a portion of the tow. The missing persons are six in number, and their fate was ended by the loss of the dredge Gordon. The drowned are: Richard Arnold, Rochester; Patrick Eagan, Grand Rapids; William Logan, Morrisburg; Samuel Logan, Morrisburg; Geo. Palmer and wife, Vergennes, Vt.

Three men on scows were thought to be lost, but a despatch announces that they are safe at Walcot, thirty miles west of Oswego.

The pecuniary losses by the accident are very heavy. The tug Thayer was valued at $2,000; the tug Becker $2,000; the dredge Gordon $15,000; two derricks, $6,000. Ten scows, aggregating $9,600, are on the beach, and may be saved. There is no insurance on the property.

Opinion is divided as to whether Manager Arnold, the Captain of the tug Seymour, is to blame or not.

A Thrilling Story.

Thomas Smith, fireman of the dredge Gordon, tells the Palladium that the tug Becker came up along side about 9 o'clock off the Gordon, striking her stern on and springing a plank a space of about twelve feet, and cracking three plank, which then commenced to open and let in water so fast that it was impossible to keep her clear. She had ninety pounds of steam. The Becker came alongside again at 12 o'clock and called out, "We are swamping!" and wanted to put on a line. Then Mr. Arnold said, "Jump aboard the Gordon and let the tug go" - which they did, and the tug Becker was seen to go down at once alongside the dredge. Smith then went down forward where the hoisting and backing chair comes through, and took some clothes and tried to stop the leak, but the heavy sea made all effort futile. Then he came on deck. Richard Arnold asked him how was the leak, when he replied he could not stop it, although he had bettered it a little. Mr. Arnold asked him if he could use some of his underclothing, which was finer and would work to better advantage. He said he thought he could. He then went down again and did the best he could until the water raised in the forward hold until it raised him to the deck and put out his lamp. Then they cut a hole in the floor of the fire hole and used pails in bailing out, and also pails in the engine room bailing out. The boat then listed over and the water came in the engine room door. Then Mr. Arnold told me to blow the whistle for the tug Seymour to come to our assistance, but we could not see her turning around or coming. Then he said blow again, which he did twice, but was obliged to leave the engine room, as the water was then waist deep. Then Mr. Arnold says, "Tom, we are gone!" I said, "Yes, we are gone!" We then started for the stern of the dredge. Patrick Eagan pulled the door off the water closet and he and Mr. Arnold stood together. A swell then came and took the door from Eagan's hand. Smith then says, "Come with me," and started for the tow line of the Seymour and went fifteen or twenty feet on the line. The sea was too heavy and he had to return to the dredge. When he got back he called out for Pat and for Arnold but could get no answer. They were gone - carried off by the sea. I then got hold of Mrs. Palmer's hand and her husband had her around the waist. She says, "George we must go!" He tried to cheer her to hold on a few moments longer, and a swell then came and carried both away. I could not hold them any longer. Then Billy Logan was carried away about fifteen minutes later. Then Sam Logan next. I had just spoke to him asking if he could hold out until daylight, but got no response, he being speechless. This left three, Charles and Neal Hanthan and myself. Charles Hanthan says, "I cannot hold out any longer." I told him to hold all he could. I took hold of his collar and helped all I could, Neal Hanthan standing between me and him. It was now getting daylight and the Seymour came stern on toward us and threw us a heaving line which we secured after two fruitless attempts. I hauled in the line with one hand, holding the slack in my mouth, and holding on the planks with the other hand. I made the line fast around them. Then I went aboard on the line and the other two were hauled to the side together and rescued - both were unconscious and froth coming from the mouth and nostrils.

John Wood, one of those who was saved from drowning blames the crew of the tug Seymour very severely and says that cowardice was shown by them at every turn. He also stated that the tow itself was altogether too large and if those in command had followed the advice of experienced men at Cape Vincent, before starting out the disaster would never have occurred.

Rough On the Lake - A blinding snow storm with stiff wind prevailed on the lake last night and continues today. Fears are entertained for the safety of vessels.

No Signals - There were no weather signals at Cape Vincent when the tug Seymour left that port on Monday afternoon. The cautionary signals were hoisted about the time the storm commenced.

Damaged Corn - from barque Arabia, sold to Capt. J. Gaskin.

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Nov. 20, 1879
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 20, 1879