The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), March 29, 1881

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p.2 First Trip Down - steam barge passed Colchester, Ont.



Mr. Blound, of Port Hope, offers the Eliza Quinlan now lying here for sale for $2,000.

The schr. Flora Carveth, lying at Richardson's dock, is having a new foremast.

Mariners have no hope of navigation opening before May 1st. The ice remains remarkably firm.

Mr. A. Forin, of Belleville, has secured the position of purser on the steamer Norseman this summer.

The Telegram says the Government has resolved to appoint Hon. James Patton to the Toronto Collectorship.

Capt. R. Sutherland will command the schr. Erie Belle while Capt. Ennis will have charge of the schr. Prince Alfred.

The yacht Lizzie made a trip from Alexandria Bay to Morristown on Saturday afternoon. The American channel is said to be clear to the Cape. The yachtmen aforesaid are hunting ducks on Chimney and Grenadier Islands.

The Collinsby Rafting Company have the prospect of such a press of business that they will be compelled to withdraw the McArthur from Detroit where she has been employed as a wrecking tug. She will tow the rafts from Collinsby to Quebec, but will return to the west in time for service on the upper lakes.

Court of Revision - Schr. Olive Branch, one quarter of tax for 1880 and all for 1881 struck off.

A Word of Caution - about coming freight rates. [Mail]


The American paper from which we copied a statement respecting the case of Bewick vs Hyderabad was in error when it intimated that the evidence had been all heard and that the Court was now deliberating upon the merits of the plaintiff's claim for salvage. That the Milwaukee Republican and News should say that the opinion prevails that Bewick is entitled to favourable results is only to be expected from one who, as a counsel on the case in opposition to the Hyderabad owners, and at the same time connected with the paper, probably indited the article himself or dictated it. It may be the opinion of the plaintiff that he is deserving of heavy damage, but such is certainly not endorsed by those having a full and intelligent knowledge of all the facts. The narrative of the case given in the American press is certainly biased and anything but impartial. The collision of the Hyderabad with the Ford River occurred off Manitouwack about 4 o'clock on Sunday morning, June 6th, during a dense and impenetrable fog, and despite the utmost vigilance and care on the part of the captain and crew. The Hyderabad's leak was caused by the timber on the Ford River projecting over the side, a pole lifting the poop covering board on the port fore end enought to admit of considerable water as the vessel in the heavy sea rolled and pitched. The crew could not ascertain what the extent of the damage was, and the yawl having been broken the Hyderabad's crew boarded the Ford River, which was somewhat injured by the accident but not to a serious extent. Soon after the collision the fog lifted, and the position of the vessel having been learned an attempt was made to return to her, but unsuccessfully. It was then decided to proceed to Manitowack, and there telegraph for a tug's assistance. The latter could not be obtained nearer than Milwaukie, the Hagerman being engaged on Monday night. It was early on Tuesday morning before the tug found the Hyderabad, in tow of the steamer Alpena, out twenty miles from where the collision took place, and 15 miles off Point Betsey in a dead calm. Capt. Gormley requested the Alpena's commander to hand the vessel over to the Hagerman, and that he would be paid a reasonable sum for towing the wrecked craft about twenty miles. Capt. McGregor (Alpena) suggested that the tug should take hold and assist him with the Hyderabad to Milwaukee, whether he was bound himself, and that he would take whatever two arbitrators said was his due. Once at Milwaukee he seems to have been advised to libel for a ruinously large amount. The offer which was made in the first place for the settlement of the case, $1,500, is much larger than several vessel men of Detroit and other experienced mariners have agreed to be Berwick's due, a handsome acknowledgement for the service which was rendered under the circumstances. The owner of the Alpena offered within the last three months to settle the case for the sum of $3,000, one-fifth of that he now claims. Justice is evidently on the side of the Kingstonians, and it is not improbable that they will fare best in this action at law. Mr. W. Power has received a communication from his lawyer requesting the appearance of himself and four witnesses (one living here and two at Oswego) at Detroit, where another of the crew resides, for examination about the beginning of May.



Yesterday, in discussing marine matters with a couple of captains who saw the wreck of the Belle Sheridan, near Consecon last fall, the subject of life saving apparatus came up. All regretted the fact that few schooners have apparatus by which the lives of the crews can be saved should accident befall the craft on which they sail. Most vessels carry yawls, but they are totally unfit for service in stormy weather. In some cases the yawls have not the oars with which to propel them when taken to as a last resort. Then again, few vessels carry life preservers. One captain, who witnessed the rescue of the Sheridan's solitary survivor, says that if the man could save himself by holding to a plank surely he could have done better, had he been provided with a life preserver; perhaps the whole crew with such would have safely reached land. The captains aforesaid will provide their vessels with the necessary apparatus for life saving this year. Will all the other vessel owners or commanders do likewise? If so the loss of life, we are sure, will be less than it has been.

A Good Move.

It has been urged that there should be kept at each port a list of the passengers and crews shipping by steamer or sailing vessel. The difficulty of ascertaining the names of people lost after each disaster is well known. The ship's books are on board, and go down with the ship. The Chicago Inter-Ocean puts the matter in a fair light. It says:

"Owing to the loose manner in which things are run at present, even the names of regular employees on board cannot be learned. Ask a manager, after a disaster, for these names, and he will respond something like this, "Well, you have the names of the master, the first mate, the first engineer, and clerk. Now let me see. The second mate's name was Sam something. The second engineer was called Joe. All the names are probably on the books."

Reporter - "Will you be kind enough to let me copy them?"

Manager (with a derisive grin) - "Why, man alive, the ship's books are always on board. They belong to the ship."

"And no sort of record is kept ashore?"

"None at all. The captain employs and discharges, and furnishes us a ? account every month."

Worse Predicament.

With sail vessels it is even worse. When a schooner is lost with all hands, her books go down with her. Crews on these crafts are not kept steadily in one employ. The names of the men are not left at the Custom House, as they should be. The owner of the vessel does not know the names, he never sees the men, except the master. The vessel goes down with all hands, and the reporter goes about endeavouring to get all the facts concerning her. He finds that he had the information of the disaster himself before anyone else ashore knew anything of it. The owner of the vessel knows all about the insurance on the hull and the insurance on the freight list. All the interested parties have questions to ask, but not one of those questions is in regard to the

Poor, Drowned Crew,

or the newly made widows and orphans. No one knows, or cares to know, even the name of one of the unhappy victims. Among the several vessels that foundered the past season on Lake Ontario, with all hands, was the schooner Olive Branch. Not one of the bodies was ever found, and the names even were not learned except that of Captain Aull. Various sailors are missing and various families mourn their loss, but there is not the melancholy satisfaction of knowing they were lost with the vessel. Women and children go on for years hoping against hope for the final return of their missing ones.

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March 29, 1881
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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.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), March 29, 1881