The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), June 3, 1881

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There is an interesting law suit pending in regard to the insurance on the schr. Harvest Queen, which sank in September last in Lake Huron. We understood that the case - Carse vs. Christy - was settled, but today learned that such was not the case. The most interesting feature - in fact the foundation of the action - is the affidavit of one of the seamen to the following effect. James Scott says he is 34 years of age, and was on board the Harvest Queen, which left L'Ause, Mich., on the 6th of September with a load of iron ore, bound thence to Ashtabula, Ohio; that when the said schooner left L'Anse she had a crew of four seamen, captain and a woman cook; that when the vessel left L'Anse she was leaking at the rate of at least two inches an hour, and that the crew could not pump more than one inch an hour and attend to their other duties; that the captain, William Christy, knew the vessel was not in proper condition to carry a cargo when he loaded the vessel at L'Anse. When they got off Spectacle Reef, about ten miles from Cheboygan, Mich., and near the Straits of Mackinaw,

At About Midnight

on the evening of the 11th day of September, 1880, preceding the 12th day of September, 1880, the affiant informed the captain that the schooner must be taken into shallow water, as she was positively sinking, that the captain was informed and knew of these facts; that all the crew told him the vessel would sink, as the water was gaining so rapidly; but knowing, as he did, that she positively could not go much further without sinking, he still insisted that her course be changed so as to send her into deeper water. If she had been properly handled, as suggested by the crew she would have run into shoal water, or made Cheboygan, Mich., which was ten miles off - and there was nothing to prevent her from doing so. The sailors wanted and insisted that she should go to Cheboygan, that she was absolutely

In An Unseaworthy Condition,

even if she had been light. But the Captain said: "No, put her around and go out into the lake." The affiant again protested that the vessel had a cargo of 550 tons of iron ore, that she was short handed, especially for that season of the year; that, though she was gaining water rapidly, all hands were not called out to pump until shortly before she sank. The affiant got the vessel's small boat ready for an emergency at about 8:30 a.m. on the 12th of September, 1880; and if the Captain had done his duty the vessel could have reached Cheboygan, Mich., or, at the very least, shoal water - not to exceed ten feet deep - which would have taken not more than two hours; that after the crew had been in the vessel's small boat a few minutes the affiant said to Capt. Christy: "Well, Capt., you are well posted; you

Have Done First Class;

you have been there before." To which Captain Christy replied in a cheerful and happy manner, "Goodbye, Harvest Queen! Keep the small boat straight for Cockburn Island." The vessel sank at 5 o'clock a.m. on Sept. 12th, in about 600 feet of water, about thirty miles west of Cockburn Island. Scott says George Macbeth, Thomas Goodwin, and George Ledford, the balance of the vessel's crew at that time, will positively swear to the facts as above stated.

An Emphatic Denial.

But George Ledford will not corroborate Scott's statement. He is not now in Kingston, but before leaving the city he authorized a brother to emphatically deny the allegations made in the above affidavit. Ledford has stated that the captain did everything that he could to save the vessel and only abandoned her when forced to do so. The plaintiff evidently believes to the country (sic - contrary) a postal card having been addressed to the Collector of Customs here asking where he (Ledford) could be found.


The steamer Rothesay leaves Toronto in a few days to run between Cape Vincent and Montreal.

Captains report this season as one of the mildest they have ever experienced.

The owners of the yacht Eclipse want to put up $100 that they can beat the Puzzler B of Brockville.

The schr. J.G. Worts has been chartered to carry pipe staves from Detroit to Kingston at $33 per m.

The steamer Magnet will commence her regular trips from Kingston to Oswego and Charlotte on July 1st.

The barge Minnie has lain on the Fort Frederick shore long enough. A few pounds of nitro-glycerine or dualin would make kindling wood of her.

The little schr. Belle Chase has been purchased by Capt. Sherwood, late of the schr. Tranchmontagne, wrecked last season at Oswego. He will keep her in the hay trade.

The changes in the steamer Lady Rupert, made to convert her into a comfortable and most commodious excursion boat are satisfactorily progressing at the ship yard.

The prop. Armenia left here last evening having on board many of those who had been delegates to the Primitive Methodist Conference. The demand for berths was unusually large.

By means of a cone and drum during the day and lanterns at night (new signal system) the direction and force of the wind are indicated and mariners warned against approaching storms.

The steamer Deseronto has been hauled out at Deseronto, and will have such improvements made to her as will render her perfectly safe beyond any doubt. For one thing she is considerably widened.

The steamers of the river opposition line are expected to make the run from Niagara to Montreal in nineteen hours. Bands have been engaged for the season to supply morning concerts for the entertainment of tourists.

The schrs. Bavaria and George Thurston arrived at Garden Island this morning from Toledo with timber. The former's cargo 16,000 feet, was loaded in twenty-three hours, considered about the best time on record.

As the steamer Spartan was passing down Lake St. Peter, Wednesday, the firemen and deckhands demanded of the captain the same rise in pay, $2 per month, as the crews of the Corsican and Passport received yesterday. Not considering himself competent to make a change in the men's wages, the captain induced them to return to work until they reached the city, and yesterday before their vessel left on the return trip they received from the Superintendent the promise of the raise. We believe the advance has been made to the crews of all the steamers.


Schr. Mystic Star, Milwaukee, 22,200 bu. wheat.

Schr. Annie Mulvaney (sic - Mulvey ?), Toronto, 12,560 bush. wheat.

Schr. Ocean Wave, Toronto, 4,054 bush. wheat.

Schr. B.W. Folger, Oswego, 243 tons coal.

Schr. Sea Bird, Oswego, 221 tons coal.

Schr. Singapore, Toledo, 12,250 bu. wht.

Str. Algerian, Hamilton, pass. and fgt.

Prop. Ocean, Montreal, freight.

Prop. Scotia, Montreal, freight.

Prop. Cuba, Toronto, pass. and fgt.

Prop. St. Magnus, Port Dalhousie, fgt.

Prop. Armenia, Ogdensburg, pass. and freight.


Schr. D.E. Foster (sic - D.M. Foster ?), Fairhaven, light.

Schr. Anna M. Foster, Charlotte, 140 tons coal.

Welland Canal - For Kingston.

Schr. Gleniffer, Pt. Maitland, lumber.

Schr. M. Filmore, Chicago, wheat.

Schr. M.J. Cummings, Chicago, wheat.

Schr. Lem Ellsworth, Chicago, wheat.

Schr. F.D. Barker, Milwaukee, wheat.

Schr. Shandon, Lake Superior, timber.

Lake Freights.

Toronto - Freights dull and rates unchanged, rt 1 3/4 cents to Kingston.

Detroit - No improvements noticed in grain freights, which are quoted at 8 cents on wheat to Montreal, 5 1/2 cents to Kingston, 6 cents (sic).

Port Dalhousie - Jessie Scarth chartered, corn, Port Dalhousie to Kingston, 1 7/8 cents and several cargoes on hand for Kingston at 1 7/8 cents.

Toledo - Freights more active, with a considerable enquiry for vessels to Kingston. Wheat, 5 1/2 cents and corn, 5 cents to Kingston.

Steamboat Inspection - of steamers at Toronto by Mayor and Aldermen, a result of the London disaster.

New Propeller Wheel - Messrs. D. McEwen & Son are making the patterns for a new kind of propeller, invented by Mr. R. Davis, ship builder, who for some years ran steamboats and often suffered the misfortune of having had one or more blades of the wheel broken. Mr. Davis has thought much over the matter, and is now putting his ideas into practice. The improvement consists in making each blade separate, so that in case of their being broken in any way they can be replaced in a few minutes without having the boat hauled out. Blades will be kept, fitted, ready for use at short notice. The first cost of the new wheel will be more expensive, but in the end it will be less (part unreadable) propeller now in use. The propeller will soon be ready for trial.

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Date of Original:
June 3, 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.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), June 3, 1881