The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Oct. 3, 1883

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The following are the particulars of the drowning of Capt. Allan and his son off Oswego on Saturday night. The schooner Ida Walker, with a crew consisting of Capt. Allen, Alfred Allen, two seamen, and another son of Capt. Allen, aged 16 years, left Oswego for Whitby. The wind was fresh from the south-east, and the night intensely dark. Although the crew was one man short, no fears were entertained that those on board would be unable to manage her, and all were expected to spend the Sabbath in Whitby. Soon after the vessel's canvas was set, and when about two miles out, it was decided to "wing her out," a term well understood by sailors, and which means simply to arrange the fore and mainsails so that they would draw on different sides of the vessel. Although Alfred Allen, mate of the vessel, was at the wheel at the time the order was given, and Captain Allen, his youngest son, and a seaman named John N. Bowerman, jumped into the cabin for the purpose of pushing the main boom out over the starboard quarter. The mate at once put the wheel hard down and sprang to one side of the deck to assist in the operation. Capt. Allen and the others placed their shoulders against the boom and shoved it outward as far as the vessel's rail. The wheel of the vessel, which had been left alone at this moment, flew back again, the vessel's head came up, and the wind, catching the sail on the outside,

Pushed It Against the Men

who were trying to hold the boom off. Bowerman, standing on the after end of the cabin, the Captain's son near the centre, while Capt. Allen himself stood at the forward end. Seeing that it would be impossible to hold the boom against the wind, Bowerman stooped down on the cabin deck, supposing that Capt. Allen and his son were going to do likewise, and a moment later the boom swung over, striking Bowerman heavily on the neck. As quickly as possible he rose to his feet but could see no one, the other sailor having gone aloft before the work had been undertaken. He at once concluded that the rest of the crew had been knocked overboard, and clambered down on the deck, reaching it in time to hear the voice of Capt. Allen shouting "Alf! Alf!" and a moment later he saw the mate spring into the water. Bowerman at once groped his way toward the side of the vessel from which the young man had jumped and looked down into the water but could see nothing. As he stood there terror-stricken, he heard a voice say,

"Help me! Help me!"

and on looking down over the quarter he saw Willie, the captain's young son, holding on to a line. As quickly as possible Bowerman drew him on board and the two at once made preparations to lower the boat. Allen jumped in but before the boat could be cleared it was found necessary to cut away some lines which held it, and several minutes were lost in this operation. When the boat was at length set free young Allen sculled towards the place where he supposed his father had fallen overboard and was soon rewarded by hearing shouts of "Willie! Willie!" In desperation the lad struggled at the oar driving the boat as quickly through the water as possible, the cries continuing meanwhile, till, as he thought, he was within two boat lengths of the men when they suddenly ceased and were not heard again. For many minutes he sculled about hoping to hear once more the voices of his father and brother but at length, becoming convinced that further search was useless, the broken hearted lad turned toward the vessel, which was lying a short distance away. Captain John Allen was about fifty years of age and lived in Oshawa, where his wife now is. He had followed the lakes for many years, and was owner of the Walker. Alfred Allen, the unfortunate young mate, was only 20 years of age.

p.3 Death of David Andrews - at Cape Vincent, once owned prop. Kincardine and str. Oswego Belle.

Forming A Yacht Club - Last evening the following gentlemen met in the Council Chamber and elected the office-bearers of a yacht club: Dr. Curtis, John Strange, A. Loscombe, J.G. King, A. Horn, J. Murray and _ King. It was agreed to elect office bearers, and the following were chosen:

Commodore - Dr. Curtis.

Vice-Commodore - Major Fairtlough.

Secretary - Ald. Creeggan.

Treasurer - Mr. T. McKay Robertson.

Measurer - Mr. John Strange.

Management Committee - Messrs. Clark Hamilton, Geo. Offord, J.G. King, Geo. Osborne, Geo. Power, A. Horn and Jos. Fisher.

A room will be secured where, during the winter, the members of the Club can meet and discuss yachting matters, the public being looked to for the means to meet all reasonable expenses. Next season there will be a series of races.

It was decided that a small membership fee be charged, the proceeds to be devoted towards making up prizes for regattas. A general discussion then followed relative to the adoption of new sailing and measurement rules, after which a vote of thanks was tendered the officers of the evening and the meeting adjourned.

Mr. John Strange acted as Chairman of the meeting and Mr. Murray Secretary.

Here and There - A telegram from Oswego says that sailors' wages were last night raised to $3; Kingston's rate is $2.50.

The schr. Sam Cooke is now being raised. She will be taken to Ogdensburg, there docked and converted into a barge.

Capt. Braund, of the schr. Erie Queen, claims the honor of carrying the first cargo of new barley to Oswego. The Oswego papers say the Nellie P. Downey was the first. Which statement is correct?

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Oct. 3, 1883
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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), Oct. 3, 1883