The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Weekly British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 5, 1885

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Sombra, Ont., Nov. 2nd - The tug Frank Moffat, owned by the Moffat Line of Port Huron, while coming alongside of the dock at Sombra village on Sunday morning at about 1 o'clock, exploded her boiler with great violence, instantly killing James Ward, first engineer, and William Miller, second engineer, and both firemen, names unknown. Frank Furtah, wheelman, was so badly scalded that he died this morning. Capt. T. Currie had his leg dislocated and is otherwise badly bruised. Harry Morris, deck hand, had his shoulder dislocated and is badly scalded about the neck and arms. The mate, one wheelman and one deck hand and a lady steward escaped without being dangerously hurt. Had the boat been far from the dock when the accident occurred it is not likely any lives would have been saved. The bodies of the two firemen and two engineers have not been recovered yet. The boat is a total wreck, and Mr. A. Smith's dock is badly damaged.


A life-saving station has been established by the government at Goderich.

The barge Adventure, sunk in the Galops rapids, will not be disturbed this year.

The barge Eureka, which broke adrift in Lake Superior, is manned by Clayton people. No trace can be had of her, and it is suspected she has gone to the bottom.

John Ashley saw the schr. Jura washed off Gull Island and driven into South Bay. After drifting five miles the schooner struck broadside on Big Rock, knocking her spars out. She is pounding on the rock still a wreck.

The schr. Two Brothers discharged 3,000 bushels of barley at Eilbeck's dock. Three cars laden with grain have also reached the same dock.

The barge Gipsy Queen, under tow of the tug Col. By, and loaded with lumber struck a stump in the gale of Thursday night and sank in the River Sticks, on the Rideau Canal. The owners are Aleck Bros., Kemptville. The scow Highland Lass, light, struck a stump Sunday during the blow, in the same river and sank. She is owned by Hawkins Bros., of Seeley's Bay.

p.2 Vessels Lost - The schr. George B. Sloan (Captain John McDowell) bound from Ogdensburg for Oswego, light, in attempting to make that harbor during the gale Thursday, struck the new breakwater and went to pieces. The cook, Eliza Tackley, of Brighton, Canada, was drowned. The balance of the crew jumped on the breakwater when the vessel struck and were rescued. The Sloan was owned by Martin & Co. of Oswego, rated A-2, and was valued at $9,000; insurance $7,000.

A small schooner, Ada Membry, owned by Barney Eveleigh, of Sackett's Harbor, bound from Brockville to Oswego, with lumber struck the pier angle at the entrance of Oswego, and drifting around, pounded to pieces on the old pier. She was valued at $3,000; no insurance, crew saved. The vessel was owned by Martin & Co. of Oswego, and rated A-2 1/2.

General Paragraphs - The schr. Two Brothers, with 4,000 bushels of grain, from the foot of Wolfe Island, has arrived at Eilbeck's elevator.

p.3 A Sad Boating Accident - Duluth, Minn., Oct. 30th - Last evening as the str. Myles was leaving her dock the cast iron casting or jacket of the cylinder filled with steam and exploded, throwing out a great volume of steam with such force as to knock the second engineer, who was on watch, through the door into the room where the first engineer was in bed asleep. The steam rushed in through the opening and filled the room, and scalded them so that when the crew went into the room almost immediately afterward they found both men dead. Thomas Hickey, first engineer, was 37 years old and leaves a wife and two children in Hamilton, Ont. The second engineer, William Rooney, was not married. He leaves relatives in Ottawa, Ont.

[Mr. T. Hickey was widely known and respected in this city. Mr. Gillie, engineer of the Pierrepont, is his brother-in-law. He was born in Quebec, served an apprenticeship in the Kingston foundry, and graduated a first class machinist and engineer. Subsequently he worked on Garden Island and St. Catharines, and then went sailing. He held positions successively upon the props. City of London, Dromedary, Dalhousie, Lake Ontario, Zealand, Canada, Ocean, Alma Munro, and Myles, in all cases acting as chief engineer. He was a handsome fellow, active and most intelligent, and his ability was held in high esteem. He married Miss M. Beatty, of Hamilton, and leaves two children, a girl and a boy. His friends here, and they are numerous, will regret his sad and melancholy death.]

Succession Of Fires - (part) Shortly after 6 o'clock last evening a bright reflection near the K. & P.R.R. station called the people in crowds to that spot. It was found, after wading through rods of mud, that the steambarge Indian was in flames. She was lying near the swing bridge of the K. & P. railway. The stern of the vessel was in flames. The Chatham engine was drawn down through Noble's woodyard and got to work, though there was trouble in securing a proper supply of water. The vessel burned during the night, and will be an entire loss. To save other barges near by the Indian was scuttled and sunk. Her stern is burnt to the water's edge, and she is gutted. She was worth about $10,000, and owned by Capt. S. Fraser. A few years ago she was thoroughly overhauled. While lying in ordinary it was necessary to pump her three times a week. Such work was being done yesterday. The engineer, Mr. Garaldi, went to his supper, leaving everything all right. The watchman was also absent. It is surmised that a lamp exploded, thus causing the fire. The boat was insured for $5,000. The policies were held by James Romanes as collateral for a mortgage upon her. The consorts of the Indian were saved, but the sloop Empress, recently repaired and partly rebuilt at Deseronto, lying alongside, caught. She is damaged beyond repair. Her value was about $2,000. She was insured for $1,000. The Chatham engine worked throughout the night to save adjoining barges, excepting the time she was engaged at the Windsor fire.

p.4 General Items - There is a demand for vessels to carry barley to Oswego from Trenton and Gananoque. Grain dealers are offering a freight of 2 cents a bushel.

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Nov. 5, 1885
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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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Weekly British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 5, 1885