The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Oct. 6, 1887

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The Bodies of The Drowned Have Been Recovered.

Mackinaw City, Mich., Oct. 6th - The following bodies of those drowned by the California wreck have been recovered: George Foley, Toronto, purser; Harry Smith, Montreal, passenger; Cornelius Connerton, Detroit, passenger; Miss Membery, Sackett's Harbor, N.Y., passenger; Xavier Daoust, Montreal, deck hand; William Tough, Toronto, fireman; Ella Pappa, Kingston, ladies' maid; Arthur Hazzard, Toronto, cabin boy; Robert Grant, Toronto, waiter. These, with the sixteen people saved, make up the full complement of twenty-five passengers and crew, which the boat was known to carry. The bodies were washed ashore at Cecil Bay and McGulpin's Point. Peter McMann says that after the cabin collapsed and those inside succeeded in breaking a way through the window, he saw the captain, engineer, and two ladies in the large boat, a considerable distance from the ship, and that the captain refused to return when called. Other members of the crew speak to the same effect, but not so openly. No effort was made to organize the men into boat crews, and the boats were not even ready for launching and it was "every one for himself." On the other hand, Mrs. Connerton is loud in her praise of Captain Trowell and his crew. She thinks they did all in their power to save the vessel.

Pierre Legault, first mate says the California's bulwarks were knocked out by rolling barrels of pork and the sea came in, filling the hold so as to put out the fires. The engines stopped at 12 o'clock and she foundered at 1. The craft lies in 25 feet of water, and will soon break up.

Mrs. Blood says that when the boat was going down she and the first engineer were confined under the cabin roof for half an hour. When the vessel went down the force was so great as to tear the roof off the cabin. To this many persons clung.

The Style of the Boat.

The prop. California was of the type known as a "canaler," a style of steamer well known on the lakes some years ago, but now fast becoming extinct for obvious reasons, namely, the enlargement of the Welland Canal and the difficulty experienced in steering them. Her sister steamers have sunk beneath the inland waters, and always, with few exceptions, left a history behind them. The Columbia foundered not very far from the scene of the present disaster. The Lake Erie collided with the Northern Queen not many miles from the same place. The Simcoe foundered in Lake Huron, off Michael's Bay, Manitoulin Island. These "canalers" were all running between Chicago and the east together with the California when they were lost, and in every case the loss of life was enormous. The last of that ill-fated line has been lost, and with what sacrifice of life it is hard to say. The Asia, a sister steamer, was lost on the Georgian Bay under circumstances still fresh in the memory of many. These wrecks have all demonstrated that the "canaler" is a dangerous style of steamer. They are built too bluff at both ends, and do not steer well. With a heavy gale driving one of them on a lee shore escape is almost out of the question. The California was fully insured.

Miss Membery, of Sackett's Harbor, and niece of Mrs. D.W. Allison, Adolphustown, was a passenger on the ill-fated prop. California, and among the drowned. Her body, recovered, was expected to reach Napanee today for burial.

This afternoon Mr. Pappa received notification from the owners of the boat that the body of his daughter would arrive here on Saturday morning per G.T.R.

A Popular Capt. - gift to Capt. Garrett of Ella Ross.


The schr. White Oak arrived from Oswego with 400 tons of coal.

The Nile and barges with 350,000 feet of lumber have reached here from Ottawa.

R. Davis is moulding the keel for Gezner's & Doran's steam yacht.

The schr. Pulaski, of Toledo, loaded with coal for Manitowoc, is ashore in Good Harbor Bay.

Clearances - schr. Jessie Macdonald, Oswego, 85,900 feet lumber; schr. Starling, Fairhaven, light.

The schr. Jessie Scarth, laden with 26,000 bushels of corn from Chicago to Kingston, sank in 40 fathoms of water Wednesday night, 8 miles north of Manistee. The crew reached Manistee, Mich., in safety.

The steam barge Clinton and consorts have been chartered in Chicago to load corn for Kingston at private terms.

The schr. F.D. Barker, from Manistee to Escanaba for ore, went on Spider Island reef, near Bailey's Harbor. She is out her entire length about twelve inches.

The prop. Glengarry and barges Gaskin and Glenora have arrived with wheat from Duluth.

The schr. Garibaldi is ashore about five miles from Port Elgin. She is water-logged and lies in about seven feet of water. Two steam pumps were sent to the assistance of the schooner from here via Grand Trunk railway.

The schr. O. Mowat reached Port Colborne on Tuesday night with her foresail and topsail gone. Capt. Saunders said the blow outside was terrific. The schrs. John Magee, Bessie Barwick and E.H. Rutherford were also damaged in the same gale.

The steam barge Albion and consort Ark ashore at Grindstone City, have been deserted by their crews. Heavy seas are constantly breaking over them. The Albion has parted amidships, but the lumber cargo seems to delay her breaking up for a time. Neither vessel will hold together long.

The steambarge Lincoln, owned by Capt. J. Norris, of St. Catharines, sprung a leak near Point Pelee on Monday. The water put the fires out. The crew found the leak and managed to reach Amherstburg yesterday in very bad shape. Her barges are all right, now lying at Point Pelee. The Lincoln will have to go in drydock and undergo considerable repairs.

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Oct. 6, 1887
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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. 6, 1887