The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 18, 1887

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The schr. Grantham has gone into winter quarters.

The steamer Tecumseh and consorts have gone into winter quarters at Windsor.

The prop. Armenia, with grain from Toronto, passed down to Ogdensburg today.

The schr. T.R. Merritt has been chartered to carry coal from Fairhaven to Toronto at 75 cents per ton.

On Wednesday the schr. Clara White collided with a shed on the Grove Inn dock and broke her bowsprit.

The schr. J.H. Breck is loading coal in Oswego for Kingston. On her arrival she will go into winter quarters.

A three-masted schooner, laden with lumber, is reported ashore near West Point, 3 miles from Wellington.

The str. Pierrepont in going off the ways at Garden Island had some planks stove in her stern by the shore posts. She will have to be rehauled out.

The collector of customs at Amherstburg has made a seizure of the prop. Lake Ontario for entering the port at unseasonable hours and failing to report inwards or outwards.

The schr. B.W. Folger, Capt. Dandy, arrived from Oswego with coal. The passage was a stormy one. Between the Main Ducks and Oswego the schooner sprang a leak, and lost one of her mast heads. The water rose above the forecastle, and the captain feared he would go ashore. A heavy sea rolled all the while and threatened the destruction of the craft. The captain saw the needs of the hour and met them. Six men were kept at the pumps, and by their great exertion kept the boat from sinking. She is leaking badly forward of the foremast.

Last night the prop. Glengarry and schr. Gaskin, laden with grain from Duluth, arrived. The captain of the steamer reported that the weather of yesterday was very boisterous on the lake, and he experienced great difficulty in taking care of his vessels. The wind blew freely, causing the water to run high. At times there was water on the vessels two feet deep. At 11 o'clock, when ten miles from Presque Isle, the tow line connectiong the Glenora, (Capt. Patterson) with the other vessel, snapped and she drifted away. The master of the Glengarry was unable to recover the boat and had to come to Kingston without her. This morning the tug Active was sent out in search of the Glenora, and went as far as Long Point, but the water was so rough she did not proceed further. The master of the tug, Capt. Boyd, did not see the missing vessel. It is thought that she is stranded somewhere.


The Mate Tells How The Propeller Went Down.

The investigation into the loss of the propeller California was resumed at Toronto on Wednesday before Captain Harbottle and Inspector McNeilly. Peter Segalt, mate of the California, was examined. It was my duty, he testified, to see that the cargo of the California was promptly (sic) stowed. The grain filled up the hold amidships. There was a small empty space fore and aft. The hold would contain three or four thousand bushels more. There was nothing put in the hold to prevent the cargo from shifting. It was safe as it was, the stanchions being pretty close together and the arch on the stanchions would do in place of the shifting boards. I did not go down in the hold after the cargo was in to examin it. It would be a little better to have shifting boards in for a small load. The vessel was tight and in good condition when we left Chicago and we had a full crew. I came on watch at 1 p.m. on Monday. The California commenced to steer wildly. When abreast of Waugoshance the vessel would only keep her course with the wheel hard a port. We made a straight course for Waugoshance, and I went below to see that the pumps were kept free. She was making water fast. We had no difficulty to keep her clear of water or steer her until we reached Waugoshance. The vessel took a list after passing Waugoshance and would not answer her port wheel. We put the wheel astarboard and took a round turn and she listed to starboard. The list would be caused by the wind and the water in her hold. While we were throwing the deck load overboard the port anchor shutter was broke in. This was ten o'clock Monday night. The captain said by throwing the fore deckload overboard it would lighten her up, and he would then get sail on, and it would keep her on her course. We put on sail, but the wind blew it away. We could not put the anchor shutter in, and the vessel was shipping a great deal of water through the anchor shutter. The pumps could not keep her clear. The water that came in the anchor door partly went down the companion way to the forecastle. I nailed the kitchen door over the forecastle companion-way and it stayed there and prevented the water going below. The forward hatches were all on and nailed. After some of the deck load was thrown overboard some of the pork barrels commenced to roll and stove in the bulwarks on the starboard side, and then lots of water came in. We could not make a drag and the captain told me to get the boats ready. We were lying in the trough of the sea after leaving Waugoshance before we got the boats ready. During that time the vessel turned around three or four times. We then got the boats ready and made no further efforts to save the ship. The engine worked a half hour after we got the boats ready. We got four boats ready. When we got the boats ready everbody stopped work and waited for results. We threw the lead and found we were in eight fathoms of water. The passengers all had life-preservers on. So had the crew. We were all waiting for the vessel to founder. I told them it was all finished. I told a Frenchman who stood below with a capstan bar to come up where I was, as he would have a better chance, but he replied he might as well die there, and he died. I have been in several wrecks, and always find it best to be on deck when a vessel is going down. I did not tell the passengers to follow me to the boat. The vessel was then between the mainland and St. Helena Island. The water was not smooth and the wind was blowing hard. We did not lower the boats. It floated off when the vessel sank. The boat would carry twelve people in the weather then prevailing. There were three people in the boat, a deck hand, a wheelsman and myself. She had oars and a dipper. My leg and arm were disabled and the deck hand could not work, and the wheelsman could not bring her back himself in that sea. Had I not been hurt we could bring the boat back.

Capt. Harbottle - "You went to that boat knowing it to be the safest place. Why, then, did you not take the passengers and put them in that boat?"

Mate - "I never thought-

Capt. Harbottle - "That was your duty."

Mate - "I never thought of doing so. I thought the steamer would go aground before she sank as the captain said she would soon be on the beach, and then she commenced she sank all at once. I went to the boat because I knew it was the safest place, but I did not take the passengers with me or tell them to come. I did not think of telling them to follow me to the boat as that was the safest place."

Capt. Harbottle - "When the California sank were not the passengers under the deck on which you stood?"

Mate - "I don't know. I just waited by the boat and when she floated I got into her and went off. It was dark then at 1 o'clock in the morning, and I did not see any wreckage floating. The names of the men with me were Chatineau and Lauzon of Beauchanois, Quebec."

p.5 A Curious Fire - Marquette, Mich., Nov. 18th - The str. Arizona was burned yesterday. When out thirty miles a heavy sea was encountered and the boat was turned about. She rolled heavily, whereupon a tank of acid began leaking and set the boat on fire. Every man was driven from his post by the fumes of the acid. There being a good head of steam on the boat kept on moving, the wheelman managing to retain his position. The steamer rounded the breakwater here, running close enough to enable the crew to jump off. The boat was then abandoned, and soon burned down to the water. The Arizona was a freight boat, valued at about $100,000.

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Nov. 18, 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.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 18, 1887