The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 13, 1889

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The tug Walker, with a dredge, is at Port Dalhousie.

The schr. Julia is at Oswego loading coal for Kingston.

The schr. Philo Bennett cleared this morning for Oswego with lumber.

The prop. Ocean arrived this afternoon on her last trip. She leaves tonight for St. Catharines where she will go into winter quarters.

The steamer Pierrepont takes the Gananoque route since the Princess was taken off. The Pierrepont lays over at Gananoque every night.

Capt. Collier, who bought the schr. Vickery, sunk near the Thousand Islands, is meeting with success. Yesterday he loaded a scow with grain from her and is now trying to charter a vessel to carry 10,000 bushels. He can get the grain out of her as fast as he can take it away.

Incidents of the Day - The freight on the steamer Kathleen was transhipped this morning for the G.T.R. The Kathleen is tied up at the foundry dock.


They Clung To Timbers And Boat But Drifted Away.

The investigation into the loss of the Bavaria was continued yesterday. James Burlingham, lighthouse keeper at Point Peter, for the last fourteen years, remembered the morning of the 28th of May last. The weather was very rough during the night and the wind increased in violence during the morning. About six o'clock he observed a tow of disabled barges, to the south-west of the light house about five miles away. When he first took notice of them they were in tow of a steambarge. He saw the tow breaking up, the centre barge heading out into the lake. The waves seemed to dash over the middle barge. He could not see the crew of the second barge on deck. Shortly afterwards he saw several men in a yawl boat, appearing as if they had come from the Bavaria. Two of the men had hold of the oars, one on each side. The yawl boat was heading for the light house and the occupants tried to make for the shore. The yawl seemed to be making good headway until a heavy squall struck her. When the squall had abated he saw that the boat was bottom side up and two or three men were clinging to it. He saw some timber floating on the lake. To one stick of timber he saw two men hanging and on another stick another man. Before the squall occurred he noticed one of the crew go up the rigging of the barge Bavaria a short distance, as he (Burlingham) thought to show the distress signal. He then went to the nearest station to telegraph for assistance from Kingston. He thought all the crew were in the yawl boat as there were five or six in it. He considered that there must have been some reason other than saving their own lives that made the men take to the boat. He thought they went to rescue someone else. He was of the opinion that the tow could not have been picked up. The gale was the heaviest he ever experienced for that time of the year.

William Burlingham, the next witness sworn, said he resided at Point Peter. The morning of the 28th May was a very windy one. He saw the tow break from the steam barge. The middle barge appeared to be rolling very heavily. He also saw the yawl boat upside down and three objects on it which looked like men. He also saw floating timber around the Bavaria. He saw two objects on one stick of timber and one on another. He also saw one man further down the lake on a stick of timber. The men on the yawl boat was in his sight about one hour and three-quarters. He kept looking at the men until they disappeared from his sight. The wind shifted westward, which was the reason why the yawl and timber were drifted out of his sight. He saw a distress signal from the Valencia. The steamer Calvin went down the lake about three or four miles and then he saw her turn back. She stayed in the vicinity of the Bavaria nearly all the afternoon. He saw a large steambarge with one barge in tow pass down about seven o'clock. The men in the yawl boat and on the timber were seen about one hour and a half before the large steambarge passed down. He thought the men in the yawl boat did not see the steamer Tecumseh passing them. He did not think they took to the boat for the purpose of going to the Tecumseh. The yawl boat and timber had drifted out of sight before the Tecumseh came down.

Capt. A.H. Malone, of the str. Calvin, was again called. He said each of the masters of the barges had charge of the loading of their vessel. They were allowed to use their own judgement in loading. The pumps on the Bavaria were all right when the vessel started out in the spring. She did not leak any to his knowledge. After the Bavaria was unloaded she leaked very little. He considered Capt. Marshall a first-class man, capable in every respect. Capt. Marshall remarked to him that he had more load on one side than the other. The witness did not think any of the barges were overloaded. When he boarded the Bavaria at the Galoos there were three oars on the deck - yawl boat oars. The yawl boats belonging to all the barges were washed away. Two of them were found. He did not know whether the Bavaria's boats were found or not. Her boats were new ones last spring. He kept a careful lookout, but did not see any person in a boat or on the timber. The cabin was above the deck and he knew of no reason why the crew should leave the wreck. When he went back to the Bavaria, abreast of Long Point, he thought she was waterlogged. The covering board seam of the Bavaria's hatch was open when she arrived at Garden Island. He considered a barge safe with eight feet of a deck load on her. He attributed the whole accident to the extraordinary gale of wind. If the men had remained on the Bavaria he would have picked her up and towed her into safety. If they had remained in the cabin they would have been safe.

This morning Matthew Ferguson, mate of the steamer Calvin, was sworn. He saw the tow break up. The Bavaria, he thought, had no sail on. He then saw three of the Bavaria's crew aft and they appeared to be pulling the yawl boat, in the water, up on the weather quarter. He did not see any of the crew get into the boat nor did he see them again. The Bavaria did not seem to be rolling very bad when he last saw her. After the tow line broke the Calvin went back to see if she could render any assistance to the barges. The Calvin blew her whistle for the Valencia to let go her anchor which she did. The Calvin then went back to the Bavaria and blew her whistle but received no response nor could any person be seen on her deck. He thought the crew must have been in the cabin. On leaving the Bavaria the Calvin again blew her whistle with the same result. Six o'clock that evening the Calvin went out in search of the Bavaria and found her drifting down near Yorkshire Island. It was impossible to put a man on her or go alongside of her. They went back and picked up the Valencia and towed her to Garden Island. The tow lines were all new. Prudent men, in his judgement, would have remained on board. If they had they would have been saved. The storm was at its worst when the Bavaria broke loose. He heard no whistle from the steamer Tecumseh, nor did he see her.

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Nov. 13, 1889
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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), Nov. 13, 1889