The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), May 21, 1890

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The Latest Details of the Sad Event - A Tendency to Overload.

The schooner Breck is lying on the Snake Island shoal, about 4 miles from Kingston in which place she was towed on Monday by the tugs Chieftain and Calvin. Attempts have been made to right her but they were unsuccessful. Friends and relatives of the brave sailors who lost their lives have made daily searches but as yet no trace of their bodies have been found. Neither has any of their clothing been washed ashore. There is an impression that possibly some of the unfortunate crew may be found jammed between the sticks of timber in the vessel.

People from Collinsby who saw and worked at the Breck previous to her sailing from the port with a cargo of ice differ in opinions as to her condition. Some aver that she was admitting water before she sailed and in substantiation of this point to the fact that while she was lying at the dock her donkey engines, attached to the pump was kept in continual operation. Others were satisfied that she was in an A1 condition and refute the above statement saying that when a craft is loaded with congealed water it is necessary to keep pumps going.

Two steamers attempted to release the vessel yesterday but had to abandon the task. She is firmly on and before she can be brought to the island will have to be lightened.

Men who engaged in the search yesterday feel that the bodies will never be recovered. The place as near as can be ascertained, where the vessel capsized is one hundred feet deep. Even though they meet with failure they will continue to search for several days.

Seventeen years ago Capt. Chauncey Deryau (Daryaw?) was shipmate with the late Capt. Thomas Mackie. They were at the canal in 1873 when the Breck was launched and saw her slide off the ways. As a sailor there was no better than Capt. Mackie. He was a brave and cool headed fellow never known to shirk his post.

When the vessel capsized he was running a proper course and he was confident he was using his best judgement to save not only the lives of his crew but also the property of the men who had put him in charge of the vessel.

Life-saving stations should be located at Nine Mile Point and at Long Point and with the one at Wellington would do much to save life. There have been numerous disasters at these points, and life could have been saved each time if the government had been alive to the needs of the hour. The mariners are indeed left to their fate by the dominion authorities.

The prop. Persia arrived this morning. None of the crew had seen or heard of Frank George at the Canal. He was on the vessel when she reached the lower lock and must have continued the run down because he was not seen after the Breck had cleared. Had he left the vessel he would have been seen by some of the lock attendants as they all know him.

Law Is Urgently Needed - A great deal has been done of late to increase the safety of the navigation of the great lakes, and a great deal remains to be done, as the loss of the Jessie Breck, with all on board, abundantly testifies. Fortunately, as a result of the progress that has already been made, this shipwreck will be investigated by the department of marine and fisheries, and the cause of the wreck will in all probability be discovered.

There can be but little doubt, however, that had she not been overloaded she could have resisted the fury of the storm. The necessity for the Plimsoll mark, in order to prevent the overloading of vessels, is greater on the lakes than on the sea. The tendency to overload lake vessels, and so make the most of the short season, is great, and the narrowness of the waters, which makes the risk entailed by overloading less than it is upon the sea (sic), renders law more necessary for the lakes than it is for the ocean. [Montreal Witness]

A Body Found - This afternoon the body of the mate, Joseph Mackie, of the schooner Jessie Breck, was found at the head of Simcoe Island.

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May 21, 1890
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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), May 21, 1890