The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), May 22, 1890

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The schr. Dudley, from Oswego, is discharging coal.

The schr. White Oak cleared last evening for Deseronto, light.

The schr. Vienna went up today with a cargo of paving stones for Toronto.

The str. Anglin and barges have gone to Ottawa to load lumber for Oswego.

Last evening the schooners Albacore and White Oak cleared for Oswego to load coal.

The tug Ferris tows the Sexsmith barges to Fair Haven where they load coal for Kington.

The str. Chieftain went to Toronto last night for a raft for the Collinsby rafting company.

Capt. Estes, of the str. St. Lawrence, is in the city from Rochester to take command of his steamer.

The schr. Eliza Fisher, loaded with ties for Charlotte, ran into Big Sodus Saturday with her foresail blown to ribbons. She was caught in a squall.

At Portsmouth the prop. Whitney is discharging 52,000 bushels of wheat from Duluth. Tomorrow the steamer Algonquin will arrive with 71,000 bushels of corn from Toledo.

The schr. Annandale, Capt. Rooney, was the first vessel to tow above the Oswego bridge this season. Capt. Rooney says the current in the river is stronger than it has been for ten years.

The sherriff at Toledo attached the cargoes of the Canadian boats Isaac May, Waubashene and Muskoka for a claim of $11,000 made by M.T. Van Lickie and company, Bay City. The case was settled.


Reports were current today that the bodies of Capt. Mackie and Donald McDonald had been found. On being investigated the statements proved incorrect. Over 15 boats were out hunting for the bodies yesterday. The men used plenty of efficient apparatus and were very careful in handling them. About 3:00 the grapples caught on a body. The men worked slowly, but when they got it a short distance from the boat it slipped from the hooks and went to bottom again. Shortly after this the men saw a dark object floating astern of their boat and when they went to it discovered James Mackie's hat. It had come from the body which had been lost.

The men resumed work this morning and are assisted by the steamer Traveller. The people of Wolfe Island are very eager to have the bodies of the unfortunate people recovered. There is no difficulty in getting volunteers.

This morning a large number of the A.O.U.W. members went to Wolfe Island to attend the funeral of the late Joseph Mackie, whose body was found yesterday afternoon.

Last evening as men were engaged in grappling for the bodies of the crew of the ill-fated schooner Jessie Breck they came across the hat of James Mackie. As it was getting dark the spot was marked. The men went out again this morning and it is likely that the body will be recovered.

It was rumoured this morning that a little girl, a niece of the Mackies had got on the Breck at the canal and was coming to Wolfe Island to spend a few weeks. If this rumour proves true she will make the 9th victim.

Mrs. Mackie, cook on the schr. Prussia, arrived today from the west. She was not aware that the daughter of Capt. George Mackie was on board the Breck. It is thought by many that there is no truth in the rumor.

The islanders are very sad over the death of Miss Mackie. Like her brothers she was fond of water and always was glad when navigation opened. Some years ago she was aboard the schooner J.R. Benson when it was wrecked off Colchester reef, Lake Erie. The vessel was commanded by Capt. George Mackie. His wife, James Mackie and his wife were part of the crew of the unfortunate vessel. On that occasion Miss Mackie showed so much bravery that Capt. George Mackie recognized her services by presenting her with a handsome gold watch.

Sailors conjecture that F. George's body will be found in the forecastle. It was characteristic of him to always flee to the cabin while a storm was in progress and he could not be induced to leave his hiding place until the weather modified.

It is suggested that a life-saving station on Horseshoe Island would be a good location. From the island a good view can be had of the lake in the vicinity of Pigeon and 9-Mile Lighthouse.

The Ottawa Journal, quoting the Whig's statement that if a life-saving crew had been stationed on Nine Mile Point the Breck horror might not have been chronicled says: "Kingston is the point at which all the traffic of the great lakes converge into the St. Lawrence. There at the foot of long and deep Ontario every storm is apt to find it's prey in the way of shipping and seamen's lives. We do not know what arrangements there are, if any, in the vicinity of Kingston for life saving but from this extract there would appear to be room for improvement and this subject might receive the attention of the department of marine."

The Breck Was Tight.

Those who know flatly contradicted the report that the Jessie H. Breck was leaking before she left Collinsby on her fatal trip. Capt. Mackie, after working with her over a month at the steamer Armstrong, reported the Breck, on his return, as being tight as a bottle. Capt. Edward Booth was upon her at Collinsby the day of her clearance and she neither leaked nor was she pumped by the steam pump for hours, as alleged, or at all. Indeed she had no boiler to use for steam winch or pump as a new connection was being put in and only coupled at the point of sailing.

Many, Many Sad Hearts.

Wolfe Island, May 21st - Spring work is about done; the farmers on the front finished some time ago. The hay market is improving and presses are getting to work. The little excitement occasioned by the coming election has given place to a feeling of deepest melancholy, and the latest from the wreck is anxiously sought for. "Poor Jim," "Poor Donald," and so with the others, can be heard on every side. It testifies to the kindly regard in which all were held. When each could justly exclaim: "There is no sorrow like unto mine," one dare not particularize individual grief. Were one to express all the words of sympathy ever uttered, and even each word to contain all the sympathy ever felt, they would still seem weak and empty in the face of the great affliction.

There are many surmises as to the cause of the wreck, but to be definite "We only know they sailed away and ne'er was heard of more." The wreck of the schr. Bavaria, a year ago, was sad and touched our hearts, but the present disaster desolates our hearts and robs us of brave and manly souls that made this world better for their having lived in it.

One could readily apply the lines:

"There were glad, glad hearts when they sailed away,

And a deep Godspeed went round,

While the prayers of the loving by night and day,

Went out for the outward bound.

There are sad, sad hearts, with their burden sure,

As they look for the lost men fled,

But the longed for faces they'll see no more,

Till the sea gives up its dead."

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May 22, 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 22, 1890