The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Weekly Chronicle & News (Kingston, ON), July 8, 1859

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p.1 Commerce of the Lakes - bark Hugh Barclay to be despatched direct from Detroit to Old World, by Messrs. Aspinall & Son, of Detroit

Welland Canal - The breach in the canal has been repaired, by working day and night, and vessels are again passing through. A less serious breach on the Erie Canal occupied three times as long in repairing. The Board of Works, and its officers, deserve much credit for their promptitude in restoring the navigation on this important route for the Lake trade.

p.2 During the last week 3 upper lake vessels on their way across the ocean, were towed away from this port down the St. Lawrence: the sch. Emeline, for Liverpool; sch. Alice, for Cork, and brig Black Hawk for London.




On Friday last a party of ladies and gentlemen, the large majority of them residents of Toronto, left this city on a projected excursion to Sault Ste. Marie. The intentions of those comprising the company was to take the steamer Ploughboy from Collingwood, and proceed thence to their destination, calling at any places of interest on their route. But shortly before the arrival of the vessel at Lonely Island, in Georgian Bay, a part of the machinery, the cross-heads, snapped in half, and it became absolutely necessary, in consequence, for the safety of the ship, to shut off the steam. The Ploughboy being, like most or all of the steamers on Lake Huron, unprovided with masts, she was thus necessarily left to the mercy of the winds and waves, which drifted her at their pleasure. The danger of such a position being apparent, some of the crew volunteered to proceed in an open boat to Owen Sound, distant about seventy-five miles, to secure the aid of the steamer Canadian to tow the Ploughboy into safe anhorage. But long before the assistance thus sent for could be obtained, the Ploughboy had been slowly but inevitably and helplessly drifting to that dangerous portion of the coast lying west of Chabot Point, and in spite of every precaution, a little before the dawn of Sunday morning, found the unfortunate vessel within fifty yards of a precipitous rock-bound shore, with a heavy swell of the sea setting in toward it, and a gale blowing her directly upon the breakers. Immediate death stared all the passengers in the face, it being too evident that if the vessel struck - as seemed inevitable - in a few minutes not a soul would be left to tell the tale. Husbands and wifes, brothers and sisters, and all friends therefore took a last farewell, commended themselves to Providence, and prepared to meet their doom, when they were miraculously saved when just in the very jaws of death.

At a distance of only forty-five yards from land, on a lee shore, and in one hundred and eighty feet of water, the anchors which had been dragging for some twelve miles, in the simple hope of postponing the fate of the ship till daylight, caught bottom and held fast the vessel, at that moment beyond all possible help from human agency. She remained in that position from half past two o'clock on Sunday morning until the succeeding midnight, when the steamer Canadian from Owen Sound, which had been sent to the rescue, took her in tow and landed all her passengers in safety at Collingwood at half past one o'clock yesterday. The excursion was thus broken up, and the party returned at once to Toronto. The following is, we believe, a correct list of the passengers on board the Ploughboy during this disastrous voyage:-

Hon. John Ross, Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Baldwin, two children and maid; Hon. J.A. Macdonald; Hon. John Rose; Mrs. Rose, Miss Rose; Hon. P. VanKoughnet; Hon. Sidney Smith; Hon. J.H. Cameron and Mrs. Cameron; Col. Prince; Mr. McLeod and Misses E. and A. McLeod; Mr. Angus Morrison, M.P.P.; Col. Holdsworth; Sheriff Smith (Barrie) and Miss Smith; Mr. R.J. Smith (Collingwood) and two daughters; Mr. and Mrs. D. Morrison, and servant; Miss Widder; Miss Nickinson; and Messrs. Derbishire, Duggan, D.B. Reid, H.J. Gibbs, Allan McLean, R. Ogilby, Poley J. Nickenson, jr., and T. Carruthers. We shall tomorrow publish a detailed account of the voyage, the accuracy of which may be thoroughly relied on, the writer having been on board of the Ploughboy from her departure from Collingwood until her return yesterday to that port. [Leader]

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July 8, 1859
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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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Weekly Chronicle & News (Kingston, ON), July 8, 1859