The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), July 8, 1869

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p.2 Shipping News - Glassford, Jones & Co's wharf - The tug William, with barge Dixie, arrived this morning with 300 tons iron ore, from Port Henry.

Garden Island - The steamer Hiram Calvin returned last night, having successfully completed her engagement in rescuing the Canada Maid from her position on the St. Lambert Shoals. The sch. St. Andrew, from Saugeen, with elm timber, arrived this afternoon.

J.H. Henderson & Co's wharf - The schr. Union Jack, with 13,620 bush wheat last night, and the sch. Pandora, with 18,000 bush wheat this morning, arrived, both from Milwaukee. The tug William, from Montreal, with barge Swan, arrived this morning. The barge Falcon will leave tonight for Montreal with 20,000 bush wheat, and 50 cords tan bark, in tow of tug William.

Swift & Co's wharf - The steamers Corinthian and Athenian passed up last night, and the strs Spartan and Abyssinian passed down this morning. The steam-barge Hemlock, with lumber and lath, from Brewer's Mills, arrived this morning.

Gurney & Glidden's wharf - The sch Gazelle sailed today for Oswego with 98,000 feet lumber. The tug Elswood, with four barges for the Rideau Canal, left this morning.

The M.T. Company's wharf - The sch Ben Franklyn, from Toledo, with 10,000 bush wheat arrived this morning.

The Wrecked Bark Garryowen - The report received a few days since of the loss of the ill-starred bark Garryowen, between Fairport and Ashtabula, records the termination of the career of one of the most unfortunate vessels that ever navigated the inland lakes of America, and whose whole course, from her cradle to her grave, was a succession of accidents and disasters unparalled in the history of any one vessel. We first hear of her at Quebec, where, as the barge Mary, her chapter of accidents commenced, for by some unusual and untoward circumstance attending her taking the water at her launch she was the occasion of one man's death, and the injury and crippling of one or two others. This circumstance at the time was, with the superstition which attaches to seafaring men, considered a bad omen, and old bargemen shook their heads, and prophesied for her an eventful and unfortunate career. These predictions proved so far true that, while persuing the quiet career common to vessels of her class she was twice run into, suffering more or less damage from the collisions at each occurrence, and during one of these mishaps she lost a man, who was drowned, knocked overboard from a blow on the head during the disaster. With a name for bad luck as a barge already established she passed into the hands, we believe, of Mr. Jas. Morton, of Kingston, who had her taken to the ship-yard at Portsmouth, cut, and lengthened, and finally turned out as the propeller Inkerman. It would naturally be supposed that the maligne influence attaching to her as a barge would have ceased with her conversion into a propeller. But no! she was a doomed vessel from her cradle, and her very first trip as a propeller was attended with an accident which caused those present acquainted with her former ill-fame as a barge to remark that it was of no use altering her make or shape, the devil himself was in her very timbers. As she neared the wharf, where a crowd was waiting her arrival, and when close to the dock, her heavy forward spear dropped with a crash among the crowd, killing one person on the spot, and seriously wounding one or two others. After a short career as a propeller, during which two of her crew were lost overboard on Lake Ontario, the unfortunate vessel finally blew up in Toronto, killing several, and injuring seriously others of her crew. Her career as a propeller terminated, she next appeared as the bark Tornado, and upon the day of her launch the fates appeared so far propitious, that the weather was fair and lovely, and she left her place of repairs for the water without an accident, and decked with her new bright spars and snow-white canvas, she appeared to be on the fair road to redeem her unlucky character. Nothwithstanding the wall sided look of the craft she rode the water like a duck, and had rather a sea-going appearance, a crew of the best sailors to be procured in Toronto gave her a preference, and a captain, cunning to his profession, was found to command them. But alas! the demon of misfortune had marked her for his own, and had not yet abandoned his claim, for in the fall of the same year of her launch as a bark, after losing two men in a gale of wind on Lake Erie, during a furious gale on Lake Ontario she carried away her fore-top and main-top-masts, with jib and flying jib-boom, and all her top hamper, lost her quarter boat with three hands, stove to pieces near Humber Bay, and was with difficulty saved from foundering by being towed into that port through the means of a friendly steamer. From this time her fame for ill-luck was fully established, and the greatest difficulty was experienced in finding officers or crew to man her. Old sailors would view her wall-sides, shake their heads ominously and vote her a "coffin" for some crew yet, and months often after elapsed before she could procure a crew. It is most probable that to the defect in her build, for she was certainly no model of naval architecture, and to the circumstances that the superstition connected with her obliged her owners to put up with a very indifferent set of men as sailors to navigate her, that the most of her misfortunes are really to be attributed to. This no doubt takes away some of the romance of her history, but is probably the true solution of the mystery of her unusual ill-luck. In the fall of the year 1860, on the 24th of November, during a heavy gale of wind and sleet, and during intense cold weather, the ill-fated vessel went ashore at the head of Wolfe Island, and the captain, with every soul on board, perished. In the position on the shore at Wolfe Island the vessel lay for some time, when she was purchased as she lay by Messrs. Cowan & Co., of Kingston, and once more she was started as the bark Stork, but her career under the name of that lucky bird of the Hollanders was still destined to be unfortunate, and so powerful had her fame for losing men overboard, and encountering unheard of accidents, become, that few sailors were to be found who had the hardihood to ship with her, and no company would undertake her insurance except upon unusual and extravagant conditions. Her owners, we believe, finally changed her name to her present one, the Garryowen, after having made some necessary alterations in her build and outfit. Nothing particular was heard of her under her last name other than an occasional report of some accident, when her unlucky character would be given publicly canvassed, and the ill-omened craft would be once more "laid up in lavender" for want of a crew to man her, until she passed into the possession of her last owners, Messrs. Miller & Co., of Toronto, who were employed in the coal trade, when her course chiefly ended with her wreck. Such in brief, omitting many trivial accidents, is the history of the bark Garryowen, lately lost off Ashtabula, and it only needs the additional circumstance of her having been launched on a Friday for a climax to her career, and account satisfactorily to seamen for her run of her ill-luck. But whether such was the case or not we cannot say, but certainly it will be admitted that she was sufficiently unfortunate to have full title to a Friday birthright.

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July 8, 1869
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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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Daily News (Kingston, ON), July 8, 1869