Three Lives Lost When Steamer Rammed Schooner Oliver Mowat
Bad Marine Tragedy Late Last Thursday Night
Old Schooner Hit by Steamer Keywest Near Main Ducks and Cut in Two - Captain Tom Van Dusen One of the Victims.
Captain Thomas L. VanDusen, one of the best known sailing masters oon Lake Ontario, Mate Jacob Corby and an unknown woman, a cook, were drowned late Thursday night off the Main Ducks when the steamer Keywest rammed the schooner Oliver Mowat and cut her in two. Two sailors on the Oliver Mowat, George Keegan of Belleville, and John Wannacott, of Picton, were saved. They were picked up by the Keywest and carried to Welland canal from which place the first news of the tragedy was wired to Kingston.
The Oliver Mowat, one of the old-time lake schooners, purchased this Spring by Captain Van Dusen, was bound from Oswego to Picton with coal when the accident happened. The captain of the Keywest reported it was a clear night, but that they saw no lights on the schooner and that they were on her before they knew it. The Keywest, a powerful boat, slashed into her midships and tore the old schooner in half. The two sailors who were on deck were rescued. Captain VanDusen and Mate Gurley were below and endeavored to save the cook. It is thought they lingered too long. At any rate, Captain VanDusen was seen swimming in the water just as the schooner went down under the water. It is believed the suction carried him down.
The Keywest had endeavored to keep the stern of the schooner afloat and stood by for some time after the accident, but as there was nothing could be done proceeded westward to the canal.
Captain VanDusen was 65 years old and for over 40 years had been a prominent sailing master on Lake Ontario. he had sailed into Oswego for many years. His home was in Picton. Mate Gurley resided in Deseronto. The cook was about 60 years old and is thought to be a Canadian.
An investigation will be made of the accident by the Canadian Marine Department and efforts will probably be made to recover the bodies. The water, however, is deep off the Ducks.
Among the other commands Captain VanDusen had was the schooner Bertie Calkins and several other boats.