Do You Remember
By Jay Knox
Although it is still wintry, as far as appearances indicate; there is just enough of the tang in the air to remind us all that Spring isn't far away.
And with it will come the opening of navigation and while that may not mean so much as it did in the years ago, much activity will be seen around the harbor front.
Often we have heard the old-time mariners tell how the river used to be a regular cluster of sailing schooners stretched from one side of the river to the other, waiting their turn to be unloaded at one of the numerous elevators that lined the docks on the East side of the river. But maybe we are ahead of our time.
In the glorious days of the eighties and nineties, and the nights as well, there were any number of harbor tugs that hailed from Oswego, some of whom were powerful enough to meet any demand that was asked of them, while there were some that were used only for river and canal work.
It is of the latter years that we are referring to, because many times we stood upon the old bridge and watched these tugs as they moved about, towing some craft in or out of the harbor.
Nearly all of the older readers surely remember when the Connell brothers were important factors among the Oswego tug navigators, for they were in the towing game for a great many seasons.
At one time they owned and operated the big Eliza J. Redford, one of the largest tugs that navigated the Oswego river and Lake Ontario at this port. The towing business was flourishing then and much rivalry existed, with the various tug captains and crews on the alert.
The Connells kept up with the pace, however, and had the knack of getting their share of the trade. Those were the years when two or three tugs would go out in the lake for four or five miles in order to get their boat to tow in - and they'd get them too.
After the Redford was wrecked, the brothers had the W. and J. Connell, perhaps not as speedy, and they ran it successfully for several years, finally selling it to out of town tugmen. It was quite a familiar boat, owing to the sound of its whistle and we never had to ask its name when she blew that horn.