Editor Marine Review - The truth of the old saying, " He who laughs last laughs best," must have struck Capt. McFarlane, master, of steamer TUSCARORA, very forcibly upon the occasion of his meeting the Union Line flyer, OWEGO recently. He had for some time claimed for his vessel, the TUSCARORA, the proud honor of being the fastest propeller on the lakes, and some weeks ago sent to the newspapers what purported to be an account of a brush between the TUSCARORA and OWEGO, in which the former was the victor. The facts in the case are: The OWEGO at the time was deep laden, drawing 15 feet 7 inches of water, while the TUSCARORA was loaded to but 13 feet 10 inches thus enabling him to run the entire rivers without checking the speed of his vessel in the least. Making the rivers also first, he had the advantage throughout. The OWEGO on the contrarry, was obliged to check until after passing Colchester, and this gave the TUSCARORA too great a lead to be easily overtaken. Still with everything in her favor she reached Buffalo but four minutes in advance of the OWEGO. On Dec. 1, the OWEGO left Milwaukee over two hours behind the TUSCARORA and passed her the following day off Skilagalee. The OWEGO was not hurried in the least but allowed to jog along at her usual pace, while the TUSCARORA was to all appearances crowded to her utmost capacity. With a vessel of her own class she undoubtedly would have made a grand showing, but with the OWEGO she was simply not in it. By ten o'clock the same evening she had vanished in the darkness astern and became in truth a thing of the past. U. L.
The Marine Review
December 24, 1891
Editor Marine Review - With hesitancy I intrude myself upon you, as I know you must have a great deal of matter of more importance than a controversy between two steamship masters as to the relative speed of the vessels they command. "U. L.," which I presume means Union Line has found space in your columns for several falsehoods which I will thank you for space to enable me to correct. The Union Line flyer OWEGO. we have always understood, was built more for speed than for profit. I have met her on several occasions and have beaten her with the TUSCARORA. No one is more astonished at the remarks over the signature "U. L." which recently appeared in your paper than myself. I note that the writer claims that when the Tuscarora beat the OWEGO the latter was drawing 15 feet 7 inches and the former boat 13 feet 10 inches. The fact is the TUSCARORA was drawing 15 feet 3 inches. He says the TUSCARORA ran the river the entire length without checking. This is a falsehood also. The TUSCARORA checked, as always, in shoal water, and did not average more than half speed through the whole river. Finding that the Tuscarora could easily keep ahead of the OWEGO after passing Bar point, she was not again pressed to full speed during the trip. We arrived in Buffalo 25 minutes ahead of her, not 4 minutes, as the writer "U. L." states.
I shall have to correct another misstatement. "U. L." says that on Dec. 1 the OWEGO left Milwaukee over two hours behind the TUSCARORA and passed her the following day off Skillagalee. The fact is she left Milwaukee just 12 minutes behind the TUSCARORA and passed her just 17 hours after she left there. She took on a large quantity of the best screened coal in Milwaukee, at a cost, I am imformed Of $4.50 per ton, for the purpose of racing with us, whereas we had nothing but run of mine coal which we had taken on at Buffalo. The standing instructions from the manager are that there shall be no racing and, as a consequence, there never is any racing in our line. Capt. Burns of the OWEGO knew before he left Milwaukee that we were short of fuel and it was utterly impossible to drive the ship to any great speed. Now with regard to the class of the two steamers: If all I hear about the OWEGO is true I am satisfied that the TUSCARORA is not in that class but a much better one.
Buffalo, Dec. 31, 1891. L. L.
The Marine Review
January 7, 1892
Steam screw TUSCARORA. U. S. No. 145543. Of 2,386.01 tons gross; 1,679.56 tons net. Built Cleveland, Ohio, 1890. Home port, Buffalo, N.Y. 291.4 x 40.4 x 22.0 Steel built.
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1897