Tug "WAHNAPITAE" Beached, Abandoned After 40 Years Towing Big Lumber Rafts.
By W.R. Williams.
The fate of the famous old lumber tug, the WAHNAPITAE, which was built in Penetang many years ago, is now known. After a long life of useful service she is now lying beached and abandoned at Windsor Cove a short distance above Levis, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.
A letter from Louis Beaudry, Port Manager and Chief Engineer, National Harbours Board, Quebec City, tells the story:
"This tug was bought by a Mr. Turcotte to be used for towing in the Harbor of Sorel, Que., and was afterwards chartered to the St. Lawrence Lumber Co., Limited to tow barges of lumber between Chaudiere Basin and Three Rivers, Que.
"On or about September 1, 1945, she grounded at the northeast point of the entrance to Chaudiere Basin on the rocky bottom, during thick and stormy weather. I also may say that the Chaudiere empties into the St. Lawrence on the south shore about half a mile below the Quebec Bridge, where the St. Lawrence is narrow, the current in this vicinity being very strong and tricky, at certain stages of the tide.
"The tug was refloated on September 19, 1945, and towed to the beach on George T. Davie and Sons for inspection. Being found beyond repair, the DICK T. was towed to, and beached at Windsor Cove, above Levis, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, where she is still lying."
BUILT IN PENETANG.
The DICK T. is none other than the Penetang-built tug WAHNAPITAE, which was constructed by the C. Beck Co., Limited on their water-front during the winter of 1904-05. For the succeeding twenty-four years it was used by them to tow very large log-rafts across the eighty-mile open stretch of Georgian Bay from Little Current. It had a triple expansion engine, steam steering gear and was equipped with wireless after its original 90 foot length had been increased to 110 feet. It had a steam winch on the after-end with a large drum which was used to reel in the steel towing cable after a raft had been brought to the saw-mill at Penetanguishene.
In 1929 the WAHNAPITAE was sold to the Keenan Towing Co, of Owen Sound, a subsidiary of the Keenan Wood Products Co., to which it towed barges loaded with logs obtained from various points.
After some years it was again sold, this time to the J.J. McFadden Lumber Co. of Blind River, who used it to tow rafts of white and red pine logs to their mill at that point. Finally they practically rebuilt the tug and sold it to Sorel Harbour Tugs, Limited, of Sorel, Que., whose president and General Manager was J. Turcotte.
One year later, the last named company changed the name from WAHNAPITAE to DICK T. and it is under the latter name that this Penetang-built tug is mentioned in the letter from Mr. Beaudry.
Midland Free Press
Wednesday, December 11, 1946