William F. Fitch (Freighter), U81807, 22 Jun 1931
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Record Cargo At Oswego - Canal officials witnessed the docking Saturday night at the Oswego grain elevator of the largest lake steamship that ever came into Oswego harbor. The steamer WILLIAM F. FITCH, 364 feet long, of the Jenkins Steamship Company of Cleveland, Ohio, docked at 5o'clock Saturday afternoon and brought to the Oswego state grain elevator 200,000 bushels of grain, the largest cargo ever put into the elevator at one time, for re-shipment
over the Barge Canal route.
The big ship draws 22 feet of water, and will be the first to entered the deepened channel made by dredges this year under federal appropriation. It can proceed only to the state docks at the elevator. The process of unloading the grain will begin this morning, Assistant Engineer Andrew R. Mulligan said last night. Barge Canal fleets will be employed to transfer it to New York as the demand justifies.
The shipload is the second brought to the Oswego elevator this spring. The steamer GEHM recently brought in 100,000 bushels, which was transferred to a fleet going to New York.
Many were at the terminal for the ship's arrival. Charles O'Brien, superintendent of the state elevator, announced that unloading of the FITCH would be started at 8 o'clock Sunday
morning. A full elevator force will be on hand.
The steamer was loaded at Fort William, at the head of the Great Lakes. The trip down required four days, the steamer having cleared Fort William Tuesday afternoon. Commanding the FITCH is Capt. H. W. Emigh who has been long in the employ of the Jenkins Steamship Co. Despite his long career on the lakes, Capt. Emigh said it was his first trip on Lake Ontario. That part of the trip from Port Weller through the canal and to Oswego was without incident.
The FITCH was not loaded to capacity. Entering the harbor the steamer was drawing 18 feet of water. Not the least difficulty was experienced by the steamer entering the harbor and making its way alongside the state elevator. There is plenty of water along the terminal dock, although the lake level is three feet lower than it was a year ago.
Not only is the vessel as well as the cargo the largest ever to be received here, but it also is said to be the first consignment of Canadian grain to be dispatched directly to Oswego from the head of the head of the Great Lakes. In the past grain received here has been transshipped at some Lake Erie port. Opening of the new Welland Canal now makes it possible for the large upper lake freighters to extend their trips to Lake Ontario ports.
The barley shipment is being handled by the General Motorship Corporation of New York. The grain will be placed in the 1,000,000-bushel elevator and later transshipped into canal fleets which will take it to New York City. The canal fleets will bring package freight to Oswego from New York City for upper lake ports and will take cargoes of grain on their return.
While no announcement has bee made, expectations are that there will be a steady movement of grain from Fort William to Oswego during the season. The Jenkins Steamship Company has another freighter, the JAMES WATT, which will be engaged in the trade. preparations also are being made for the handling at the state elevator of considerable Canadian grain for transshipment in 250-foot steamers to Montreal.
Opening of the Welland Canal and the beginning of the grain and package freight movement bears out the contention of those interested in the development of the Oswego harbor that a vast commerce for Oswego will soon develop.
Oswego Palladium Times
June 22, 1931
Steam screw WILLIAM F. FITCH. U. S. No. 81807. Of 3,629 tons gross; 2,632 tons net. Built Wyandotte, Mich., 1902. Home port, Cleveland, Ohio. 346.0 x 48.0 x 28.0 of 1,420 indicated horsepower. Steel built. Crew of 18.
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1903
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- record cargo at Oswego
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- William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes