The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Thurs., May 15, 1913

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The Death Of Captain Scott
Drowned Crossing Mexico Bay With His Tug Yesterday
Loss From The Boat Was Not Discovered Until the Latter Was Within a Short Distance of Cape Vincent - Believed to have Fallen overboard When Boat took a Lurch.

Captain William J. Scott, master and owner of the tug Tonawanda, and one of the best known marine men on the lake, was drowned yesterday while the tug was crossing Mexico Bay. Just where Captain Scott was lost is not known, as he was not missed from the boat for several hours after the accident happened. Life savers along the shore have been notified and the patrol will keep a look out for the body.

News of the accident reached here about five o'clock, when Captain P.J. McGrath, who was piloting the Tonawanda to Alexandria Bay, where she was to go on the drydock, telephoned Collector of Customs John S. Parsons from Cape Vincent.

The Tonawanda left here between eight and nine o'clock yesterday morning. For some time there had been trouble with the engine, which Captain Scott had located in the stern bearing, and as the drydock at this port is not in commission, it was necessary to take the boat to Alexandria Bay for repairs. When about ten miles in the lake, about off Nine Mile Point, the Tonawanda was nearly headed towards shore with her engines stopped.

Captain McGrath, in his report to Collector Parsons, said that they experienced some engine trouble at that point, but when it had been straightened out they proceeded. Captain Scott was in the wheel-house with Captain McGrath, and shortly after the tug was crossing Mexico Bay he said that he was going aft to lie down in the cabin. That was the last seen of him. it is believed that a lurch of the boat sent him over the low rail, and that he was left to drown in the cold water of the bay, as the boat proceeded on her way, the pilot and crew unaware of the accident.

Along in the afternoon Captain McGrath sent word to one of the crew to call Captain Scott, that he was in the cabin. Steward Hugh John Radcliffe said he had not seen the Captain, and then a careful search of the boat was made without result. The Tonawanda was then headed into Cape Vincent and the news of the accident telephoned to this city. The crew of the Tonawanda consisted of Captain Scott, Fred Ward, engineer, Hugh John Radcliffe, steward, and a fireman. Captain McGrath was pilot.

It was cold and raw in the lake and none of the crew were on deck, preferring to keep in the warmth of the engine-room, galley or wheelhouse, therefore none saw the accident.

Captain Scott was born near Kingston, Ont., about sixty years ago. he came to this city with his parents when an infant, and later in life was employed as a driver on the docks. He then became boy aboard the R.G. Post line of tugs and worked from one position to another until he was recognized as a most proficient tugman. He had papers that qualified him as a marine engineer and papers for a pilot, so that he was equally at home in pilot house or engine room.

The first tug he owned was the Steve Lyons, after which he and a local syndicate bought the tug John Navagh, which Captain Scott commanded for a number of years. Selling the latter several years ago to the Duluth Dredging Company, Captain Scott purchased the tug Tonawanda, a larger boat, which he was commanding when he was drowned.

Few men on Lake Ontario were better known to marine men than Captain Scott. His long and constant service at this port had won him a large acquaintance, and as a rule he was popular. Warm hearted and impetuous he had faults and virtues, the latter outweighing the former. For a number of years past he had been the only tug at this port and he was on duty almost constantly during the season of navigation. Few men were as expert in handling a tug and his position will be hard to fill.

Captain Scott is survived by his mother, six daughters, a son, two brothers and two sisters. It was said today that the tug Tonawanda has proceeded to Alexandria Bay for repairs.

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Thurs., May 15, 1913
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Thurs., May 15, 1913