Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kaloolah (Steamboat), aground, 1 Aug 1862
Full Text

Steamer KALOOLAH, when assisting to get off the Brig SIR CHARLES NAPIER, ashore at Saugeen, Lake Huron, was stranded and became a total wreck.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      January 26, 1863 (Casualty List, 1862)

      . . . . .

      TOTAL LOSS OF THE KALOOLAH. - The wrecking party which left here a few days since to go to the relief of the steamer KALOOLAH, ashore at Saugeen, on Lake Huron, returned to this city yesterday morning, having been unsuccessful in their mission. On Friday last a storm arose, and at 12 o'clock of the same night she broke in tow, and subsequently went to pieces, nothing being saved of any value or consequence. The KALOOLAH was built at Buffalo by Bidwell & Banta and came out in 1862. She was insured for $10,000, which will fully cover her loss.
The following companies held risks on her: Home Insurance Company $3,000 and Phoenix $3,000, and British North American, $4,000. - Detroit Free Press.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Wednesday, August 27, 1862

      . . . . .

The Kincardine Commonwealth of the 21st says. -- We regret to learn that the splendid steamer KALOOLAH, which has become such a favorite along the coast, met with a serious accident at Southampton on Monday last, which it is feared has rendered her totally useless. In assisting to pull off a vessel, the hawser broke while her engine was on full power. The consequence was that she made a fearful plunge forward, striking a large boulder in her course, which stove a hole into her hull and wheeled her around on to a sand bar, where she now lies. Her spirited and deserving owners on hearing of the accident, immediately put their new steamer BRUCE on the route. We understand that the KALOOLAH was sufficently insured to cover the loss, which we trust is not so serious as represented.
      We have later accounts by way of Detroit.
      The Free Press Says. -- The wrecking part which left here a few days since to go to the relief of the steamer KALOOLAH, ashore at Saugeen on Lake Huron, returned to this city yesterday morning having been unsuccessful in their mission. On Friday last a storm arose and at 12 o'clock of the same night she broke in two, and subsequently went to pieces. Nothing being saved of any value or consequence. The KALOOLAH was built at Buffalo by Bidwell & Banta and came out in 1852.
She was insured for $10,000 which will fully cover her loss. The following companies held risks on her. Home Insurance Co. $3,000
      Pheonix $3,000
      British North American $4,000
      Owen Sound Comet
      Friday, August 29, 1862
      . . . . .

A narrow escape for the steamer BRUCE, which when caught in a storm of almost hurricane proportions off Kincardine, cast her anchor and held herself off the rocky shore, upon which the wind was trying to blow her, the anchor was the large one used by the KALOOLAH, until
she was wrecked recently, as well as the anchor they had the heavy chain belonging to it, and without which they must surely have perished. Extract
      Toronto Globe
      October 16, 1862

      . . . . .

      KALOOLAH, sidewbeel steamer
KALOOLAH; changed to COLLINGW0OD in 1857 then back to KALO0LAH in 1858, she was built at Buffalo in 1853 and rebuilt at Detroit in 1858 she was 138 feet in length 25 feet beam and had a depth of 10 feet she was 620 tons and was in the passenger and freight business, her Canadian registration number was 33525. Wrecked near Southampton, Ontario, in August 1862
      Preliminary List of Canadian Merchant
      Steamships( World Ship Society) 1809 - 1930
      . . . . .
COLLINGWOCD steamer of 152 tons built Buffalo in 1852, owned by Gibbard & Co. valued at 20,000 dollars
      list of Canadian Vessels 1857
      Toronto Globe
      May 26, 1857

      . . . . .
The sidewheeler KALOOLAH was one of the most famous steamers of the Lake Huron and Georgian Bay marine. Built at Buffalo in 1852 by Francis N. Jones for Aaron D. Patchin the KALOOLAH was sold to Charles Thompson of Collingwood the following year and renamed Collingwood. In 1857 Thompson reverted to the original name and in 1858 the KALOOLAH was rebuilt at Detroit, possibly as a result pf serious damage sustained by running aground at Michipicoten Island, Lake Superior, the previous summer.
By the spring of 1860 the KALOOLAH was in the hands of T.E. Van Every and George Rumball of Goderich who placed the well known Kincardine mariner Duncan Rowan in command. Four times a week she steamed north to Southampton, touching at Kincardine, Inverhuron, Baie Du Dore and the now vanished hamlets of Malta and Port Bruce, and Port Elgin. Twice a week she sailed to Sarnia and Port Huron. During the subsequent autumn and winter the KALOOLAH was taken in hand at Goderich and extensively reworked, in the spring of 1861 she was advertised as having been 'thoroughly overhauled', repaired and painted; her engines and boilers have also been overhauled and refitted and she is, altogether, better than ever. She had superior cabin and state-room accommodation (having been fitted with 15 additional state-rooms), and large carrying capacity.
On the 17th. of August 1862 the Canadian brig. SIR CHARLES NAPIER went aground above the mouth of the Saugeen River. Following a telegraphed request for assistance the KALOOLAH steamed to Southampton intending to pull her off.
The NAPIER lay in an awkward position and in trying to release her the KALOOLAH fouled a paddlewheel in the tow ropes. This required her to withdraw to the Bogus dock, south of the river near the presnt pumping station, to have it cleared. While this was being done a southwest gale sprang up and forced the KALOOLAH to make for the shelter of the Saugeen River. She was too close to the beach and fetched up on the rocks off the foot of Southampton's Main street, within a few days the salvage tug MAGNET came up from Detroit, but on the 22nd, before anything could be done to save her, the KALOOLAH was ravaged by heavy seas and went to pieces.
Although Van Every and Rumball carried only 10,000 dollars insurance on the KALOOLAH there was little regret over her fate. She was old, worn out, and described as a floating coffin by the waterfront wags of the Saugeen coast. As to the NAPIER she was eventually released and returned to service after very large repairs.
      from Shipwrecks of the Saugeen
      by Patrick Folkes

      . . . . .
The KALOOLAH engine was very old, having been built for the side-wheel steamer UNCLE SAM which was launched at Grosse Island in 1833. When that vessel was converted to sail in 1844 it went into the LEXINGTON, wrecked on Lake Michigan in 1850, the machinery was salvaged and the engine was put into the KALOOLAH.
      Early American Steamers by
      Erik Heyl vol. 3
      . . . . .

The stm. HURON for the past 2 seasons connected with the Detroit & Saginaw route, under the command of Capt. Cole, has been sold to Van Every and Rumrell, of Goderich, for $12,000. The HURON will hereafter ply between Port Sarnia, Goderich and Saugeen the route formerly occupied by the KALOOLAH, which steamer was wrecked, it will be remembered, late last fall, on that coast. - Det. Free Press.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      March 10, 1863 2-4

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      from the Evening Telegram Saturday June lOth. 1939 page 22
      Schooner Days - Blue Oak and Old Anchors by C. II. J. Snider
Nautical research is coming into it's own on Lake Huro, at Southampton they have dredged up an anchor which they say belonged to the schooner ONTARIO, wrecked forty or fifty years ago on the beach south of the Saugeen River. It is now in the garden of Mr. Robert Murphy, manager of the Plywood factory, Southampton, and he, with true Southampton patriotism, is in favor of a movement to have it mounted on a base in the town park.
      Schooner Days has been asked for the history of the schooner ONTARIO and would like to be able to give more than the following fragments. The wrecked ONTARIO was a white fore-and-aft schooner of a little over four hundred tons carrying capacity, which, of course, would be double her registered tonnage. She hailed from Goderich when she was lost and had been owned there for a number of years, but she had come to Lake Huron from below as Lake Erie and Lake Ontario were called. She was engaged in the Salt, Coal and Lumber trade of Lake Huron from about 1880 onwards.
      Half a dozen sailing vessels named ONTARIO have plied the Great Lakes taking their name from our own lake, the bluest of them all or from counties on its shores. There was probably an armed sloop built by the British at Oswego during the seven year war, and certainly a suqare-rigger, a "snow built at Carleton Island later, she was lost with all on board, during the American revolution. There was also a schooner named ONTARIO in Commodore Chauncey's American fleet in the war of 1812, and an anchor said to belong to her is shown in the museum at Niagara on the Lake, the indentification is doubtful. The anchor is of more modern pattern than one would expect in Chauncey's fleet, and much like the anchor at Southampton, but of only half the size. These were war vessels.
      Two and possibly three commercial schooners named ONTARIO also plied the lakes. There was a little vessel of 50 tons in which the late Capt. David Reynolds, master for a quarter of a century of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club launch HIAWATHA, once loaded tanbark for Clifton at Port Union the only cargo of which any record is discoverable from that little forgotten port near the mouth of Highland Creek. In it's time, like so many other lost harbors, it did a flourishing business in Grain, Stone, Cordwood and Lumber. Can anyone tell more about Port Union's activities.
      There was, too, a three-masted schooner named ONTARIO, large for her time, one of the biggest in the historic Globe list of Aug. 4th. 1856. She and the three masted schooner SUPERIOR share the honors in size at 380 tons, which would make her larger than the old "Canallers," who ran from 320 to 360 tons register. Both these vessels are listed as built at Quebec in the year 1851 and perhaps they were brought to the lakes at the same time. H. Waters is given as the owner of the ONTARIO and Taylor and Hooper as the owner of the SUPERIOR.
      The vessel whose anchor comes to light is probably the two-masted schooner ONTARIO, built at Whitby in 1856 by H. Chisholm for Jas. Rowe & Co. She was of 218 tons, 112 feet long, 25 foot beam, 9 foot 6 inches depth of hold. John Albert Phippen was her registered owner in 1872. She seemingly succeeded a smaller ONTARIO, mentioned in the Port Whitby Harbor Co.'s records as early as 1843. The later ONTARIO brought in a cargo of marble in 1858, and so supplied memorials for many Ontario County pioneers, who sleep in Whitby cemeteries. The ONTARIO was one of the first coal carriers, bringing 100 tons of Blossburg coal, then a comparative novelty, into Whitby in 1862. That same year she also brought in 400 barrels of salt from Oswego. Salt was still being imported into Canada then. Later the ONTARIO was bought by Prince Edward county owners, Capt. John D. Vanalastine sailed her in the Barley trade and she 'went above' that is, travelled to Lake Huron, where many years afterwards she was wrecked.
      More information about her will be welcomed.
      Another place of nautical research in Southampton concerns a steamer, The old KALOOLAH or COLLINGWOOD, wrecked almost eighty years ago. During recent dredging operations a quantity of heavy oak planks and ribs were brought up by the dipper. Brock McvAuley has the dried-out woodpile and has made several cribbage boards as souvenirs for his friends. Despite the long immersion much of the timber is in perfectly sound condition. It is known locally as " blue oak " and has acquired the deep tint of indigo which white oak always shows after being stained by the acid of iron fastenings and long soaking in water. Irish bog oak, which is blacker than ebony, was pale straw color in the living tree, Schooner Days can oblige to a limited extent about the KALOOLAH.
She was an American side-wheeler built in Buffalo and bought by Charles Thompson, of Toronto, in 1853, for a route between Dunnville, on the old Grand River Canal, to Lake Erie and Sault Ste Marie. After four years she was bought by Collingwood partners and renamed COLLINGWOOD. In July 1857, she ran on a rock two miles from Michipicoten Harbor in Lake Superior. She had the Canadian Red River expedition on boarcl, and the accident happened in a fog. She was refloated with considerable difficulty, and plied as the COLLINGWOOD for three years more, under the command of Capt. Frank Granville. She was wrecked off Southampton in 1860.
      P. Leacy, of 214 Eighteenth Ave. east, Calgary, Alberta, writes of a recent Schooner Days article about the CHICORA: "when this steamer came up the St. Lawrence Canal from Montreal to the Great Lakes, when she was passing through the Galops Canal, lock no. 26, I was at the lock with hundreds of other boys and girls from our school, as you know, she was too long for locks in those days and this was overcome by cutting her in two parts, bow and stern. The Calvin Towing Co. of Garden Island, opposite Kingston, Ontario, used two of their tugs, the WILLIAM and the CITY OF HAMILTON. The CITY OF HAMILTON handled the forward part, passing our village, the the steamer WILLIAM handled the stern part. At that time it was called the Edwardsburg, now Cardinal, Ontario, the home of the Edwardsburg Starch Co. I knew afterwards she was on the 'upper Lakes' and had read of her coming back to Toronto. I am not sure, but I think I saw her on Lake Superior one time, on her way east, tbe other time going west this would be the summer of 1876, I was on Lake Superior all that summer.

in the above newspaper article are photos of ONTARIO's anchor -- Brock McAuley, with timber from KALOOLAH -- two photos of steamer KALOOLAH -- and one of schooner ONTARIO

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An advert appearing in the Toronto GLOBE July 5, 1865 reads;
      For sale, Three second-hand steam boilers, recently
      taken from a wrecked steamer,19 feet long, 40 inches
      in diameter; 2 flues in each, 14 inches in diameter; also
      connecting pipes and steam dome. Will be sold cheap,
      for cash or approved credit, and delivered at Sarnia,
      Goderich or Windsor. Will be sold by the pound.
      For further particulars, address box 27,
      Saugeen P. O. -- Saugeen ,July 1.

      . . . . .
Dredging area on Northerly side of the harbour at Saugeen river; dredging the wharf wall trench, & area in front for extention of South Pier. Work done by C. S. BOONE, Dredging and Construction Ltd.
Contract let Aug. 2nd
      Annual Departmental reports 1938-39
      Sessional Papers (Harbours) 1939

Wharf extention done by Donald C. Ross & Henry F. Ross of Kincardine
cost 19,706:33 Dollars contract let June 8th. 1939
      Annual Departmental Reports
      5essional Papers 1940

      . . . . .
      This case had been on trial since the jury came into court on Tuesday; and this trial was the 3rd. time the case had been presented, not to speak of the arguments that proceeded and accompanied the several hearings upon the legal propositions involved. It was an action to recover upon.
      It was on an action to recover upon a policy of insurance issued by defendant on the 1st. April, 1862, on the steamboat KALOOLAH, for the season of navigation from April 1, 1862 to November 30th. of the same year, whereby the company insured the steamer against the perils of navigation while she should be engaged in a general freight and passenger business, upon the waters of Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario and their Bays, Rivers and canals, for the sum of $3,000. The declaration averred that while the policy was in full force, and while, on the 18th day of August 1862, the vessel was engaged in the general freight and passenger business, lying in the harbor of Southampton, at the mouth of the Saugeen River. The Captain of the KALOOLAH was applied to by the captain of the brig CHARLES A. NAPIER to aid in saving his brig, which was then stranded on a bar at the mouth of the river; and that, in accordance with the usage and customs of those navigating the lakes, the captain of the KALOOLAH went to the assistance of the brig, and while so engaged in the attempt to save it, the KALOOLAH herself grounded on the bar, and was thereby wrecked and lost, of which loss proper protests and proofs were made. As to those facts there was no serious controversy. A conflict of testimony existed as to the state of the wind and sea when the KALOOLAH went to the aid of the brig, but in the view the court took of the case, this became immaterial.
      The defance was made on two grounds, first that the steamer was lost while engaged in a different employment from that permitted under the policy. Second, that the policy contained a clause that all claims under it should be void unless prosecuted within a year from the time the loss occurred, and no prosecution had been had within the term of a year.
The court reviewed these positions. First, that of the Plaintiffs, that the act of rendering assistance was in accordance with a general custon on usage of those navigating the lakes, therefore such act is no deviation or departure from the employment permitted by the terms of the policy. In other words, that to render such assistance, as was attempted to be rendered, was incidental to all vessels of the character and class of the KALOOLAH.
As to this point, the court, in substance laid it down to law, that to establish such a custom it must be shown that it is universal and general as to become a part of the business itself, and a matter of course, so that the public sentiment of those in the business would consider it the duty of those in charge of the KALOOLAH to have sought to render the service asked, and would have held the captain blameworthy if he did not respond. A single instance, or a few such, of good hearted men going to the relief of vessels in distress would not constitute a custom. It must have resolved itself into such custom that the service would be expected to be rendered by those who have a right to comment on the conduct of the man refusing.
      If such a usage as this existed, then it became a part of the contract of insurance; if it was aught less, then the company could not be held underwritten the vessel with a view to the added risk.
      As to the second position, the Plaintiffs aver that, within a year from the time of the loss, they prosecuted their claim. No suit at law nor judicial proceeding was proved to have been prosecuted within a year. But Plaintiffs made a question as to the meaning of the word 'prosecute' as used in the policy, insisting that as used it was equivalent to the words 'follow'. "persue' ' institution' or any other term signifying an effort to obtain payment. The defence contended that if the word ment the prosecution of a suit or the institution of a judical proceeding in some form for the enforcement of the claim.
      The court held that the view of the defendants council was correct as to the construction of the word as used in the policy. In that state of the case it was the duty of the Plainfiffs to sue within one year from the date of the loss, not having proof of this Plaintiffs had sought to prove a waiver of this execution by the agents of the company. But in offering proof of this, they had passed beyond their pleadings. They had averred compliance, but had not alleged a waiver. In the absence of that averment they could not prove it, therefore the suit must fall. The court further, upon a review of the testimony, found that due evidence did not warrant a finding that there had been a waiver by the company

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Media Type
Item Type
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $16,000
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original
Local identifier
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.501111 Longitude: -81.373611
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Kaloolah (Steamboat), aground, 1 Aug 1862