The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Alberta (Propeller), C85765, collision, 11 Jun 1884

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ALBERTA Propeller. Home port, Montreal.. Om July 28, 1884 Propeller, with a cargo of merchandise, collided at Whitefish Point, Lake Superior; Hull damaged $12,200. Insurance $150,000.
      Disasters to Lake Shipping, 1884
      Cleveland Herald Nov. 28th. 1884

      . . . . .

      Decree of the District Court Confirmed
The Canadian Pacific railway company's steamer ALBERTA and the propeller OSBORNE came into collision about June 11, 1884, in a dense fog nine or ten miles northwest of Whitefish Point, Lake Superior, the ALBERTA striking the OSBORNE near her stern at about a right angle. The OSBORNE had 1,120 tons of iron ore aboard and two ore laden schooners in tow, bound from Marquette to Ashtabula. The ALBERTA was on her regular trip from Owen Sound to Port Arthur, with the usual quota of passengers and freight, and was running at a speed of ten or twelve miles an hour. Whatever her speed was she penetrated the OSBORNE sixteen feet in a lateral direction to the center of the boat, cutting her nearly in two, in spite of her cargo of iron ore. The OSBORNE sank in 162 feet of water, carrying down three of her crew and also a passenger on the ALBERTA, who lost his life while endeavoring to rescue the fireman of the OSBORNE.
Suit was brought by the owners of the OSBORNE and her cargo, and the United States District Court held both vessels in fault, the ALBERTA for excessive speed, and also condemned the OSBORNE's speed of five miles an hour in a fog as not the moderate speed required by law, though finding that both vessels were giving the fog signals as required by law. The damages resulting from the loss of the OSBORNE and her cargo amounted with interest to about $88,000. The ALBERTA's damages, including demurrage for repairs, were fixed at about $20,000. According to the admiralty rule, applicable to the finding that both vessels were at fault, the damages were divided by deducting from the decree in favor of the owners of the OSBORNE the loss suffered by the ALBERTA and equally dividing the remainder. The decree of the District Court was affirmed by the United States Circuit Judge Jackson, the pecuniary result being that the owners of the ALBERTA must pay to the owners of the OSBORNE and her cargo $33,000. The case has been in court nearly three years.
      The Marine Record
      Thurs. Sept. 22, 1887

      . . . . .

ALBERTA Propeller of 1,440 tons, built at Glasgow (Scotland) by Aiken & Co., in 1883. Owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Home port, Montreal. Valued at $210,000 and classed A 1*. Remarks--steel
      Inland Lloyds Vessel Register
      Canadian Hulls, 1886
      . . . . .

      A special dispatch from Detroit last night said: "The steel stmr. ALBERTA, which recently collided with the stmr. J.M. OSBORN on Lake Superior during a dense fog, has been thoroughly repaired and left here today to resume her regular trips. Since the collision much has been said about her being cumbersome and unwieldy, to which the accident was partially attributed. In orde to demonstrate the truth or falsity of this statement, the manager of the line, Mr. Beatey arranged this morning to take a number of vessel men and maritime lawyers on board and give them an exhibition of her handling capacity in a short trip up and down. Her steering apparatus and reversing machinery for propelling engines are both operated by steam. After running up from the foot of Second Street to the D.G.H. & M. elevator her engines slowed down to 35 revolutions speed, as on the occasion of the collision, from which they reverse to back at full stroke. Backing commenced almost instantly on the signal being given and the ponderous craft lost all her headway in 1 1/4 minutes, only going ahead a length and a half after the backing bell had been rung. She ran to Sandwich Point, and then was stopped again and backed while going down stream; this time it was 2 minutes before she lost headway, and she went ahead 3 length after the signal. Mayor Drummond and Capt. Nicholson each took the wheel at different times and expressed the opinion that she handled as well as any vessel they ever had hold of.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      August 23, 1884 1-9

Steam screw ALBERTA. Official Canada No. 85765. Of 2,282 tons gross; 1551 tons reg. Built Whiteinch, Scotland, 1883. Home port, Montreal, Que. 263.5 x 38.2 x 23.3. Owned by Canadian Pacific Railway, Montreal, Que.
      List of Vessels on the Registry of the
      Dominion of Canada on December 31, 1898

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: collision
Hull damage: $12,200
Freight: merchandise
Remarks: Damaged
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 46.76947 Longitude: -84.95258
William R. McNeil
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Alberta (Propeller), C85765, collision, 11 Jun 1884