The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Erie Belle (Propeller), boiler exploded, 21 Nov 1883

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Kincardine, Ont., Nov. 21. -- About 3:30 o'clock this afternoon a loud report like the discharge of a twenty-one pounder was heard in town, and while citizens generall were conjecturing the cause, word was received that the tug ERIE BELLE, owned by Odette & Wherry, of Windsor, which arrived at this port on Tuesday morning to take off the beached schooner CARTER, had blown up and that all hands were lost.
on the tug when the explosion took place are as follows: Captain, John Tobin; mate, Wm. Tobin; first engineer, William Osgoode; second engineer, Frank Eikenhurst, of St. Louis, Me.; engineer William Sayles, of Detroit, the fireman and the cook. Captain Troy, James McGaw, J. Montgomery, on going to the scene of the disaster it was found that the boiler of the tug had exploded, and the vessel itself was shattered to pieces, but fortunately the lives of eight of the crew of twelve had been saved. What caused the explosion will never be known. It is supposed that pumps supplying the boiler became shocked in some manner and this was not noticed by the first engineer, who was in charge. The water got low, and when the water did find it's way into the boiler, it had the same effect upon the hot plates, as a spark of fire would have in a powder-magazine.
      C.G. Ammond and J. Kempil manned the Kincardine life boat and picked up the crew, who were struggling in the water.
      J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, November, 1883

The ERIE BELLE, which was blown up at Kincardine last Thursday, was built by Peck, of Cleveland, for an insurance company for wrecking purposes, and was then called the HECTOR. She was taken to Boston, mass., by Captain Morgan, of Oswego, N.Y., and did towing one season at the port of Boston; came back to Oswego at the close of the war, and was purchased by Capt. C.H. Cary, of Detroit, and afterwards was purchased by Noah Whipple, of Detroit, and in whose possession she was when burned. The burnt hull and machinery were purchased by Capt. J. Laframboise [now of the tug MICHIGAN] who rebuilt her at Walkerville and fitted her out for the route from Windsor to Pelee Island, to replace the LAKE BREEZE, burnt at leamington. She was sunk at Kingsville shortly after being purchased by Odette & Wherry, by running against a schooner's anchor; part of her cabin was cut away, and she has since been used as a tug. A years ago last spring her boilers received a $2,000 repair, and the hull a thorough repair. When the HECTOR came out she was considered superior to anything in the tug line afloat, and no expense was spared by the insurance company. When the HECTOR she somewhat resembled the FRANK MOFFATT, but the ERIE BELL was housed-in.
      J.W. Hall Great lakes Marine Scrapbook, November, 1883

The tug ERIE BELLE exploded her boiler about 3:30 on the afternoon of November 21, in Kincardine harbor and four were lost.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Thursday, November 22, 1883

The tug ERIE BELLE exploded at Kincardine on Thursday last, and four of her crew came to an untimely end. Their names were Wm. Osgood, Frank Eckenhurst, Wm. Sayles and one other, name not given. The steamer was built at Cleveland in 1862, for the Northwest Insurance Company, and was named the HECTOR. She was taken to Boston, Mass., and attended to towing thereabout. She subsequently returned to Oswego, and while there was purchased by H.N. Carey, who afterwards sold her to N.H. Whipple, of this city, and while in his hands she was partially burned. This party sold her to Windsor, Ont., parties who had her rebuilt and called her by her present name. - Detroit Report
      Marine Record
      Nov. 29, 1883

The boilers of the tug ERIE BELLE exploded at Kincardine, Ont., Nov. 21st., tearing the boat to atoms, killing four men and blowing eight others into the lake, whence they were rescued. General news.
      Marine Record
      Nov. 29, 1883

Steamer HECTOR. U. S. No. 11195. Of 107.46 gross tons. Home port, Detroit, Mich.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1871

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Reason: boiler exploded
Lives: 4
Remarks: Total loss
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.18339 Longitude: -81.63307
William R. McNeil
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Erie Belle (Propeller), boiler exploded, 21 Nov 1883