The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Eclipse (Propeller), sunk, 22 Nov 1883


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THE LOSS OF THE ECLIPSE.
      [Special telegram to the Inter Ocean]
Wiarton, Ont., Nov. 27. -- The following is the statement of John Drew, the only known survivor of the steamer ECLIPSE: Captain Bury left Algoma Mills Nov. 15 for Port Sarnia, with the barge ETTA in tow; ran into Rattlesnake harbor, Manitoulin Island, and left there Wednesday, Nov. 21, intending to make Southampton. Captain Bush, of the barge ETTA, left me alone on the bridge and went aboard the ECLIPSE. The weather was fine, and I was up until we passed Cove island light, about 10 o'clock in the evening; then I turned in and slept until about 4 a. m. I dressed and went on deck, and could see nothing of the ECLIPSE, and realized that I was cast adrift and alone on Lake Huron and a fearful gale raging. After a while I heard the steamer's whistle several times, and then saw nor heard no more of them. At daylight I saw land about a mile didtant, and about 4 p. m. the barge went ashore on the beach at Little Pike Bay, and I jumped ashore and started for Wiarton, sixteen miles distant. I do not know the names of the crew. There were seven men on the ECLIPSE. Some fishermen were out in a boat at Pine Tree Harbor and saw three bodies floating near the shore with life preservers on, marked "Steamer ECLIPSE," and what appeared to be the upper works of a steamer. One of the bodies had a watch and $22.25. Another a watch and $22, and another $8.95. By papers found they identified one as captain Bush of the barge ETTA, and J. Moore, engineer of the ECLIPSE.
      J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, Nov./Dec., 1883
     



      The steamer ECLIPSE which left Algoma for Sarnia was caught in the gale Wednesday night off Pine Tree Harbor and is supposed to be lost with all hands, as a part of the wreck and three bodies came ashore with life preservers marked "ECLIPSE." The captain was among the three bodies.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Tuesday, November 27, 1883

     
      One man was saved from the ECLIPSE and 7 presumed lost. The last the survivor saw of the steamer was on the night of the 21st. He was aboard the barge ETTA which was beached at Little Pike Bay, 16 miles from Wiarton. The ECLIPSE measured 74 tons and was built at Hamilton, Ontario in 1878. The tug was owned by Palmer of Hamilton. She was formerly the JULIETTE built by Cooper of Buffalo.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Wednesday, November 28, 1883


The steamer ECLIPSE, which left Algoma for Port Sarnia, was caught in a gale om Wednesday night off Pine Tree Harbor, and is supposed to be lost with all hands, as part of the wreck and three bodies came ashore with life preservers marked "ECLIPSE". Papers found one one of them identify him as Captain Bush, of Sarnia, James Moore, engineer, of Thessolon. The third is unknown. John Drew was cut looses from the steamer alone on a scow, which drifted ashore at Pike Bay, and he is the one known survivor. The ECLIPSE was a tug, measured 74 tons, and was built in Hamilton, Canada, by Cooper in 1878. Palmer of Hamilton, is the owner. - Wiarton Report.
      Marine Record
      Nov. 29, 1883


ECLIPSE, Steamer of Sarnia and 5 years old, of 49 Reg. Tons. foundered in a gale on Lake Huron Nov. 22, 1883, while bound from Algoma Mills to Sarnia. A total loss with 5 lives gone. Value of loss $7,000
      Department of Marine & Fisheries
      Statement of Wreck & Casualty in 1883


ECLIPSE Stmr. total loss on Lake Huron in 1883. five year old 74 Tons. Valued at $5,000.
      Lost Tonnage on the Lakes in 1883
      Marine Record, December 27, 1883



      A FLOATING COFFIN.
      Description of the `ECLIPSE' Reported
      Lost on Georgian Bay
      Wiarton, Nov. 26.-- The steamer ECLIPSE, which left Wiarton for Sarnia, was caught in a gale on Wednesday night of Pine Tree Harbor and is supposed to be lost with all hands, as a part of the wreck and three bodies came ashore with life preservers marked ECLIPSE. The papers found on one of them identified his as Capt. Wm. Bush, of Sarnia, and Jas. Moore of Thessalon, engineer. John Drew was cut loose from the steamer, alone on a scow, which drifted ashore at Pike Bay, and he is saved -- the only known survivor.
Hamilton, Nov. 27.-- The steamer ECLIPSE, which is reported lost on Georgian Bay, was formerly owned here and known as the JULLIETTE, she was built in Hamilton by Mr. Cooper of Buffalo, and ran three seasons between this city, Oakland and the Beach. When first built
she was so narrow and crank that she was liable to topple over. As she lay in Simcoe St. wharf one holiday she careened so far that but for touching the next dock she would have turned upside down, and a terrible calamity would have been reported, for many people were on board. The steamer was given more beam by false sides which were attached, and was afterwards known as the`ECLIPSE'.
      She was sold and went to Sarnia, where she ran as a ferry, and afterwards was bought by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. The vessel was taken to Algoma Mills, and ran on the Serpent and Spanish Rivers with supplies.
      JOHN DREW'S STATEMENT
Wiarton, Ont. Nov. 27.-- The statement of John Drew, the only known survivor of the steamer ECLIPSE, is that the steamer left Algoma Mills on Nov. 15 for Sarnia, with the barge ETTA in tow; ran into Rattlesnake Harbor, Manitoulin Island, and left there Wednesday Nov. 21, intending to make Southampton. Capt. Bush of the barge, left me alone on the barge and went aboard the ECLIPSE. About 4 a. m. I dressed and went on deck, and could see nothing of the ECLIPSE, and realized that I was cast adrift and alone on Lake Huron, and a fearful gale raging. After awhile I heard the steamer's whistle several times, then I saw and heard no more of them. At daylight I saw land about a miles distance, and about 4 p. m. the barge went ashore on the beach at Little Pike Bay, and I jumped ashore and started for Wiarton, sixteen miles distant.
I do not know the names of the crew. There were seven men on the ECLIPSE. Some fishermen were out in a boat at Pine Tree Harbor, and saw three bodies floating near the shore with life preservers on, marked 'the ECLIPSE' and what appeared to be the upper works of a steamer. One of the bodies had a watch and $22 and another $8:95. By papers found I identified one as Capt. Bush, of the barge ETTA, and another as J. Moore, engineer of the ECLIPSE.
      Meaford Monitor
      Friday, December 7, 1883



One of the least remembered tragedies of the Bruce Peninsula occurred in the memorably violent weather of November 1883 when the steam tug ECLIPSE sank to the bottom of Lake Huron with all on board. On the 15th. the ECLIPSE, with the lumber laden barge ETTA in tow, steamed out of Algoma Mills in the North Channel bound for Sarnia at the foot of Lake Huron. Heavy squalls were encountered from the outset and having skirted the east coast of Manitoulin Island the procession steered into the shelter of Rattlesnake Harbour at Fitzwilliam Island. The ECLIPSE and ETTE remained at anchor until late in the afternoon of the 21st when it was deemed safe to sail on to Southampton. Just before departure the barge's captain, William Bush, boarded the tug leaving behind one man, sailor John Drew. Drew went below to his bunk soon after Cove Island Light was passed, about 10 p.m., and slept unitl 4 o'clock in the morning. At that time he dressed and went on deck and was alarmed to find the tug nowhere in sight and the ETTA adrift in a fierce gale.
"After a while I heard the steamer's whistle several times, then saw or heard no more of them. At daylight I saw land about a mile distant and about 4 p.m. the barge went ashore on the beach at Little Pike Bay, and I jumped shore and started for Wiarton, sixteen miles distant.
Within a few days of her disappearance wreckage from the ECLIPSE came in at Pine Tree Harbour. A fishing boat picked up three bodies, all wearing life jackets marked "Eclipse". Two were identified as Captain Bush and James Moore, engineer of the tug. By the end of the month three more bodies floated ashore. Their identity could not be learned and they were buried in an unmarked grave at Johnston Harbour. The body of a seventh crewman was never found.
In retrospect the ECLIPSE disaster was peculularly inevitable. Built at Burlington in 1878 she was designed as an excursion boat for use on Hamilton Bay and was utterly unfit for the stress of autumn navigation on the Upper Lakes. In 1881 she was taken to Sarnia and used there as a ferry and harbour tug. The Canadian Pacific Railway later purchased her for use as a supply boat to their construction camps along the north shore of Lake Huron. An official report understated her quality when it recorded that, "She was a slight craft and quite crank, and when stiffened by false sides was only fit for river or ferry service.
      from Shipwrecks of the Saugeen
      by Patrick Folkes


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: sunk
Lives: 7
Hull damage: $5,000
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1883
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.10577
Language of Item:
English
Geographic Coverage:
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Eclipse (Propeller), sunk, 22 Nov 1883