The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Isabella Ainslie (Schooner), aground, 28 Dec 1861

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We are sorry to record the wreck of the schooner ISABELLA AINSLIE, of leith, C.W. She left leith on the morning of Thursday the 27th.December, with a light breeze from the south, which gradually freshened during the day and about 6 p.m. (about half-way between Cabot's Head and Lonely Island) the wind hauled round to the W.N.W. and blew a perfect hurricane, rendering it impossible to keep any canvas on the vessel.
      At 4 p.m. on Friday, a sea struck the vessel, and threw her on her beam-end and washed the galley and boat overboard, however after laying in that position for 30 seconds, she slowly righted.
About half-an-hour before daylight, she was blown ashore on a reef of rocks, about 7 miles north of the Limestone Islands, which we understand the Captain has named St. Margret's Bay, after his wife who happened to be on board at the time, and who showed the utmost coolness and self possession throughout the trying scene, perfectly well aware of her extreme danger. Everything was done by the captain and crew to arrest the catastrophe before and to save the vessel after she struck, and some hopes are entertained that she may be got off in the spring. There were on board, Captain Whitby and his wife, John Michan, H. Thebo, P. May and the crew.
      Collingwood Enterprise
      Thursday, January 23, 1862

      . . . . .

      ISABELLA AINSLIE Schooner, of the port of Leith. Remarks - Wrecked.
      " List of vessels used in the coasting trade
      along Georgian Bay and North Shore of Lake
      Huron during 1862." - by William Gibbard.

      . . . . .

LEIGH, C.W. a village situated on leigh Water, in the Township of Sydenham, County Grey, 7 miles from Owen Sound.
Adam ainslie, Farmer and Miller had a mill with a wharf running out 160 feet, with a depth of 8 feet of water at it's end, he was the principle citizen of Leigh, and had finished the wharf by 1861.
      Ontario Provincial Directory's 1862 & 1869

      . . . . .

In the early 1860's, the provincial government's fishery officer for the upper Great Lakes was one William Gibbard. He had been originally a surveyor and I have seen one of his maps in a museum on the Bruce Peninsula.
Gibbard came into the focus of the general public during the fracas surrounding the Wikwemikong fishing troubles in the 1860's. It is not our intention to chronicle Gibbard's life in today's article, only to report on a list of vessels he submitted to his superiors in 1862. His life came to an end in 1863.
In his report to the Commission of Fisheries was attached "a list of vessels engaged exclusively in the coasting trade along the Georgian Bay and the north shores of Lakes Huron and Superior, during last season (1862), all of which were boarded" by him.
Adeline - Collingwood.
Adeline - S - Colllngwood
Albatross - S - St. Clair River
Annie Leys - S - Goderich
Angus Morrison - S - Collingwood - Wrecked and taken off
Ariel - S - Owen Sound
Brothers -S- Collingwood
Baltic -D- Colpoy's Bay
Buck Horn - D - Saugen - Seized by means, still under seizure
Caledonia - S - Saugeen
Coquette - S - Owen Sound
Delight - S - Saul: Ste. Marie - American
Delia Wright - S - Sombra - Wintering on Lake Superior
Dew Drop - D - Collingwood
E.K. Kane - S - Sugar Island - American
Ebenezer Warner - S - Sault Ste. Marie - American
Emily - S - Collingwood - Wrecked
Garibaldi - S - Owen Sound
Henrietta - S - Shebanawning (Killarney - B.P.)
Isabella Ainslie -S - Leith - Wrecked.
Isabella - S - Michipicoton - Hudson Bay Company
Jane - S - Fort William- Hudson Bay Company
J. C. Clarke - S - Point Aux Barques - American
J. C. Wilson - S - Goderich
Kangaroo - S - Mississauga
Lady of the Lake - D - Isle of Coves
Mermaid - S - Sugar Island - American
Mermaid - S - Penetanguishene
Muskoka - D - Collingwood
Man Every - S - Salvail's Mills American bottom
Melissa - S - Owen Sound
Mariner - S - Saugeen
Mountaineer - S - Salvail's Mills.
McTavish - S - LaCloche - Hudson's Bay Company
Neewash - S - Owen Sound
North America - D - Sable River - American bottom
Napier - D- Owen Sound
Ploughboy - D - LaCloche - Hudson Bay Company
Prince of Wales - D - Collingwood
Prince of Wales - D Sault Ste. Marie
Pearl - S - Penetanguishene
Phantom - D - Meaford
Queen of the West - D - Mississauga - Wrecked
Rescue - D - Thornbury
Rob Roy - S - Owen Sound
Stanley - S - Collingwood
Sailor's, Bride - Penetanguishene - Wrecked
Sturgeon - S - Bruce Mines
Sydenham - S - Owen Sound
Sam Slick - D - Penetanguishene
St. George - S - Savail's Mills
Tecumseth - S - Owen Sound
Vivid - S - Penetanguishene
Wm. Wallace - S - Bruce Mines - Sold and taken away in (the) Fall
Waubamuck - S - Penetanguishene - A new schooner of about 60 tons launched in the summer of 1862.
Gibbard - in this report dated January 9, 1863 - mentioned that the letter 2 after etch name was to denote a schooner or scow over 10 tons. The D stood for decked boat.
      He also stated that "in the above list are not included the large class of vessels engaged in the grain and lumber trade, which vessels pass, direct from port to port, and are not likely to be engaged in either Smuggling or Indian Trading, or trading within the Free Ports".
It is ironic that William Gibbard was drowned - when he was enroute from the Sault to Killarney - after either falling or being pushed from the deck of the PLOUGHBOY one of the boats he had inspected one year earlier. The incident took place near Heywood Island.
      Manitoulin Recorder
      Wednesday, August 8, 1984

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NOTE.- the reef of rocks 7 miles north of the Limestone Islands, would appear to be the Black Bill Islands ?

Media Type:
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Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 45.515555 Longitude: -81.070277
William R. McNeil
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Isabella Ainslie (Schooner), aground, 28 Dec 1861