The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
City of St. Catharines (Propeller), sunk by collision, 12 Jul 1880


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COLLISION IN LAKE HURON
      THE STEAMER "CITY OF ST. CATHARINES" GOES DOWN IN 15 MINUTES
      ALL THE PASSENGERS AND CREW SAVED.
      Sarnia, July 12th.
This morning about half past three o'clock, the steamer CITY OF St. CATHARINES, Capt. McNaugh, collided with the American steam barge GEORGE A. MARSH, off White Rock Point, about 42 miles from here. The CITY OF St. CATHARINES was struck near the bow, and went to the bottom inside of 15 minutes. She had a cargo of general merchandise and five horses bound for Chicago, all of which were lost. The crew and passengers, numbering fifty, were saved, and brought here this evening about 5 o'clock by the tug DAVID W. RUST, which was fortunately, close by at the time of the collision with two schooners in tow.
      The upper works of the St. CATHARINES floated away from the hull, and the passengers effects were taken off the former by a boat from the RUST. The MARSH was so badly damaged that she had to be towed back to Port Huron by the tug RUST, and she now lies there waiting to be docked. The St. CATHARINES whistled once, the MARSH answered with two whistles, but it was then too late to change the course. It is stated that the whistle signals were not given in sufficient time, and gross carelessness in some quarters is charged. Who is to blame will doubtless be made apparent on investigation.
      The CITY OF St. CATHARINES was owned by Mr. St. John of St. Catharines, and was insured. The RUST has since run aground in the river opposite here.
      Parry Sound North Star
      July 16, 1880

      . . . . .

      COLLISION ON LAKE HURON.
The Steamer CITY OF ST. CATHARINES Sunk by Steambarge MARSH-- Passengers and Crew rescued by the DAVID W. RUST. -- There was considerable excitement around the docks here on Monday afternoon, caused by the arrival of the steambarge D.W. RUST, with the passengers and crew of the propeller CITY OF ST. CATHARINES.. which vessel had gone up the lake the evening before after touching at this port. The news that the ST. CATHARINES had been run into and sunk soon spread but the feeling of relief was intermingled with regret for the loss of the vessel on learning that the disaster was unaccompanied by loss of life. The facts as gathered from the officers and passengers of the ill-fated steamer were as follows:
Monday morning, about half-past three o'clock, the Steamer CITY OF ST. CATHERINE'S
Capt. McMaugh, collided with the American steambarge, GEORGE A. MARSH, off White Rock Pointe. The CITY OF ST. CATHERINE'S was struck near the bow and went to the bottom inside fifteen minutes. She had a cargo of general merchandise and five horses bound for Chicago, all of which were lost. The crew and passengers, numbering 50 were saved by the tug DAVID W. RUST, which was fortunately close by at the time of the collision, with two schooners in tow.The upper works of the ST. CATHARINE'S floated away from the hull, and the passengers effects were taken off the former by boat from the RUST. The MARSH was so badly damaged
that she had to be towed back to Port Huron by the tug RUST, and she now lies there waiting to be docked. The St. CATHARINES whistled once and the MARSH answered with two whistles, but it was then too late to change the course. It was stated that the whistle signals were not given in sufficient time and gross carelessness in some quarter is charged. Who is to blame will doubtless be made the subject of an investigation. The ST. CATHARINES was owned by Mr. St. John of St. Catharines and was insured. Capt. Hart of the MARSH says that he was coming down the lake with salt fron New River for Freemont, Ohio, about two miles from shore, when he saw a boat approach, bound up showing a green light,.. when very near together, the propeller, ported her wheel and ran across his bow. The MARSH was checked
down when she struck the CITY OF ST. CATHARINES forward of the forward gangway on the port side cutting her to the waters edge. There were thirty passengers and crew on the propeller. The were taken in the MARSH and afterward transferred to the Propellor D.W. RUST. The ST. CATHARINES sunk to the top of her upper cabin. She had general cargo of westbound freight for Chicago. The damage to the MARSH amounts to the loss of her stem
and whitework forward, she is leaking and some of her cargo is being taken off to keep the leak above water, where repairs will be made without going into drydock. A St. Catharines Telegram says: The CITY OF ST. CATHARINES is owned by Mr. S.L. St. John of that city, and is a comparatively new propeller, having been built six or seven years ago. The hull was insured for $15,000 but the amount of insurance on the cargo is not known.
Capt. Pringle of the Schooner ARGO reported on Tuesday that he found a trunk from the wreck of the cabin about nine miles this side of Sand Beach, floating between two other pieces of wreck.
What the passengers say: From statements made by passengers on the propeller, the opinion appears to be general that there was not the slightest occasion for the collision, because the morning was quite clear, with not the slightest approach to fog, five horses on board were drowned, two of them belonged to Donald Fraser of Cornwall. The other three were owned by Hezekiah Mattice of the same place. Nothing was saved in the way of luggage except what was picked up floating from the wreck. All were asleep on the ST. CATHARINES with the e.ception of five officials. As soon as the collision occured the MARSH wheeled about and took on a large number of the ST. CATHARINES passengers and crew, fifty-one all told, among whom were a few women and children. The transfer was conducted in systematic order, and as soon as the RUST came along side she took on a large number, towing and bringing all here. The crew of the MARSH claimed that the ST. CATHARINES officials must have been asleep, while the ST. CATHARINES men say that the lookout on the MARSH could not have been awake.
The anxiety of each to fasten the blame on the other only goes to show that there was no cause for the collision, except for gross carelessness on the part of those in charge of the vessels, one probably being as much to blame as the other. All accounts agree in exonerating Capt. McMaugh from blame. When he ascertained the extent of the disaster he took prompt and energetic means in arousing the passengers and providing for their safety. The crew also acted well as became British sailors. Capt. McNaugh was the last to leave the sinking ship, and on reaching this port the passengers united in presenting the paptain with an address expressing their appreciation of his conduct under the trying and critical circumstances connected with the wreck.
      Sarnia Observer
      Friday July 16, 1880
     
      . . . . .

The Port Huron Journal says that it is now reported that the steambarge MARSH, now in dock here, which collided with the propeller CITY OF ST. CATHARINES on Lake Huron, has been seized by the owners of the ST. CATHARINES for damages. The barge belongs to the wife of Capt, J.B. Hart. Speaking of the collision by which the CITY OF ST. CATHARINES was sunk, Capt. McMaugh, of the propeller CITY OF ST. CATHARINES, says that whoever was in charge of the MARSH, must have lost his presence of mind or else made a deliberate attempt to sink his own vessel. He never stopped his engine until he had turned the CITY half around and only returned to render assistance after several appeals.
      Sarnia Observer
      July 23, 1880

      . . . . .

The Port Huron Wrecking Company will commence work on the wrecked schooner SUNNYSIDE at Sand Beach as soon as the ice permits. After she is off they will work on the propeller CITY OF St. CATHARINES, and after she is up they will raise the tug JOHN PRINDIVILLE, ashore at Presque Isle.
      Cleveland Herald
      Wednesday, April 13, 1881

      . . . . .

      Chicago Tribune. -- J. A. Sloan, of Detroit, formerly in command of the Canadian propeller TECUMSEH, is in the city for the purpose of making arrangements with the insurance companies to recover the cargo of the steamer St. CATHERINES, sunk last season in Lake Huron. The steamer at the time of the disaster had a cargo composed of salt, seeds, and wines and liquors. Of course the salt and seeds are things of the past, but the liquor, of which there was a large quantity on board, is very valuable, and Captain Sloan thinks that it may be recovered. It is with this object in view that he visits this city, as the insurance on the cargo was held here.
      Cleveland Herald
      August 22, 1881
     
      . . . . .
     
      The towbarge NORTHERN LIGHT, ashore at Harrisville, has been abandoned as a total wreck. It has been found that the hull would no stand lifting, the chains drawing through her in many places. The Port Huron wrecking company will commence operations on the sunken propeller CITY OF St. CATHARINES at once.
      Cleveland Herald
      September 1, 1881
     
      . . . . .

The wrecking schooner W. JOHNSON has gone to raise the propeller CITY OF St. CATHARINES, sunk of White Rock.
      Cleveland Herald
      Tuesday, October 11, 1881
     
      . . . . .
     
The wrecked propeller CITY OF ST. CATHARINES has been raised and pumped out and is ready to be towed to Port Huron.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Wednesday, September 26, 1882
     
      . . . . .
     
      DISCOVERIES UNDER WATER
Capt. Merryman says that while working at the wrecked propeller St. Catharines,* sunk in 125 feet of water , the men found the hulls of several craft which no one seemed to know anything of, and several of which were as sound as when lost. When a wreck goes down out of sight in deep water it is located by means of grappling weights attached to enormous towing lines and dragged about one mile behind a tug. While working in this way last season to locate the St. Catharines, many curious finds were reported, including anchors, chains, towing ropes, spars, etc. One of the wheels brought up must have been a relic of the pioneer days of steamboating, as the blades were fitted into the hub separately instead of being cast all in one piece as at present.
      Detroit Post and Tribune
      July 14, 1883
     
     
*CITY OF ST. CATHARINES, sank July 12, 1880, off Forester, Mich., in southern Lake Huron. She was recovered later in 1882, and rebuilt as the steamer OTEGO.
     
     


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: sunk by collision
Lives: nil
Freight: merchandise
Remarks: Raised
Date of Original:
1880
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.15751
Language of Item:
English
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 43.71002 Longitude: -82.60965
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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City of St. Catharines (Propeller), sunk by collision, 12 Jul 1880