The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Jessie H. Breck (Schooner), sunk, 17 May 1890


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A VESSEL ASHORE. -- Wolfe Island, May 14. -- A large three masted schooner is ashore and gone to pieces at the head of Horseshoe Island. Think all hands lost. - H. Grimshaw.
It is supposed this dispatch refers to the schooner GRANTHAM. She cleared from this city, light, yesterday. She is owned by Capt. Donnelly and his son, her crew consisted of Capt. T. Crawford; mate W. Newell; and sailors J. Duncan, J. Rushford, J. Crawdord and T. O'Neil.
      This afternoon the steamer PEIRREPONT went to the scene of the wreck.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      May 17, 1890

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SINKING OF THE JESSIE BRECK. -- About 1:00 while John Grass and his daughter were driving towards the city from their residence near the lake shore in the township of Kingston, they saw a schooner labouring hard with the waves which were being driven madly by a violent southwesterly gale. The boat although a large one, seemed to be at the mercy of the tempest and rocked like a cradle.
      Several times she careened so much to one side that Mr. Grass thought she rolled over altogether. After each roll she squared back to her proper position and concealed by clouds of spray, for a time Mr. Grass lost sight of the vessel, but when the spray cleared away he got another glimpse of the boat. At first he thought she had two masts. She might have had three masts for he could not see her plainly as if the stern had been towards him. He and his daughter watched her carefully because they suspected she would be wrecked. Suddenly the waves dashed against her and the misty spray flew before the gale. The boat rolled over on her side and seemed to stay in this position for several seconds. Unfortunately the boat could not recover itself and over she went. She sank quickly. This occurred about 1:30 p. m. a mile west of the light house.
      At 1:00 a vessel was sighted near the lighthouse by men in Breck and Booth's yard. Telescopes revealed the ship and many thought it was the schooner JESSIE BRECK for she was due at Garden Island today. The men were so confident the schooner they saw was the BRECK they informed Capt. Booth. In half an hour they levelled their telescopes in the direction of the lighthouse again but were disappointed in not seeing the boat.
      The JESSIE BRECK was on her way to the city with a cargo of water soaked timber and Capt. Booth thinks that if her deck filled with water she would easily be capsized in the gale.
      There were many opinions expressed this afternoon as to the boat which capsized. Some said it was the schooner TRADE WIND; others that it was the schooner GRANTHAM, while others were certain it was the JESSIE BRECK.
      Capt. Booth searched for a tug this afternoon to go to the scene of the wreck.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      May 17, 1890
     
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      The schooner JESSIE BRECK was owned by Breck and Booth of Kingston. She was built at Port Colborne in 1873 for her present owners. She was classed A 1-1/2 and was considered a strong and substantial boat. Two years ago she was caught in a heavy gale and had her masts taken out of her. None of the crew were lost. This was the first serious accident she has mat. She never lost a man before. She was valued at $6,000 and was not insured. She was kept in excellent repairs, her owners having spent $2,200 on her last season. It is a remarkable fact that the BRECK makes the third vessel out of the four which were engaged at the wreck of the steamer ARMSTRONG to have met with a disaster. The schooner GASKIN was sunk at Brockville by a pontoon running through her bottom; the steamer McARTHUR was burned to the water's edge at Collinsby and now the JESSIE BRECK is a wreck near Simcoe Island. It will cost between $2,000 and $3,000 to put the BRECK in seaworthy condition again. It is reported her deck is burst open and the cabin swept away.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      May 19, 1890

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      Yesterday the steamers CHIEFTAIN and CALVIN of Garden Island went to the wreck of the schooner JESSIE BRECK and towed her across the lake to a point about a mile west of Snake Island. There the schooners anchor slipped out and caught on the bottom holding her fast. The tugs abandoned her. Capt. Booth says she is safe and will not interfere with navigation. The tugs will be engaged for several days and the work of moving the schooner will not be started until they are free. Then a diver will release the boat from her present position. No trace has been had of any of the bodies of the unfortunate crew.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      May 20, 1890

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The schooner JESSIE BRECK which left Kingston for Toledo 4 weeks ago was wrecked Saturday. She was loaded with oak timbers. She sank in a gale a few miles off Nine Mile Point. She is lying on her starboard side half a mile from Nine Mile Point Light near Kingston. Seven are lost. She was owned by Breck & Booth of Kingston.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Tuesday, May 20, 1890
     
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      The schooner BRECK is lying on the Snake Island shoal, about four miles from Kingston in which place she was towed on Monday by the tugs CHIEFTAIN and CALVIN. Attempts have been made to right her but they were unsuccessful. Friends and relatives of the brave sailors who lost their lives have made daily searches but as yet no trace of their bodies have been found. Neither has any of their clothing been washed ashore. There is an impression that possibly some of the unfortunate crew may be found jammed between the sticks of timber in the vessel.
      People from Collinsby who saw and worked at the BRECK previous to her sailing from the port with a cargo of ice differ in opinions as to her condition. Some aver that she was admitting water before she sailed and in substantiation of this point to the fact that while she was lying at the dock her donkey engines, attached to the pump was kept in continual operation. Others were satisfied that she was in an A 1 condition and refute the above statement saying that when a craft is loaded with congealed water it is necessary to keep the pumps going.
      Two steamers attempted to release the vessel yesterday but had to abandon the task. She is firmly on and before she can be brought to the Island will have to be lightened.
      Men who engaged in the search yesterday fear that the bodies will never be recovered. The place as near as can be ascertained, where the vessel capsized is one hundred feet deep. Even though they met with failure they will continue to search for several days.
      Seventeen years ago Capt. Chauncey Deryau was shipmate with the late Capt. Thomas Mackie. They were at the canal in 1873 when the BRECK was launched and saw her slide off the ways. As a sailor there was no better than Capt. Mackie. He was a brave and cool headed fellow never known to shirk his post.
      When the vessel capsized he was running a proper course and he was confident he was using his best judgment to save not only the lives of his crew but also the property of the men who put him in charge of the vessel.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      May 21, 1890

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Yesterday afternoon the men engaged in searching for the bodies of the crew of the schooner JESSIE BRECK caught the remains of Miss Marion Mackie, cook, with the grapple. Her friends were in the city last evening making arrangements for her funeral.
      Mrs. Mackie, wife of the late Joseph Mackie, who was buried yesterday, is confined to her room. Her friends say she is very ill. Her sickness was brought on by the news of the disaster.
      The body of the late Miss Mackie was found about 2 miles from the head of Simcoe Island in many feet of water.
      The funeral of the late Joseph Mackie occurred yesterday on Wolfe Island and was probably the largest ever seen on the Island. There were 53 vehicles. People from the city, from all parts of the Wolfe and from the neighboring islands were present. The funeral was conducted by the Ancient Order of United Workmen. The remains were put in the vault under the Anglican Church. This afternoon the remains of Miss Mackie will also be laid in the vault. When the bodies are all recovered they will be interred in the cemetery.
      Yesterday the steamer TRAVELLER with T. O'Brien, a diver, went to the remains of the JESSIE BRECK. Mr. O'Brien succeeded in having one of the anchors of the boat raised. It was brought to Garden Island. IT appears that the schooner is not, or was not, held by an anchor. What makes her stick is a mystery. It is intended to raise her in a few days and bring her to Garden Island between two schooners.
      Everything goes to show that Joseph Mackie was the last member of the crew of the JESSIE BRECK who left her before she capsized. His body was found nearest the place where the schooner was drifting when the HIRAM A. CALVIN reached her on Saturday. He may have kept afloat for half an hour after the disaster. Men did not search for bodies today because the lake was rough.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      May 23, 1890
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      The schooner JESSIE BRECK, capsized in Lake Ontario, near Kingston, in a gale last Saturday. All her crew, seven men and one woman were lost in the raging waves.
      Meaford Monitor
      Friday, May 23, 1890

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The two anchors belonging to the schooner JESSIE BRECK have been taken to Garden Island. The tug HALL laft last night to help the tugs CALVIN and JOHNSON tow the wrecked schooner JESSIE BRECK to Garden Island.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      May 24, 1890

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      Wrecked schooner BRECK, sank near Garden Island yesterday. Her cargo will be taken off. The vessel is not worth raising.
      Buffalo Evening News
      June 2, 1890

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SCHOONER BRECK IN PORT. -- She was towed over to Garden Island on Saturday afternoon, the tugs CHIEFTAIN, ARMENIA, JOHNSTON and METAMORA went to the wreck of the JESSIE BRECK off Snake Island and after working at her for some time succeeded in getting her off the shoal. On the way down she kept dragging the bottom and it was with difficulty that the four tugs could move her along. Sometimes she would sink altogether and remain out of sight until a shallow spot was reached. The work of towing her down was very slow but a little after 7:00 in the evening they arrived off Garden Island. It was the intention of the owners of the BRECK to take her into the bay off the Island, but as she was drawing too much water she went aground off Garden Island and it was impossible to pull her off. As she lay on her side she is drawing 20 feet of water. The vessel is in the same state as she was the afternoon she was visited after she capsized, Her three masts are in her but the second one is broken. The sails are still on her though in rags. A large portion of her after deck has been broken and her cargo of timber can easily be seen. Her bulwarks are gone. These, no doubt, were cut away by the crew as notches, in the side of the vessel can be plainly seen. This was done in order to let the water off the vessel as it came on. The vessel as she lay off the island yesterday presented a most abject and worn out appearance.
      When the news reached Wolfe Island that the BRECK was being towed down a large crowd gathered on the wharves anxious to see the craft coming in.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      June 2, 1890

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      It was intended to commence the work of righting the schooner JESSIE BRECK today.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      June 14, 1890

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      The body discovered below Cedar Island on Saturday afternoon turned out to be that of Capt. Thomas Mackie, of the ill-fated schooner JESSIE BRECK. The current had carried the body about 5 miles from where the disaster occurred. It is thought that Capt. Mackie was at the tiller when the accident occurred and that the mit was on his hand so that he could handle the rudder without injury. The remains were conveyed to his late home and were carried yesterday to the grave. The services were conducted according to the A. O. U. W. ritual, many Kingston brethren being in attemdance.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      June 16, 1890

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      On Sunday while in a row boat a young lad by the name of Patterson discovered the body of D. Macdonald, a member of the unfortunate schooner BRECK, near the foot of Amherst Island. The body was towed to shore, put in a rough wooden box and placed in Mr. Finnlay's barn. Yesterday afternoon C. Davis, A. Davis and N. Macdonald, brother of the unfortunate man, went up to the island with a sail boat and returned to the city with the body. Undertaker Reid dressed it and it was interred today on Wolf Island.
      Last evening fishermen near Simcoe Island found a body. It was that of John Mullens late of the schooner JESSIE BRECK.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      June 17, 1890

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      THE CRAFT IS RIGHTED. -- Yesterday afternoon the schooner JESSIE BRECK was righted off Garden Island and towed to the Island. On her deck was found chisels and other articles belonging to the vessel. She is a hard looking wreck. The only thing gone that is of any value is the tow line and it is expected it will yet be found. All the steering gear was found on the deck in its proper position. She will be fitted out for sea agin.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      June 19, 1890

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The timber in the schooner JESSIE BRECK is being unloaded. Next week she will be hauled out and repaired.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      July 8, 1890

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      The timber has all been removed from the schooner JESSIE BRECK, and as soon as a hole is patched up in her hull, she will be hauled ou on the marine railwat at Portsmouth.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      July 11, 1890

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      Capt. Booth has examined the JESSIE BRECK and finds her sides and bottom in good shape. The cause of the accident to her was due to the fact that during the storm in which she was lost, one of the ports blew open letting in a stream of water four feet square.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      July 18, 1890

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JESSIE H. BRECK Official Can. No. 72580. Built Port Dalhousie 1873, of 305 tons. 132.3 x 25.6 x 11.7 Port of register, Kingston.
      Dominion of Canada
      Vessel Register for 1887

      . . . . .

      H.M. STANLEY Official Can. No. 72580. Built Port Dalhousie 1873, of 305 tons. 132.3 x 25.6 x 11.7 Port of Register, Kingston.
      Dominion of Canada
      Vessel Register for 1899

      . . . . .

      Schooner JESSIE H. BRECK, of 305 tons, while bound from Port Dalhousie to Kingston on May 17, 1890, foundered in a gale and heavy sea off Nine Mile Point, Lake Ontario, with the loss of five lives. She was a total loss. Registered at the port of Kingston and 17 years old. Amount of loss valued at $5,000.
      Department of Marine & Fisheries
      Statement of Wreck & Casualty, 1890


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: sunk
Lives: 8
Freight: lumber
Remarks: Rebuilt as H.M. STANLEY
Date of Original:
1890
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.15772
Language of Item:
English
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.151388 Longitude: -76.555277
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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Jessie H. Breck (Schooner), sunk, 17 May 1890