The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
H. A. Holmes (Schooner), storm damage, 18 Oct 1916

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Drifted Apart, To Meet Here - Steamer and Her Consort Had Thrilling Trip Down Lake. - The Schooner HOLMES Broke Away From the Steamer GOWNE, Near Port Dalhousie Monday Night and Both Made This Port Early Last Evening - Canvas of Schooner Carried Away.
Driven apart in a heavy gale just outside Port Dalhousie early Monday night and swept the entire length of Lake Ontario by the mountainous seas and gale, the upper lake steamer ALBERT Y. GOWNE and her consort, the schooner H.A. HOLMES, of St. Clair, Michigan, loomed up on the horizon off this port late yesterday afternoon, and almost simultaneously, each coming from an opposite direction.
The schooner was stripped down to her bare spars and was sailing under two small jibs, the heavy canvas having been swept away in the storm of the night before. She was tossed and buffeted about by the heavy sea as she battled to make this port. Down to the East, off Mexico Bay, a small steamer was visible fighting her way through the sea, while a heavy volume of black smoke was rolling down from her funnel. The hundred or more spectators in the vicinity of the Coast Guard station and along the fort and under the harbor bank little dreamed that these boats had any connection.
They did not know that they had been swept apart a hundred or more miles from here to come together again seeking refuge in the same port. The boats left Port Dalhousie at ten o'clock Monday night on the final lap of a lake journey to Kingston, Ontario, from whence they were go to Havana, Cuba, to be used in the coastwise trade. The HOLMES was in tow of the barge and when about an hour out of Port Dalhousie the gale set in and the line soon parted in the heavy seas. Several futile attempts were made to get a line to the schooner, but they soon separated in the darkness.
Each skipper saw the uselessness of trying to turn around and buck the storm back into Port Dalhousie, so they rode the gale down the lake, each testifying upon their arrival in port last night that in all their upper lake experienced they had never combated a worse storm. When daylight came Tuesday morning the schooner was in sight of the Canadian shore, but the wind shifted and the disabled craft was swept out into the lake. The wind was then from a northerly quarter and the schooner was blown in the direction of this port. A gasoline pump, with which the schooner was equipped, kept the vessel afloat. The big seas broke over her. The steamer GOWNE, after running in the storm to this end of the lake, turned around and started in search of her missing consort. They looked around the Galloup islands, down in Mexico Bay and were continuing their search in the lee of the storm, when they came on to the missing vessel off this port last night.
The schooner was discovered far out in the lake straight off this port about three o'clock yesterday afternoon by the lookout at the United States Coast Guard station. Although a heavy sea was running Captain Clemens launched the surfboat and started out to give assistance. The bare spars led him to believe that the vessel was in distress. After an hour or more battling with the sea the surfboat pulled alongside of the rolling schooner. Captain Clemens made out an old man and a boy at the wheel. Through the megaphone Captain Clemens shouted above the gale, "Who are you?"
"A stranger, sir, the H.A. HOLMES, upper lakes," was the bellowed reply of the schooner man. "Do you want assistance," shouted back the Coast Guardsman. "No, we're weathering it all right, how's the shelter in there?"
"The shelter is good, but you had better spread more canvas or you¹ll land down the coast," advised the Coast Guardsman through the megaphone.
"Can¹t spread when you haven't got it," was the quick response of the skipper.
"Are you taking in much water," queried Captain Clemens.
      "No, sir, we¹ve a fine gasoline pump."
The surfboat was being washed far to the east of the schooner and they were soon out of
speaking distance. In the meantime the reserve Coast Guardsmen on the shore had their glasses trained on the steamer. About five o'clock three distinct flashes of light appeared from out of the forecast of the GOWNE. Men on the D.L. & W. trestle were positive that they were rockets. The lookout, who had been watching the boat for some time, however, made them out to be the reflection of the setting sun on the cabin windows.
The surfboat, in the meantime, was skimming through the seas. She was awash, but she plowed right along. Upon entering the river Captain Clemens signaled the tug SQUAW and asked Captain Patrick Tivnan if he would lay by for the schooner and he said he would. About seven o'clock the GOWNE rolling and tossing and with a heavy sea striking her broadside, made the river and fifteen minutes later the schooner rode into the mouth of the river and before the tug could get a line to her she struck up against the east pier, breaking a portion of that structure. Finally, she was docked at the New York, Ontario & Western trestle. Captain Clifford Thall, of the HOLMES and his crew were taken aboard another ship and given a warm supper and dry clothes. The crew was exhausted after the twenty-hour battle with the elements. Captain Thall said that his foresail was blown away and that the heavy seas carried away their yawl.
The cargoes of both boats are consigned to the Kingston Penitentiary. They each carry about 350 tons. After they were unloaded at Kingston they will start for the salt water. The steamer had searched all day yesterday for the schooner and was about to abandon the schooner when they came together off this port.
      Oswego Palladium
      Wed., October 18, 1916

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Reason: storm damage
Lives: nil
Remarks: Repaired
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.795555 Longitude: -77.905555
William R. McNeil
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H. A. Holmes (Schooner), storm damage, 18 Oct 1916