Oshawa, Sept. 13. -- The condition of the schooner CALEDONIA, which struck on the rocks east of Bluff Point last Thursday morning, has not improved any. A number of pumps have been got to work, but her sides are so open that it is impossible to get the water out to lighten her cargo. There is a probility that she will go to pieces before she can be got afloat.
Friday, September 16, 1881
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The old schooner CALEDONIA, after a long and prosperous career, dating back to a time when most of our captains and owners were boys, has at last gone to pieces. Saturday's gale was too much for her, and she broke up on the shoal off Oshawa, where she went ashore about ten days ago. She was built by Randal, of Port Credit in 1843, and was at that time one of the largest schooner on the lakes. All that is left of her now is a few timbers of the stern, which stands like a monument over her buired ribs, and marks where her last cargo of coal lies at the bottom of the lake.
The Evening News, Toronto
September 20, 1881 p.1
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Sure Oshawa Harbor Wreck Is That Of Schooner MAGDALA, Pounded To Pieces By Gale.
(special to the Evening telegram)
Oshawa, July 13. -- The wreckage found only a short distance off the beach, west of Oshawa harbor, is that of Captain Farewell's schooner, the MAGDALA, James Smith of Detroit, who is now visiting at Oshawa-on-the-Lake for many years and sailed the Great Lakes in the old lake schooners for twelve years. He remembers well the night the MAGDALA was wrecked and recalls other shipwercks near Oshawa harbor.
"That's part of the hull of the old MAGDALA all right," Smith informed the Telegram last night, referring to the wreckage which Oshawa firemen are attempting to take from the lake. "It's several hundred yards east of where the MAGDALA piled up, but the bottom could easily shift that much during the years. There would be nothing to stop it from shifting.
"I remember well the night the old MAGDALA piled up," James Smith recalled. " I was quite yound then, but I remember the schooner was waiting outside of Oshawa harbor to move in and unload a cargo of coal. A gale from the southeast blew up and Captain Farewell tried to anchor, but the anchors dragged and before morning the schooner was grounded. It was blown right in alongside Guy's Point.
"After the gale blew out most of the cargo of coal was removed from Her," James Smith said. :Captain Farewell was going to try and float her again by filling the hold with empty coal oil barrels, and he planned to sail her to the Welland Canal and put her in drydock for repairs.
But before she was floated a nasty gale from the west blew up one night and next morning the wreckage of the schooner was strewn all along the beach, all the way from the dock to Guy's Point.
"I remember helping to salvage the anchors and other things of value." Mr. Smith recalled.
From the description of the wood, the square spikes and long square iron rods found in the wreckage off Oshawa beach, Smith pointed out that it must be an old schooner, for the construction was of that nature in those days. The planks were fastened to the ribs with long spikes and then the planks were held together by means of the long iron rods which passed through the center of the planks and were riveted there.
The loss of the schooner CALEDONIA over fifty years ago, of the Bluff Point, east of Oshawa harbor, was also recalled by Smith. He believes that on a clear day, when the water is smooth and still, the wreckage could be seen on the bottom there. The anchors and iron fittings of the boat were never salvaged.
LATE IN FALL
"It was in the late fall when the CALEDONIA went aground in a southeast gale," Smith claimed. "I was just a kid then, but the next day my mother and I were sailing to Oswego on the schooner BERMUDA, with Captain Allen. When we passed the point bound for Whitby, we could see the CALEDONIA out there on the rocks. It was loaded with coal too."
Mr. Smith was of the opinion the CALEDONIA was a two-masted schooner, about 120 feet in length and about 300 tons.
He also remembers the wreck of the schooner HELEN about fifteen years ago off Bluff Point. It was sailed by Captain Gouldring of Newcastle, who was able to come ashore in a punt. Most of the fittings of value were saved from this boat, which was a small stonehooker, but the wreckage, Mr. Smith believes, may still be seen under the water a short distance out from Bluff Point.
"I gave up sailing 27 years ago, when the business became unprofitable and the owners could not pay their crews enough to make it worth while." Mr. Smith said. He recalled sailing on the schooners OCEAN WAVE, TRADE WIND, COLLIER, the WILLIAM KEMMERSON and the KEEWATIN.
July 13, 1935