The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ontario (Schooner), aground, 7 Oct 1907

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Oct. 8th. 1907. Southampton.-- Last night a gale was responsible for two wrecks in this port. About 9.50 p. m. the schooner ERIE STEWART, from Chatham to Parry Sound was endeavoring to make the harbor, struck the North Breakwater on Chantry Island and disabled the North Range Light, and sank immediately. The crew had only time to jump to the pier. The vessel was a total loss.
About 4 a. m. the schooner ONTARIO, loaded with camp supplies from Chatham, tried to make Southampton harbor, with the North Range Light out, it was obliged to try and make the Saugeen River Harbor, she struck on a bar, south of the River, and now lies about a 100 yards south of the river entrance and about the same distance from shore. She was pounded heavily and likely will be a total loss - All crew safe - some cargo saved.
      Toronto Telegram
      October, 8th. 1907

      . . . . .

Prompt as the morning's mail comes more information about the schooner ONTARIO, as requested last week.
      Captain John Wllliams, of 57 Isleworth Ave. veteran of sail and steam on the lakes since 1860, gives this vivid snapshot of the finish of one ONTARIO. " I knew her well this ONTARIO, when I was young she was one of J.T. Matthews fleet, and Capt. Mike Troy sailed her. In fact I think he took her from Lake Ontario to the Upper Lakes when she was sold from down here, she used to unload in the Scott St. slip in Toronto. she was a pretty little vessel.
      Later, the first year I had the STRAUBENZEE, 1892, I took her to Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay to load lumber. I saw a wreck on the shore near Mississaga Straight. she was lying on the SouthWest corner of Manitoulin Island, the east side of the strait, south ot the Light-house, and heading out, about south-east. The wind was light and we were just coasting along, so I thought I would have a good look at her. I got our yawl-boat down and told the mate to pull our head-sails down, and drop the anchor if necessary, and two of us sculled over to the wreck, she was a little white vessel, and her hull was familiar, but her house had been washed awayt her rail was gone, the paint was faded out, and her spars, although still standing , were all bleached and bare, as though the wreck had been there for two years or more.
I pulled under her stern and in faint letters was the name ONTARIO, I dont remember the hailing port but I remarked at the time that she no longer had "of Toronto" there as she had when I used to see her in the Scott St. slip. I thought of going aboard, but she was high out of the water and there was nothing to make fast to, and so we sculled back to the STRAUBENZEE.
      The vessel was not the ONTARIO built at Whitby in 1856, mentioned last week, but still another ONTARIO built at South Bay in 1869, this one was of 161 tons,118 feet 6 inches long, 24 foot beam, and 10 feet deep. Captain J.D. Vanaistine sailed her at one time and J.D.Mathews of Toronto owned her, she was registered in Montreal. Another schooner ONTARIO built in Quebec in 1851 was owned by H. Waters, Chatham Ont. in 1877, and there was a schooner ONTARIO hailing from Charlottetown, P. E. I.
      The ONTARIO pictured last week, to which the anchor also pictured, belonged, was a different vessel trom all of those mentioned. Schooner Days good friend Reeve Frank Morton, of Southampton, confirms the information, another Schooner Days friend, Albert Leader, of Toronto gave. This ONTARIO was, he says, built by Henry Marlton in Goderich for Frank Granville and William Spence, the latter was a son of Capt. John Spence, one of the founders of Southampton, and owner of the NEMESIS, WANDERER, ONTARIO, WHITE OAK, and several other vessels.
The ONTARIO narrowly escaped being named the NEW DOMINION, for she was launched on July 1st. 1867, the first day of confederation, perhaps the fact that four other schooners , registered under that name , forced her back on her own province, at the expense of duplicating the name of the ONTARIO of Whitby.
      The Goderich ONTARIO did not suffer thereby, for Capt. Frank Granville of Chatham her last and surviving owner, still posseses the flag presented to the schooner by the Hon. Oliver Mowat, later Prime Minister of Ontario. On the first Dominion day celebration, when she was launched. B.S. Turner, collector of customs and register of shipping in Goderich, contributes this information, and the additional interesting details, that this ONTARIO was 105 feet in length, 23 feet beam, 9 feet 2 inches deep in the hold, and 150.16 tons register , somewhat smaller, than the Whitby ONTARIO.
The ONTARIO had various changes in ownership. Granville and Spence dissolved partnership later, says Reeve Morton, Granville keeping the ONTARIO and Spence taking over the WHIE OAK, that would be in or about 1900. In the register of 1877 the Goderich ONTARIO is recorded as ot 186 tons and owned by Wm. Seymour and Co. There was another ONTARIO in 1877, owned by D.C. Miller, of Maidstone, Ont., 78 feet long, 20 feet beam, 4 feet 4 inch, depth, registering 76 tons and hailing from Windsor, she was built at River Puce, Ont.
      In 1910, the ONTARIO was running before a strong gale, she bad a deck-load ot bailed hay, straw and shanty supplies tor the northern camps and was heading tor the shelter or Chantry Island harbor of refuge just below the town of Southampton. Ahead or her was the Chatham owned schooner ERIE STEWART, also running for shelter. It was dark and blowing and Capt Granville could not see what happened, but the ERIE STEWART poked her Jibboom through the little range light on the end ot the pier, and knocked the Light-house down, all Capt. Granville knew was he could not pick up his range to get under the shelter of Chantry Island, so he tried to get the ONTARIO into the shelter ot the mouth ot the Saugeen River, around which Southampton clusters. The schooner was undeR small sail at the time, only the staysail being set, and that being "squatted" or lowered somewhat so as to reduce it's area. On nearing the river mouth the wind shifted and a gust came off shore. The ONTARIO lost headway and piled up in the breakers on the shore south of the present piers, and that was where her anchor was recovered in the dredging operations.
Capt. Granville is too young to have been in the KALOOLAH, says Reeve Morton, the way the steamer KALOOLAH came to be wrecked at Southampton in 1860 was this. "A timber schooner got ashore to the north of the Saugeen river, and the KALOOLAH was brought to pull her off. The tow rope fouled the paddle-wheel of the the steamer, and she was drawn up at the Bogus dock, south of where the pumping station stands, to have them cleared, a south-west gale arose, and the KALOOLAH lying in an exposed position, tried to escape into the nearby river mouth, it was only a matter of a few hundrew yards, but apparently the wheels had not been freed from the ropes which had crippled them, for she failed to make the river entrance, and was wrecked".
There are also two letter in the article, but are not connected with the Southampton area.
Also a photo of Brock McAuley with the Ontario's anchor and photos of schooners AZOV and WHITE OAK
      from the Toronto Telegram
      Saturday, June 17, 1939
      "Schooner Days" by C.H.J. Snider
      . . . . .
      Schooner ONTARIO. Official Canadian No. 77775. Built Goderich, Ont., in 1867. Of 150 tons reg. Port of hail, Goderich. 105.0 x 23.0 x 9.5. Owned by Francis Granville, of Southampton, Ont.
      List of Vessels on the Registry Books of the
      Dominion of Canada on Dec, 31, 1902

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: 44.48339 Longitude: -81.38305
William R. McNeil
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Ontario (Schooner), aground, 7 Oct 1907