The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ann Harkley (Schooner), aground, 11 Oct 1866

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      The week before last we noticed the stranding of the schooner ANN HARTLEY of this port (sic) at Saugeen. She was got off with very little damage, and left on the 10th inst., for Owen Sound. The next evening about 8 p.m., she struck on a sunken rock, near the Isle of Coves lighthouse, and we regret to say is now a total wreck. The cargo however, consisting of 170 barrels of whiskey, and 50 barrels of coal oil, was thrown overboard. and floated ashore without damage. Two small vessels left here on Thursday morning to bring the cargo and rigging to this port. We understand that the vessel was insured by W.A. Stephens, Esq., for $3,33O. She was rebuilt last year at a cost of $5,OOO. There is general sympathy felt for Captain Harkley, who was also unfortunate last year as to the loss of the GARIBALDI. He is a worthy man and has the reputation of being an excellent sailor.
      Toronto Daily Leader
      Tuesday, October 23, 1866
      . . . . .

      A man named John M. Daffy, mate of the schooner ANN HARKLEY, bound from Sarnia to Owen Sound, made a singular affidavit before a magistrate at Collingwood a short time ago. He stated that the captain of the vessel, named Harkley, so steered her as to run her upon a rock at Saugeen; that he then scuttled her and refused to allow the cargo - a valuable one - to be removed; that notwithstanding this he (the mate) and crew got the vessel off, stopped the leaks and again made for Owen Sound; that a second time the captain purposely ran her ashore on Big Island, threatening to take his (the mate's) life if he interfered; that the captain again refused, but afterwards consented, to allow the cargo to be removed; and the crew, who had suffered for the want of clothing and provisions, were relieved of their necessities, and that the vessel and remainder of the cargo be damaged he (the mate) and the crew came on to Collingwood in another schooner, the captain in the meantime having left for Owen Sound by land. This is a curious story, and requires more thorough investigation than it seems to have yet received.
      - Leader
      We agree with the Leader that an investigation is wanted in this case, and we may soon expect a full explanation of the whole subject, as Mr. Harkley is seeking damage of the insurance Company, and Mr. Duffy will have an opportunity of making good his statement, if there be any truth in it. Mr. Harkley's character stands good, and it will take more than Mr. Duffy's unsupported statement to lower him in public estimation. Besides, there are some circumstances in connection with the said disaster that look rather bad against this said Duffy; but we will await the investigation. - Ed. Comet.
      Owen Sound Comet
      Friday, November 30, 1866:

      . . . . .

The following statement has ben sent us, with a view, we presume to its publication, although no explanation accompanied it, nor do we know to what intent It was made.
The inference to be drawn from it is, either that the Captain was in an unsound state of mind and incapable of managing his vessel, or was wilfully bent on wrecking her. - It seems proper, in any case to give publicity to the matter:-
      Thursday, November 1st 1866
      John McDuff, mate of the schooner Ann Harkley, made statement before me this day as follows: - I have been mate of the Schooner Ann Harklev, of Owen Sound. Left St. Clair river (Sarnia) with fair wind on Monday Oct. 8, bound for Owen Sound, loaded with 170 brls. whiskey 50 brls. Coal Oil. Same evening got abroad of Cape Hood, Capt. Harkley went to put back. He took the wheel all the time. When we came near Saugeen, I told him to steer for the Village. He did not do so. I was on deck, a squall came on, we could not take down canvass in time. I let go anchor and checked her, and she came up to the wind. Capt. ordered to let go again, and the vessel struck on a rock. Capt. Ordered us to take away the sails and bore holes in her bottom to scuttle her. The vessel lay there on the rocks, part of her bottom stove in. Capt. Went to Owen Sound. We took cargo ashore on Charity Island, pumped vessel out, and stopped up the holes, and got her afloat again. Made protest in Saugeen. Mr. Stephens came from Owen Sound and gave Capt. Money to pay the men. We landed up the cargo again, and finished about dark. I wanted the Capt. To wait till morning, but he would not, and we started out. I loosed head canvass first, I told him to keep for the pier. He did not mind, and the vessel run on the rocks again. We got her off and came alongside the pier. In the morning we sailed, got out safe, kept on to Big Island, and from N.E. Capt. was steering North. I told him that would bring us ashore. I said N. W. l/2 N. would do. We put the vessel out to save going ashore, got abreast Cove Island about 12m. Next upon Light House, Capt. was at the wheel. We would have cleared had the Capt. Kept on the way 1 told him. 1 saw we were going ashore, and ran forward, put the vessel about from the island. Capt. Put the vessel on again. I told him to keep her off He said he knew his own business. Vessel struck on a rock. I Told the men to get ashore. I wanted to land the jolly boat, Capt. would not, I took his wife and children ashore, got a lamp and went to the cove to let them see the way in with the yawl. I went aboard and took the hands ashore. 1 told Capt. I was going to save all I could. He said if I took any of the rigging off or touched anything he would make an end of my life if he had to hang for it the next morning. I went to him about it, and he said I could save the things. I went to save them and he stopped me again. We took the cargo ashore. Capt went to Owen Sound. He took away the anchor and chain - there was only one anchor and chain aboard the vessel. I put line out to the vessel to hold her there. The men were almost naked. I got an order from Stephens to load the SCOTT and dorie so The Captain took some other articles, and went away. I went after them with the skiff, and got a receipt for 50 brls. Coal Oil. Chisolm's vessel came, and we loaded him, next morning; put the rigging and 84 brls. of Whiskey on his vessel. She had bad canvass. I told him I would help him if he wanted any help. He went off and took the skiff with him. Wind swept away 14 brls of whiskey, we saved part of the others. The McDUFF came then. I got the men some boots and shirts and shipped the rest of the stuff aboard the McDUFF for Owen Sound. We started and it came on to blow hard. We had to cut away the yawl, d carried away the foremast. We could not get to Owen Sound and had to come to Collingwood where we arrived Oct. 31st 10 a. m.
Sworn before me at Collingwood by John McDuff, Thomas Kennedy, Henry Harington, and William Schuybo this first day of November A.D.. 1866, 1030 a.m. (Signed) Henry Robertson,
Notary Public, U.C.
      Barrie Northern Advance
      November 22, 1866

      . . . . .

      Register of the Port of QUEBEC

Name. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NICOLET

Type. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Steam Screw
Tonnage . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234 Gross Tons...... 158 tons Net.
Official Number . . . . . . . 53287
      Length. . . . . . . . . . . 1OO feet & 2/TOths.
      Breadth . . . . . . . . . . 22 feet & 1/10th.
      Depth of hold . . . . . . . 8 feet & 5/laths.
Date of build....... 1855
Place of build...... Nicolet, Quebec
Date of registration at port of Quebec. May 8th. 1855

Subscribing owners:- the last entry of ownership is given as A. Smith. John Smith and George Henry Wyatt all of Toronto who on June 27th. 1862 had bought the vessel from Mr. Soper of
Bowmanville, Ontario for $I,O0O

Registers Remarks:- Vessel Supposed to be lost & Broken-Up
      Registry Closed March 30, 1898
      Register of' the Port of Quebec
      National Archives R.G. 42 Vol. 205 pp.17
      Microfilm Reel No. C2064

      . . . . .

TUCKER, I. L. Propeller of 157 tons, built Nicholet by P. Calio in 1855. Owned by T. Sopen. Port of Hail, Bowmanville.
Valued at $5,000 Class B I
Remarks:-Formerly the NICOLET, rebuilt in 1859
      Board of Lake Underwriters
      Lake Vessel Register 1860

NICOLET, Propeller of 171 tons, built Three Rivers in 1855 by P. Calio. Owned by Edward Butterworth. Valued at $5,000 Class B I Home port, Collingwood. Remarks : Rebuilt 1859
      Board of Lake Underwriters
      Lake Vessel Register 1865

HARKLEY, Schooner of 195 tons (U.S.) built Three Rivers in 1855 by Calis. Owned by Harkley and registered at the Port of Owen Sound Value $4,000. Classed B I
      Board of' Canadian Lake Underwriters
      Lake Vessel Register for 1866

      . . . . .
      Harkley V The Provincial Insurance Co.
      The case was tried at the last Spring Azzizs held at Owen Sound before J. Wilson,
      The following facts appeared
Duncan McLean said: "The schooner was on her way from Windsor to Owen Sound with a ballast cargo of whiskey and coal oil, about the end of September or begining of October. The vessel was in sight of the Fishing Islands. There was a head wind and heavy sea. The vessel was put back to Saugeen for shelter. About dark when the vessel was inside the island and in the harbor, she grounded. She was proceeding, and she was scuttled, and then lay quiet. She was got off and repaired in two places where chafed. Cargo was unloaded. In starting from Windsor Captain Harkley, John McDuff, the mate, Henry Hethrington, Thomas Kennedy, and Duncan McLean were on board as officers and crew. At Saugeen three extra hands were taken on in case of a leak. The vessel sailed from Saugeen early in the morning and got to Cove Island on the night of the next day. A few minutes before 8 P. M., she was in sight of the lighthouse on Cove Island. At four they were outside the bay, going to Cove Island. The wind was N.E. or E. by N. The vessel ran on a rock north of Cove Island on the N.E. corner as she came round. The captain was steering. He told the mate to keep a sharp look-out. The mate said there was water enough on the rock, and to clear the shoal: the captain said he would rather take a few short turns and avoid the rock: the night was dark: it was half-a-mile from the lighthouse where we ran on: the water is deep close up to the rock: they calculated they would clear the rocks and shoal and get through. She got on the rocks amidships and became bent: her back was broken: her keel broken: her hull stove in: the keelson broken inside: the stern post was wrecked too: the rock came through her middle like a post. Next morning she was in a bad state, not worth taking off. All the crew were sailors and worked. The captain is a good sailor. The cargo was taken out, put on shore, and everything else they could take out, and they abandoned her. The Tuesday or Wednesday of the next week the cargo was brought down. The vessel was still on the rock, but more wrecked. The vessel had one anchor and a kedge or small anchor. The large anchor was sufficient to hold her. There was a heavy sea rolling the night the vessel went on the rock. The captain was not then drunk or the worse of liquor"
The hull of the ANN HARKLEY was washed off the rock within three weeks of stranding and in May of 1867 had been washed up on Rabbit Island.

extract of part of Report of cases decided in the Court of Common Pleas, from Hilary Term 31 Vic. to Easter Term 32 Vic. by S.J. Vankoughnet, M.A. Vol.18 Henry Rowsell Printer, Toronto 1868
NOTE:- Built as Propeller NICOLET at Three Rivers, Quebec 1855, renamed I. L. TUCKER in 1859, again NICOLET by 1863 and rebuilt by McPhee at Owen Sound in 1865/66 as the three masted schooner ANN HARKLEY

      . . . . .
      Steamer NICOLET built Nicolet Quebec 1855 by P. Calio, renamed I. L. TUCKER in 1859 when owned on Lake Ontario, renamed NICOLET 1861/62 and owned Collingwood. Rebuilt into a three masted schooner called ANN HARKLEY of Owen Sound, by Archibald McPhie in 1865 or 1866, and as such she was not registered, therefore no official papers with her dimensions are available.
Bound from Windsor to Owen Sound with a ballast cargo of whiskey and coal oil, she left Windsor late in September or early in October and ran into Chantry Island Harbour to shelter from a heavy sea but grounded behind the Island and was scuttled to prevent damage. Vessel was raised and repaired but struck on the pier when leaving Chantry Island and got on the rocks, released after four or five hours, the Captain hired three extra crew to man the pumps and left in the morning of Oct. 11, 1866 for Owen Sound.
In rounding Cove Island the Captain struck and grounded on a rock 60 to 70 yards from the Cove Island Lighthouse, the rock protuding through her bottom amidships, her keel broken and her back bent, her keelson was broken inside and her stern post was wrecked, her cargo was taken off and the vessel stripped of her standing rigging and anything worthwhile, and she was abandoned by her Captain.
The ANN HARKLEY stayed on the rock off Cove Island for about two weeks when she drifted off in a storm by herself and grounded on the "Shingles" about five miles away, and in May of 1867 she was washed up on Rabbit Island.
In the ensuing Court trial, Captain Robert Harkley the Master and owner of the ANN HARKLEY apparently got a verdict in his favor on most points of law, however Judge A. Wilson gave the right for a new trial on the charge of Barratry against R. Harkley, he expressed grave suspicions if the facts were true.

      . . . . .

Births. In Owen Sound, on the I6th. inst., the wife of Capt. Robert Hartley, of a son.
      Owen Sound Times.
      Friday July 19, 1861

      . . . . .
Died. In Owen Sound, on the I5th. inst., Jane, daughter of Captain R. Harkley, aged I year and 8 months.
      Owen Sound Comet.
      Friday, September 27, 1867

      . . . . .

NOTE: Stated that the Captain's wife and family were on board.-- The son (above mentioned) would be just over 5 years old, the daughter (above mentioned ) would be only 9 months old at time of wrecking, October 11, 1866

ERRATA --- Captain Robert Harkley of Owen Sound has invented a steering mechanism which works on the principle of two transverted screws acting on the rudder head, he is going to fit the mechanism to the rudder of the steamer ANN which is lying at this port.
      Toronto Globe
      May 17, 1865

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Freight: whiskey, coal oil
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 45.306666 Longitude: -81.725
William R. McNeil
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Ann Harkley (Schooner), aground, 11 Oct 1866