Schooner JAMES G. WORTS, wrecked on Devils Island Shoal, georgian Bay, ship broken up by swelling grain in 1895.
January 18, 1947
Schooner J.G. WORTS, wrecked 1895. Value $6,500.
Lake Disasters of 1895 [total losses]
Door County Advocate, Wis.
Saturday, January 11, 1896
THE SHOALS OF DEVIL ISLAND
Devil Island, low and thickly wooded, is situated southwest of Russel Island, adjacent to the tortuous passage of Cape Hurd Channel. Broad banks of submerged limestone rim this lonely place where the mate's boat of the foundered BRUCE MINE came ashore in 1854. When and why this desolate island acquired her ominous title is not known, but two vessels whose bones still rest somewhere nearby testify to its aptness.
On Nov. 5 1895 the steamer CITY OF OWEN SOUND, and her tow, the schooner JAMES G. WORTS, George Williamson master, were struck by a squall while attempting to enter Georgian Bay and were driven ashore "on a shoal near Devil Island." All hands took to the lifeboats and eventually reached the safety of Tobermory. Both vessels were deeply laden with wheat, the WORTS having a consignment of 20,000 bushels.
During the following day the lake calmed and late in the afternoon several Tobermory residents visited the wrecks with the object of obtaining some of the cargo. Abraham Davis, the aged lightkeeper of Big Tub, kept a flock of chickens and about ten o'clock that night he set out in a small skiff for Devil Island intending to secure some of the wheat as feed. When he failed to return the next morning a diligent search was made, but without success. He was never seen again. About two weeks after his disappearance the skiff was found far down the Peninsula, near Howdenvale, by the crew of the schooner GORDON. Abraham Davis was well known and liked throughout the Bruce Peninsula and his death cast a deep gloom over the village of Tobermory. He was a veteran of the Rebellion of 1837 and took part in the Battle of the Windmill at Prescott on the St. Lawrence River and was present at the capture of the rebel leader Von Schoultz.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 11, the wrecking tug MARTIN SWAIN arrived and after pumping the wheat out of the OWEN SOUND was, able to pull her off and take her into Tobermory. An attempt to release the WORTS failed and by the end of the month she had broke up and sank. She was a total loss as her owner, S. Sylvester, Toronto, ran her uninsured. The three masted WORTS was built at Mill Point near Picton on Lake Ontario by W. Jamison in september of 1874.
from "Shipwrecks of the Saugeen"
by Patrick Folkes
Schooner JAMES G. WORTS. Official Canadian No. 71245. Of 324.04 tons gross; 308.64 tons reg. Built at Millpoint, Hastings Co., Ontario, in Sept. 26, 1874. Home port, Toronto. 136.0 x 26.3 x 11.3 A Three masted fore & aft schooner with square sail and square stern.
National Archives, Ottawa
Port of Toronto Register.