The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Clipper (Propeller), C116260, aground, 2 May 1906

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      Disaster Off Bustard Islands-Only One Man Rescued
      Tug Clipper Wrecked-Body of Engineer Flesher Brought Here on Str. MANITOU Yesterday
The Spanish River Boom & Slide Co.' s tug CLIPPER, a staunch 60 -foot craft, foundered off the Bustard Islands Monday and three men, Capt. Peter McIntosh, of French River, Engineer Ed. Flesher of Cutler, Ont., and Fireman Johnston, whose home is unknown, were drowned. The only deck hand of the tug, Beattie by name, succeeded in reaching one of the Bustard Islands, or rather a small rock, by means of a door taken from the tug's cabin.
      The CLIPPER, which was engaged in the rafting business, was en route from Midland to French River where she sprang a leak and the water began to flow freely into the hold. Capt. McIntosh after examining the leak and ascertaining its serious nature, decided to beach the tug.
      The tug was approaching the islands when it ran aground on an unseen rock from which all attempts to liberate it proved futile. The rock was encountered at an early hour on Monday morning and the tug remained impaled upon it during the entire day. A mild gale arose at the gap, which is scarcely ever calm, and threatened to destroy the small vessel. The crew remained aboard the tug during
the entire day in the hope of hailing a passing steamer or fishing boat. Unfortunately the scene of the wreck was not within view of the Dominion Fish Co.' s fishing station on the Bustards in charge of Mr. Brook McAular, and so no vessel passed within hailing distance. As evening approached the wind increased and there appeared to be a very meagre chance of safety by remaining on the tug. Accordingly the deck hand, Beattie, rendered desperate resolved to reach the adjoining island or perish in the attempt. He removed a door from the cabin, lowered himself into the water and vainly endeavoring to induce his accompany him, assuring them that the
door would easily support four man. They refused however, stating that the risk entailed would be greater than that of remaining aboard the tug. Beattie then bade farewell to the three sailors and entrusted himself to the icy waters. By means of the door he succeeded in reaching the nearest island. There he was discovered, 15 hours later, by Wm. Hazard, one of the Dominion
Fish Co.' fishermen. From the tug's striking the rock until Beattie was discovered on the small island, 32 hours elapsed. Suspense and exhaustion had hold upon him terribly and he was conveyed to the Dominion fishing station where he received every attention. He recovered from the effects of his experience sufficiently to relate the details of the disaster. By dawn on Tuesday the tug had settled down into the water considerably. The cabin had been demolished by the force of the waves and it is surmised that the three unfortunate sailors were swept off the deck ' by the gale as there was no trace of them on Tuesday morning.
      On her regular down trip the U.S. & D. T. Co.'s Str. MANITOU called at The Bustards for a cargo offish and the story of the wreck was related to the officers of the steamer. It chanced that the engineer of the tug Mr. Ed Flesher, was a brother of Second Engineer Flesher, of the str. MANITOU , who secured a small boat and after a short search found the body of his brother. The remains were conveyed on the MANITOU to this town, where they prepared for interment at Breckenridge's undertaking rooms. They were then conveyed on the Str. MANITOU to his late home at Cutler, Ont where Mr. Flesher, sr., is customs officer.
      The two remaining bodies have not yet been recovered, although a vigorous search for them is being prosecuted.
      Dr. Dow, deputy comer, visited the Str. MANITOU shortly after her arrival and after hearing the circumstances, pronounced an inquest unnecessary.
The unfortunate engineer, Mr Ed. Flesher, was a member of the Masonic Lodge, A.F .& A.M. and a canvass of local brethren yesterday resulted in a large subscription for a beautiful floral tribute.
      Owen Sound Sun
      Friday May 6,1906

      Found Body of Captam McIntosh
The body of Capt. P. McIntosh who was drowned off his tug, the CLIPPER which was wrecked last week was recovered ...Tuesday. The body was ...the wrecked tug by the ...own son, Capt John McIntosh, the tug EVELYN, owned by the French River Boom Co., had been looking for the body only a short time. Capt. McIntosh is well and favorably known in Owen Sound and is a native of Sydenham township, where he was born on the Blind Line 49 years ago. He leaves a wife and three sons of whom reside at French River. Capt. McIntosh was ajovial and good fellow and besides his family he leaves scores of sorrowing friends. The Playfair Wrecking Co.
have the contract for raising the tug, which it is said is in fairly good shape except that the cabin is demolished. The work was commenced yesterday. The only body which has not been found is that of fireman Johnston.
      Owen Sound Sun
      Friday, May 11,1906

      Tug CLIPPER Raised
On Monday the Midland Wrecking Co.'S crew brought the wrecked tug CLIPPER to the surface and she was taken to the Dominion Fish Co. ' s harbour at the Bustards, between two wrecking scows. The tug will be taken to Midland and there rebuilt. The body of Fireman Johnston one of the crew of the wrecked boat has not been recovered yet, although the search has been kept up. A reward of $IOO has been offered for its recovery. Johnston's home is in Midland and he is said to have been worth a considerable amount of money.
      Owen Sound Sun
      Sunday, May 13, 1906

Above records courtesy Bill Hester

      Steam screw CLIPPER. Official Canada No. 116260. Of 46 gross tons; 29 tons Reg. Built Midland, Ont., 1903. Home port, Toronto, Ont. 62.0 x 13.3 x 6.6 Owned by Manley Chew of Midland, Ont.
      List of Vessels on the Register Books of the
      Dominion of Canada on December 31, 1905

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Reason: aground
Lives: 3
Remarks: Got off
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 45.893333 Longitude: -80.909444
William R. McNeil
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Clipper (Propeller), C116260, aground, 2 May 1906