The steamer RELIEVER, a propeller built in 1888 at the yard of James Davidson in West Bay City, Mich. as a bulk freighter of 1391 gross tons called GERMANIC, and owned by J.T. Hutchinson of Cleveland, she was part of a fleet of three steamers and two schooners, in 1901 the GERMANIC was rebuilt and her dimensions listed as 216 feet in length, with a beam of 36 feet and a net tonnage of 959 tons.
In 1908 she was sold into Canadian registry (Can. No. 122417) and after being again rebuilt, she emerged as the steam barge RELIEVER her gross tonnage was reduced to 810 tons, but her length was increased to 226 feet her beam became 36.4 feet, her depth of hold is given as 10.5 feet. She was owned by Mr. Manley Chew, a lumber and saw-mill operator of Midland, which was also her port of hail.
On November 3, 1909 the RELIEVER, while loading lumber at Mr. Chew's saw-mill on Methodist Point, Georgian Bay, caught fire and was cut adrift to save the mill and dock, she drifted across Methodist Bay and grounded in shallow water, where she burned to the waterline.
The hull was destroyed beyond repair, however her engine and boiler, shaft and anchors were salvaged, as were no doubt her propeller and other hardware, until today, all that marks the final site of the RELIEVER is a scattered assortment of ships timber, twisted metal and other debris, which covers a large area of the bottom of Methodist Bay in depths ranging from 25 feet to zero, many of her timber have been pushed onto the shore by storms and winter ice, a lot of those have been dragged away to build docks and such for local inhabitants. Of the saw-mill and dock where she caught fire, all that remains are the submerged foundations of two cribs.
GERMANIC, 1391 gross tons; 959 tons net. Length, 216 feet. Beam, 36 feet
RELIEVER, 810 tons gross; 366 tons register. Length, 226 feet. Bean, 36.4 feet Depth of hold, 10.5. Horse-power, 80.
1. Dominion of Canada Vessel Register for 1909 [Sessional Papers 1910]
2. Steamboat Inspection Report, Marine & Fisheries, 1910.
3. Preliminary List of Canadian Steamships, Inland & Coastal, 1809 to 1930
4. Blue Book of American Vessels, 1902
5. Personal interview with Mrs. Chew at Old Age Home at 331 Younge Street, Midland, Ont.
Wm. R. McNeil
The georgian Bay Shipbuilding Co. of Midland have the contract for taking the boiler and machinery out of the steambarge RELIEVER, burnt and sunk at Mefhodist Point, and also the job of raising a sunken barge for Firstbrooke bros., at Penetanguishene.
Thursday, December 16, 1909