The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 3, n. 5 (February 1970)
Publication:
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Feb 1971


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Bascom, John N., Editor
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Website
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Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Salty Changes; Winter Lay-up Listing; Spotlight On C. Sundt And Dronning Maud; Vessel Passages; Ship of the Month No. 13
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Feb 1971
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English
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Protected by copyright: Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rights holder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Meetings

Friday, February 5 - Open slide night. A selection of the best from our photographers.

Friday, March 5 - To be announced.

The Editor's Notebook

All those present at our January meeting (and it was one of the best attended meetings we have had) were treated to a truly enjoyable evening as Barbara Howard presented a showing of some of her colour photography. The program included a number of views of lighthouses around the lakes as well as some nostalgic shots of the old St. Lawrence Canals and ships that have since been retired. Our thanks to Barbara for an excellent program

Speaking of meetings, it seems lately that we have had to describe future meetings as "To be announced" since it is often not until the last minute that we can get entertainment together for the evening. We would appreciate suggestions for meetings as well as volunteers to address our gatherings.

A warm welcome goes out to the following new members: Bob MacDonald, Erie; George Ayoub, Ottawa; Robert Pocotte, Riverview; George Giasson, Wyandotte; Donald Boone, Collingwood; Duff Brace, Ashtabula; Tom Smith, Palatine; William Brown, Hamilton, and Rene Beauchamp of Montreal.

We take pleasure in including our membership roster with this issue.

In addition to those mentioned elsewhere in this issue, our thanks for their help in submitting items for publication go to Paul Sherlock, Dick Turner, James Gerger, Capt. John Leonard, Bill Bruce, Jim Marr, John Greenwood, Jim Kaysen, Skip Gillham and Fred Sankoff, Keep it coming, fellows!

Marine News

Over the past few months, we have noted a number of Canadian vessels that are being converted this winter from coal to oil fuel. One more veteran Canadian laker has now been added to the list, with the result that next season will see PARKER EVANS sailing as an oil burner. Such conversions are also becoming common on the American side of the lakes. The hand fired, coal burning ore carrier MATTHEW ANDREWS will be converted over the winter at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, and the war built Bethlehem steamers LEHIGH and STEELTON at Manitowoc. Four more Americans will get automated boiler controls along with the conversion to oil, JOHN J. BOLAND, DETROIT EDISON and ADAM E. CORNELIUS will have the work done by. American Ship at Lorain, while WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR. will get the same treatment at Manitowoc. The sale of the latter from Pickands Mather to Cleveland Cliffs was made official on January 4th.

Other winter projects involve the application of strengthening deck strapping to five Maritime Commission type bulk carriers. The Sturgeon Bay Shipbuilding yard will do the work on E.G. GRACE of the Interlake fleet while Columbia's ASHLAND will get the treatment at Fraser Shipyards, Superior, LEHIGH and STEELTON will be strapped at Manitowoc and Cliffs' CADILLAC at AmShip's Chicago yard, A similar type of job will be done on JOSEPH H. THOMPSON as she winters at Lorain. The THOMPSON is a conversion from a C4-S-B2 war built ocean bulk carrier and came to the lakes in 1952. She is generally known as the scourge of lake ship photographers.

Four installations of bow thruster units are being done at Sturgeon Bay during the winter months. The veteran tankers MERCURY and AMOCO ILLINOIS, the Corps of Engineers dredge MARKHAM, and the Cliffs bulk carrier PONTIAC will all receive thrusters, while PONTIAC will also receive a new pilothouse, presumably similar to that given her sister-ship FRONTENAC several years ago.

The May 7, 1965, collision in the Straits of Mackinac that involved the sinking of the Bradley self-unloader CEDARVILLE by the Norwegian freighter TOPDALSFJORD, has once again come to the attention of the public. There are still five outstanding suits for wrongful death of crew members as well as seven for injuries suffered by survivors, and the suits had originally claimed $2,440,918 in damages. A Cleveland District Court had previously calculated damages at $1,500,000 but even this figure has been called excessive by Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The matter will be recomputed in Cleveland. In all, ten men were killed in the sinking, and the owners of the two ships will bear equally the damage figure which will eventually be set.

Normally, this publication does not deal extensively with salt water news, but the loss of a major passenger liner merits reporting. The C.G.T. (French Line) steam turbine cruise vessel ANTILLES, built in 1952 at Brest, ran aground on January 9th, 1971, on a reef near the island of Mustique in the Caribbean. The grounding caused the rupture of oil bunkers and oil escaping into the boiler room started a fire which eventually gutted the entire vessel. Fortunately there was no loss of life.

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially revoked the license of Capt. Burris Wolters of SYLVANIA, in connection with the previously reported incident on the Detroit River on November 21st. An appeal is expected.

The Branch Line tanker FIRBRANCH, latterly used as a storage barge at Sorel, has apparently been sold to a firm known as Socodena Ltee. We have not as yet learned the purpose of the sale.

The first of the new C.N.R. pusher tugs arrived at Windsor on December 21st after the run from her builder's yard at Wheatley. PHYLLIS YORKE, as she is named, managed to burn out her generator on the delivery voyage and had to lay over in Windsor several days for repairs. She then went directly to Sarnia to start the Port Huron-Sarnia service, A second tug, MARGARET YORKE, will appear shortly to handle the Windsor-Detroit run and her appearance will signal the end of HURON as a steamer. The new tugs are powered by three outboard units each. PHYLLIS YORKE is anything but beautiful. She has the typical hull of a pusher, but her pilothouse is mounted atop a strange tripod tower. Her "stacks" are three exhaust pipes placed athwartship aft. For those who may wish to keep records, her official statistics are as follows: PHYLLIS YORKE, Can. 345141. 1970 Wheatley, Ont., 99.8 x 35.0 x 9.8. Gross 272, net 203. Owners: P.M. Yorke & Son Ltd., Vancouver.

The Johnstone Shipping Ltd. Tanker CONGAR, grounded in Lake St. Clair on Christmas Eve and the McQueen tugs AMHERSTBURG and ATOMIC were dispatched to free her. Shortly afterward, E.B. BARBER went aground in virtually the same spot. This time, the tugs could not do the trick and they had to bring the lighter T.P.NEWMAN to remove some of the self-unloader's cargo of salt.

The 1943-built steam tug CHRIS M., latterly owned by the Great Lakes Paper Co, Ltd., has been sold to Gravel and Lake Services Ltd., Thunder Bay.

DELTA QUEEN, having been saved from a forced retirement by tremendous public support, entered Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans on December 28, 1970, for a $250,000 refit. The Greene Line had drawn up plans for certain renovations to be completed should the life of the ship be extended, but it appears that she will also receive a smoke and flame detector system. The riverboat will begin her 1971 season on April 16th with a trip from New Orleans to Memphis.

The United States Steel Corp had originally intended to keep eight ships running into January, but a shortage of pellets (taconite) at Two Harbors sent A. H. FERBERT into an early lay-up at Milwaukee on December 22. T.M.H.S. member John Vournakis who sails aboard ARTHUR M. ANDERSON, reported that the only difficulty on their route between Two Harbors and South Chicago up until the end of the first week in January was thickening ice in the vicinity of Lime Island in the lower St. Mary's River. The ships were transiting the river in groups, and only during daylight hours. The Neebish Rock Cut, normally used as the downbound channel around Neebish Island, was closed December 27 due to an ice bridge which had formed at the head of the cut. Traffic passed both ways through Middle Neebish thereafter. At the time of writing, the last U.S. Steel boat, PHILIP R. CLARKE, was due to go to winter quarters in Milwaukee January 27th.

The Toronto ferry SAM McBRIDE was towed back from her drydocking at Whitby on January 8th by G. W. ROGERS. We hope that the workmen took a look at her engines as well as her hull.....

In previous issues, we had stated that the old lakers HENRY R. PLATT JR., O.S. McFARLAND and G.G. POST had been sold to Royal Marine Transport Inc., New York, It now develops that the deal has fallen through and that the PLATT was actually resold to Marine Salvage. Meanwhile, POST and McFARLAND have reverted to Columbia Transportation, with the latter vessel hung up at Saginaw. She was naturally not loaded with scrap due to the uncertainty of the future and to this date she has not been given her storage load of grain as Columbia had later intended. The POST remains at Ojibway, although she did make a round trip to Detroit under tow before things collapsed. It seems that the original purchase was eventually to have included Columbia's surplus self-unloaders HURON and WYANDOTTE.

Scrapping operations continue at Hamilton. The last remains of MANCOX were cut up early in January and the torches then devoured GRAEME STEWART in short order. As of January 17, cutting was just beginning on MANZZUTTI. Meanwhile, Canadian Dredge and Dock Ltd. is doing some scrapping of its own vessels at the company's dock in Hamilton. The tugs MINNICOG and SHAWANAGA, both steam powered, have already been broken up and work is progressing on the steam dredges MONARCH and MAJOR.

Sharp-eyed visitors to the Toronto waterfront during the winter months will notice that IMPERIAL WINDSOR is laid up at her owner's dock. Although the Imperial tankers are frequent visitors to Toronto, your editor cannot remember any of the fleet's vessels wintering here since IMPERIAL REDWATER stayed over the winter of 1951-52. By the way, the WINDSOR was the last ship to tie up here this winter, arriving on January 8th.

IRVINGSTREAM passes Vercheres, Oct. 13, 1962. Fred Sankoff photo.Shortly before she was to leave the Irving Oil Co. Ltd. dock at Courtenay Bay, Saint John, New Brunswick, an early morning fire swept through the crew's quarters of the tanker IRVINGSTREAM on January 6th, leaving five men dead and six others injured. Fortunately, the flames did not spread to the cargo of gasoline and stove oil. The ship had been built as a conventional salt water tanker at Hamburg in 1952 and originally sailed as IRVINGBROOK on the East Coast and the St. Lawrence River. She had a length of 568'11". In 1962, she was lengthened, widened and deepened at the Saint John Dry Dock and emerged under the name IRVINGSTREAM as a 618'2" stemwinder.

Work has progressed rapidly on the scrapping of the JOSEPH S.SCOBELL at Humberstone. At the same yard, HENRY R. PLATT JR. is now sealed up so it appears that she will head overseas rather than face the torch in Ramey's Bend.

We have now received a confirmation that C.W.CADWELL is undergoing repairs at the Kingston facilities of Canadian Dredge and Dock. She will be returned to service by Cadwell Marine Ltd. who apparently have been considering converting her to oil fuel.

At long last, the remains of the Toronto harbour tug G.R.GEARY have been located in Hamilton's Catharine Street slip, where she was towed after being raised from the bottom of Toronto Bay in October. There have been murmurings to the effect that unidentified parties wish to put diesels in her.

Salty Changes

Listed are salt water ships which have traded into the lakes along with former names under which they may have appeared in these parts.

ACAMAR (STARCLIPPER), 9999, 1957, Bulgarian. Renamed PERSENG.

ALFREDO (SIGNEBORG), 1455, 1939, Italian. Sold within Italy.

ANGOLAKUST, 3356, 1955, Dutch. Sold Greek.

ARIA (GLYNN), 6906, 1947, Somalian. Sold Cypriot.

MATHILDE BOLTEN, 12012, 1961, West German. Sold Greek.

BRANDENBURG, 2695, 1951, West German. Sunk in Straits of Dover 12/1/71 after apparently hitting wreck of TEXACO-CARIBBEAN which was damaged by collision, and explosion 11/1/71.

CAPO MELE, 9160, 1951, Sicilian. Sold Greek.

CRYSTAL CROWN, 8671, 1957, British. Sold Far Eastern.

GOHSHU MARU, 8265, 1959, Japanese. Sold within Japan.

ISOLDE, 4688, 1956, Swedish. Sold Liberian, renamed AURIGA.

MARANON (DUNKERY BEACON), 8479. 1959, Peruvian. Sold Cypriot, renamed IRIS.

HILDE MITTMANN, 3664, 1952, West German. Sold Panamanian, renamed MILFORD.

MORMACFIR, 7329, 1945, American. Sold Panamanian, renamed SUPERINA.

ROSALDINA (RAGNEBORG), 1988, 1947, Peruvian. Sold within Peru, renamed CHAVIN.

SAGAMORE HILL (SANTA MERCEDES), 8231, 1944, American. Sold to Taiwan breakers.

SAINT JOHN (JOHN MARIS), 7490, 1954, Liberian. Sold Cypriot, renamed GIANNIS.

HEINRICH UDO SCHULTE, 1998, 1957, West German. Transferred within Schulte Group, renamed HAMBURGER MICHEL.

SILDIN (HERTHA), 2505, 1954, Icelandic. Sold Italian, renamed ORSEOLO.

TAVROS (TRANSONTARIO (I), POLYCREST, HARPEFJELL (I)), 1502, 1939, Greek. Sold to Spanish breakers.

TERRIER (STEGE, EBBA ROBBERT), 1127, 1957, British. Transferred within Britain.

TRANSGERMANIA; 8684, 1954, Vest German. Sold Pakistani.

TUULIKKI (OTIS, ERHOLM, ERLAND), 1589, 1942-45, Finnish. Sold within Finland at public auction.

TOM VAN DER HEIDE, 499, 1951, Dutch Antilles. Sold Panamanian, renamed GOLD FRUIT.

YILDUN, 5421, 1950, Dutch. Sold Greek, renamed AGIOS SPYRIDON.

Winter Lay-up Listing

The following ships are spending the winter at six Canadian ports. We have not included workboats or non-self-propelled dredges.

TORONTO

ALGORAILR. BRUCE ANGUSAVONDALECOMEAUDOCCONGARPORT HENRYFRANQUELINGODERICHGROVEDALEGULF SENTINELNED HANLAN (Tug)

HIAWATHA (Ferry)IMPERIAL WINDSORWILLIAM INGLIS (Ferry)KWASIND (Ferry)GORDON C. LEITCHSAM McBRIDE (Ferry)MEAFORDMETISNEW YORK NEWSNORDALEJAMES NORRIS

POINTE NOIRETHOMAS RENNIE (Ferry)SHELTER BAYSHIAWASSIE (Ferry)SHIERCLIFFE HALLSPRUCEBRANCHSTERNECLIFFE HALLWESTDALEWESTERN SHELLWIARTON

HAMILTON

BAYGEORGE*BAY TRANSPORTCAPE TRANSPORTGEORGE M. CARLCOVE TRANSPORTCHARLES DICKW. M. EDINGTONPORT ST. LOUISFRENCH RIVERGOLDEN HINDHERON BAYCHARLES R. HUNTLEYJAMES TRANSPORT

JENNY T. II (Tug) and Tank Barge S.T.B. 7MANCOX*MANZZUTTI*ARGUE MARTIN (Tug)JOHN O. McKELLARMINNICOG (Tug)*JOHN E. F. MISENERRALPH MISENERSCOTT MISENERNORTHERN VENTUREOREFAXPETITE HERMINE

PINEDALEQUEBECOISQUETICORIVERSHELL*ROCKCLIFFE HALLROYALTONSCATARI (Tug)*SENNEVILLESHAWANAGA (Tug)*SILVER ISLEGRAEME STEWART (Tug)*STONEFAXTHOROLD

PORT COLBORNE

CANADIANCENTURYCANADOCFERNDALEGEORGIAN BAYGLENEAGLES

HALLFAXHERBERT A. (Tug)HILDA MARJANNEHOCHELAGALEADALE

HENRY R. PLATT JR.*RED WINGJOSEPH S. SCOBELL*SENATOR OF CANADATADOUSSAC

PORT WELLER

CANADIAN PROGRESSCEDARBRANCH

ELMBRANCHROY A. JODREY

LIQUILASSIETEXACO-BRAVEWILLOWBRANCH

THOROLD PORT CREDIT

CHICAGO TRIBUNEOUTARDE

ENGLISH RIVER

* Ship is being, or will be scrapped.

Operating tugs and ships are not included.

Our thanks to John Vournakis for providing the following list of the lay-up ports of the ships of the U. S. Steel Great Lakes Fleet.

DULUTH

GEORGE G. CRAWFORD, JAMES A.FARRELL, WILLIAM J. FILBERT, THOMAS W. LAMONT, J.P. MORGAN JR., WILLIAM P. PALMER, EUGENE W. PARGNY, HENRY PHIPPS, RICHARD TRIMBLE

SUPERIOR

SEWELL AVERY, JOSHUA A. HATFIELD, JOHN HULST, RICHARD V. LINDABURY, PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR., RALPH H. WATSON, PETER A. B. WIDENER

CLEVELAND

IRVIN L. CLYMER, ALVA C. DINKEY, T. W. ROBINSON

TOLEDO

D. M. CLEMSON, HORACE JOHNSON, D. G. KERR, EUGENE P. THOMAS, HOMER D. WILLIAMS.

LORAIN

B. F. AFFLECK, EUGENE J. BUFFINGTON, WILLIAM A. IRVIN, GOVERNOR MILLER, JOHN G. MUNSON.

ROGERS CITY

CALCITE II, ROGERS CITY, GEORGE A. SLOAN, MYRON C. TAYLOR, W. F. WHITE.

MILWAUKEE

ARTHUR M. ANDERSON (x), CASON J. CALLAWAY (x), PHILIP R. CLARKE (x), THOMAS F. COLE, BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS (x) , A. H. FERBERT, LEON FRASER (x), CLIFFORD F. HOOD, WILLIAM A. McCGONAGLE, IRVING S. OLDS (x), HENRY H. ROGERS, WILLIAM B. SCHILLER, ROBERT C. STANLEY, ENDERS M. VOORHEES (x), AUGUST ZIESING.

(x) indicates that the vessel was still in operation at mid-January.

Spotlight On C. Sundt And Dronning Maud

One of the difficulties in producing the fleet lists that we present from time to time is the unavailability of much of the information concerning the early years of lake shipping. As a result, our histories are not necessarily complete, and we are very pleased when our readers can send along additional details.

In the Keystone fleet list, we noted that little was known about the two original chartered ships. George Ayoub has provided the following to amplify the data we gave. C. SUNDT was actually built in 1901 by Bergen Mek. Vaerks as Hull 114 for Atkies Dampsk. C. Sundt, (Wm. Hansen), Bergen. She measured 228.5 x 35.3 x 15.9. Gross 1105, Net 684. DRONNING MAUD was built 1907 at Bergen by Laxevaags Msk. & Jrnsk. as Hull 84 for I. Christensen, Haugesund, and measured 229.0 x 35.3 x 15.9. Gross 1102, Net 673. She was later owned by I. An.Christensen, Christiania, and was mined in the North Sea on September 1, 1916.

Bob MacDonald has sent three little clippings from early Erie, Pa., newspapers about these ships:

May 10, 1909.

The first cargo of a consignment of 100,000 tons of soft coal to a Montreal firm was taken out Saturday by the Norwegian steamer C.SUNDT, Capt. Charles Wilhelmsen. The SUNDT carried 1500 tons. She is a new steamer of ocean-going qualities. This steamer is one of half dozen which ply between Canadian and American ports to Europe in the winter months and engage in the lake trade during the season of navigation on the inland seas. The SUNDT and two other steamers have been chartered to carry all of the consignment, which will be shipped by the Pittsburgh Coal Co.

May 13, 1909. The DRONNING MAUD, a Norwegian steamer hailing from Haugesund, Norway, and commanded by Capt. L. Niklassen, a hardy Norseman, arrived with clearance from Port Dalhousie yesterday. The DRONNING MAUD will load 7500 (?) tons of soft coal, the second cargo of that 100,000 ton consignment to Montreal parties.

May 19, 1909. Two Norwegian steamers arrived in port yesterday. The ODLAND had on board 864 cords of pulpwood for the Hammermill Paper Co. from Murray Bay, Quebec, with Capt. C. W. Storm as master. From Port Dalhousie, Canada, came the C. SUNDT....She loaded 1500 tons of bituminous coal to take back to Montreal.

We were remiss in stating that the original name of the company was Keystone Transports Ltd. In fact, the firm began operations as The Keystone Transportation Company of Canada Ltd. and the name was not shortened until about 1920.

We have also discovered some further details on the early Q&O vessel HONOREVA. When sold in 1916, she went to the Cie. Royale Asturienne de Mines, Tonnay-Charente, France, and was renamed (b) ASTURIENNE. She was apparently sunk in 1919. We stated that BUCKEYE STATE was sold by the Federal Motorship Corp. in the mid-fifties to the Honduras Shipping Co., Puerto Cortes, and it seems that EMPIRE STATE went along as well. Both passed out of documentation shortly afterwards.

Vessel Passages

It is the editorial policy of this publication to keep its readers up to date on all recent developments on the lake shipping scene. Consequently, we take pleasure in bringing you the latest vessel passages received over our wire services.

PORT HURON, MICHIGAN

October 12

UPBOUND

CRESCENT CITY, 11:15 a.m.; MARS, 1:20 p.m.; JOHN DUNN JR., 1:35; JAMES H. REED, 1:40; PONTIAC, 1:50; AMASA STONE, 2:50; GEORGE B. LEONARD 3:30; QUINCY A. SHAW, 3:40; B.P. JONES, 5:30; (big) SAMUEL MATHER, 5 :40.

October 12

DOWNBOUND

J. E. UPSON, 12:00 noon; JOHN OWEN, 12:10 p.m.; SAXONA, 12:30; WILLIAM F. FITCH and barge ALEXANDER MAITLAND, 12:40; J.T. HUTCHINSON, 12:50; DUNELM, 1:20; EDWARD Y. TOWNSEND, 1:40; SHELDON PARKS, 2:15; JAMES LAUGHLIN, 3:45; JOSEPH G. BUTLER JR., 5:15; TURRET CROWN, J.L. WEEKS, 6:30; STADACONA, 6:45; CHRISTOPHER, 7:25; R.E. SCHUCK, 7:30; C. W. WATSON, 8:00.

October 13

UPBOUND

ALBERT M. MARSHALL, 3:50 a.m.; WILLIAM H. TRUESDALE, 4:00; HURON, 4:40; MARUBA, 7:50.

October 13

DOWNBOUND

JAY C. MORSE, 5:50 a.m.; WILKESBARRE, 6:10; BENNINGTON, 6:40; JOSEPH C. GILCHRIST, 8:30; FRANK W. GILCHRIST, 9:00; GEORGE L. CRAIG, 10:30; WYANDOTTE, 10:30; ACADIAN, 10:30; ARTHUR H. HAWGOOD, 11:20.

SAULT STE. MARIE, MICHIGAN

October 12

UPBOUND

KENSINGTON, 10:00 p.m.

October 13

UPBOUND

JAMES S. DUNHAM, 1:00 a.m.; MUELLER, 8:30; M. A. BRADLEY, 9:30; HENRY A. HAWGOOD, 10:30.

October 13

DOWNBOUND

ANDASTE, 12:00 midnight; THOMAS LYNCH, 1:30 a.m.; J. M. JENKS, 1:30; DORIC, 2:00; AUGUSTUS B. WOLVIN, 5:30; WILLIAM G. MATHER, 6:30; W.C. RICHARDSON, 7:30; COLONEL, 10:00; ASSINIBOIA, 11:00.

What's that? You say you never heard of most of those ships? Quite right! If you are a newcomer to the marine scene, you probably won't recognize the majority of the names, and the reason for this is that the passages have been reprinted from October 14, 1909, issue of the "SANDUSKY REGISTER". Our thanks to Dave Glick for sending along the original clipping.

Of the vessels listed, only fourteen are now extant, and of these, no more than ten operated during 1970. Not one still serves under the same name as the one under which she was logged in 1909.

In order of appearance, the vessels still sailing are SAMUEL MATHER (GODERICH, Upper Lakes Shipping). JAMES LAUGHLIN (HELEN EVANS, Hindman), JOSEPH G. BUTLER JR. (GROVEDALE, Reoch), STADACONA (ROBERT S. McNAMARA, Ford), JAY C. MORSE (SHELTER BAY, Q&O). ARTHUR H. HAWGOOD (GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER, Kinsman), JAMES S. DUNHAM (OTTO M. REISS, American Steamship), HENRY A. HAWGOOD (W.W. HOLLOWAY, Columbia), THOMAS LYNCH (WIARTON, Upper Lakes), and WILLIAM G. MATHER (NICOLET, American Steamship).

In addition, AMASA STONE is now part of a dock at Charlevoix, Mich., and FRANK W. GILCHRIST serves as a storage barge at Goderich under the name R. G. SANDERSON. KENSINGTON, now known as O.S. McFARLAND, lies at Saginaw awaiting a tow overseas as does J.T.HUTCHINSON (ALEXANDER LESLIE) at Quebec.

Two of the ships reported at the Soo eventually came to fiery ends: MUELLER and ASSINIBOIA finished out their lives in this manner.

Generally speaking, steel lake ships have had a pretty good record as far as safety is concerned, but this group of steamers appears to have been a particularly ill-starred lot. Thirteen of the vessels came to a violent end, either by collision or by stranding or sinking.

The victim of a 1944 collision. JAMES H. REED is seen passing down Little Rapids Cut in this 1921 Young photo from the Bascom collection.JAMES H. REED now rests on the bottom of Lake Erie off Port Burwell, Ontario. She was sunk in collision with ASHCROFT on April 27, 1944. PONTIAC, having been renamed GOUDREAU, and sailing under the flag of W.C. Richardson, became a total loss in Lake Huron on November 23, 1917, after grounding. B. F. JONES came to the end of her road in the St. Mary's River near Lime Island where she was seriously damaged in collision with CASON J. CALLAWAY in August, 1955. She was never repaired and felt the breaker's torch at Duluth. JOHN OWEN was a "composite" steamer, that is, she had steel frames and topsides, but was planked with oak below the waterline. She foundered with all hands in Lake Superior near Caribou Island on Nov. 12, 1919.

Two of the vessels reported at Port Huron were to be lost en route to European scrappers. SAXONA, later known as LAKETON, broke tow and foundered in the North Atlantic on January 13, 1968, while EDWARD Y. TOWNSEND, already retired in 1966 due to storm damage, broke in two and sank some 400 miles S.E. of St. John's, Nfld., on October 7, 1968.

JOHN OWEN pushes her way through Spring ice above the Soo Locks in 1917, two years before her loss. Young photo. Bascom collection.TURRET CROWN became a total loss by stranding on Manitoulin Island, November 2, 1924. R.E. SCHUCK of the Gilchrist fleet was later renamed HYDRUS by Pickands Mather and disappeared in Lake Huron during the Great Storm of November, 1913. There were no survivors. The package freighter HURON later became the HURONTON of the Mathews Steamship Co. and was lost in a collision with CETUS on Lake Superior, October 11, 1923. Another collision victim was the Lehigh Valley Railroad's upper lake package freighter WILKESBARRE. Serving the Great Lakes Transit Corp. under the name EDWARD E. LOOMIS, she ran down the Algoma Central steamer W.C.FRANZ in Lake Huron on November 21, 1934. The FRANZ sank almost immediately and her crew was rescued by the LOOMIS which then proceeded to Buffalo. The LOOMIS never ran again due to a combination of poor business conditions and the severe bow damage she had sustained. She was scrapped in 1940 at Hamilton.

ACADIAN was an early canaller built in 1908. She was in wartime service on salt water when she was torpedoed on September 16, 1918, with the loss of 25 lives. ANDASTE was a Monitor; that is, she had squared lines with a raised forecastle, a box-like two-decked cabin aft, and sides that slanted outwards towards the waterline. Converted to a self-unloader in 1925, she sailed out of Ferrysburg, Michigan, into Lake Michigan on September 9, 1929, and was never seen again.

The last of the casualties is W.C.RICHARDSON. At the time of her appearance in our passages, she had less than two months of life ahead. The RICHARDSON was downbound with a cargo of flax for Buffalo when she stranded on Waverly Shoal, just a few miles from the Buffalo breakwater, on December 8, 1909. She became a total loss.

Yes, 61 years have passed since our vessel passages appeared in print, but a small clipping, yellowed with the years, can bring back a lot of memories of the ships that were a part of the boom years in lake shipping.

Ship of the Month No. 13 Overland, Simon Langell and Claremont

The Early Days of the Misener Fleet

One of the large Canadian companies presently engaged in the transportation of bulk cargoes on the Great Lakes is Scott Misener Steamships Ltd. of St. Catharines. However, today's 730-foot bulk carriers such as SCOTT MISENER and RALPH MISENER are a far cry from the little steamers originally operated by Capt. Robert Scott Misener.

OVERLAND in the Keating Channel at Toronto. Merrilees photo.Although the recent escapades of the RALPH MISENER and her unique Conflow unloader may not have warranted such optimism, an impressive brochure was circulated at the time of the vessel's christening and commissioning. In the brochure, it was stated that the Misener fleets had their beginning back in 1919 with the purchase by Capt. Misener of the SIMON LANGELL; however, the history of the company actually goes back to 1917 when, according to the List of Shipping published by the Canadian Government's Department of Marine and Fisheries, "Capt. Robert S. Misener et al., Sault Ste. Marie," acquired the small wooden steamer OVERLAND (Can. 134520).

This freighter was built in 1881 at Bay City, Michigan, as SAGINAW VALLEY (U. S. 115769) and, as built, was equipped in the usual package freight style with 'tween decks and side ports. Her length was 226.0 feet, her beam 31.5 feet and her depth was 19.3 feet, these dimensions giving her a tonnage of 1112 gross and 1021 net. Registered for a number of years at Buffalo, N. Y., her managing owner in 1902 was T. M. Ryan of that city. SAGINAW VALLEY traded through the Welland Canal at times, as there are several photos of her in Port Dalhousie harbour taken in 1898. Later renamed MERIDEN for a short period, and still later KONGO, the steamer was rebuilt as a conventional lumber carrier of 672 gross tons in the early years of this century. Her owners included H. N. Loud's Sons Co. of Au Sable, Michigan, and the Hamilton H. Salmon Co. of Buffalo, hardwood lumber dealers.

In 1916, Salmon sold the KONGO to Capt. J. T. Reid (The Reid Wrecking Co.) of Sarnia and Port Huron and the following year she passed to Capt. Misener and was renamed OVERLAND. Misener operated OVERLAND in various trades until 1919 when she was sold to the Niagara Sand Co. (R. Laing) of Toronto. She passed in 1921 to the Harbour Brick Co. (H.D.Robertson), Toronto, and operated as a sandsucker, carrying sand from the Niagara Bar to her owner's dock in Toronto. OVERLAND was equipped with a sucking arm carried forward, but she had no unloading equipment and the sand had to be clammed out of her hold.

By 1925, old age was catching up with OVERLAND, and during the summer months, she broke her back in Lake Ontario. The ship was towed back to Toronto and, after the removal of engines and boilers, the old hull was discarded on the south shore of the lake near Port Dalhousie.

SIMON LANGELL, the lilnes of her stern showing her age, is outboundat the Toronto Eastern Gap during he Misener years. J. H. Bascom photoSIMON LANGELL (U.S. 116091) and later (Can. 138373) was purchased by the partnership of Capt. Misener and John O. McKellar in 1919, the same year that their earlier steamer had been sold. She too was of wooden construction, having been built by Simon Langell at his shipyard at St. Clair, Michigan, in 1886. Her length was 195.3 feet, her beam 34.6 and her draft 13.7 feet. Her tonnage was shown as 845 gross and 677 net. For many years, she had been operated by Comstock and Sinclair of Duluth in the lumber trade. In 1916 she was acquired by E.L. Fisher of Cleveland and the following year, he transferred her from the St. Clair Transportation Co. to the Argo Steamship Co.

After operating LANGELL for almost five years with Misener as Master and McKellar as Chief Engineer, the pair sold the veteran in 1923 to the Langell Transportation Co., Charles E. Millard et al., of Sarnia. She remained in service until about 1930 and then was laid up at Portsmouth, Ontario. She lay idle along with the wooden steamer PALMBAY until 1936 when the hull was stripped. On November 23rd, the hull was intentionally set afire, and the remains were towed out into the lake and scuttled.

On her last visit to Toronto, CLAREMONT unloads at the Terminal Warehouse, November 1929. J. H. Bascom photo.The third acquisition and first steel steamer in the Misener fleet which became known as Sarnia Steamships Ltd. in 1928, was CLAREMONT (Can. 140270). She had been built in 1910 by the Craig Shipbuilding Co. at Toledo as ERWIN L. FISHER (U.S. 207617) for the Argo Steamship Co., E. L. Fisher, manager, Cleveland. One of only a very few steel lake ships designed for the lumber trade, she was 220.0 feet long, 40.0 feet in the beam, and had a draft of 15.3 feet. She showed a tonnage of 1184 Gross, 805 Net.

During the first World War, ERWIN L. FISHER was taken to salt water and was operated by the French Government under the name PORT DE CAEN. At the close of the hostilities, she apparently returned to this side of the Atlantic and operated on the East Coast as BAYERSHER. In 1922, the vessel returned to the lakes under the ownership of the Interlake Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., (Mapes & Fredon), Montreal, and there are indications that she may have again been given the name ERWIN L. FISHER for a very short period to facilitate the transfer of registry.

In any event, BAYERSHER was purchased by Misener in 1923 and, renamed CLAREMONT, she operated in conjunction with the Dominion Sugar Co. Ltd., Wallaceburg, spending much of her time carrying that company's products. She was a frequent visitor to Toronto during this period. At the close of the 1929 season, Sarnia Steamships Ltd, sold CLAREMONT to the Kelley Island Lime & Transport Co., Sandusky, Ohio, and she returned to U.S. registry, once again under the old name ERWIN L. FISHER. Soon renamed GEORGE J. WHELAN, she was converted to a sandsucker for service on Lake Erie. She was not to serve long, however, for she capsized off Dunkirk, N.Y. on July 29,1930, and sank with the loss of 16 lives.

And so, the Misener fleets, later to operate many canallers and a number of large, modern bulk carriers, began with two aging wooden vessels and a second-hand steel steamer, humble beginnings for a major Canadian operator.

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Scanner, v. 3, n. 5 (February 1970)


Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Salty Changes; Winter Lay-up Listing; Spotlight On C. Sundt And Dronning Maud; Vessel Passages; Ship of the Month No. 13