The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 5, n. 4 (January 1973)
Publication:
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Jan 1973


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Creator:
Bascom, John N., Editor
Media Type:
Website
Description:
Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Winter Fleets at Local Ports; The Steam Tug Rival; Book Review
Date of Publication:
Jan 1973
Language of Item:
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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Toronto Marine Historical Society
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Full Text

Meetings

Friday, February 2nd - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Films: "Winter Voyage" the winter escapades of IMPERIAL ACADIA) and "BP Tanker" (life on the BRITISH EXPLORER).

Friday, March 2nd - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Members' slide night. Slides should be limited to about 20 per member and must be of marine interest.

The Editor's Notebook

Firstly, we should apologize for the lack of a photo-page in this issue. We had hoped to illustrate our fleet list and Ship of the Month, but our regular printer was unable to handle the work due to the holiday crush of last-minute jobs. We promise to have a double photo-page next month so that we can put in the photos we are missing now.

Our thanks should go to the Toronto Harbour Commission which is allowing us to distribute to our members its monthly "Port of Toronto News." In fact we should be flattered since we are told that it gets to our readers almost a month earlier than those the T.H.C. mails out directly to its friends and customers!

While we do realize that the weather has been extremely nasty for some of our recent meetings, we do think it would be gratifying to see a few more members attending on First Fridays. How about it, Toronto, Hamilton and St. Catharines?

In our New Member Department, we should like to extend a very warm welcome to Gregory Rudnick of Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Marine News

A surprise announcement concerns the sale of one of the major American lake shipping concerns, but no, Steinbrenner is not involved! We understand that the Diamond Shamrock Corporation has disposed of its interest in Pickands Mather & Company, the parent firm of the Interlake Steamship Company, The purchaser is Moore-McCormack Co. Inc., of which Pickands Mather & Company will now be the largest division since it includes both mining and shipping interests. The other division will, of course, be Moore-McCormack Lines Inc., the famous American operator of ocean passenger and freight vessels. Diamond Shamrock was a corporation interested mainly in chemicals and it will be interesting to see what changes result from control of P.M. passing to another firm primarily engaged in shipping.

In our last issue, we reported that although a settlement had been reached in the wage dispute between Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. and its shoreside freight handlers, the company's vessels had not returned to service. In this, we were only partially correct, since a few of the package freighters did appear to make a few trips. Among those that did not fit out were FORT HENRY, FRENCH RIVER and ENGLISH RIVER. Then in mid-December there came the announcement which we had expected, to the effect that service will be severely curtailed next season. The company will close its facilities at Montreal, Port Credit and Point Edward (Sarnia) and in 1973 will operate only to Valleyfield, Hamilton, Windsor, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. Of its eight package freighters, C.S.L. plans to operate only three and it has already become quite clear that the company is anxious to peddle its superfluous tonnage to other operators. We feel that it will not be long until C.S.L. will announce its total withdrawal from the package freight trade as we cannot see how the operation can be maintained successfully after such a cutback in service.

It has been learned that the Hall Corporation tanker INLAND TRANSPORT suffered a relatively serious grounding late in the season at Little Current on the North Channel. We understand that there was some spillage of cargo at the time. The motor-vessel was taken to Collingwood Shipyards for inspection and has since gone into winter quarters at Sarnia. There has been no definite word on her future, but things do not look good. INLAND TRANSPORT was built in 1926 at Kearney, New Jersey, as the bulk carrier STEEL CHEMIST for the United States Steel Products Corporation and was originally fitted with deck cranes for handling cargoes of steel products. She was later known as (b) THE INLAND and (c) TRANSINLAND, sailing under these names for the Inland Steel Company and Transit Tankers and Terminals Ltd., respectively.

The vessel currently under construction at Sorel for Branch Lines Ltd. is, of course, to be christened ARTHUR SIMARD and will enter service in 1973. She is Marine Industries Hull No. 415. It has been announced that a sister tanker will be built immediately following her completion for delivery in November 1974. The new ship will be known while under construction as Hull 413, the step backwards in numbering apparently being made to use up a hull number left vacant as a result of the cancellation of an earlier contract.

The veteran self-unloaders UNITED STATES GYPSUM and PETER REISS have been sold by the American Steamship Company (Boland & Cornelius) to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne for scrapping. The GYPSUM was heavily damaged in a collision and grounding incident in November and is currently reposing at the old Great Lakes Engineering Works dock at Ecorse, Michigan. The REISS was involved in an unsuccessful barge operation recently. We understand that BoCo may also decide to dispose of HENNEPIN shortly unless there is a sudden rush of business requiring her operation.

The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company has invited scrap bids on its inactive car-ferries PERE MARQUETTE 21 and PERE MARQUETTE 22, although this does not mean that the vessels will actually be sold. Both steamers were built in 1924 at Manitowoc and have since been lengthened and repowered. Meanwhile, the railway's CITY OF SAGINAW 31 is still reposing at Manitowoc with unrepaired fire damage. In view of the C & O's current attitude toward the operation of the cross-lake services, we doubt that she will ever be repaired.

We had previously reported that the last cargo of newsprint to be shipped by water from the Thorold plant of the Ontario Paper Company would be loaded during the winter months in CHICAGO TRIBUNE for spring movement to its destination. We have since learned that the schedule was advanced and that the TRIBUNE cleared Thorold with the last cargo on November 30th. She was then to load a storage cargo of barley for Toronto, but she was not quick enough to catch the Welland before its early closing and will be wintering in Port Colborne.

Incidentally, the last ship down the Welland Canal before its closing was the Q & O motorship PIC RIVER. Due to bad weather, the canal was held open past its intended closure date of December 15 and the PIC RIVER actually entered the waterway late on the 16th. She did not clear Port Weller until the following day, en route to Toronto with a storage cargo.

The Ontario Ministry of Industry and Tourism has announced a grant of $7,000 to be used to help offset the cost of drydocking the former Muskoka lakes steamer SEGWUN for hull inspection and repair. It is understood that the vessel would be drydocked in the lock located at Port Carling. SEGWUN has been used the past few years as a marine museum at Gravenhurst as she is the last of the Muskoka passenger steamers, but prior to the cessation of the passenger service in 1958, she was used as a dayboat, primarily on Lake Muskoka. It is hoped that SEGWUN might some day be returned to service, if only in order to move her marine exhibits about the lakes. SEGWUN was built in 1887 of iron, having been fabricated in Scotland, and was originally operated as the sidewheeler NIPISSING.

The Ontario Department of Transportation and Communications will spend $1.7-million on a new 50-car ferry to improve service on the route between Kingston and Wolfe Island. The new ferry is to enter service in 1974 but we have been unable to determine where she will be built. In addition, the sum of $900,000 will be spent on improvements to docking facilities and to help keep ahead of the ice problem during the winter months.

The U.S. District Court in Cleveland has agreed to allow the August purchase of the Wilson Marine Transit Company's fleet by the American Ship Building Company, providing that there are no objections by a date in January and provided also that AmShip sell or scrap a total of nine ships from its combined fleet, including three of the six best Wilson vessels. The entire matter is quite complicated, but the end result will be a considerable paring back of the Kinsman-Wilson operations as measured by the number of vessels. The sales have, in fact, already started as the parent AmShip has disposed of the Wilson steamer J.H. HILLMAN JR. to the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton & Company, for conversion to a self-unloader. We would also look for several of the older and smaller Kinsman ships to be sold for scrapping shortly.

The diminutive Lake Ontario sandsucker C.W. CADWELL, which spent most of the year in idleness at her owner's dock at Queenston, was sold during the Autumn to Equipment House Ltd., a firm connected with the Harbour Brick Company Ltd. of Toronto. The CADWELL was put on the drydock at Port Weller and then went into service for a short period prior to going to winter quarters at Toronto in November.

There had been some confusion as to whether the self-unloader building at Collingwood as Hull 203 (a sister to J.W. McGIFFIN) would be completed for Canada Steamship lanes Ltd. or whether she would be sold on the ways to the Algoma Central Railway. It has now been confirmed that the vessel will be for C.S.L. and that Algoma has no new ships in mind at the present time.

The former Upper Lakes Shipping bulk carrier WIARTON, (a) THOMAS LYNCH, was stripped of her cabins and machinery by United Steel and Metals at Hamilton during November and December. Thereafter, she was loaded with stone and is, we understand, destined to join GROVEDALE (II) and HENRY R.PLATT JR.(II) as part of the dock facing at Stelco's coal receiving facilities. Her bridge structure and the iron deckhand are reposing forlornly atop a pile of rubble in the wrecker's yard.

We are indeed pleased to learn that yet another old laker sold for scrapping overseas has chosen the Deep Six over the wrecker's torch. We have a report (as yet not completely confirmed) that MICHIPICOTEN broke away from her tug on November 17th while in the vicinity of Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and subsequently broke in two. The stern section apparently foundered immediately, while the bow floated for about a day. Provided this report is true, and we see no reason to disbelieve it, MICHIPICOTEN becomes the ninth laker so lost, the others being (in order of their demise) PERSEUS, ARCTURUS, W. WAYNE HANCOCK, FAYETTE BROWN (also lost on Anticosti Island), MOHAWK DEER, LAKETON, EDWARD Y. TOWNSEND, and PETER ROBERTSON.

The scrapping of the three Canadian Dredge and Dock steam tugs FRANK DIXON, STRATHMORE, and A.M.GERMAN at Hamilton has been halted and the hulls placed under seizure pending the results of legal action and conflict of interest charges against one of the Hamilton Harbour Commissioners who is one of the principals of the shipbreaking firm. We understand that the gentleman involved has now been removed from his seat on the Commission. The dispute arose over the refusal to grant an operating permit to a competing scrapping firm that wished to make use of the harbour facilities.

The small Paterson motorvessel PRINDOC grounded in the St. Lawrence above the Eisenhower Lock in the vicinity of Cat Island on November 22nd. She was released on November 24th by McAllister tugs which came to the scene.

Another casualty of the autumn season was the Paterson upper laker SENATOR OF CANADA which ran aground on December 12th near Le Moines Point to the west of Kingston, She had loaded grain at Kingston and was en route to Trois Rivieres at the time of the occurrence. The salvage barge MAPLEHEATH was used to remove grain from the SENATOR and she was finally refloated on December 15, being taken back into Kingston for temporary repairs. She finally cleared port the following day.

The 551-foot 1960-built Norwegian tanker STOUT FALCON sustained serious fire damage in her crews quarters while on Lake Michigan on November 28. Three injured crewmen were removed by United States Coast Guard helicopter.

It has been announced that the Port Huron plant of the Peerless Cement Company will be closed down on January 5th, 1973, about a year earlier than originally planned. Although manufacturing will have ceased, cement will continue to be shipped from the plant until current supplies are exhausted. The plant was constructed back in 1923 by the Egyptian Portland Cement Company, being acquired by Peerless in 1927. Ship photographers gathering beneath the Blue Water Bridge will undoubtedly be glad of this development since they will now be able to shoot without the bother of the heavy clouds of dust and smoke produced by the plant and the objectionable material which frequently fell from the air to stain clothes and obscure lenses.

The tug DANA T. BOWEN was sold during the autumn by the Hindman Transportation Company Ltd. to Messrs. Don Lee and Francis McMillan who have had her moved from Owen Sound to Port Lambton, Ontario, a small port on the St. Clair River. We presume that she will be resold but there has been no word to this effect yet.

The barge RESOLUTE is rapidly disappearing under the cutting torches at Green Bay, Wisconsin. Latterly owned by the Roen Steamship Company of Sturgeon Bay, RESOLUTE was originally the bulk cargo barge MANDA and was built in 1896 for the Minnesota Steamship Company. She later served the Pittsburgh Steamship Company, the Great Lakes Towing Company, and the Fiber Paper Company before passing to Roen ownership in 1946. She has not seen operation for a number of years.

Elsewhere in this issue, readers will find a listing of vessels spending the winter in Toronto Harbour. It is indeed interesting to note that among the names is that of GEORGE M. CARL. Unless our memory and records both fail us, we believe that this is the first time a Misener boat has wintered at Toronto since our perennial lay-up, LAKETON, last had a storage cargo here for Victory Mills over the winter of 1958-59!

The Toronto ferry SAM McBRIDE was moved during December from the city ferry terminal to a berth in the turning basin where she will receive her new engines which we understand to be Caterpillar diesels. The job of repowering will be done by Ship Repair and Supply Ltd.

We thought we had reported this item earlier, but on checking back issues we could not find it, so for the benefit of those who may not have heard we pass along word that the new Imperial Oil tanker building at Port Weller will be christened IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR.

In the December issue, we reported that WESTDALE would be converted to oil fuel while in winter quarters at Port Colborne. We have now learned that she will also be compartmented in order to make her more suitable for service in the Georgian Bay parcel grain trade if and when she might be required. Incidentally, despite pessimistic rumours making the rounds concerning the future of Reoch's only other remaining straightdecker ELMDALE, we can report that her owners have not as yet made any firm decision on whether or not she will see further service.

Winter Fleets at Local Ports

At the time of writing, there were twenty-five lake freighters in winter quarters at Toronto. The only possible additions to the list might be a late-operating tanker or two and we shall advise in February's issue if there are any changes. While we are at it, we might as well pass along the lay-up listings for the ports along the Welland Canal. Our thanks to Bill Bruce for his assistance in supplying information.

Toronto

ALGORAIL

R. BRUCE ANGUS

BAY TRANSPORT

BLACK RIVER

C. W. CADWELL

CANADIAN PROGRESS

GEORGE M. CARL

CONGAR

FRANQUELIN

GODERICH

GULF SENTINEL

LAKE TRANSPORT

GORDON C. LEITCH

METIS

NEW YORK NEWS

JAMES NORRIS

NORTHERN VENTURE

PIC RIVER

POINTE NOIRE

QUEBECOIS

SHELTER BAY

SHIERCLIFFE HALL

STERNECLIFFE HALL

TEXACO-BRAVE

WHEAT KING

Port Colborne

CANADIAN MARINER

A. S. GLOSSBRENNER

GOLDEN HIND

HILDA MARJANNE

ROY A. JODREY

LAKE MANITOBA

LAWRENDOC

NORDRILL

SEAWAY QUEEN

WESTDAL

ALPENA

Humberstone

CANADIAN LEADER

CANADOC

HENRY G. DALTON

YVON DUPRE JR.

GEORGIAN BAY

GLENEAGLES

QUETICO

RIMOUSKI

SENNEVILLE

Port Weller

TARANTAU

Thorold

No vessels wintering.

Ship of the Month No. 27

Minnedosa

PRIDE OF CANADA was the registered name of a lake barquentine built by Louis Shickluna at St. Catharines in 1859. She was a good vessel of her class, the Old Welland Canal type, limited by the locks to 138-foot length and 365 tons register, the most that could be dragged over the sills.

January's Ship of the Month, the schooner MINNEDOSA, awaits upbound passage with GLENGARRY in this 1896 photo of Port Dalhousie by W. A. Traill. In the right background are ALGONQUIN and ROSEDALE.The real Pride of Canada in the lake trade came thirty years later, when James Roney, master builder for the Montreal Transportation Company Ltd., laid the keel blocks for the schooner MINNEDOSA in the company's shipyard at Kingston east of the old Tete du Pont barracks, where the brick stables now stand. Work was begun in 1889, and on April 26th, 1890, she was ready for launching.

All the soft soap in Frontenac County had been gathered up to grease the ways. Two tugs were required to start her. The launching bottle was broken and the christened name pronounced - MINNEDOSA. Minnedosa is a Sioux word meaning waters of the rapids. "Fastwater" would be an English equivalent.

Down the ways slid the great hollow-sounding hull, until the bow was almost clear. Then she hung. Her great weight had spread or broken the huge oaken timbers of the slideways under water. A diver had to go down to ascertain what was holding her. It was a perilous task to remove the obstruction without injuring the vessel or being crushed by her. Scholars thought of the origin of the launching custom of shedding the blood of the grape on the bow, which is said to represent the blood of the human sacrifices with which pagan launchings were accompanied of yore. Sailors said that if she killed a man at her launching, she would go on killing men all her life.

But she floated off without injury to herself or the diver, and had a useful career of twenty-five years. Yet the price of her christening was paid in the end.

The MINNEDOSA really justified the name of "Pride of Canada", although she never wore it. She was the last and the greatest of the thousand schooners built in Canada for the lakes. Her builders lavished labour and decoration upon her, She was as good a vessel as could be built from oak and iron in the 19th century. She was 250 feet long from stem to stern, 242 feet on the keel, 38 feet beam, 17 feet deep in the hold. These figures from Dominion Illustrated, May 10th, 1890. I have not her registered tonnage. The Great lakes Red Book credited her with 2000 tons capacity as an ore carrier.

Her floor frames, the heaviest part of her ribbing, were oak timbers 18 inches by 16 inches, as heavy as those of the famous Kingston-built three-decker H.M.S. ST. LAWRENCE, of 102 guns, and there was only five inches of space between them. Her bilge planks were great lengths of oak eight inches thick. Her sides and ceiling were 5-inch oak plank, All this oak was reinforced by a steel sheerstrake 5/8 of an inch thick belting her all around at the deck level and 18 inches deep. Below this, inside, she had diagonal straps of steel forming three 5-foot squares and landing 2 1/2 feet on the floor frames. This was to prevent hogging.

She had four masts and the mainmast was 150 feet from heel to topmast truck. She was not a lofty vessel, for her proportions of beam to length (one to seven) and the impracticability of carrying ballast called for a relatively low-sail plan. But she had four topmasts, and was fully rigged on all masts, carrying twelve working sails. With the wind abeam she was capable of making fifteen knots.

She had six cargo hatches. Her forecastle was a high, square deckhouse under the foreboom. Nearly all other lake schooners had their forecastles forward, in the eyes of the ship, and below deck. She had a handsome poop cabin aft, where her deck was raised. The cabin had two doors and two windows in the forward bulkhead, four windows on each side, and a large skylight over the dining room, which was in the after part of it. The jiggermast came through the cabin roof, forward of the skylight.

The stern was rounded with a beautiful elliptical transom and her stem had a graceful cutwater knee and trailboards, culminating in a lifesize half-length figure of Ceres, the Grecian goddess of harvest. Behind her, inverted cornucopiae, or horns of plenty poured out the bounty of corn and wheat and the fruits of the earth, flowing back in a beautifully carved Greek scroll running along the cheek-knees. On the headrails which braced the figurehead was, at each end, a Canadian beaver with a maple branch in his mouth. Between the lines of the rails the name was carven deep. A thousand dollars were spent on goldleaf and painting for this figurehead. It was the finest ever set afloat on fresh water. It was designed and its construction supervised by N. Henderson, Kingston artist. The gilding, all in gold leaf, was done by John Martin. The artist who did the carving was Louis Gourdier, one of the most skilful wood workers in Canada. He even finished the catheads, the great foot-square oak timbers projecting from the bows for catting the anchors, with the heads of cats as large as tigers, carved in relief on the ends of the timbers, and these were painted to look like life.

It took 65-foot oak sticks, 14 inches square, to build up her main keelson, and her sister keelsons were also 14 inches square. She had two decks and two shelf-pieces. 36 x 7 inches on each side, with doubled deck frames supported by 140 iron hanging knees, each weighing 400 lbs. She cost between $60,000 and $70,000 to build in 1890. It is doubtful if the work could be done now at ten times the figure, if it could be done at all. We have neither the oak nor the carpenters.

MINNEDOSA was meant to sail, and did sail as fast as any steamboat could do. Her first voyage to Toledo to load grain was in tow of the tug WALKER, because they knew she would need a tug to get her through the Welland Canal and up the Maumee River, The WALKER couldn't keep the towline taut when they made sail on her, and cast off. When they got to the canal there was little use for the tug there either, for MINNEDOSA was so long that she filled the new (then) locks completely, and the tug had to lock through ahead of her or after her. The tug came in handy of course on the long level, and in light winds especially if they were ahead.

The MINNEDOSA had to tow through the canal with horses, and it took four teams to move her - six or eight if the wind got strong. That was one of her drawbacks. And twelve men are said to have been needed to sail her - whether twelve all told, or twelve in the forecastle and four in the cabin is not known. That is one of the reasons why she was cut down to be a tow barge. She needed a smaller crew. There were only eight in her when she was a barge.

The MINNEDOSA's first master was Capt. John Geoghan of Kingston; her last, Capt. Phillips. Capt. Geoghan was succeeded by Capt. John Irwin of Kingston, who had successful seasons in her in 1896 and 1897 but had to give her up from a fatal illness contracted on board. Her freights from Fort William to Kingston ran sometimes as high as $3,000 a trip. In the plain living and high thinking 1890's, with sailors' wages at $1 a day and "corporation pay" considered extravagant at fifteen cents an hour, any vessel earning a $1,000 freight was a money maker,

Capt. "Cham" Irwin (Robert Chamberlain were his first names) succeeded his father, John, in 1897 and he sailed MINNEDOSA until 1904, when he left her and went into steam, in the English-built 'midship-bridged steamer WEXFORD, lost in the Great Gale of 1913. Capt Irwin was not in her. He died in Collingwood in 1909 after laying the WEXFORD up.

Capt. John Irwin's name lived long after him on the lakes in the tanker JOHN IRWIN, now the CYCLO-BRAVE (and later TEXACO-BRAVE -ed.) of the McColl-Frontenac Oil Company Ltd. She was built in the old country.

Before becoming master of MINNEDOSA, Capt. Irwin had been master of the schooner EDWARD BLAKE for seven years when she was owned by Samuel Fraser. Capt. John Irwin was an old employee of the Calvin Company, timber-merchants of Garden Island, and of James Morton of the Kingston distillery. Later, he sailed his own schooners, the LILY, lost off Long Point in a storm - his only disaster - and the CHAMPION and QUEEN of the Bay (of Quinte - ed.). He was in partnership for a time with James Falconer. He was 47 years a lake mariner.

One error in judgment was made in building the MINNEDOSA and it cost dear in the end. It almost broke the builder's heart although he was in no way to blame for it. The management was persuaded that the ship would have too much freeboard, that is, she was going to have her side unnecessarily high out of the water so that with her hold full to the hatches she would draw so much water she could not get through the canal. So they gave the order when she was in frame to finish her with 18 inches less topsides than planned. As originally designed she could have carried 90,000 bushels and been the most seaworthy vessel on fresh water.

She seemed to do well enough as it was, but the testing time came when she was fifteen years old and crowded with cargo in an effort to establish a new record for a big load from Fort William to Kingston. With 75,000 bushels in her she had not enough buoyancy and spare freeboard to rise with the waves like a duck or a gull; instead, she dipped like a helldiver. This befell her in an autumn gale on October 20th, 1905, 2 1/2 miles off Harbor Beach in Lake Huron, across the lake from Goderich.

She was in tow then of the steamer WESTMOUNT (I), behind the barge MELROSE, for the tall topmasts had long since been taken out of her and her masts reduced to stumps. She had become a towbarge, just another of the weary caravan trailing up and down the lakes behind tug or steamer. Running for shelter in a great gale, she went down in a sea and never came up and she took good men with her, six sailors and Capt, Phillips and his wife. Seeing that she was foundering, Capt. Phillips is believed to have cut the towline so as to save the MELROSE ahead of him from foundering too.

(Ed. Note: The above description of MINNEDOSA was penned more than a quarter century ago by the late. C. H. J. Snider and we hope that our readers will enjoy it as much as we do. Mr. Snider wrote in a very distinctive manner and was, of course, an authority on sailing vessels.

We may add a bit to the description of the big schooner, MINNEDOSA was one of only a handful of four-masted schooners ever to sail the lakes. Her official number was 94884 and her tonnage was 1315 Gross, 1041 Net. She spent her entire life in the service of the Montreal Transportation Company Ltd. Even when still fitted with her topmasts, she was usually towed rather than sailed under her canvas and her usual towing steamer during the early years was the 170-foot 1872-built wooden freighter GLENGARRY. The big steel canaller WESTMOUNT (I) appeared in 1903 and took over charge of MINNEDOSA which was by then cut down to barge rig.

Incidentally, despite Mr. Snider's flattering comment to the effect that the tanker JOHN IRWIN was named for the second skipper of MINNEDOSA, the fact is that the steamer was actually christened in honour of another gentleman of the same name, a Montreal financier and one-time president of the McColl-Frontenac Oil Company Ltd.)

The Steam Tug Rival

Any marine historian of the lower lakes, and especially those who know Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, will be familiar with the handsome 85-foot steam tug RIVAL, which dates from 1923. She was, of course, one of the Sin-Mac tugs and is still operated by McAllister Towing, although she has since been dieselized and rarely leaves Montreal harbour.

In any event, there is now available a fine 11 x 14 print of a spirited pen-and-ink drawing of RIVAL done by one of our members, Miss Barbara Carson of Kingston. The print is suitable for framing and is obtainable for the price of $1.00 from another of our members, Mr. Nels Wilson, 22 Grange Street, Kingston, K7M 2J4. Cheques or money orders should be made payable to the Marine Society of South Marysburgh, for whose benefit the print is being sold.

Incidentally, RIVAL was at one time chartered to Lloyd Tankers Ltd. and is described in this month's Fleet List elsewhere in this issue.

Book Review

Every so often, your editor gets involved in research on some point of marine history and winds up dreaming about writing a book on the subject. Nothing ever gets accomplished, however, since we never seem to have enough time to look after our present projects much less bite off a chore of this magnitude. Some day.........

Nevertheless, some of our members do have the time to do some writing and when their works are published we feel they are deserving of a few words in these pages. This is especially true in the case of Daniel C. Mccormick of Massena, New York, whose first major published effort "The Wishbone Fleet" has recently appeared.

This work is a 126-page soft-cover book printed on 8 1/2 x 11 stock. It deals with the oft-confusing story of the marine operations of the Hall Corporation Ltd. and the George Hall Corporation together with their various associated companies. The interaction between the Canadian and American Hall companies has long been a source of trouble for marine historians who would seek to comprehend the corporate history of the fleet, but Mr. Mccormick has done much to make things more clear. In addition to dealing with corporate matters, he has included a detailed individual profile of the history of each ship which has served the fleet, together with an excellent selection of photographs illustrating the majority of ships operated.

In addition, the book contains other interesting material, including legal documents relating to the loss of two of the company's vessels, AYCLIFFE HALL and MONT LOUIS, as well as an account of the delivery voyage of the steamer LUCIUS W. ROBINSON from Montreal to Shanghai in 1946 after she was sold to Nationalist Chinese operators.

In short, "The Wishbone Fleet" is an excellent reference work and one that should have a place in the library of any serious marine enthusiast. We recommend it to pur readers and would suggest that interested parties contact Mr. Mccormick at 1 Isabel Street, Massena, New York 13662, for further information.

Lloyd Tankers Limited

(Lake Transportation subsidiary of Lloyd Refineries Ltd., Toronto and Port Credit)

A Fleet List

When L. B. Lloyd, a Toronto gas and oil dealer, ventured into the business of refining petroleum products in the 1930's, it was necessary to bring crude oil to the new refinery he built at Port Credit, Ontario, Accordingly, he became associated with John E. Russell of Toronto who was renowned as a marine salvage expert and had much experience in the operation of tugs, barges and bulk carriers.

Russell set about assembling a fleet of tugs and barges to supply the new refinery. While refitting the barge EN-AR-CO in the turning basin at Toronto on July 23, 1934, a welder's torch ignited waste in the hold of the old barge. A violent explosion and fire ensued and the barge was severely damaged. John Russell was aboard at the time and received injuries which proved fatal.

Prior to the building of the barge BRUCE HUDSON in 1935, the principal carrier used was the barge ROY K. RUSSELL which began life in 1872 at Buffalo as the crack passenger and freight propeller JAPAN of the Anchor Line. After the advent of the HUDSON, both barges were employed bringing crude from Montreal East to Port Credit. The first tug used was MUSCALLONGE and she used to tow the two barges in tandem. As MUSCALLONGE was too large to lock through the St. Lawrence Canal locks with a barge, they took along on the tow the small wooden tug AJAX for use in the locks. The ROY K. RUSSELL was forbidden to use the St. Lawrence Canal while laden with oil due to her advanced age and poor condition, so she was left at Prescott while the HUDSON proceeded to Montreal East. HUDSON then returned to Prescott and pumped her cargo into the RUSSELL, thereafter returning to Montreal for her own load. On the return trip to Port Credit, the RUSSELL was picked up at Prescott. Usually MUSCALLONGE led the tow with the RUSSELL astern of her. The RUSSELL was followed by BRUCE HUDSON and AJAX was trailed out astern of the second barge. As the bunker capacity of AJAX was very small, she was usually towed deadhead to Port Credit.

In spite of many difficulties encountered in the operation of the barges, the Lloyd venture prospered and in due course the fleet was expanded. In 1937, control of the Lloyd refinery and tankers passed to the Goodrich Oil Company but Lloyd Tankers Ltd. continued to be a corporate entity. Then in 1947 Trinidad Leaseholds Ltd. (Regent Oil) acquired control of the Port Credit refinery and the vessels were sold. Still later, Texaco Canada Ltd. acquired control of Regent.

A detailed listing of the various fleet units follows. Colours of the ships were - bright red hull with white cabins and a silver stack with a large red "L" and a black smoke band.

BRUCE HUDSON (Can. 158658). Steel tank barge built 1935 by Horton Steel Works Ltd. at Fort Erie, Ontario. 164 x 30 x 11.5. Gross 452. Named after the son of L. B. Lloyd, Soon after entering service, while in tow of MUSCALLONGE bound from Montreal East to Port Credit with crude, she capsized on July 16, 1935, off Cobourg in Lake Ontario, but did not sink. With the aid of tug RIVAL of Sin Mac Lines Ltd., the upside-down barge was towed to Toronto where the cargo was siphoned off. RIVAL and MUSCALLONGE then tried to roll the barge over but did not succeed, so she was towed to Port Weller where the GATELIFTER helped to do the job. Not long after returning to service, the HUDSON again got into trouble on Lake Ontario (November 1936) while in tow of the tug ETHEL. The tug ran out of fuel and as the weather was poor and the barge was icing badly, she cut the barge adrift and proceeded to Port Hope for bunkers, taking off the HUDSON's crew. The steamer BRULIN found the drifting barge and towed it to Port Weller so that when the tug returned the next day, she could not locate the barge! The Exchequer Court of Canada finally awarded salvage fees of $9999.00 to the owner and crew of BRULIN. In 1937 HUDSON again gave evidence of unseaworthiness when she broke away from RIVAL on Lake Erie. She managed to reach the port of Erieau but barely escaped stranding.

As a result of the poor operating experience of the barge, it was decided to rebuild her as a steamer at Muir's Drydock at Port Dalhousie, the job being done in 1939. She was lengthened 8 feet and fitted with twin screws powered by steam engines which had previously seen service in the passenger steamer WAUBIC. Her boilers came from C.S.L.'s MARTIAN (I) formerly the MARS (I) of Cleveland's Gilchrist fleet. The rebuild made her more seaworthy but her troubles were not over. On July 27, 1943, she caught fire while loading gasoline at East Chicago. Captain Ross Hindman of Midland, his 16-year old son, and two other crewmen were killed in the resultant explosion. The superstructure was badly damaged but the tanker did not sink.

She was towed to Muir's yard for repairs, arriving at Port Dalhousie on August 10, 1943. In 1946 she was lengthened 40 feet and deepened 5 feet at Port Weller Drydocks. She was sold in 1947 to Transit Tankers and Terminals Ltd., Montreal, Gaston Elie, Manager, but continued to operate under charter to Trinidad Leaseholds Ltd., Port Credit. Renamed (b) COASTAL CLIFF in 1952. Converted to diesel power 1957 and lengthened to 249.3 x 30.0 x 16.3. Gross 1319, Net 933. Later transferred to the affiliated Coastalake Tankers Ltd. and Canadian Sealakers Ltd. About 1968 she went back to Transit Tankers and was sold in 1969 to Challenger Ltd. for service in the Caribbean as (c) WITCROIX.

JOAN VIRGINIA (52), (a) CHARPENTIER, (b) VERNON (22), (c) CEDARBAY (36), (e) COASTAL CASCADES. (Can. 150835). Twin screw steel steam coaster built 1919 at La Seyne, France, by Forgeries & Chantiers de la Mediterranee (Hull 1124) for the French Government. 218.8 x 34.3 x 12.4. Gross 1229, Net 651. Acquired 1922 by the Tree Line Navigation Co. Ltd. and brought to the lakes. After service in the package freight and bulk trades, she was sold in 1936 to Lloyd Refineries Ltd. She was converted to a tanker at Port Dalhousie by Muir's Drydock during August-November 1936 and renamed (d) JOAN VIRGINIA in honour of L. B. Lloyd's daughter. Sold 1947 to Transit Tankers and Terminals Ltd., Montreal. She was idle at Cascades, Quebec, during the 1957 and 1958 seasons. After a short period of operation in 1959, she was chartered to Canadian Petrofina Ltd. for use as a storage barge at Montreal. Sank at her dock in Montreal on July 24, 1960. Refloated in August 1960, she was finally cut up for scrap in 1962.

ROY K. RUSSELL, (a) JAPAN (U.S. 161767), (b) CITY OF HAMILTON (I)(Can. 133752), (c) CITY OF WALKERVILLE, (d) ROY K. RUSSELL, (e) JAPAN, (f) ROY K. RUSSELL. Iron passenger and freight propeller built 1871 by Gibsons at Buffalo for the famous Anchor Line (the Erie and Western Transit Co.) of the Pennsylvania Railroad. She and her sister ships INDIA and CHINA were the finest of their day. Each carried a lifesize statue atop the pilothouse representing a typical native of the country for which she was named. 210.0 x 32.6 x 14.0. Gross 1239, Net 932. Operated 1872 to 1892 in the pool service formed by a number of lake lines in the Buffalo-Duluth service under the flag of the Lake Superior Transit Co. Sold 1910 to the Montreal & Lake Erie Steamship Co., Toronto. This concern later became part of the Merchants Mutual Line and thus entered the Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. merger in 1913. C.S.L. removed the passenger cabins and employed her as a package freighter. Sold 1929 to John E. Russell, Toronto, and cut down to a barge. Converted to a tanker barge 1930 and operated by Ohio Tankers Corp. (Capt. C. D. Secord). Returned to Russell ownership and Canadian registry in 1931 and operated for Lloyd Refineries Ltd. She broke her moorings at the Port Credit refinery late in 1935 and, as her mushroom anchor would not hold on the shale bottom, she drifted onto the rock ledge at the mouth of the Credit River. Her cargo was salvaged but she remained hard ashore and was frozen in all winter. She was refloated by the tug AJAX in April 1936. It was decided that she was not worth repairing so she was stripped at Port Credit and towed to Hamilton for scrapping in July 1936 by MUSCALLONGE.

MUSCALLONGE, (a) VIGILANT. (U.S. 161767), (Can. 133752). Double deck wooden tug built by the Jenks Shipbuilding Co. at Port Huron, Michigan, in 1896. 128.0 x 24.5 x 12.0. Gross 360, Net 245. In 1899 she became a unit of the newly formed Great Lakes Towing Co. which was a merger of most of the large U. S. towing companies on the Upper Lakes. Sold about 1908 to John Hannan and the Ogdensburg Coal & Towing Co. About this time, she was cut down to a single-decker with pilothouse atop the cabin. Sold about 1912 to the Norton Griffiths Dredging Co. Ltd., Montreal, and by 1918 she was a unit of the Sincennes MacNaughton Line Ltd., Montreal. The editor has a photo of her in the colours of the Roger Miller Co. Ltd., Toronto, taken sometime between 1912 and 1918 so it would appear Norton Griffiths may have been affiliated with Roger Miller Co. Ltd. In 1934 after a period of idleness, Sin Mac chartered her to John E. Russell to tow barges for Lloyd Refineries Ltd. On August 15, 1936, while towing BRUCE HUDSON and assisted by AJAX near Brockville, Ontario, fire broke out in the galley of MUSCALLONGE. As the fire was out of control, Capt. Ahern of Port Dalhousie cut the barge adrift and beached the tug. At dawn the next day, as the stern began to settle, her bunker tanks containing about 1000 gallons of oil exploded, and she burned to the water's edge.

AJAX (Can. 111935). Wooden tug built 1902 at Bobcaygeon, Ontario, for service on the Kawartha lakes as a rafting tug. 54.0 x 14.6 x 6.1. Gross 33, Net 23. Long owned by W. F. C. Boyd, Bobcaygeon, Acquired by the Lloyd Tankers fleet in 1934. About 1935 or 1936 she sank at her dock at Port Credit but was quickly salvaged by Russell Salvage units. After BRUCE HUDSON was converted to a steamer in 1939, she lay idle for several years at Port Dalhousie before being stripped. It is believed that her hull was laid to rest in the tug boneyard above Lock One and to the west of the Henley Grandstand.

EN-AR-CO, (a) BERKS (06), (b) W. S. CALVERT (2l). (U.S. 2905), (Can. 122113). Iron screw collier built by the Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding and Engine Co. at Chester, Pennsylvania, and launched April 29, 1874. 189.0 x 29.0 x 14.4. Gross 565, Net 376. Owned by the Philadelphia & Reading Railway to carry anthracite coal from Philadelphia to New England ports. She was of rather strange appearance and carried her engines amidships, being fitted with one stack and two masts. Acquired 1906 by the Canadian Transit Co. Ltd., Toronto, and converted to a barge. Purchased in 1909 by the National Refining Co. (later Canadian Oil Companies Ltd.), Toronto, her name standing for the company's initials. They transferred her to their subsidiary Sarnia & Toledo Transit Co. in 1910. Sold 1934 to John E. Russell, Toronto. While refitting at Toronto for Lloyd Tankers, she blew up while moored in the turning basin on July 23, 1934. Russell lost his life in the explosion. Sold 1935 to Pyke Salvage and Navigation Co., Kingston, and converted to a coal barge and lighter with a steam whirly crane mounted on deck. Pyke Salvage later became McAllister-Pyke Salvage Ltd, After several years of inactivity, she was sold in 1969 to United Steel and Refining Co. and towed to Hamilton for scrapping.

RIVAL (Can. 150842). Steel tug built 1923 at Sorel for Sincennes MacNaughton Line Ltd., Montreal. 84.4 x 24.1 x 11.2. Gross 196, Net 115. Has always been in the Sin Mac fleet and its successor, McAllister Towing Ltd., Montreal. On November 10, 1931, she sank in the Welland Canal at Port Colborne as the result of an explosion. Promptly raised and repaired. During the mid 1930's she operated under charter to Lloyd Tankers Ltd., frequently towing BRUCE HUDSON until the latter was powered in 1939. RIVAL was later dieselized.

ETHEL (Can. 103332). Steel steam tug built 1895 at Sorel. 64.0 x 19.2 x 9.0. Gross 72, Net 49. Long operated by Sincennes MacNaughton Line Ltd., Montreal. Sold during the early 1930's to Harrigan Tug Lines, Port Dalhousie, and in the mid 1930's was chartered to Lloyd Tankers Ltd. for use with BRUCE HUDSON and ROY K. RUSSELL. Sold 1938 to the Russell Construction Co. Ltd., Toronto, and renamed (b) R. C. CO. TUG NO. 1. Later when Russell was reorganized as Russell Construction Ltd., she became (c) R. C. L. TUG NO. 1. When Balfour Beatty & Co. Canada Ltd., the owners of Russell Construction Ltd., went into receivership in 1962, she was sold to the Hamilton Harbour Commissioners and renamed (d) ARGUE MARTIN. Sold about 1967 to Evans McKeil Work Boats Ltd., Winona, Ontario, and still operates out of Hamilton. Latterly converted to diesel power.

Additional, Notes on the Lloyd Operations:

The Lloyd Refinery at Port Credit actually began operations in 1932 and that year production was about 300 barrels per day. By 1935, production had increased to 3000 barrels a day!

The refinery at Port Credit utilized the slip west of the Credit River which had been excavated earlier by M. J. Haney to facilitate the shipment of bricks and materials to and from his brickworks. The slip was only eleven feet deep and while BRUCE HUDSON (as a barge) and ROY K. RUSSELL could use the slip, JOAN VIRGINIA and the tug MUSCALLONGE could not. JOAN VIRGINIA and other deep-draft tankers unloaded at a crib sunk in the lake offshore and connected to the refinery by pipeline. BRUCE HUDSON had no power of her own for pumping cargo and it was necessary to use steam from a tug moored alongside. Since MUSCALLONGE could not get into the slip, AJAX was used, and this is the reason that she was deadheaded back to Port Credit on each westbound trip from Montreal rather than being left at the head of the St. Lawrence Canals to assist on the next downbound trip.

On one other occasion BRUCE HUDSON very nearly came to grief (as if we had not described enough such incidents already). In this case, MUSCALLONGE was towing the barge up Montreal Harbour when the tug suddenly lost control in the current, veering off course and nosing into the mud onshore. The HUDSON went adrift and was saved from being swept into the abutment of the Jacques Cartier bridge by two nearby harbour tugs.

We have already mentioned that the owners and crew of BRULIN were awarded $9999.00 for rescuing the wallowing HUDSON in her escapade of November 1936. It seems that Lloyd Tankers was a little slow in paying off the Exchequer Court judgment and accordingly the HUDSON was seized by court order during the summer of 1937. She was held for several weeks until the sum was paid.

For his help with the corporate history of the fleet and many of the details on individual ships, we should like to thank member Lorne Joyce who not only drew on his own records for information but also scurried around and seemingly talked to half the town of Port Credit's residents trying to work out several troublesome points before our printing deadline.

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Scanner, v. 5, n. 4 (January 1973)


Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Winter Fleets at Local Ports; The Steam Tug Rival; Book Review