The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 7, n. 7 (April 1975)
Publication:
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Apr 1975


Description
Creator:
Bascom, John N., Editor
Media Type:
Website
Description:
Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; The New Namesakes of the Lakes; Lay-up Listings; Louis Shickluna - Shipbuilder; Ship of the Month No. 48
Date of Publication:
Apr 1975
Language of Item:
English
Copyright Statement:
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.
Contact
Toronto Marine Historical Society
WWW address
Full Text

Meetings

Friday, May 2 - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Mr. C. A. Lorriman will present an illustrated program on deep-sea passenger vessels including a number of famous ships that have been retired.

Friday, October 3 - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Open Slide Night. Members are invited to bring a few slides each to illustrate their summer ship-watching activities.

The Editor's Notebook

Our March meeting was a tremendous success thanks to the efforts of John H.Bascom and "Scotty" McCannell who presented a program illustrated with photos from the collection of the late Capt. James McCannell. The old lantern slides include some very rare shots of early Georgian Bay steamers and the program was well received by those present. We were pleased to see so many of our out-of-town members in attendance despite the fact that Toronto was caught in the grip of the worst snowstorm of the winter.

By the time you read this, the Dinner Meeting will have come and gone. We will have a full report in our next issue but meantime we are pleased to say that the meeting is a complete sell-out. We sincerely thank our members for their support of this event.

Remember that the May meeting will be our last meeting of the 1974-75 season. We will resume our meetings in October following the summer holiday period. Don't miss the May affair - should be a winner.

In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to Jim Morris Jr. of Detroit and to James H. Ramay of Centre Line, Michigan.

Marine News

Over the years there has been a great variety of stack colours seen on Great Lakes vessels, some of them being very pleasing to the eye and others somewhat less than successful. To our way of thinking, one of the best stack designs among the Canadian fleets has been that of the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. Their colours have for many years been buff with a wide red band and a black smokeband, the intertwined letters "Q & O" (or in the case of Comet Enterprises ships, a large "C") in white on the red band. But now for some reason the company has decided to foresake these colours which have been so distinctive in favour of a design which to us seems far less impressive. Those of the company's vessels wintering at Toronto now have the new colours and we assume that all ships in the fleet will soon have the change made. Gone is the monogram from the funnels, while the smokeband is now a vivid bright blue, the band now white, and the lower portion of the funnel a bright apple green shade. The new colours don't look too bad on the ships with short, squat funnels, but on the tall-stacked SHELTER BAY the effect is a bit overpowering and we hesitate to guess how it will look on HERON BAY. We have yet to hear any official announcement from the company as to why the change was made and what the company hopes to gain from the change.

At long last there has been a significant development in the Kinsman Transit situation and a very pleasing one it is. Many observers had been worried that the veteran Kinsman steamer SILVER BAY would be scrapped as she is only 532 feet in length and has seen but sparing service since she was purchased from the Republic Steel Corporation in 1971. It has now been confirmed that the handsome 58-year old ship has been sold to Robert Pierson Holdings Ltd., a St. Catharines firm controlled by one of the grandsons of Capt. Robert Scott Misener and backed by a number of former Misener stockholders. SILVER BAY has been placed under Canadian registry and her new name is JULIUS A.PIERSON. The vessel will be managed for her new owners during the 1975 season by the Reoch fleet and early indications are that she will spend her time in the grain trade. Her first few trips will see her carrying soya beans to Toronto. At the time of this writing we do not know what colours will be given to the steamer, but we should know very shortly as she is scheduled to begin service soon after the Welland Canal is opened for the season.

More good news comes to us in the form of word that Interlake's 1927-vintage steamer SAMUEL MATHER will operate this year. The MATHER sustained engine damage in an incident occurring on her last trip of the 1974 navigation season and for a while there was considerable doubt as to whether she would be repaired. Repairs are apparently less costly than was earlier anticipated and hence the decision to return the vessel to service. Her sister ROBERT HOBSON will also run in 1975 but is due for inspection prior to the 1976 season and will not likely be retained since considerable outlay would be required to repair bow damage suffered several years ago in an accident at Port Huron.

The earlier suggestion by her owners that C.H. McCULLOUGH JR. would not run again until such time as she may be converted to a bulk cement carrier may be reversed. The original decision to lay the steamer up was based upon current ore rates which make her operation in that trade uneconomical, but it seems that there is considerable grain to be carried and the McCULLOUGH may be put back in service to take advantage of this situation.

By the time these words appear in print, the 1975 Welland Canal season will be well under way. After an extremely late closing in January, the canal was originally scheduled to reopen on April 1st, but because of the mild weather and the early completion of the winter's maintenance program, the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority agreed to requests from several companies who asked that the waterway be opened earlier. As a result, the Welland opened for business on March 25, the earliest opening on record.

After a number of years of trying to run upper lakers through the winter months, a 12-month navigation season has finally been achieved but only thanks to the co-operation of Old Man Winter. The bulk carriers of the United States Steel Corporation's Great Lakes Fleet had been scheduled to run as late as they could but the mild weather conditions and the resultant lack of heavy ice combined to permit the ships to run right through to spring. In March, the various vessels began to run off so that they might be given their normal winter maintenance and as they ran off, other ships were brought out to take their place, namely, HOMER D. WILLIAMS, THOMAS W. LAMONT, SEWELL AVERY, EUGENE W. PARGNY and EUGENE P. THOMAS. Eight of the fleet's vessels managed to operate through to March and these were LEON FRASER, BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS, IRVING S. OLDS, ENDERS M. VOORHEES, A. H. FERBERT, CASON J. CALLAWAY, PHILIP R. CLARKE, and JOHN G. MUNSON. ROGER BLOUGH made her last trip through the Soo on March 1st and then laid up at Milwaukee, her lay-up being forced by the closing of the Poe Lock for maintenance. The MacArthur Lock was reopened at the same time, however, and thus navigation was permitted to continue. It was apparently with some great difficulty that the lengthened CASON J. CALLAWAY and PHILIP R. CLARKE were squeezed into the "Mac" but they made it and did not have to be withdrawn from service as was earlier feared.

Back in the late fifties, there were some nasty rumours circulating to the effect that the U. S. Steel fleet was planning on dropping all its ships rating on the company's seniority list behind JAMES A. FARRELL, in other words, all vessels measuring 580 x 58 or smaller. At the time, we could hardly believe that this could come to pass, even in the hard years of 1957 and 1958, but the dreaded day has finally come. On checking the Steel Trust fit-out listing, we notice that nothing lower than the FARRELL will start this season, although we are pleased to note that the FARRELL herself will run after sitting out the 1974 season. This means that, in addition to ROGERS and CRAWFORD which are already being dismantled, the following will not fit out, at least to start the season; EUGEINE J. BUFFERINGTON, THOMAS F. COLE, ALVA C. DINKEY, WILLIAM J. FILBERT, J.P.MORGAN JR., WILLIAM P. PALMER, HENRY PHIPPS, PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR., WILLIAM B. SCHILLER, RICHARD TRIMBLE and PETER A.B. WIDENER, To this list should probably be added the self-unloader W. F. WHITE, although we have yet to see a fit-out listing for the "Bradley" boats. No doubt this thinning out of the fleet is due to the great quantity of cargo carried by the winter sailing vessels and we presume that if demand is heavy during the year (an unlikely chance in this year of "recession") some of the idle carriers may be reactivated.

Will wonders never cease! It looks as if the little sandsucker C. W. CADWELL will actually operate this year, despite the fears of many observers who had despaired of ever seeing her sail again. It was two years ago that her owners gave the CADWELL the diesels out of the ferry SAM McBRIDE but even though blessed (?) with this new power plant in place of her quaint old steam machinery, she has not moved under her own power since. Last year she was towed to Whitby for fitting of a new propeller but still she did not go into service. It will be strange to see the CADWELL coming across the lake from the Niagara Bar without the old familiar cloud of coalsmoke that perpetually followed her wherever she went.

We don't quite know what to make of a recent news article which indicated that money had been found to save the veteran passenger steamer SOUTH AMERICAN. The report indicated that the ship had been purchased for use as a tourist facility at Mackinac Island and that the funds had been put up by certain unidentified backers. The SOUTH has been lying at Camden, New Jersey, where a scrapper has been waiting to break her up. Fortunately the work had not commenced, although we are certainly not prepared to accept the scrapper's explanation for this as reported in the press. The firm was obviously anxious to avoid the troublesome job of scrapping the ship and would jump at the chance to make a good profit on her resale, and you can bet your boots that if this sale has actually gone through, the ship wasn't sold at any bargain price. Meanwhile, such pedestrian consideration aside, it looks as if the SOUTH will be returning to her home waters, this despite an earlier effort by parties in Holland, Michigan, who also wanted to bring her back to the lakes but who had trouble in obtaining the necessary support. We have some knowledge of the present condition of the SOUTH and all we can say about the refurbishing job is that whoever undertakes it will have one hell of a job on their hands. In addition, the SOUTH is minus her machinery which had been removed earlier.

Despite the fact that neither ship appears on the fit-out list for the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton & Company, we have a report from one of our spies who indicates that both WILLIAM A. REISS and THOMAS WILSON have received Columbia stack colours while in winter quarters at Toledo. Meanwhile, WILLIAM R. ROESCH and PAUL THAYER, the other two Columbia acquisitions from the Kinsman fleet, have not as yet been fully integrated into Columbia operations because of a squabble between unions over the question of which will represent their crews.

March 14th, 1975, was a day on which history was made on the Detroit River. For on that day, the oldest carferry operation on the Great Lakes became a memory as Canadian National Railways abandoned the crossing between Windsor and Detroit. The last crossing was made by the once-proud ex-sidewheeler LANSDOWNE, long-since stripped of her stacks and pilothouse and pushed back and forth across the river by the diesel pusher tug MARGARET YORKE. The abandonment was precipitated by the necessity of vacating the premises on which the Detroit dock was situated, premises which are needed in connection with the construction of the city's much-heralded Renaissance Centre. Canadian National rail traffic will now move through the Penn Central tunnel and outsize loads will be rerouted to Sarnia for handling by the C.N. ferry service on the St. Clair River. We rather doubt that the future holds anything good for the historic LANSDOWNE or for her running mate HURON which was taken out of service some time ago.

Readers will no doubt recall our previous report on the retirement of the steam canal tanker TEXACO-BRAVE. Despite the fact that we knew that her owners were looking for scrap bids on the vessel, the hope had still lingered that some buyer might be found who would operate the BRAVE. Sadly, this is not the case. It is our duty to report that during the second week of March, the vessel was sold to Marine Salvage Ltd. We understand that she will be taken to Ramey's Bend for scrapping shortly after the Welland Canal opens. On a somewhat brighter note, we can advise that a substantial amount of equipment and fixtures has been removed from TEXACO-BRAVE for placement aboard the ferry TRILLIUM, so a part of the old girl will live on.

It seems that Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. is giving serious thought to a complete rebuilding of the bulk carrier WHEAT KING, the job possibly being done at Port Weller next winter. While nothing seems to be formalized as yet, it is known that the company would like to lengthen the ship and convert her to a self-unloader.

Normally we are able to report the sailing of the first vessel from Toronto each spring but this year three ships all sailed on one day and should really share the honours of being first out. Canada Steamship Lines' METIS together with Upper Lakes Shipping's CANADIAN LEADER and RED WING cleared port on Sunday, March 23rd, the former for the Bay of Quinte for a load of cement and the latter two for the Seaway with transit grain cargoes. However, if we were to record the actual first harbour clearance for the 1975 season (even if she was not on a revenue run), the hat would have to go to HERON BAY. She spent the winter at Toronto with a load of storage beans for Victory Mills. The cargo was unloaded and on March 4th, the Q & O steamer was towed across the lake by the tug G. W. ROGERS. She was taken up through Lock One in the Welland Canal and was placed on drydock for her regular inspection.

The tug CATHY McALLISTER which sank recently in Montreal harbour was raised on February 12 with the help of the tugs JAMES BATTLE and HELM M. McALLISTER, two scows and four shore cranes. She was taken on February 13 to Sorel for drydocking and the necessary repairs.

We now learn that, once sold off the lakes, SCOTIACLIFFE (ex SCOTIACLIFFE HALL) was reregistered at Nassau. Presently owned by Forell Inc., a Liberian company, she will be converted to a drill rig by the Gotaverken yard at Gothenburg. It is intended that she should be managed by Olsen & Ugelstad (The Fjell Line) and by the French oil prospecting company, Cosifor. Once converted the ship will be able to work in depths of 200 metres and will be capable of further adaptation for depths up to 330 metres.

The St. Lawrence Seaway opened as scheduled on March 25th. The first downbound vessel was LAKE WINNIPEG while heading up at St. Lambert was RICHELIEU. The Welland Canal section was opened by ISLAND TRANSPORT downbound and by H. M. GRIFFITH upbound.

It looks as if we overlooked reporting one fairly major accident occurring back on February 12. The Algoma Central self-unloader E. B. BARBER was lying in Port Colborne harbour when she suffered a fire in her engine room. The local fire department managed to keep the fire from spreading, but damage to the machinery is rather heavy and an early guesstimate on the cost of repairs was $100,000.

Once again this spring there have been circulating the annual rumours that one or more of the Paterson canallers will be sold. This year the talk has centred around LACHINEDOC and CALGADOC which were allegedly being looked over by prospective purchasers (presumably for off-lakes service) but we have yet to hear any official announcement of a sale.

The New Namesakes of the Lakes

We are pleased to report that Freshwater Press Inc, has now released the reprint of Mr. John O. Greenwood's book Namesakes of the Lakes, the new volume being entitled The New Namesakes of the Lakes. The 402-page book, available at a cost of $l4.75, is an updated version of the original work and uses the same format, that is, one page per active ship with a photo and description of each vessel and an explanation of where the ship got her name.

There have, of course, been certain additions and deletions of ships and the new volume is as up to date as possible. A large number of the original photographs have been replaced by more suitable pictures and this makes the reprint much more attractive than the first effort. We are sure that all marine historians will want to add The New Namesakes of the Lakes to their libraries.

Lay-up Listings

It is, of course, rather too late to bring you any more lay-up listings in these pages since the vessels are out and running, but we would like to correct the previous listing for Port Colborne. To the list for that harbour should be added MANITOULIN and E. B. BARBER. Our thanks to all who helped prepare the listings that we have printed over the last few issues.

Louis Shickluna - Shipbuilder

On many occasions in these pages we have mentioned the Muir Shipyard which was located on the old Welland Canal above Lock One at Port Dalhousie in what came to be known as Muir's Pond. The Muir family, however, were not the only shipbuilders operating along the banks of the early canals. Indeed, only a few miles up the canal flourished the busiest shipyard then operating in the area, a yard that over a period of fifty years turned out 120 wooden and composite lake steamers and sailing vessels.

The Shickluna shipyard in 1863, photo courtesy Al Sagon-King. At left is propellor HER MAJESTY and at right is AMERICA ready for launching. At centre stage is schooner C.G. ALVORD and over her deck can be seen cabin and rails of schooner ST. LAWRENCE.The proprietor of this prolific shipbuilding enterprise was one Louis Shickluna, a gentleman born on the island of Malta in 1808. He came from a long line of shipbuilders and at an early age was trained in the art of producing something as complex as a ship from something as simple as a tree. Shickluna went wandering early in life and at the age of 23 found himself in Quebec where he sought employment in the local shipyards. His first year on this side of the pond, 1831, saw him working on the construction of the famous ROYAL WILLIAM, the first Canadian steamer to cross the Atlantic. The following year, he was up on Lake Ontario at Oakville where he was hired to assist in the building of the steamer CONSTITUTION (later renamed TRANSIT).

Then for two years Louis spent his time building docks at Niagara. He could not stay away from shipbuilding for long, though, and he devoted the following two years to studying drafting at Youngstown, New York. In 1836 he moved to a spot called Shipman's Corner and set up his own shipyard on the bank of the busy Welland Canal near Lock Three, close under Oak Hill in an area which, a few years hence, would be right in the heart of downtown St. Catharines.

Shickluna built a drydock large enough to handle the so-called "canallers" of the day. The dock was divided into two sections which could be flooded or drained separately and hence two vessels could be accommodated at once. Few and far between were the times when either drydock was empty and when there were not ships building in the yard ashore and lined up outside awaiting repairs.

Louis Shickluna not only built vessels to the order of lake operators but also built a good many ships on speculation when the orderbook began to look a bit empty. And if it suited an owner to have a ship built somewhere other than at the Shickluna yard, Louis would move his men and facilities to a more appropriate location. His own work with an adze was legendary and his yard had a reputation for quality, a characteristic that no doubt won him many contracts.

We do not know the identity of the first ship that Shickluna built at his new yard and, in fact, there is some dispute over when he built his first vessel in the Niagara area. It is alleged that Shickluna built the two-masted schooner R. H. BOUGHTON at Youngstown in 1829, but this is very doubtful considering that he is not known to have crossed the Atlantic until 1831.

It would be next to impossible to gather a complete listing of all the ships built by Louis Shickluna over the half century that he was in business. We have, however, a partial list - one that makes mention of the most famous of Shickluna's products. The list is arranged in chronological order. All were built at St. Catharines unless otherwise specified.

1842 LADY BAGOT, two-masted schooner

1844 ALMEDA, two-masted schooner.

1845 MARY FRANCES, two-masted schooner - built at Prescott.

1846 FAIRFIELD, two-masted schooner - built at Niagara.

1847 L. SHICKLUNA, two-masted schooner.

1848 WELLAND, two-masted schooner.

1849 FRED L. WELLS, two-masted schooner.

1852 LAFAYETTE COOK, brigantine.

1853 ST. ANDREW, two-masted schooner. MALTA, barquentine.

1854 GIBRALTAR, barquentine.

1855 JESSIE, two-masted schooner. TERESA, two-masted schooner.

1856 LOUISA, barquentine. SIR E. W. HEAD, barquentine.

1858 ELIZABETH, two-masted schooner. MARY, two-masted schooner.

1859 PRIDE OF CANADA, barquentine.

1860 PRINCE OF WALES, barquentine - (b) SLIGO (1874), three-masted schooner.

1861 CANADA, barquentine.

1862 MARY JANE, barquentine.

1863 PRIDE OF AMERICA, barquentine. CAMBRIA, barquentine. C. G. ALVORD, three-masted schooner - rebuild of (a) CALIFORNIA (1849). HER MAJESTY, passenger & package freight propeller. AMERICA, passenger & package freight propeller. ST. LAWRENCE, three-masted schooner; cut down to barge 1874.

1864 SAMSON, tug. ENTERPRISE, passenger & package fright propeller. CLYDE, three-masted schooner - cut down to barge 1866. VALETTA, barquentine. CITY OF TORONTO, passenger propeller.

1865 SKYLARK, scow schooner. MARY MERRITT, barquentine.

1866 BESSIE BARWICK, barquentine. JANE C. WOODRUFF, barquentine.

1868 FANNY CAMPBELL, topsail schooner.

1869 DALHOUSIE, freight propeller. THOMAS C. STREET, barquentine.

1870 EUROPE, passenger & package propeller. J. G. McGRATH, two-masted schooner. L. SHICKLUNA, passenger & package freight propeller.

1871 JENNIE GRAHAM, barquentine. JAMES NORRIS, topsail schooner.

1872 AUGUSTA, topsail schooner.

1874 SIR C. T. VAN STRAUBENZEE, topsail schooner.

1877 ST. LOUIS, topsail schooner.

1880 L. SHICKLUNA, tug.

1884 SIR L. S. TILLEY, composite freight propeller - (b) ADVANCE.

The year 1874 saw the opening of the third Welland Canal which avoided the route through downtown St. Catharines and which also had larger locks. The demand for smaller vessels of the type that Shickluna built gradually decreased, but the yard was known for the excellence of its work and hence still was called on for a few contracts, although most of its work now lay in repairing older vessels.

The last vessel built by Louis Shickluna was the composite package freight propeller SIR L. S. TILLEY (see Ship of the Month No. 36, January 1974), for he died in 1884 while she was on the ways. The yard was taken over by Patrick Dixon and his son Harry J. Dixon who were general marine contractors. The Dixons finished the work on the TILLEY and then devoted their efforts to the construction of tugs, scows, lighters and the like. They also attracted a substantial repair business.

In 1894 the Dixons built the tugs JESSIE HUME and CHARLES E. ARMSTRONG at St. Catharines and when these two vessels were finished the old yard was closed down and operations were moved to Toronto. The Dixon business was eventually to become the Toronto Drydock Company which lasted into the mid-sixties. Shickluna's old shipyard on the canal was left to moulder away amongst the memories of years when the sounds of men hard at their work rang out across the busy waterway.

Louis Shickluna was not only a competent builder but was also a ship designer of some note. He has been credited with the introduction to the Great Lakes of the bluff-bowed, wall-sided, bulge-quartered schooner and was the first to build this type of vessel. Schooners of this type were built to the maximum size allowed by the dimensions of the old canal locks and they could manage about 700 tons of cargo. These vessels could for many years be seen in great numbers in the old waterway, their jibbooms "cockbilled" to permit entry into the diminutive lock chambers.

Today, all trace of Louis Shickluna and his work is gone. The man himself has been in the grave just one decade short of a century and the last of his ships, as strong and sound as they were, passed into the realm of the history books many years ago. In 1975 there are very few people who have even heard mention of Shickluna or his shipyard from which there appeared more new vessels than from any other individual shipyard which has ever operated on the Great Lakes.

Ship of the Month No. 48

Reuben Doud

Nobody seems to know where she got her name, and there are (or were, rather) those lake sailors who cursed her peculiar habits, but now she is all ours, a permanent fixture of the Toronto waterfront even if few know that she is there. The remains of REUBEN DOUD have rested now for seven decades in the sands of the Ward's Island beach where she met her fate in one of those dirty southeasterly Lake Ontario blows. Her story hasn't been told in print for over forty years, so what better way could we choose to commemorate the reopening in 1975 of the rebuilt Eastern Gap, the Toronto Harbour entrance for which the DOUD was struggling when she was lost.

Not long before her loss on this very spot, REUBEN DOUD was caught by the camera of Rowley W. Murphy as she was inbound at Toronto's Eastern Gap, the late afternoon sun gilding her sails.REUBEN DOUD was a big three-masted schooner built of strong white oak at a place with the unlikely name of Winneconne, Wisconsin. Her builders gave her a length of 137.7 feet, a beam of 26.0 feet and a depth of 11.6 feet, these dimensions giving her a tonnage of 324 Gross and 308 Net. She was enrolled at Detroit and on her was bestowed official number 110151.

And where, you might ask, is Winneconne, Wisconsin? Well, it is (or perhaps just was) a town on the banks of the Wolf River which flows into Lake Michigan's Green Bay. REUBEN DOUD was launched into the Wolf in the year of 1873, no doubt with the usual ceremony. The mood around Winneconne soon turned to gloom when it was discovered that there was so little water in the river that the DOUD could not be floated down to Green Bay! Some reports say that it was necessary to use a team of 40 oxen to drag her off the bottom and down to deep water, while another account declares that the task was accomplished by damming up the river in two places in order to float her from level to level down to navigable water. No matter how it was done, she eventually made it and was placed in service.

To quote a report in The Evening Telegram of Saturday, August 25, 1906, the DOUD's career went from one embarrassment to another.

"Then they found that she wouldn't steer. She had a nice model - clean runs as you would wish to see - and yet she twisted around like a canal boat and her wake would break a snake's back to follow. They had to build a concave rudder for her and that corrected the steering problem.

"But you could not cure her luck. She jogged along in the American upper lake trade until 1900. I don't know what luck she didn't have (!) in between, but that year she got it good and proper. She was caught in a gale and the mainmast went out of her, ripping up eight feet of the deck on either side. The mizzen started to go too and to save wrecking the cabin they sawed the mast until it snapped off and went over the side. This left only the foremast and with what canvas they could spread on that, they limped into port.

"Freights were good in 1900 and there was a charter ready for her as soon as she was unloaded, so they decided to make a trip in tow of a steam barge and postpone refitting until the following spring as this was the last trip of the season. So they started out and took a load of coal for Detroit from Lake Erie. When homeward bound they got caught again by foul weather. The tow line parted and the disabled schooner had to shift for herself. They headed her for Rondeau where they would have made shelter, running before the wind under the foresail, only the fore sheet post carried away.

"They tried to anchor where they were but one anchor broke and the other dragged. As a result she piled up on the Middle Ground at the western end of Lake Erie. But the DOUD wasn't lucky enough to break up. A salvage tug finally got her off, leaving forty feet of her outside keel behind."

"Bull of the Woods" goes to pieces on the Ward's Island beach, August 24, 1906. Murphy photo. Note her trademark, the three-cornered squaresail, in tatters on the foremast yard.To our way of thinking, the foregoing account does a good a job as any to explain why the old-time lake sailors nicknamed REUBEN DOUD the "Bull of the Woods," a term of endearment or (most probably) otherwise referring to a ship that is hard to handle.

Early in 1901 she was purchased by the Conger Coal Company of Toronto and Captain Alexander Ure. The latter gentleman brought her down to Lake Ontario and put her into the coal trade to Toronto but only after she had been refitted at Windsor. Capt. Ure seems to have had a knack for refitting vessels that had seen better days and he gave the DOUD makeshift spars.

Strangely enough, when she emerged from the rebuilding, REUBEN DOUD sported a mainmast that was shorter than the fore. The DOUD was what was known as a fore-and-after, that is, she carried her sails extended by gaffs and booms, spars hinged abaft the masts. In true fore-and-after fashion, she carried gaff-topsails, triangular sails which travelled on hoops on the topmasts, the clews sheeted home to the peaks of the gaffs extending the lower sails. On the square-sail yard on the foremast, she set a tall topsail, triangular in shape. But in addition, Capt. Ure gave REUBEN DOUD her own special trademark, an unusual piece of canvas which could only be described as a three-cornered squaresail. In normal squaresail fashion, it hung from the yard on the foremast and was a running sail, but the usual "goosewings" or lower corners were lopped off, thus making it much easier to handle, for there was only one tack to trim and that was left standing.

Capt. Ure sailed the DOUD for several years until once again she began to live up to her nickname. On one particular trip which her master undoubtedly never forgot, she cleared Charlotte for Toronto with coal. It couldn't be blamed on her wheelsman, whose name was Cunningham, but she had the bad habit of veering off to windward in a gusty breeze. The lake was smooth and the weather smoky (from forest fires ashore) as she passed Braddock's Point and the wind, coming in puffs, kept pushing her little by little towards the shore although with the wind from the south this would not normally occur. In any event, she committed the greatest crime in nautical annals by stranding on the weather shore. She was a long way out as the lake shoals very gradually there, and due to the haze in the air it was impossible to see land from where she struck. Capt. Ure tried everything he could think of, but the DOUD refused to budge from her resting place and a salvage tug finally had to be summoned from Oswego.

They lifted out some of her coal and eventually REUBEN DOUD floated free of the shoal and was hauled back to Charlotte in a leaking condition. Safe at last in port, she showed her perversity by sinking in the deepest part of the Genesee River, that section which had been dredged out as a turning ground for the passenger steamer NORTH KING, a regular caller at Charlotte. Had she settled anywhere else, her decks wouldn't even have been wet, but as it was she went down with only the top of her cabin showing. They had to build cofferdams over her hatches and at last, with the aid of tugs, divers and steam pumps, they got her afloat and towed her off to Port Dalhousie for a lengthy visit in the drydock. The salvage bill amounted to half the value of the "Bull of the Woods."

Capt, Ure had had enough of the DOUD by this time and quit as her master soon after the Charlotte misadventure. Although he and the Conger Coal Company still retained their financial interest in the boat, he turned over command to Capt. John Joyce of Bronte. Even under a new master the "Bull of the Woods" could not stay out of trouble for long and it fell the lot of Capt. Joyce to be in command when the DOUD took her final curtain call.

On August 23rd, 1906, she was coming up Lake Ontario bound for Toronto, coal laden for Conger's and running with a strong gale out of the east. By 8:00 p.m. the wind was up to 20 m.p.h. and strengthening by the minute. It was the intention of Capt. Joyce to enter the harbour by the Eastern Gap. This entrance had the unfortunate habit of silting up with the longshore drift and a large dredge owned by the H. J. Haney Company of Port Credit was anchored off the piers where she had been working. Some reports suggest that the dredge had been driven out of her proper position by the gale.

At any rate, REUBEN DOUD arrived off the piers at about 3:00 a.m. on the 24th and attempted to pass the dredge to make her way to the safety of the harbour through the gap. Just as she did so there was a lull in the gale and she lost headway. Fearing the heavy sea that was running, Capt. Joyce attempted to stand out into the lake, for he thought that he was too far to the west to safely enter the piers. The DOUD swung around but in so doing she struck the shoal bottom and jolted her rudder from the gudgeons. She then swung off and, quite out of control, drove in stern-first on the Ward's Island beach, finding the bottom about half a mile west of the piers.

As she came in to shore, the wind freshened again and the crew took to the rigging. Some four hours passed before they could be taken off by the government lifeboat commanded by that renowned lifesaver Capt. William Ward and manned by F. Ward, E. Ward, William Ramsden, Thomas Ramsden, Henry Ramsden, John Montgomery, and Thomas and Hector McDonald. The DOUD's people all got to shore safely - in addition to Capt. Joyce there was Mrs. Joyce, the cook; A. Hinton, mate; Harry Williamson, seaman; William Smithson, seaman; J. W. Joyce, son of the captain; and A. Pierson, nephew of Smithson.

Any other ship would have waited out the gale and got off shore by lightering off a bit of the coal, but the luckless "Bull of the Woods" managed to come in a freshening gale which lasted through August 25th. As each succeeding sea ran over her, her decks were only 18 inches or so out of water and she quickly went to pieces. By the 25th she was a complete wreck, although her spars were still standing. Her stern was knocked out and one side stove in. Portions of her hull came in on the Island shore as she broke up but her bottom is still out there in the sands of the Ward's Island beach.

The midsummer gale which proved to be the undoing of REUBEN DOUD was said to be the worst blow in some twenty years. The Evening Telegram remarked that the Richelieu and Ontario passenger steamer KINGSTON was over two hours late in making port on the morning of August 25th and quotes her master, Capt. Esford, as saying that "the sea broke clean over the pilothouse." All the passenger steamers operating out of Toronto received a good shaking-up. The GARDEN CITY, on the Port Dalhousie run, reported that the seas broke over the starboard side aft, carried away the windows, and smashed three of her stanchions. So heavy-were the seas striking her that it was found necessary to cut away some of the planking above the main deck to allow the water she had shipped to run out.

The schooner OLIVER MOWAT, laden with coal, had to take shelter under the lee of the western end of Toronto Island after she lost her mizzen topmast. Captain Walsh of the Hamilton Steamboat Company's MODJESKA, reported that the storm destroyed part of the cribwork at the entrance to Hamilton harbour and he also noted that his steamer had passed through some of the wreckage from the DOUD on her trip to Toronto. Capt. Wigle of the LAKESIDE from Port Dalhousie also encountered much wreckage in the lake as did Capt. Malcolmson in the CHICORA. All things considered, it is small wonder that the thirty-three-year-old REUBEN DOUD went to pieces on the beach where she was exposed to the full fury of the gale.

But it would be unfair to think of the lifetime of the DOUD solely in terms of the accidents she suffered. Just the trip previous to the one on which she was lost, the DOUD was spotted by C. H. J. Snider as he was out sailing in his yacht. His story of the encounter shows that REUBEN DOUD was not always the clumsy, perverse creature we have made her out to be. The "Bull of the Woods" had her good side too.

"She could sail! And how deceptively! Once when I had the little FROU FROU I saw her coming up the lake with a southeast breeze. She seemed glued to the scenery, sails all full, a roll of white ahead of her hawsepipes, but no more appearance of motion than the Ancient Mariner's ship on the Line. I rather fancied the FROU FROU because we could beat all the stonehookers, and so we stood out and rounded to under the lee of the REUBEN DOUD and tried to sail parallel with her. We were lifting and falling in the swell and making good time, but with no apparent motion the long black hull of the REUBEN DOUD slid past us as though we were going the other way! We jibed over, hauled up, crossed her stern and came out on the weather quarter of her, where we had our wind free, and she just kept on motionlessly sailing away from us. Then we cracked on the big balloon jibtopsail and the mizzen staysail in the FROU FROU, but the REUBEN DOUD went into the Eastern Gap ahead of us."

Ed. Note; For his invaluable assistance in supplying material for this history of REUBEN DOUD, our special thanks go to Lorne Joyce of Port Credit.

Late Marine News

The reactivated Kinsman steamer SILVER BAY, now owned by Robert Pierson Holdings Ltd., St. Catharines, made her first appearance in Toronto on March 29 when she arrived from Toledo with a cargo of soya beans for Victory Mills. The following day her name was painted out and it is evident that her hull colour will be black. The forecastle was given a coat of light blue-gray paint, strange but rather eye-pleasing. On April 1st she was given her new name, JUDITH M. PIERSON (and not as reported elsewhere in this issue). When she departed early the next day, she still bore the red hull and Kinsman funnel, but these should soon be changed. On her deck she carried two large steel shamrocks, coated with primer, and we assume that these will be mounted on the funnel. The end result should be quite effective.

It has now been announced that Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. will proceed with the rebuilding and lengthening of WHEAT KING. The work will be done at Port Weller Dry Docks during the coming winter. Full details of the reconstruction have not yet been made public.

Ever since her construction a decade ago, the C.S.L. motorship RIMOUSKI has held down the St. Lawrence River titanium run and has thus been a bit of a stranger to the lakes. But all this has now ended, for C.S.L. has lost the titanium contract to Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. who will put their newly-acquired CAPE BRETON HIGHLANDER on the route. In addition, the firm has purchased two large British vessels, CARLTON and DEMETERTON, from Chapman & Willan Ltd. and Carlton & Cambay Steamship Companies Ltd. respectively. The former, built at Sunderland in 1964, measures 610'1 x 73.9 x 43.2 (Gross 16303) while the latter came from Shields in 1967 and measures 615'0 x 74.9 x 43.4 (Gross 16969). Both have recently been operating under charter to Federal Commerce and Navigation. CARLTON had actually been renamed FEDERAL WEAR in February, while DEMETERTON was to have become FEDERAL TYNE. The motorships will be renamed ST. LAWRENCE NAVIGATOR and ST. LAWRENCE PROSPECTOR but at the time of writing it is not clear which ship will be given which name.

By the time you read this, the gallant little tanker TEXACO-BRAVE will have been towed away from her long-familiar dock in the Toronto Ship Channel and will be reposing in Ramey's Bend at the yard of Marine Salvage Ltd. The BRAVE was scheduled to be towed out of Toronto on April 3rd by G. W. ROGERS and BAGOTVILLE.

We understand that Marine Salvage Ltd. has also purchased for scrapping the Kinsman steamer PETER ROBERTSON (II), (a) HARRY COULBY (I), (b) FINLAND. The ROBERTSON did not operate in 1974. On a happier note, we can report that Kinsman's HARRY L. ALLEN, a veteran of 1910, will be put in service this year.

Elsewhere in the issue, we noted that a number of U.S. Steel steamers are remaining in ordinary this year. We regret to advise that, contrary to earlier reports, JAMES A. FARRELL will be joining them in idleness as will two other as-yet-unidentified vessels. If we may be permitted to hazard a guess, we would suggest that the other pair might well be AUGUST ZIESING and HORACE ("Horrible") JOHNSON.

Toronto Harbour was officially opened on March 26 when METIS arrived with a cargo of cement. Her captain received the traditional topper in recognition of being master of the first vessel of the year to bring a cargo into port. The first salt water ship of the season was SPLIT, a Yugoslav motorship which arrived on April 1st.

Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit




My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.










Scanner, v. 7, n. 7 (April 1975)


Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; The New Namesakes of the Lakes; Lay-up Listings; Louis Shickluna - Shipbuilder; Ship of the Month No. 48