The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 10, n. 2 (November 1977)
Publication:
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Nov 1977


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Bascom, John N., Editor
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Website
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Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Early Scrap Tows in the Welland Canal; How Henry Ford Blocked Traffic in the Old Canals; Ship of the Month No. 69 ; Willis Metcalfe; Additional Marine News
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Nov 1977
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English
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Meetings

Friday, December 2nd - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Member Carl V. Ehrke will speak on his travels during the summer of 1977, including voyages on several notable passenger liners. Friday, January 6th - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Annual Theme Slide Night.

The topic will be tugboats (of all descriptions) and members are invited to bring a few slides each for showing.

The Editor's Notebook

Our October meeting was a smashing success as a great many of those present brought slides to illustrate their summer of shipwatching. Let nobody say that our members are not widely travelled or that they are not superb photographers; the slides shown proved this point indisputably. We were pleased to see many out-of-town members in attendance but we did miss our President, Bruce Smith, who was attending a special function in the Soo that evening. We hope that Ye Ed., who filled in as chairman, did not induce too many yawns. A public speaker we are not.

By the way, now would be a good time for us to mention the superlative work of our President in chairing our regular meetings. Bruce Smith puts much effort into making our gatherings interesting and informative and he deserves our thanks and congratulations on a job well done.

Those of you who may be wondering whether you have paid your membership fees for the current season need not worry. If you receive this issue, you are fully paid up and are a member in good standing.

In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to William Barraclough of Athens, Ontario, to Dr. Alan Bull of Meaford, Ontario, to Gordon Moison of Port Huron, Michigan, and to Gordon Bennett of Cleveland, Ohio.

Marine News

The strike of the Minnesota iron ore miners has continued through October and no end is in sight. As a result, shipping on the upper lakes continues at a low ebb. Meanwhile, the Canadian operators are running their boats loaded both ways, downbound with grain and upbound with Quebec ore for Hamilton or Lake Erie ports, although some of the carriers are picking up ore cargoes at Picton, Ontario. More American upper lakers are making themselves visible on Lake Ontario these days. Kinsman's FRANK R. DENTON, a veteran of 66 years service, passed down the Welland Canal on October 11 with barley for Oswego and she was back up the canal again on October 15th. The National Steel Corporation's big ore carrier GEORGE M. HUMPHREY was downbound light in the Welland on October 15 heading for Sept Iles for ore. Meanwhile, with IRVING S. OLDS back in service after extensive repairs, the United States Steel Corporation continues to run all five of its "supers" down the Welland, usually with grain down and ore up. The Pringle self-unloaders are also frequent visitors to Lake Ontario these days. As an indication of how desperate things have become amongst the American vessel operators and consumers of iron ore, the Ford Motor Company's JOHN DYKSTRA passed down the Welland October 19-20 to pick up a cargo of Canadian ore. As far as we are aware, this is the first time that an active Ford bulk carrier has ever transitted the canal while in service for the company. It seems that there is little likelihood of the resumption of ore shipments from the upper lakes this season.

The tug PRESQUE ISLE, back in the drydock at Port Weller in early October, emerged from her incarceration on October 15 but because of further problems was unable to head back to Erie, Pennsylvania, to rejoin her consort barge. Instead, she was sent back down through Lock One to the old Empire-Hanna coal dock where she remained for the better part of a week while final repairs were completed. Needless to say, the tug looked most odd by herself, particularly since her bridge wings were cut off to facilitate her passage through the canal. She looked most unusual when canalling as her forward linesman was forced to do his job while standing in the recessed area of her bow below deck level. But perhaps the oddest feature of the tug is her draft of 20 feet.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Authority has let it be known that it intends to close permanently the Canadian lock at Sault Ste. Marie at the end of the 1982 season. The lock, a truly historic relic of the late nineteenth century, is the oldest lock still in active service on the Great Lakes system but is of only minimal value at the present time due to its very narrow width and shallow depth of water over the sills. Although still used by tankers and by some of the smaller Canadian carriers such as the C.S.L. package freighters, most of the lock's transits are made by yachts and by the "ice cream" (tour) boats.

The owners of the diminutive sandsucker C. W. CADWELL, Equipment House Ltd. of Toronto, are trying to dispose of the boat for use as a museum facility of some sort but so far there have been no takers. The CADWELL, built in 1911 and latterly operated for many years by Cadwell Marine (the Bawtinheimer interests), has not run except for a few trial trips since 1973 at which time her present owner, for reasons unexplained and of no apparent logic, installed in her the Fairbanks Morse diesels which had previously powered the Toronto Island ferry SAM McBRIDE and which had been thoroughly worn out in that vessel. It is not yet evident what will eventually become of the little CADWELL but there seems to be little hope of further service for her.

The new C.S.L. self-unloader LOUIS R. DESMARAIS was christened in ceremonies held at Collingwood on October 27th. She is expected to depart Collingwood on her maiden voyage on November 2nd.

Last issue, we reported that for the first time in many years, the 373-foot bulk carrier PIC RIVER had carried a cargo of iron ore, making the trip from Quebec City to Lake Erie. It now seems that PIC RIVER is not the smallest laker to carry ore on the lakes this season for in early October, the 339-foot Paterson motorship ONTADOC (II) brought a cargo of St. Lawrence River ore to Ashtabula. Unfortunately, her trip was not the most pleasant for whilst the unloading process was underway on the morning of October 3, number four Hulett at the Union Dock struck a hatch coaming on the boat and fell into her hold. The arm of the Hulett machine was cut off and ONTADOC sailed for Conneaut, Ohio, where the remains of the unloader were dredged from her hold. The services of a 200-ton heavy lift were needed to accomplish this task. ONTADOC was back in service by October 9. The Huletts, victims these days of attrition and modern technology, are rapidly becoming objects of considerable historical interest. They were revolutionary in their day and were a great improvement over their immediate predecessor, the Brown Hoist, but after many long years of service, their numbers are rapidly dwindling.

The Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. bulk carrier RIMOUSKI grounded on September 13th at Champlain on the St. Lawrence River near Trois-Rivieres and was not released until the 17th of the month. The laker, long elusive for boatwatchers and photographers due to her long-term use on the Quebec titanium run, was taken to Sorel for repairs after being refloated.

The purchase of IMPERIAL LONDON from Marine Salvage Ltd. by the Honduran firm Fletamar S.A. has, according to a reliable source, fallen through because of the failure of the purchaser to come up with the agreed quantity of folding green. As a result, Marine Salvage has repossessed the tanker and, stuck with the bills for towing her to Whitby and putting her on the McNamara drydock, has decided to tow the boat all the way back to the Ramey's Bend scrapyard. It is not known when the LONDON will make the return trip up the Welland Canal. We sincerely hope that the 29-year-old steamer will find another operator but her chances do not appear to be very good.

The former steam tanker LIQUILASSIE, her propulsion machinery removed at Hamilton, was towed up the Welland Canal on October 19-20 by the tugs PAUL E. and LAC MANITOBA. She arrived at Windsor on October 21 and there the finishing touches are being put to her conversion to a tank barge. Her bridge structure will be removed intact for use as an office ashore and her stern will be cut square. She has been purchased by Ray Bergeron whose L. B. Shipping of Windsor will operate her, mainly out of Sarnia, in conjunction with the affiliated Allied Tug and Barge Services Inc.

The McKiel tug LAC MANITOBA had just returned from her trip with LIQUILASSIE when she was called upon to take another old tanker on her last trip. It was the Johnstone Shipping Ltd. steam tanker CONGAR (II) which had lain idle in the Toronto turning basin for the last two navigation seasons. She was hauled out of Toronto on the morning of October 26 and was taken to Hamilton where she will be broken up by Strathearne Terminals. CONGAR, of course, was the former IMPERIAL HALIFAX and had long been a feature of the Canadian east coast shipping scene prior to her arrival in the lakes a few years ago.

Last month we reported the intended reactivation of the Quebec ferry steamer LOUIS JOLLIET in the excursion trade. We are pleased to hear that she did enter service late in the season for her new owners who are known as La Compagnie d'Excursions Maritimes de Quebec or Quebec Waterways Sightseeing. LOUIS JOLLIET operated between Pont de Quebec and Pont de l'Ile d'Orleans while the DUC d'ORLEANS of the same company ran from Quebec to Ste. Anne de Beaupre. The company has let it be known that it would be interested in acquiring passenger vessels to operate on the old C.S.L. route to the Saguenay River but no concrete plans for such a service have been announced.

The last of the wartime "Park" tankers active on the Great Lakes has apparently been retired. The Shell motorvessel FUEL MARKETER (II), (a) EGLINTON PARK (45), (b) JOHN IRWIN (II)(56), (c) WHITE ROSE II (57), (d) WHITE ROSE (70), arrived in Toronto in early October and for several weeks lay along the Commissioners Street wharf in the turning basin. She was, however, slowly stripped of much of her equipment and on October 26th she was moved to the most southerly berth on the west wall of the basin which had just been vacated by CONGAR. The retirement of FUEL MARKETER, an unlengthened canaller built in 1944 at Sorel, might be interpreted to mean that the Shell Canada Ltd. fleet may soon be augmented by the addition of another hull. Readers will recall that earlier in the 1977 season, it was said that the tanker FROBISHER TRANSPORT had been sold by the Hall Corporation Shipping Ltd. to Shell. Many observers had begun to discount this report in view of the fact that FROBISHER TRANSPORT has continued to operate in Halco colours, although Hall was admittedly seeking to divest itself of the ship. We have since heard that the change in ownership might come at the end of the season and it could be that the retirement of FUEL MARKETER is a preface to this event.

As of September 30, CARTIERCLIFFE HALL was out of the Lauzon drydock and almost ready to enter service. When observed on October 11, she was receiving the finishing touches to her conversion while her old forward section was moored in the St. Charles River loaded with scrap and awaiting a tow overseas. Meanwhile, MONTCLIFFE HALL was in the Davie drydock ready to be cut apart and her new bow section was well underway on the building berth. STEELCLIFFE HALL had just arrived at Lauzon and her new forward hull section had only recently been laid down. The first two of the new Halco carriers will be in service this autumn but STEELCLIFFE HALL will not be ready until the spring of 1978.

Contrary to a previous report in these pages, the Canada Steamship Lines package freighter ESKIMO has returned to regular lake service. She is once again back in full C.S.L. colours and has been reregistered at Montreal. It is a pleasure to see her back in the lakes after a protracted absence.

The steam carferry CHIEF WAWATAM has returned to her old stand at the Straits of Mackinac after undergoing repairs at Sturgeon Bay. A few repair items could not be completed due to the strike at the shipyard, a strike which is continuing as these words are written. The CHIEF was purchased earlier this year by the State of Michigan from the old (and defunct) Mackinac Transportation Company and is now operated by the Straits Car Ferry Corporation.

Meanwhile, the Grand Trunk's standby boat on its Lake Michigan carferry route, CITY OF MILWAUKEE, was due for drydocking. With the Bay Shipbuilding Corp. facilities at Sturgeon Bay unavailable due to a labour dispute, the steam carferry (vintage 1931) was sent under her own power to the American Shipbuilding Company's yard at Lorain, Ohio.

The withdrawal from service of the Lake Erie carferry PELEE ISLANDER has been delayed from September 18 to November 7th by virtue of a September 15 decision reached by Transport Canada. The Pelee Islanders themselves, however, were unaware of this decision when on September 16 they stalled a number of vehicles on the ferry's ramps in protest. The islanders are still hoping to prolong the ferry service until December 11 and are seeking a reinstatement of the federal operating subsidy which would allow the boat to operate again in 1978.

We have learned that the American Steamship Company of Buffalo has sold its self-unloading steamer CONSUMERS POWER to the Erie Sand Steamship Company. She will operate for the remainder of the 1977 season under charter to Boland and Cornelius. The sale brings to two the number of self-unloading bulk carriers in the Erie Sand fleet, the other being J. F. SCHOELLKOPF JR., also a former BoCo unit.

Edwin Wilson

1897-1977

It is with sincere regret that we report the death at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Sunday, October 9th, 1977, of Edwin Wilson, an avid lake ship photographer and a long-time member of the Toronto Marine Historical Society .

Ed Wilson had long been interested not only in boats but also in steam and electric railways. In fact, from 1917 to 1927, he was a motorman on Milwaukee streetcars, subsequently serving in the same capacity on interurban cars and electric locomotives. Ed took a great many photos, some of them extremely rare, of lake ships from the 1920's onwards and on several occasions his photographs have appeared in these pages. At his own request, the collection will pass to the Milwaukee Public Library's historical section.

Not only an enthusiastic observer of the shipping scene but also a valued personal friend to your Editor and many other T.M.H.S. members, Ed will be greatly missed. We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Evelyn and to her brother and sister-in-law, Francis and Kathryn Williams. We are fortunate indeed to have known Edwin Wilson and wish that there had been more like him.

J.N.B.

Early Scrap Tows in the Welland Canal

by Alan Sykes

In May of 1940, four old lake steamers made the one-way trip through the Welland Canal bound for the Steel Company of Canada scrapyard at Hamilton, Ontario. All four ships were formerly operated by American fleets and for three of the four, this last trip was their first through the waterway.

On May 18th, the railway carferry TRANSFER (II) was towed down the canal by the McQueen tugs PROGRESSO and PATRICIA McQUEEN. TRANSFER was a former unit of the fleet of the Wabash Railroad and for many years she had served the railway on the run between Windsor and Detroit. Five days later, on May 23, the big package freighter MILWAUKEE passed down the canal in tow of the same two tugs. The MILWAUKEE had been owned by the Great Lakes Transit Company but had been laid up at Buffalo for a number of years.

The camera of A. E. Young caught EDWARD E. LOOMIS downbound at Little Rapids in 1927, seven years before the collision that was the undoing of both herself and W. C. FRANZ.Again, five days passed before the next old boat came through the canal. This third tow consisted of the same two tugs, PROGRESSO and PATRICIA McQUEEN, along with the package freighter EDWARD E. LOOMIS, another Great Lakes Transit Company vessel. The LOOMIS is remembered because on November 21, 1934 she rammed and sank the Algoma bulk carrier W. C. FRANZ on Lake Huron. The LOOMIS severely damaged herself in the accident and she was taken to Buffalo where she was laid up. She was never repaired and remained at the wall for nearly six years. The LOOMIS was in terrible condition by the time she was towed down the canal and the damage to her bow was quite evident to all observers.

The final member of the scrapyard foursome was the F. D. UNDERWOOD which made her final trip with the aid of the same tugs on May 30th. She had also been laid up at Buffalo and was yet another unit of the Great Lakes Transit Company's fleet. A craneship, she is known to have made a number of trips down the Welland Canal during the 1930's.

All four steamers were put to the scrappers' torches at the Stelco plant in Hamilton and their old steel was melted down to help produce much-needed commodities including new ships. This is one of the many ways that lake boats aided the war effort.

(Ed. Note: We thought that Al's article on these four almost-forgotten scrap tows was very interesting in view of the many tows involving old lakers sold overseas for scrapping since 1960. Observers tend to remember these recent tows very well, to have some knowledge of a few tows in the fifties, to have heard of but never to have paid much attention to the myriad scrap tows of U.S. Maritime Commission boats after the second war, and to know almost nothing at all about scrap tows prior to that. Al's contribution of this piece and his research of the tows is much appreciated. For the benefit of the record-keepers amongst us, there follows a thumbnail sketch of each of the four old lakers involved.)

TRANSFER (II) - (U.S.145503). Steel sidewheel carferry built 1883 at Cleveland by the Cleveland Shipbuilding Co. as Hull 3. 265.0 x 75.2 x 12.2, Gross 1511, Net 1060. Originally owned by the Michigan Central Railroad and later by the Wabash Railroad. Operated her entire life on Detroit -Windsor route. Sold to the Steel Company of Canada Ltd. and scrapped at Hamilton 1940.

MILWAUKEE (II) - (U.S.93265). Steel package freighter built 1902 at Chicago by the Chicago Shipbuilding Co. as Hull 55. 325.0 x 44.0 x 28.0, Gross 3327, Net 2424. Built for the Western Transit Co. (the New York Central Railroad) and sold 1916 to the Great Lakes Transit Co., Buffalo. Apparently idle from the Depression onwards. Sold to the Steel Company of Canada Ltd. and scrapped at Hamilton 1940.

EDWARD E. LOOMIS, (a) WILKESBARRE (20) - (U.S.81733). Steel package freighter built 1901 at Buffalo by the Union Dry Dock Co. as Hull 92. 381.7 x 50.5 x 28.0, Gross 4279, Net 3437. Built for the Lehigh Valley Transit Co. (the Lehigh Valley Railroad) and sold 1919 to the Great Lakes Transit Co., Buffalo. Collided with W. C. FRANZ, Lake Huron, Nov. 21, 1934 and severely damaged. Laid up at Buffalo and not repaired. Sold to the Steel Company of Canada Ltd. and scrapped at Hamilton 1940.

F. D. UNDERWOOD, (a) RAMAPO (10) - (U.S.111123). Steel package freighter built 1896 at Buffalo by the Union Dry Dock Co. as Hull 78. 330.0 x 44.8 x 24.0, Gross 3270, Net 2878. Built for the Union Steamboat Co., Buffalo, later known as the Erie Railroad Lake Line. Rebuilt 1903. Sold 1916 to the Great Lakes Transit Co., Buffalo. Rebuilt as craneship 1930 at Buffalo. In latter years chartered part-time to the Gartland Steamship Co. (D. Sullivan & Co., mgrs.), Chicago. Sold to the Steel Company of Canada Ltd. and scrapped at Hamilton 1940.

How Henry Ford Blocked Traffic in the Old Canals

Accidents and blockages in the present-day canals of the Great Lakes produce headaches not only for those in charge of operation of the waterways but also for the crews and managers of vessels involved as well as those held up by traffic stoppages. But if such events are problematical these days, just imagine how much more troublesome they were back in the days of the old St. Lawrence and Welland canals when not only were there a great many more vessels in operation but when the canals were made up of a multitude of small locks and narrow, congested connecting channels.

The following item from the July 1926 issue of Canadian Railway and Marine World gives an indication of the massive traffic delays caused by the scrap tows of World War One "Lakers" during 1925 and 1926:

Henry Ford's Scrap Ships Block Canals

In August 1925, Henry Ford, automobile manufacturer of Detroit, Michigan, bought from the United States Shipping Board 198 (sic.) ships built during the Great War, for $1,706,000 to be taken from the ports at which they were lying on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast to Detroit to be scrapped. The first of them arrived in tow at Montreal in November 1925 and were taken on to Detroit and this season the first arrivals at Montreal were on May 19 and they continued regularly thereafter, two ships being towed in every four days.

It was not until they reached the canals that any great difficulty was experienced but on May 30 it was found that the towing of them was holding up the regular traffic and had forced a temporary cessation of work at the Port Colborne grain elevators. Complaint was made by ship owners and grain shippers using the canals to the Railways and Canals Department (of the Canadian government) which was followed by a protest from the Dominion Marine Association regarding the blocking of the canals by these ships at the busiest part of the season. It was shown that the running time of a steamship through the Welland Canal, which under normal conditions is about 14 hours, had been increased by from 23 to 36 hours, while the delays on the Lachine, Soulanges and Cornwall canals ran up to 12 hours.

The Department ruled that the Ford ships should give way to Government-owned ships, ships on regular schedules carrying passengers, general merchandise and package freight ships embarking or delivering freight at all points and on regular schedules, ships built to carry bulk cargoes, and pleasure boats such as yachts, skiffs and canoes, as provided for in the regulations. The Dominion Marine Association applied to the Department on June 4 for a copy of the ruling, placing the Ford ships in what was designated as a fifth category, and was advised as follows: - "No further material delays are expected to be caused to normal traffic, as definite instructions have been issued giving priority rights to all self-propelled boats. This and rigid adherence to canal rules and regulations 18, 24 and 67 render unnecessary the establishment of a fifth class of vessel."

(Ed. Note: Not all Ford's hulls were towed up. Some were scrapped on salt water and the scrap taken to Detroit in other hulls. The Ford Motor Company set up in the River Rouge what might be called a "disassembly line" which made short work of cutting up the old "Lakers". Ford did, however, keep 13 of the steamers and cut them down to barges. Towed by a fleet of 7 extremely handsome Shipping Board tugs which had also been used to tow the "Lakers" up from salt water, these unique barges served Ford in the ore trade until the Second War.)

(While Ford's scrap hulls must have caused havoc amongst the crowds of canallers normally using the old canals, we rather wish that we could have been there at the time with our camera....)

Ship of the Month No. 69 The Five Swan Hunter Patersons of 1927

KINGDOC, LACHINEDOC, WELLANDOC, HAMILDOC and TORONDOC

Many times in these pages we have commented upon that strange breed of lake vessel, the canaller. These little boats, once so common not only along the St. Lawrence and Welland canals but also on the upper lakes, have virtually passed from the scene but they have not been forgotten by those of us who knew them so well.

One of the more interesting features of the canallers was that they did not come from the shipyards in ones and twos as did the larger upper lakers, but nearly always in large groups of near-sisterships. This came about because, especially during the 1920's, many operators ordered large numbers of canallers at the same time from various builders in the British Isles and, in addition, many of these same builders constructed numbers of canallers on speculation in that hope that they could be peddled to lake operators. In most cases, the builder of any of the various groups of canallers could easily be identified by the distinguishing features of the appearance of vessels which it produced.

This month we feature just such a group of ships, five canal steamships built for Paterson Steamships Limited (later known as N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd.) of Fort William, Ontario, at British yards in 1927. It was not really surprising that the Paterson fleet, under the direction of Norman M. Paterson who for many years was a Canadian senator, would order such a group of boats. The fleet, formed back in 1915, had operated previously with a motley collection of second-hand canal steamers and had greatly expanded its operations in 1926 when it bought a considerable number of upper lakers from American owners for use in the grain trade. With the addition of these boats, it was reasonable that the company should enlarge its canal fleet to ferry the grain down through the old canals.

Paterson crossed the Atlantic with an order for five canal steamers and in early 1927 the contract for their construction was let to the famous firm of Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. which divided the work between its yards at Wallsend-on-Tyne and Sunderland, England, the latter being known as the Southwick yard. All five vessels proved to be similar in dimensions and appearance and were quite impressive, particularly as they were the first such boats built to Paterson's order. They were rather different in appearance from the many other canallers which Swan Hunter was to build over the years for various lake operators.

The first of the new boats to be launched was KINGDOC (I) which was put into the waters of the River Tyne at Wallsend on April 2, 1927, her sponsor at the launching and christening being Miss Elizabeth Paterson, the daughter of Norman M. Paterson. She was her builder's Hull 1297. The second to take the big splash was LACHINEDOC (I), launched at the Southwick yard on April 8, her sponsor for the event being Mrs. Norman M. Paterson. The vessel was Hull 1311 of the yard. The third in the series was TORONDOC (I) which was Hull 1299 out of the Wallsend shipyard. She hit the Tyne waters on April 14 under the sponsorship of Miss Greta Pybus and she was ready to run her trials on May 13th.

This is WELLANDOC (I) as she appeared when new. Note the "sawmill" stack. Young photo at Little Rapids Cut is dated 1928.The fourth ship of the order was HAMILDOC (I) which was Southwick's Hull 1313. We do not know the date of launch nor who christened her but she ran her trials on May 25, 1927. The final member of the quintet was WELLANDOC (I). She was Hull 1315 of the Southwick yard and she took to the water at Sunderland on May 28th. Again we do not know who christened her nor have we determined when she was put through her trials.

The five boats were, according to Paterson custom, named after places in Canada, namely the municipalities of Lachine, Quebec, and Toronto, Hamilton, Welland and Kingston, Ontario. The "doc" suffix signified the Dominion of Canada and has been used in the names of most of the line's ships since the formation of the company.

Although the dimensions of all five steamers were similar, there were minor differences and they should be noted. The five were measured as follows:

KINGDOC (Br. & C. 149429) - 252.8 x 43.4 x 17.8, Gross 1926, Net 1152.

LACHINEDOC (Br. & C.149430) - 252.8 x 43.4 x 17.9, Gross 1926, Net 1149.

TORONDOC (Br. & C.149431) - 252.9 x 43.4 x 17.8, Gross 1927, Net 1151.

HAMILDOC (Br. & C.149433) - 252.8 x 43.4 x 17.8, Gross 1926, Net 1151.

WELLANDOC (Br. & C.149435) - 252.8 x 43.4 x 17.9, Gross 1926, Net 1151.

All five were powered by triple expansion engines with cylinders of 15, 25 and 40 inches and a 33-inch stroke. Steam was provided by two coal-fired, single-ended Scotch marine boilers measuring 10' 1-3/l6" by 10'10". In the case of the Wallsend-built trio, the machinery and boilers were built by Swan Hunter at the shipyard, but the engines and boilers for the Southwick boats were manufactured by MacColl and Pollock Ltd. of Sunderland.

The steamers were built to the requirements of the British Corporation and were given sunken (or half) forecastles 35 feet in length and raised quarterdecks measuring 100 feet from step to fantail. Each boat had seven hatches of which two were located in the quarterdeck. They were without the benefit of kingposts or cargo booms but each ship had two pole masts, one just behind the forward cabin and one abaft the funnel. Coal for the boilers was carried in bunkers fed through a hatch immediately behind the stack.

In normal Paterson manner, the ships were painted black with a white forecastle and white cabins. The stacks were black and carried a large white 'P'. As designed, the boats were to be given the usual canaller-type stack, fairly thin and of medium height, but when they emerged from the builders' yards, they sported very tall and thin "sawmill" funnels with the 'P' up close to the top. Before many years had elapsed, however, the stacks were cut down considerably and the letter appeared about half way down. This change was for the better as far as eye appeal was concerned but the taller stacks had been more interesting. At no time were the stacks noticeably raked and neither were the masts.

The ships were given typical square texas cabins but their real trademark lay in their pilothouses which were quite distinctive and unlike those of other canallers. They were flat across the back but the front consisted of seven angled "sides", the after one on each side containing a door and the other five sporting large windows. They were without the benefit of sunvisors but awning stretchers were provided over the wheelhouses and bridge wings. Originally, each ship carried a very small monkey's island atop the pilothouse, this area being surrounded by an open rail which led out to the starboard side where a ladder was fitted. In later years, the monkey's island was enlarged so that the rail extended all the way around the top of the house. As time passed, the pilothouses of the various ships gained either full or partial visors and, in fact, the houses were enlarged on KINGDOC and LACHINEDOC so that they protruded out over the forward edge of the texas. This improved their appearance considerably.

The five ships in due course found their way across the Atlantic to Canada and it would seem likely that some of them carried Welsh coal on their delivery voyages, for this was normal practice with canallers built in Britain during this period. They served their owner well over the years, hauling grain downbound and pulpwood upbound on most voyages, although they often carried coal as well. They were excellent carriers and, in fact, HAMILDOC once managed to carry a record cargo of pulpwood. As time went on, however, the line acquired other British-built canallers which were just a bit larger than the original five and as a result, when the hard times of the 1930's hit lake shipping, the quintet spent much time at the wall.

With the onset of the Second World War, the hitherto unremarkable and unspectacular careers of the five steamboats changed and thereafter they led different lives. Two of them became war casualties but three survived to see to an end the age of the canaller.

The first to go was TORONDOC which was requisitioned for salt water service by the Canadian government in 1941. As were many of the canallers, she was used primarily in the bauxite trade, carrying this precious cargo from the Demerara River area of South America across the Caribbean and up the east coast. This was a dangerous run and one that attracted the attention of the enemy, for bauxite was a most important commodity. TORONDOC was not to last long in ocean service for on May 20, 1942 she fell victim to enemy action in the Caribbean and was a total loss.

HAMILDOC likewise was requisitioned for salt water service by the Canadian federal authorities in 1941 and she too found her way onto the bauxite run. Her end, however, was far different from that of her sister for she foundered in the Atlantic on New Year's Day 1943 after having broken her back in an extremely heavy three-day gale. The canallers may have weathered without undue difficulty the worst that the lakes could throw at them over the years but they simply were never built to withstand the seas which the Atlantic can kick up in a good storm. HAMILDOC was not the only canal boat to perish in this fashion.

WELLANDOC, like her sisters, was requisitioned in 1941 by the Canadian government for wartime service on salt water and she too found herself in the bauxite trade from South America to the east coast. She was sold in 1942 to the United States Maritime Commission which paid $587,322 for her. The sale, however, meant little but a change of flag for her as she continued in the bauxite trade until the end of the war, at which time she was laid up in the James River reserve fleet, her services no longer required.

WELLANDOC, however, did not lie idle for long because back on the lakes, canallers were much in demand, so many of them having fallen victim to the enemy during the hostilities. Strangely enough, it was not Paterson who brought her back to the lakes but rather Capt. Robert Scott Misener whose Sarnia Steamships Ltd., Port Colborne, purchased her in 1947 from the U.S. Maritime Commission. She returned to fresh water and was given a thorough refit by Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. It was at this time that she was renamed (b) BRAMPTON in honour of the town which lies to the northwest of Toronto. The use of the "ton" name was a throwback to the naming scheme used by the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd., many of whose boats found their way to the Misener fleet after the dissolution of the Mathews interests during the Great Depression.

It was during her refit at Port Weller that BRAMPTON lost her distinctive little pilothouse. Presumably thinking it to be inefficient and outdated, Misener had her fitted with a much larger square steel pilothouse. While it is doubtless true that this modern structure was much appreciated by all those who sailed in BRAMPTON, it did little for the appearance of the boat. The Port Weller rebuild altered her tonnage to 1975 Gross, 1137 Net.

BRAMPTON served steadily for Misener and in 1951 he transferred her from Sarnia Steamships Ltd. to Colonial Steamships Ltd., also of Port Colborne. Eight years later, there came another change for early in 1959, all of the Misener boats, which by then had been consolidated into Colonial Steamships Ltd., were transferred to a new firm, Scott Misener Steamships Ltd. The change meant little to BRAMPTON for she was never to operate for her new owner. The 1959 season saw the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Misener was one of the first Canadian vessel operators to discard its now-uneconomical canallers. BRAMPTON was tied up along with eight of her former running mates above Locks 27 and 28 in the Galop (sometimes spelled Galops) Canal, part of the Williamsburg Canal system, just above Cardinal, Ontario. There she remained until 1961 at which time she was sold to Crawford Metals Ltd. and dismantled at the Bay of Quinte port of Deseronto, Ontario.

The wartime career of LACHINEDOC was closely parallel to and no more spectacular than that of WELLANDOC. She too went to salt water for the Canadian government in 1941 and ran in the bauxite trade through the war even though she also was sold in 1942 to the U.S. Maritime Commission for the same price of $587,322. When the hostilities terminated, she too was laid to rest in the James River reserve fleet. She lay there for less time than did WELLANDOC, however, for it was in 1946 that the interest of Capt. Misener focused on her.

Colonial Steamships Ltd. purchased LACHINEDOC from the U.S.M.C. in 1946 for the sum of $113,800 and she was brought back to the lakes where she was refurbished by Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. As a result of this rebuild, her tonnage was increased to 1976 Gross, her Net dropping to 1137. She did not lose her old pilothouse in the reconstruction but instead it was enlarged, retaining its same distinctive shape but now protruding rather prominently over the forward bulkhead of the texas. It was proposed to rename her ALLISTON in honour of the small town located near Barrie, Ontario, but instead it was decided that she would become (b) QUEENSTON, her name taken from the historic town which sits above the Niagara River on the edge of the escarpment.

QUEENSTON served Misener's requirements well and in 1959 she was transferred to Scott Misener Steamships Ltd. But like BRAMPTON, she would never sail for the new firm and, in fact, the two ships lay close together in ordinary in the Galop Canal. QUEENSTON, however, was a bit luckier that her sister for in 1961 she was sold to the operators of the amusement park located on BobLo Island in the Detroit River. QUEENSTON was hauled up the Welland Canal on September 30, 1961 by the Pyke Salvage tugs SALVAGE PRINCE and SALVAGE MONARCH and in due course she was cut down for use as a dock at Bob-Lo Island, a function that she still serves to this day.

KINGDOC (I) is downbound in the Welland Canal at Dain City, November 4, 1961, on whta is believed to have been her last trip. Photo by J. H. BascomWe have purposely left KINGDOC to the end of this narrative for it was she, the first of the quintet to be launched, that was destined to have the longest operating career. KINGDOC was duly requisitioned by the Canadian government in 1941 for wartime service in the bauxite trade but it does not seem that she ever found her way into the hands of the U.S. Maritime Commission. She did, however, get herself into a dandy accident on salt water for during 1943 she stranded off the coast of Cuba, doing herself grievous harm in the process. It seems that the federal authorities then lost interest in the little steamer and Paterson managed to get her back.

KINGDOC was salvaged and was brought back into the lakes. Paterson arranged for her to be put on the drydock at her namesake port, Kingston, for repairs and it is said that the job of repairing and refurbishing the steamer was the largest such job that the Kingston shipyard ever had. KINGDOC was put back into service by the Paterson fleet which was undoubtedly very pleased to have her back since so many of its boats were away on salt water doing wartime chores, a number having already been lost. It does not seem that KINGDOC drew any extended service on salt water for the remainder of the war although she undoubtedly ran at least as far east as the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

KINGDOC was sent to Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. in 1949 for deepening, this result being achieved by raising the entire forward part of the hull so that it was level with the quarterdeck. Her new depth was measured as 21'9" and the rebuild altered her tonnage to 2211 Gross and 1520 Net. KINGDOC was the only one of the five ever to undergo this operation and she was also the only one ever to carry kingposts and cargo booms, these being fitted at the time of her deepening. It is probable that the enlargement of her pilothouse (a la QUEENSTON) was done a bit earlier, perhaps during her stay in the shipyard at Kingston six years before.

N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd. was not as quick to dump its canallers after the opening of the Seaway as were other operators and, in fact, the company's last two steam canallers (TROISDOC and SORELDOC) lasted through 1965 in operation. The fleet still runs one canal-sized motorship, TROISDOC (III). But still the ranks of Paterson canallers were decimated by gradual attrition and late in 1961 came the turn of KINGDOC. Most of them were retired as they came due for regular inspection and survey or else needed expensive reapirs. Towards the close of the 1961 season, KINGDOC was sold to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne. As we recall, she was downbound in the Welland Canal under her own power with a cargo of grain on November 4, 1961, that being her last downbound trip. She returned under steam to Hamilton and there in 1962 was scrapped by the Steel Company of Canada Ltd.

As the years passed, Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. was to build a great many more canallers for lake operators but to our way of thinking, none were more distinctive than the first five. They proved to be staunch and successful and had it not been for the intervention of the second war, it is likely that all five would still have been in the Paterson fleet until the advent of the Seaway. Even after they were gone, their memory lived on for their names were given to other vessels in the Paterson fleet and even today there is still a KINGDOC operating on the lakes, albeit a much different ship than her earlier namesake.

Willis Metcalfe

1911 - 1977

Prince Edward County, with its 400 miles of shoreline, is an area rich in marine history. The death of Willis Metcalfe of Black Creek on Wednesday, September 28th, 1977, has brought a sudden end to nearly fifty years of research, for Willis almost singlehandedly strove to preserve the County's marine history.

A modest, unassuming man, he gained the respect and gratitude of sailors, fishermen and their relatives. They gave their treasured artifacts in such quantity that it created the Canadian Great Lakes' largest personal museum. In addition to writing several books on the subject, Willis also encouraged and assisted historians who sought his help.

We, his fellow members of the Toronto Marine Historical Society, extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Ruth Cole, to his children Betty Anne, Jim, Rose Marie and Lincoln, and to other members of his family. The ranks of lake marine historians will be much the poorer for his passing.

L. Joyce

Additional Marine News

Shipping observers were shocked recently when a newspaper listing of vessel passages reported that PAUL L. TIETJEN had passed upbound at the Soo on Monday, October 3rd. The report was surprising in that TIETJEN was laid up at Toledo at the end of July and seemed destined never to run again. For those who might have been tempted to believe the report, we can now confirm that it was without foundation in reality for the TIETJEN was and still is languishing in the Frog Pond at Toledo along with GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER. The possibility of PAUL L. TIETJEN seeing further service would seem remote.

As of late October, the graving dock at the Lorain yard of the American Shipbuilding Company was occupied by the carferry CITY OF MILWAUKEE and the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker MACKINAW, the latter vessel undergoing extensive repairs.

The stern and about 200 feet of the hull of the Hanna 1000-foot self-unloader GEORGE A. STINSON are well on the way at AmShip's Lorain shipyard. This vessel will be the next new carrier to be commissioned from AmShip. In addition, the yard is making good progress on the construction of a 1,000-foot self-unloader for the United States Steel Corporation. As of late October, the stern and a good portion of the after hull section of this boat were taking shape but little of the superstructure had yet been erected.

U.S. Steel has released details of its other 1,000-footer which will be built as Hull 718 of the Bay Shipbuilding Corp. at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Fabrication of sections of the boat has been in progress since February but her keel has not yet been laid. She will be 105 feet in breadth and will have a capacity of approximately 58,000 long tons of taconite. Cargo will feed onto a single conveyor at the bottom of the hold and will be unloaded via a "transverse shuttleboom" which will be located directly in front of the superstructure aft. She will not carry the traditional type of boom. Her bow will be very bluff and diagrams of the boat indicate that she will have a completely flush deck without raised forecastle. Her 20,000 h.p. diesels will reportedly give her a loaded speed at full power in excess of 16 miles per hour. She is scheduled for delivery during the 1979 season.

Elsewhere in these pages, we have mentioned that the Ford Motor Company's JOHN DYKSTRA passed down the Welland Canal October 19-20. We now learn that she loaded ore at Pointe Noire, Quebec, and was back up the Welland on October 30th. Meanwhile we have heard that there is a distinct possibility that Ford's WILLIAM CLAY FORD will also be voyaging down to the St. Lawrence River in the near future.

A surprise visitor in the Welland Canal on October 30 was the Hansand Steamship Corporation's bulk carrier JOSEPH H. THOMPSON which was downbound with coal from Sandusky for Hamilton. It is believed that she would be heading down the St. Lawrence for iron ore after delivering her coal cargo.

The tanker IMPERIAL LONDON, her move to the Caribbean aborted as a result of a lack of funds, was back in Ramey's Bend at Humberstone by October 29. It is as yet unclear whether Marine Salvage Ltd. will be seeking another buyer for the steamer or whether she will be dismantled there. She is presently sporting a freshly-painted bottom, the result of her drydocking at Whitby in anticipation of her projected move to southern climes.

The first of a new series of 730-foot bulk carriers built in South Korea for Federal Commerce and Navigation Ltd., the FEDERAL SCHELDE, arrived in Toronto on October 31st with a cargo of Australian sugar for the Redpath plant. FEDERAL RHINE and FEDERAL CALUMET will also be bringing sugar to Toronto this autumn. FEDERAL SCHELDE is not a good looking boat; in fact, she might charitably be described as being downright homely. She is far too long to fit into the Jarvis Street slip at Toronto where the Redpath Sugar warehouse is located and the sight of this ugly monster, fully a third of her length protruding into the Bay and the top of her pilothouse almost level with the peaked roof of the warehouse even when she was fully loaded, was enough to make even the most casual shipwatcher stand agape.

THE INTERNATIONAL, (a) WILLIAM H. WARNER, was officially rechristened (c) MAXINE at South Chicago on October 18th by her new owner, the E.D.C. Holding Company. The odd part of the affair was that the steamer was laid up at the time, a victim of the Minnesota iron ore miners' strike.

Speaking of the miners' strike, readers would do well to watch for several other U.S. vessel operators to jump on the bandwagon and send their boats down the Seaway for ore. We would also recommend a trip to the Welland Canal one of these fine fall days. Vessel traffic of such proportions has seldom been seen since the 1950's when the canallers were still running.

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Scanner, v. 10, n. 2 (November 1977)


Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Early Scrap Tows in the Welland Canal; How Henry Ford Blocked Traffic in the Old Canals; Ship of the Month No. 69 ; Willis Metcalfe; Additional Marine News