Saturday, May 5th - Annual Dinner Meeting. Please see details below.
The Editor's Notebook
ANNUAL DINNER MEETING: By popular request, the Dinner Meeting will be held on Saturday, May 5th. Dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m. at the Ship Inn (located in the cellar of the Marine Museum of Upper Canada) and the bar will be open earlier for those who might enjoy a pre-dinner restorative. Our speaker will be Mr. Alan Howard whose subject will be "All Aboard for Niagara: Recollections of Summer Days in the Ships that Sailed from Toronto". This promises to be a very special evening.
The capacity of the Ship Inn is limited and all space may be filled by the time you read this message. Anyone wishing to attend who has not yet reserved should immediately address Mr. James M. Kidd, 83 Humberview Road, Toronto, Ontario, M6S 1W9, enclosing the necessary remittance. The cost is $10.75 per person (no change from last year) and guests will be most welcome.
Our thanks go to Capt. John Leonard for his most interesting address to the March meeting. All present enjoyed his reminiscences and we look forward to hearing Part Two of the programme at a future date.
In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to R. L. Armstrong of Collingwood, to Gordon Wendt of Sandusky, Ohio, to Michael Walz and Jerry Masson of the Canadian Soo, to A. R. Messier of Montreal, to the Rev. Mitchell N. Weber of Green Bay, Wisconsin, to Frank McMillan of Port Lambton, and to Ronald Beaupre of Port Elgin, Ontario.
The St. Lawrence Seaway Authority is considering several methods of increasing the efficiency of the Welland Canal. In addition to the testing of the prototype shunters with MARINSAL, the S.L.S.A. is considering the realignment of numerous lock approach walls, the extension of the navigation season for the canal as well as for the St. Lawrence River section, the provision of computer-assisted scheduling for vessels in the waterway, and the removal of Bridge 5 which is located at Merritton, between Locks 3 and 4. How the latter change could be made without completely disrupting the heavy commuter traffic to and from the McKinnon Industries (General Motors) plant on the east side of the canal above the bridge, we do not know. In addition, work will begin during 1979 on the widening of the narrow section of the canal between the Thorold South guard gate and the town of Port Robinson (a.k.a. "Steelton Gap").
As far as MARINSAL is concerned, we are pleased to report that she ran trials out on Lake Ontario off Port Weller with the shunters on the afternoon of March 24. We must assume that everything went according to plan, as the pushers were able to get the former steamer back to her berth in Port Weller harbour without incident.
During the winter months, it was said that the management of Misener Transportation Ltd. was considering giving all of its vessels the blue hull colour which has been sported by RALPH MISENER ever since her construction. It now seems that this will come to pass, for JOHN A. PRANCE (II) received this treatment whilst in winter quarters at Port McNicoll. It is not yet known whether she will have "billboards" with the company name down the sides. We presume that the other Misener boats will also receive blue hulls.
Notice was formally given at Toronto, on January 15, by Dallas Milne, a director of both firms, that Liquilassie Shipping Ltd. and Porter Shipping Ltd. would be applying for leave to surrender their charters. These two companies, successors to Gayport Shipping Ltd. which operated the British American Oil Company's canal tankers from 1946 until 1959, were involved in the operation of the steam tanker LIQUILASSIE for many years but have been inactive since her retirement, sale, and conversion to a barge.
In the February issue, we passed along a report that the Groupe Desgagnes of Pointe-au-Pic, Quebec, was considering the building of eight new boats for its fleet. We now learn that this report was somewhat exaggerated. It seems that Desgagnes has put MAURICE DESGAGNES in service between Quebec and Europe hauling pulp and, if this trade should prove successful, the company will try to obtain a second-hand ship of about 8,000 tons to assist her on the route.
The Huron Cement Division, National Gypsum Company, is once more considering the updating of several vessels of its aging fleet in a continuing effort to improve the carrying capacity and operating cost factor of each boat. It will be recalled that E. M. FORD and LEWIS G. HARRIMAN have both received considerable attention during recent years. It is now suggested that J. A. W. IGLEHART may be considered for lengthening and the steamer S. T. CRAPO for a conversion to diesel power. More worrisome to the historian is the suggestion that, possibly as soon as the winter of 1979-80, Huron may replace both the forward and after cabins of J. B. FORD. The FORD, (a) EDWIN F. HOLMES (16), (b) E. C. COLLINS (59), is a 420-footer built back in 1904. She is one of the very few early steamers still operating with anything resembling her original cabin configuration. She is a picturesque little thing and, even if her accommodations are not of the most modern nature, we rather hope that she retains her current quaint profile.
Despite recent rumours to the contrary, FRENCH RIVER will operate during 1979 for C.S.L. in the container trade. She was on the drydock at Port Weller late in 1978 and fit-out crews have been aboard at Hamilton since midwinter. Meanwhile, her near-sister ENGLISH RIVER, which normally hauls cement between Bath and Toronto, left Toronto on March 16 for Port Weller.
Despite the severity of the winter ice conditions which sent many lakers to lay-up earlier than their owners might otherwise have intended, the U.S. Steel Great Lakes Fleet continued to operate, primarily because of a shortage of taconite at its South Chicago plant. By late February, only ROGER BLOUGH, CASON J. CALLAWAY, PHILIP R. CLARKE and JOHN G. MUNSON were in regular service and they were having a hard job to keep moving in the 100% ice-cover on Lake Superior. All had received damage of one sort or another from the battle. ARTHUR M. ANDERSON, meanwhile, having received repairs to damage suffered in her January 31st collision with the icebreaker WESTWIND, was pressed back into service to shuttle ore to South Chicago from the Youngstown Steel Company plant at Gary, Indiana.
EDWIN H. GOTT emerged from Milwaukee on February 16 to make her maiden voyage up the lakes to Two Harbors for a cargo of taconite. We rather suspect, however, that the "Steel Trust" will long regret having put her into service under such severe conditions. Not only did the GOTT manage to lose one rudder and seriously damage the other in the heavy ice, but she also suffered extensive damage to her plating, particularly near the bow. As well, her after ballast tanks received severe structural damage when their vents froze up and were unable to compensate for pressure changes when the level of ballast in the tanks was changed. Several sources have indicated that the damage to GOTT may approximate $3,000,000 - a rather hefty price to pay for the privilege of showing the flag in mid-February during one of the worst winters on record.
Once again, the future of the 68-year-old Straits of Mackinac steam carferry CHIEF WAWATAM is in doubt. The Michigan State Highway Department is still complaining about the subsidy which is required to keep the ferry operating and it has been suggested that a tug and barge could do the CHIEF's job at a reduced cost. It seems that the authorities have forgotten how much fun it is to handle a big barge in heavy ice conditions. They have also forgotten the lack of success demonstrated by the tug MUSKEGON and barge MANISTEE which temporarily replaced CHIEF WAWATAM about ten years back. If the Highway Dept. has its way, the change could possibly be made by late summer, although it is not certain whether the CHIEF would be cut down or another barge obtained. Much protest over the retirement or cutting down of CHIEF WAWATAM is expected.
Despite earlier I.C.C. approval of the "Kewaunee Plan", a compromise in the efforts of the Chessie System to phase out its Lake Michigan carferry services, we understand that Chessie is still operating the route between Ludington and Milwaukee. This was the route that the I.C.C. was going to permit Chessie to drop first, the line being forced to continue service to Kewaunee and Manitowoc for five years. Whether as a result of an appeal of the I.C.C. decision or other factors we do not know, but Chessie apparently plans to maintain the Milwaukee service at least into the summer months. What will happen after that is anybody's guess.
The Ann Arbor, meanwhile, is going ahead with reinstated service on the route between Frankfort and Manitowoc, but is having difficulties. The line wanted to make use of the Soo Line dock at Manitowoc but it is out of service and Ann Arbor is forced to use the Chicago & Northwestern dock with the C.N.W. transferring the cars to the Soo Line. This problem will have to be resolved before the revitalized ferry service to Manitowoc can reach any reasonable potential.
We understand that several interested parties have been considering the preservation of the craneship BUCKEYE (II) as a salvage lighter. Columbia took the veteran steamer out of service at the close of the 1978 season but she has not yet been sold out of the fleet. Apart from the barge MAITLAND NO. 1, which is usually to be found somewhere on Lake Michigan, BUCKEYE is the only craneship left on the lakes which is of sufficient size to be of assistance in removing cargo from a large laker in distress. To keep her available for wrecking service would seem logical.
With FERNDALE (II) sold earlier this year for scrapping, Westdale Shipping Ltd. has found itself desperately short of tonnage to fulfill its contractual obligations for the season. Things are so critical that ERINDALE raised steam at Toronto during the first week of March and headed out onto Lake Ontario to resume the Colborne - Clarkson stone run which NORDALE had been forced to give up in early January when her operation was impeded by ice. It is known that Westdale could use another self-unloader for its fleet but there are very few such vessels currently on the market that are in sufficiently good condition to merit consideration. JOSEPH S. YOUNG and IRVIN L. CLYMER hardly qualify. It has been suggested that Westdale might be looking at C.S.L.'s steamer HOCHELAGA which is gradually becoming a "fringe" unit as far as her present owner is concerned. With yet another maximum-sized self-unloader on order from Collingwood, it seems possible that C.S.L. might well be persuaded to part with the 30-year-old HOCHELAGA if the price should be right.
Another rumour making the rounds these days concerns United States Steel's steamers GOVERNOR MILLER and WILLIAM A. IRVIN, both of which have been laid aside by the Great Lakes Fleet. The word is that both bulk carriers may appear under the flag of a Canadian operator, but we must take such a story with something more than the proverbial grain of salt. Both MILLER (which has not operated for several years) and IRVIN (which ran in '78 but sustained bottom damage in a late-season grounding) are in need of major work and, to make things worse, both are coal-burners. It would seem unlikely that any other operator would be much interested in these 41-year-old sisterships, but we would be very happy if they did have an active future ahead of them, for they are amongst the most handsome boats ever built on the lakes and it is sad indeed to see them languishing in idleness.
Our spy in Tampa, Florida, reports that CAPE BRETON HIGHLANDER was still in port there late in March, but that she was expected to depart about the end of the month. It is anticipated that she will proceed to Montreal and then back out to St. John, New Brunswick. She is expected to arrive at the shipyard for her self-unloader conversion about April 18th.
Winter Lay-up Listings
We have only two winter fleets for you this issue. Such material is hardly timely in April, but we present here what additional information we can in order to preserve (and/or correct, as may be necessary) the record. Our thanks to Jim Kaysen for the information about Milwaukee lay-ups.
Milwaukee: L. E. BLOCK, COURTNEY BURTON, WILLIAM H. DONNER, BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS, A. H. FERBERT, E. M. FORD, LEON FRASER, W. W. HOLLOWAY, JUPITER, IRVING S. OLDS, PRESQUE ISLE, CLARENCE B. RANDALL, RESERVE, MEL WILLIAM SELVICK, ENDERS M. VOORHEES.
Toledo (Corrected from list in March issue): ASHLAND, BUCKEYE, BUFFALO, CADILLAC, CHAMPLAIN, CLIFFS VICTORY, CONSUMERS POWER, FRANK R. DENTON, JOSEPH H. FRANTZ, TOM M. GIRDLER, GEORGE D. GOBLE, EDWARD B. GREENE, KINSMAN ENTERPRISE, KINSMAN INDEPENDENT, ROGER M. KYES, MERLE M. McCURDY, McKEE SONS, NICOLET, ROBERT C. NORTON, CRISPIN OGLEBAY, PONTIAC, RICHARD J. REISS, WILLIAM A. REISS, WILLIAM R. ROESCH, J. R. SENSIBAR, HENRY STEINBRENNER, WALTER A. STERLING, SYLVANIA, PAUL THAYER, G. A. TOMLINSON, THOMAS WILSON, JOSEPH S. YOUNG.
It is interesting to note that Toledo, with 32 vessels in winter quarters, ranks second only to Toronto (34 boats) in the size of its lay-up fleet.
The Upper Lakers come to Lake Ontario
by Alan Sykes (With Additional Notes by the Editor)
Over the past few years, "Scanner" has been recording the downbound passages of many lakers bound for scrapyards or for service away from the Great Lakes. Often, ships are noted as having transitted the Welland Canal for the last time, but only infrequently these days is there mention of a vessel making her very first trip down to Lake Ontario.
The downbound passage of LEMOYNE on August 6, 1932, marked the ceremonial "opening" of the fourth Welland Canal. Photo courtesy Alan Sykes.Most shipping enthusiasts know of at least one "first transit" during the early 1930s, this being the August 6, 1932, downbound passage of LEMOYNE which served as the ceremonial opening of the fourth Welland Canal, but this was not the first downbound trip through the waterway of an upper laker. What of some of the other upper lakers for which the opening of the Welland Ship Canal permitted service down into Lake Ontario?
During the autumn of 1929 and the spring and summer of 1930, canallers had been using various parts of the new canal as construction progressed into its final stages and certain sections of the old third canal could be abandoned. The last passage to use parts of both canals (Locks 1,2,3 and 8 of the new canal and Locks 11 through 24 of the old) was made by the motorship I.L.I. 102 on November 22, 1930.
The honour of being the first ship over 260 feet in length overall to make a complete transit of the new canal was accorded to the self-unloading collier JOHN McCARTNEY KENNEDY, which passed down the canal on October 29, 1930 with a load of coal bound for Toronto. During this passage, two tugs escorted the ship through the canal to ensure that she would suffer no damage and that no harm would come to any of the canal's structures.
From the time of this first transit until June 15, 1931, all lakers seeking to pass through the canal were required to obtain special permission from the government in Ottawa. Permits were granted only to ships not exceeding 450 feet in overall length. Effective June 15, 1931, vessel owners no longer had to ask for government approval to use the canal, however the maximum permitted length of a boat making the transit remained unchanged.
On June 29, 1931, the government extended to 550 feet the maximum length of ships allowed through the waterway. This change made it possible for all lakers of Canadian registry to use the canal, with the exception of the large steamers GLENEAGLES, ASHCROFT, STADACONA (II), DONNACONA (II) and LEMOYNE. The regulation remained in effect until July 1, 1932, when the maximum allowable overall length was extended to 600 feet. Finally, on August 1st, 1932, came permission for vessels of up to 650 feet to use the canal, and thereafter both DONNACONA and LEMOYNE had access to Lake Ontario.
Cargoes brought down the Welland Canal during these early years were usually discharged at Hamilton, Toronto, Kingston, or Oswego, N.Y. In addition to frequent grain, ore and coal shipments, cargoes (including deckloads) of automobiles, and bulk shipments of cement were also recorded. It must be remembered, however, that lake shipping was then held firmly in the terrible grip of the Great Depression and many lakers were whiling away their time in ordinary. In fact, the great LEMOYNE herself was brought out of lay-up and painted specially for the occasion of making the ceremonial opening transit of the new canal.
We list herewith the first recorded passages of upper lakers from 1930 until the close of the 1932 navigation season, together with the names of their owners at the time and the eventual disposition of the vessels. While some of these ships were seen only infrequently in the canal thereafter, many of them returned to pass through the canal time and time again during the ensuing years. It is interesting to note that two of the vessels shown were passenger cruise boats, namely NORONIC and TIONESTA, and that this type of vessel has now entirely disappeared from the waterway.
October 29, 1930 - JOHN McCARTNEY KENNEDY, Valley Camp Steamship Company. Scrapped 1959-60 as (d) R.E. MOODY.
December 5, 1930 - JOHN ERICSSON, Great Lakes Transit Corp. Ltd. (James Playfair). Scrapped 1968.
June 8, 1931 - NORONIC, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Destroyed by fire September 17, 1949, and hull subsequently scrapped.
June 15, 1931 - THOMAS BRITT (II), Lakewood Steamship Company. Scrapped 1969 as (e) BUCKEYE (I).
- JAMES B. EADS, Great Lakes Transit Corp. Ltd. (James Playfair). Scrapped 1967.
- TIONESTA, Great Lakes Transit Corp. Scrapped 1941.
- BRENTWOOD, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Scrapped 1937.
June 17, 1931 - COLLINGWOOD, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Scrapped 1968.
- SARNIAN, Northland Steamship Company Ltd. Scrapped 1947.
June 18, 1931 - W. C. FRANZ, Algoma Central and Hudson Bay Railway Company. Lost by collision, November 21, 1934.
June 19, 1931 - WM. F. FITCH, Jenkins Steamship Company. Scrapped c.1950.
June 21, 1931 - CANADOC (I), Paterson Steamships Ltd. Scrapped 1970 as (e) PORTADOC (III).
June 25, 1931 - JAMES WATT, Jenkins Steamship Company. Scrapped 1961.
July 3, 1931 - WESTMOUNT, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Scrapped 1967.
July 4, 1931 - ROBERT P. DURHAM, Arrow Steamships Ltd. Scrapped 1965 as (d) FEDERAL HUSKY.
July 5, 1931 - HAGARTY, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Scrapped 1968.
July 6, 1931 - EMPEROR, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Lost by stranding, June 4, 1947.
July 7, 1931 - ANNA C. MINCH, Western Navigation Company Ltd. Foundered, November 11, 1940.
July 22, 1931 - PRESCOTT, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Scrapped 1962.
August 2, 1931 - W. E. FITZGERALD, Chicago Navigation Company. Scrapped 1971-72.
August 8, 1931 - LAKETON, Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. Sold for scrap 1967 and lost at sea, January 13. 1968.
- MIDLAND PRINCE, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Scrapped 1969.
August 20, 1931 - WILLIAM NELSON, Paisley Steamship Company. Scrapped 1969 as (c) BEN E. TATE.
August 21, 1931 - GODERICH (I), Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. In service as storage barge (g) LIONEL PARSONS.
August 25, 1931 - J. E. SAVAGE, Valley Camp Steamship Company. Scrapped 1969 as (d) ROBERT J. PAISLEY (II).
August 27, 1931 - HENRY CORT, Lake Ports Shipping and Navigation Company. Lost by stranding, November 30, 1934.
September 9. 1931 - SUMATRA, Sumatra Steamship Company. Scrapped 1968 as (c) DOLOMITE.
September 29, 1931 - WILLIAM B. PILKEY, Paisley Steamship Company. Lost by collision, April 27, 1944, as (c) FRANK E. VIGOR.
October 14, 1931 - BERRYTON, Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. Scrapped 1969 as (d) C. A. BENNETT.
October 28, 1931 - QUEDOC (I), Paterson Steamships Ltd. Scrapped 1962 as barge (d) H. S. & G. NO. 1.
November 30, 1931 - JOLIET (II), Cleveland Cliffs Steamship Company. Scrapped 1964 as (c) POWERAUX MARK.
April 16, 1932 - DOW CHEMICAL (I), American Steamship Company. In use as breakwater as (e) PINEDALE.
April 18, 1932 - JOHN A. KLING, Rockport Steamship Company. In service.
April 25, 1932 - SULTANA, Nicholson Universal Steamship Company. Hull still in existence as refuse barge.
April 26, 1932 - PRICE McKINNEY, Pioneer Steamship Company. Scrapped 1961.
May 7, 1932 - E. G. MATHIOTT (I), Valley Camp Steamship Company. Scrapped 1936.
May 12, 1932 - THUNDER BAY QUARRIES (I), American Steamship Company. Sold for scrap 1973 as (c) UNITED STATES GYPSUM (II) and lost at sea, May 21, 1973.
May 16, 1932 - MARITANA, Buckeye Steamship Company. Scrapped 1947.
May 23, 1932 - CORALIA, Nicholson Universal Steamship Company. Scrapped 1965 as (c) L. D. BROWNING.
June 12, 1932 - CONNEAUT, Wyandotte Transportation Company. Scrapped 1973 as (b) WYANDOTTE (II).
June 14, 1932 - PENOBSCOT, Nicholson Universal Steamship Company. Scrapped 1964.
July 6, 1932 - ASHCROFT, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Scrapped 1969.
July 8, 1932 - GLENEAGLES, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. In service as (b) SILVERDALE.
July 11, 1932 - CHARLES C. WEST, Rockport Steamship Company. Awaiting scrapping 1979.
July 20, 1932 - DIAMOND ALKALI (I), American Steamship Company. Awaiting scrapping 1979 as (d) FERNDALE (II).
July 21, 1932 - HURON, Wyandotte Transportation Company. Scrapped 1973.
July 22, 1932 - STADACONA (II), Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. In service as (b) NORDALE.
August 1, 1932 - CRESCENT CITY, Nicholson Universal Steamship Company. Scrapped 1959 as (b) CARL W. MEYERS.
August 6, 1932 - LEMOYNE, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Scrapped 1969.
August 8, 1932 - JOHN W. BOARDMAN, Huron Transportation Company. In service as (b) LEWIS G. HARRIMAN.
August 12, 1932 - MORRIS S. TREMAINE, Eastern Steamship Corp. Scrapped 1966 as (c) T. J. McCARTHY.
August 13, 1932 - G. J. GRAMMER, Grammer Steamship Company. Scrapped 1964 as (d) D. A. MOLONEY.
August 27, 1932 - DONNACONA (II), Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Scrapped 1969.
August 30, 1932 - SIERRA, Inter Ocean Steamship Company. Scrapped 1964.
September 14, 1932 - HENRY STEINBRENNER (I), Kinsman Transit Company. Foundered May 20, 1953.
September 27, 1932 - JOHN SHERWIN (I), Interlake Steamship Company. Scrapped 1974 as (d) KINSMAN VENTURE.
September 29, 1932 - A. D. MacBETH, Buckeye Steamship Company. Scrapped 1940.
October 4, 1932 - HARVEY H. BROWN (III), Interlake Steamship Company. In service as (d) MARLHILL.
October 5, 1932 - S. T. CRAPO, Huron Transportation Company. In service.
October 7, 1932 - CAPTAIN THOMAS WILSON, Wilson Transit Company. Scrapped 1946 as (b) KICKAPOO.
October 12, 1932 - PRINDOC (I), Paterson Steamships Ltd. Lost by collision, June 1, 1943.
October 17, 1932 - FRANK E. TAPLIN, Wilson Transit Company. Scrapped 1969.
October 23, 1932 - A. W. OSBORNE, Wilson Transit Company. Scrapped 1946.
October 25, 1932 - MIDLAND KING, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Scrapped 1937.
October 26, 1932 - VALCARTIER, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Scrapped 1937.
October 29, 1932 - TAURUS (I), Interlake Steamship Company. Scrapped 1947.
October 31, 1932 - W. D. REES, Wilson Transit Company. Scrapped 1955 as (b) LEETSDALE.
November 1, 1932 - JOHN ANDERSON, Valley Camp Steamship Company. Scrapped 1972 as (c) G. G. POST.
November 9, 1932 - ANGELINE, Presque Isle Transportation Company. Scrapped 1965. - MARTIAN (I), Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Scrapped 1938.
November 15, 1932 - SINALOA, Tri-Lakes Steamship Company. Scrapped 1971 as (d) STONEFAX.
November 18, 1932 - FONTANA, Maritime Steamship Company. Scrapped 1960.
November 24, 1932 - ROYALTON, Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. In service.
November 27, 1932 - RALPH BUDD, Great Lakes Transit Corp. Ltd. (James Playfair). Scrapped 1966 as (c) L. A. McCORQUODALE.
December 5, 1932 - ADAM E. CORNELIUS (I), American Steamship Company. Awaiting scrapping 1979 as (d) AVONDALE (II).
December 10, 1932 - MARIPOSA, Buckeye Steamship Company. Scrapped 1947.
The year 1979 marks the 150th anniversary of the first passage of a ship through the original Welland Canal. There will be festivities in the canal area throughout the coming navigation season. This feature is our way of beginning the celebrations on an historical note.
Our sincere thanks go to Alan Sykes of Welland for doing the necessary research of the vessel passages especially for "Scanner". We hope that his work will help our readers to understand the method in which the Welland Ship Canal was brought into full operation.
Triple-expansion marine steam engine - 6 1/2", 10 1/2", 16 1/2" x 10" stroke. Built by the Davis Engine Company, Kingston, Ontario. Shaft diameter, 3 1/2". Complete with independent air pump, condenser and propeller. Has been taken apart and stored. Interested parties should contact Capt. John Leonard, 195 Dalhousie Avenue, St. Catharines, Ontario, L2N 4X8.
Wolfe Islander Revisited
In our feature on the sidewheel ferry WOLFE ISLANDER in last month's issue, we mentioned that we were not certain of her hull number. Thanks to Bob Campbell who has copies of her plans, we can advise that she was Hull 45 of the Bertram Engine Works, Toronto.
Ship of the Month No. 83
On several occasions in recent months, we have mentioned some of the wooden lake bulk carriers which were so common during the last century. It is common knowledge amongst marine historians that these little workhorses were eventually supplanted in their toils by the large iron and steel hulls which would open the door to more economical shipment of large quantities of assorted goods and raw materials. What is not so well known, however, is that there was actually another step in the changeover from wood to steel hulls.
The composite hull was an attempt to take advantage of the strength of the steel hull while still retaining the resilience of wood. This method of construction called for the fitting of charcoal iron frames with steel hull plating down to the waterline. The lower sides and bottom were finished in white oak planking secured to the iron frames. Those who advocated this type of construction argued that vessels whose hulls were built completely of steel or iron were more vulnerable to damage in the event of stranding than were their wooden counterparts. Eight freighters and one passenger steamer were built on this principle during the ten-year period ending in 1891, but no more were constructed after the steel hull had demonstrated that it was quite capable of standing up to normal service.
Many of the composite hulls, however, had long careers on the lakes. The last composite vessel of any size to operate in these parts was the steamer YANKCANUCK (I), (a) MANCHESTER (22), (b) JOSEPH W. SIMPSON (38), (c) MINDEMOYA (46), which was built in 1889 and dismantled in 1959-60.
One of the proponents of the composite method of hull construction was Captain E. M. Peck of Detroit and Cleveland. In his later years, this gentleman was interested in shipping as both a vessel owner and operator but, during earlier times, he had built many fine vessels. Peck was convinced that a composite hull would sustain less damage in a grounding than would one built of steel, and that repairs would be easier and considerably less expensive to put in hand.
Captain Peck (whose first name was Elihu, in case anyone was wondering) entered the shipping business in 1847 at the age of 25 when he built the 200-ton schooner JENNY LIND. A master shipbuilder, he formed a partnership in 1853 with I. U. Masters and together they built some fifty schooners and steamers prior to the death of Masters in 1864. The Peck and Masters shipyard at Cleveland was responsible for the construction of such famous passenger and freight steamers as WINSLOW, IDAHO, ATLANTIC, METEOR and PEWABIC, and the government revenue cutters JOHN SHERMAN and WM. P. FESSENDEN (I).
Peck had obtained his master's papers and for four years had sailed the small propellor FOUNTAIN CITY which had been built at the Peck and Masters yard in 1857. After the death of his partner, he carried on alone, remaining in the shipbuilding trade through 1870. One of his most famous hulls was the wooden bulk carrier R. J. HACKETT of 1869. The HACKETT is generally considered to have been the prototype of today's modern lake bulk carrier.
Capt. Peck then set off to pursue a career as a shipowner. During the 1870s, he was associated with R. J. Hackett and together they controlled the Vulcan Transportation Company, Detroit, and the Northwestern Transportation Company, Detroit, the first named of these firms having been incorporated in 1869. Peck and Hackett together, along with other associates who appeared on the scene from time to time, accumulated quite a fleet of vessels.
Came the year 1888 and the Northwestern Transportation Company was in need of a new bulk carrier. Knowing Elihu Peck's fondness for the composite form of construction, it is not surprising that this was the type of ship that was ordered by the company. She was to be the third of four such vessels in the fleet. The contract for her building was let to the Detroit Dry Dock Company which built her as Hull 79 of its yard at Wyandotte, Michigan.
The new steamer measured 266.0 feet overall, while between perpendiculars she was 252.6 feet in length. Her beam was 40.2 feet and her depth was 18.6. As built, her tonnage was registered as 1,809.11 Gross and 1,572.34 Net. She was powered by a triple-expansion engine with cylinders of 19, 30 and 52 inches and a stroke of 40 inches. Steam was supplied by two coal-fired cylindrical boilers measuring 11 by 11 feet, these being Number 59 and 60 built by the Dry Dock Engine Works which also manufactured the engine.
Enrolled at Detroit as U.S.135983, the steamer was christened E. M. PECK in honour of her famous owner. It should be noted that she was not the first boat to be named for the captain. A schooner of 168 tons built by Peck and Masters at Cleveland in 1857 had also been named for him and she was followed in 1863 by a 102.4-foot wooden steam tug also built at Cleveland. The tug E. M. PECK (II) was later renamed (b) C. E. BENHAM and was operated for many years by Capt. Charles E. Benham and later by the Great Lakes Towing Company. She was stationed at the Soo for a considerable period of time and ended her life under Canadian registry during the First World War. The big composite steamer, then, was actually commissioned as E. M. PECK (III).
The PECK proved to be a successful boat in the ore trade in which she was placed and her early years seem to have been relatively uneventful. She was a handsome steamer with a pleasing sheer to her hull and stylish rake to her masts and stack. She was, no doubt, the object of considerable pride on the part of Capt. Peck and, when he passed away on May 8, 1896 at the age of 74, his body was placed aboard E. M. PECK to be carried in state from Detroit to his old home, Cleveland.
With the late remains of Elihu Peck duly laid to rest in Cleveland's Lake-view Cemetery, control of the Northwestern Transportation Company passed in 1896 to Lewis C. Waldo who, in 1890, had moved to Detroit from Ludington, Michigan, and who also managed the operations of the Roby Transportation Company. Yet another change in management came just after the turn of the century, when control of the Northwestern Transportation Company passed to Harvey H. Brown and Company of Cleveland. It was not unusual that Brown should have had an interest in this fleet, for back when Peck and Hackett had gone into the shipowning business in 1869, they had done so to carry the iron ore from the Jackson Mine at Marquette, Michigan, to Cleveland. The general agent for the Jackson Mine was a gentleman by the name of Fayette Brown, the father of Harvey H. Brown. In fact, Fayette Brown was the chairman of the board of Harvey H. Brown and Company until his death at the age of 86 in 1910, at which time Harvey took over.
Nevertheless, E. M. PECK did not remain with the fleet long enough to see the company through the changeover from Fayette to Harvey Brown. She was sold in 1903 to the Calumet Transportation Company, of which F. W. Smith was manager. It appears to have been about this time that her port of registry was changed to Duluth, Minnesota. E. M. PECK, still retaining her original name, continued in the ore trade and, apparently, was still able to hold her own despite the proliferation of much larger all-steel hulls. In 1911, the management of the Calumet Transportation Company was taken over by the famous Capt. Charles L. Hutchinson of Cleveland, and E.M. PECK thus became a part of the large fleet of steamers and barges which, for many years, would be operated by Hutchinson and Company.
Workmen survey the devastated after end of E. M. PECK after her June 11, 1913 boiler explosion at Racine, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy M. J. Brown.It is not known how long E. M. PECK might have continued to serve the Calumet Transportation Company or Hutchinson and Company. She was undoubtedly nearing the end of her usefulness in the ore trade but she might have had a few more years of service ahead of her under U.S. registry in the grain trade. This, however, was not to be, for while she was lying at dock at Racine, Wisconsin, on Wednesday, June 11, 1913, her starboard boiler exploded. The stern section of the steamer was turned into an almost unrecognizable heap of rubble and seven members of her crew were suddenly dispatched into the next world. It is not known how many other crew members or persons onshore may have been injured by flying bits of the PECK's machinery and after cabin.
So severe was the damage to E. M. PECK that she was declared a constructive total loss and was abandoned by her owner. The vessel was purchased (allegedly for the price of $4,200) by the Reid Wrecking Company Ltd. of Sarnia which scraped the remains up from Racine harbour and hauled them off to its shipyard at Port Huron. Reid then enrolled E. M. PECK at Sarnia as C.130439, her tonnage being reported in 1914 as 1651 Gross and 988 Net.
It is not known how much work was actually completed by Reid but it is apparent that E. M. PECK was purchased as she lay at Port Huron by A. B. Mackay of Hamilton. Mackay had the PECK taken to the Ecorse, Michigan, yard of the Great Lakes Engineering Works for the completion of repairs. It was at this time that she was shortened by about six feet in order that she might operate through the old St. Lawrence and Welland Canals. Her wrecked machinery was replaced by another triple-expansion engine, this one having cylinders of 15, 27 and 44 inches and a stroke of 40 inches. Steam came from one coal-fired Scotch boiler measuring 12'6" by 11'6". Both boiler and engine were manufactured in 1914, presumably by Great Lakes Engineering Works.
We rather imagine that Great Lakes Engineering Works subsequently wished that it had never touched E. M. PECK. The repairer sent Mackay an account in the amount of $21,000 for services rendered but payment was not forthcoming. G.L.E.W. eventually had to take Mackay to court in an effort to secure payment of the repair bill.
Presumably as a result of the litigation, E. M. PECK was sold in 1915 to the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. of Toronto which returned her to service under Canadian registry as (b) MALTON. This name was chosen to honour the small town located to the northwest of Toronto, for the Mathews family farm was established there. Today, Malton has been swallowed up in the urban sprawl and is the site of the Toronto International Airport.
MALTON, in Mathews colours, was a handsome vessel, although more so in her later years than when originally purchased. Her hull was black, forecastle rail and cabins were white, and the stack was black with the usual two silver bands. Although no insignia appeared on her bows in the early years, Mathews later decorated her with his distinctive monogram, a large white 'M' at the centre of two concentric circles, between which was the inscription 'Mathews S.S. Co. Ltd.'. The entire forecastle was eventually painted white instead of just the closed wooden rail which extended the full length of the forecastle.
MALTON's forward end looked very little different that it had back when she was built. A square pilothouse, with three large sectioned windows across its face, sat directly on the forecastle immediately forward of a small texas which provided accommodation for the master, and atop it was the usual open bridge. A heavy mast was stepped immediately aft of the cabin. Her two old-style anchors were carried atop the forecastle and two small davits were fitted there to lift them over the side. A rounded "mushroom" anchor was carried in the starboard hawsehole. Another touch of the past was seen in the open section on each side of the after end of the forecastle; heavy stanchions supported the weight of the deck above.
MALTON's appearance was much improved in her later years. She is sseen unloading at Toronto Elevators in this 1931 photo by J. H. Bascom.The entire after end of MALTON had been completely rebuilt after the explosion and the result was not exactly pleasing. A square, rather bald-looking cabin was fitted with large windows instead of ports, and there was no protective overhang of the boat deck at all except immediately beneath the lifeboats themselves. A very light pole mainmast was placed right at the after end of this deckhouse and, whereas the foremast was beautifully raked, the new main carried no rake at all. The well raked but very tall and thin stack sprouted from a sunken boilerhouse located on deck forward of the after cabin.
The appearance of the ship was improved considerably in the early 1920s. There were no structural alterations to the after cabin itself, but the mainmast was relocated just abaft the stack and was stepped on a pleasing angle to that it rose parallel to the raked stack. A modern pilothouse and texas were fitted, much along the lines of the forward cabins which were being given to the new canallers built during that period. Both houses had rounded fronts. In addition, the old anchors were removed and replaced by more up-to-date models which nestled away inside anchor pockets.
MALTON operated for Mathews without major incident during the war years, but immediately thereafter, she was involved in a string of accidents. It was fortunate for all concerned that none were of a really serious nature. The first of these incidents to be recorded occurred on August 7, 1918, when MALTON, under the command of Capt. J. A. Smith and bound from Erie to Montreal with a cargo of coal, struck a bridge in the Welland Canal. Then, on October 29. 1919. whilst upbound light from Montreal for Port Colborne, again with Capt. Smith in command, she grounded in the Lachine Canal. Damage in this accident was assessed at $6,000 and, although this does not seem a very large figure today, it was serious money back in 1919 and indicates that there was a fair amount of damage to the ship. We wonder what Capt. Peck, with his theories on composite construction, would have thought of the repair bill.
The next mishap occurred on July 27, 1921. Capt. Smith was still in command as MALTON was downbound with grain from Port Colborne for Quebec. When the boat was approximately one mile west of Cedars Bridge in the Soulanges Canal of the St. Lawrence system, she was involved in a collision. Strangely, the Dominion Wreck Commissioner's report does not identify the vessel or object with which MALTON collided! In any event, damage to MALTON amounted to approximately $10,000 on this occasion.
The steamer's next flirtation with fate came on June 11, 1922. She was downbound with grain from Port Colborne to Montreal, still with Capt. Smith in command, and was negotiating her way down the old Welland Canal. When in a position between Locks 26 and 25. she collided with the Canada Steamship Lines steamer HAMILTON which had, only the previous year, been converted from a barge. Damage to MALTON was minor, approximating only $500.
On November 17, 1922, MALTON was upbound light from Montreal to Buffalo for grain. Whilst making her way up Lake Ontario, she somehow managed to strand on Main Duck Island and remained fast there until released on November 30. She was towed back down the lake to Kingston and was placed on the drydock there, repairs being completed over the winter months. It is entirely possible that it was during this sojourn in the shipyard that MALTON received her handsome new forward cabins. In any event, she re-entered service in the spring of 1923 and her life thereafter seems to have been free of major difficulties.
Not so, however, the financial affairs of Alfred Ernest Mathews, the principal of the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. During the twenties, Mathews attempted to cash in on the booming business conditions by adding ten new vessels to the fleet. Mathews had been associated with James Playfair in several joint ventures, but their connection was severed in 1925. This was unfortunate for Mathews, for while Playfair survived the financial woes of the Great Depression, Mathews did not. Despite indications that business conditions were worsening, Mathews continued to build new canallers, the sisterships LIVINGSTON and WATERTON being constructed for the company in 1928 and another pair, FULTON and SOUTHTON, as late as 1929. During the 1927 navigation season, Mathews had mortgaged his entire fleet to the hilt to finance his continued expansion program, and when the bottom fell out of the lake shipping business in 1930, Mathews was caught with his pants down.
On January 8, 1931, upon application by the mortgagees, the Montreal Trust Company Ltd. and the National Trust Company Ltd., Mr. Justice Middleton of the Ontario Supreme Court issued an order appointing G. T. Clarkson, of E. R. C. Clarkson and Sons, as receiver and manager of the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. He was directed to manage and operate the vessels on behalf of the mortgagees and bondholders, and Mathews was instructed to hand over to him forthwith all of the ships and any other property of the firm.
On February 10, 1931, upon petition of the Toronto Dry Dock Company, the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. was adjudged bankrupt by the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Ontario in Bankruptcy, a receiving order being issued and F. C. Clarkson installed as custodian pending the first meeting of the creditors. To say that Mathews' creditors were numerous would be to make an understatement of gargantuan proportions. A total indebtedness in the sum of $3,196,267.67 was calculated and, at the creditors' meeting on March 19, 1931, it was revealed that, even if the entire fleet of boats were sold, insufficient funds would be realized to pay off even the secured and preferred creditors and nothing would be left over to satisfy any of the ordinary claims.
As a result, the decision was made to operate the fleet in 1931 in an attempt to reduce the indebtedness. Needless to say, Mathews himself had been removed from office as president and a director of the company, which then ran under Clarkson management. During 1932 and 1933, the fleet was chartered to Toronto Elevators Ltd. Two canallers had been repossessed by their builders and five others were sold. Business conditions being what they were during those years, most of the Mathews boats operated only occasionally; only the most economically operated vessels saw any amount of service and, due to her age and condition, MALTON was not one of these. She last turned her wheel in 1931 and then was laid to rest in Muir's Pond above Lock One of the old Welland Canal at Port Dalhousie. There she languished, usually in the company of assorted idle vessels from various fleets.
Late in the 1933 season, the remains of the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. were sold to Colonial Steamships Ltd. which had been formed specifically for that purpose by Capt. R. Scott Misener and the Hon. H. C. Schofield. Colonial put most of the Mathews ships back in service in 1934, complete with their old colours which had been adopted by Misener as his own. Some of the boats, however, were of no use to Colonial, and MALTON definitely fell into this category. She remained laid up in Muir's Pond until sold for scrapping in 1934. She was taken down through Lock One and was moored along the east wall of Port Dalhousie's lower harbour. There she was stripped of her superstructure and much of the steel upper portion of her hull.
The bottom section of the hull, with its iron framing and wooden planking, was taken out into Lake Ontario during 1935 and was discarded along the shore to the east of the Port Dalhousie piers. There her remains may still be seen at times of low water, the last extant reminders of the work of Captain Elihu M. Peck.
Late Marine News
BAIE COMEAU II is under charter to Algoma Steel for about a month while YANKCANUCK is off her regular run attending to other details. BAIE COMEAU II made her first arrival at the Soo under the charter on April 1st.
The Costa Line's 674-foot (OA) cruise vessel ANGELINA LAURO was destroyed by fire on March 30 whilst lying in the harbour of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Fortunately, most passengers were ashore and there was no loss of life. ANGELINA LAURO was built in 1939 and for many years had served the Nederland Line of Holland as (a) ORANJE. By unhappy coincidence, her longtime running-mate was JOHAN VAN OLDENBARNEVELT which achieved notoriety in 1963 when, as LAKONIA, she burned with considerable loss of life.