The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 12, n. 4 (January 1980)
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Jan 1980

Bascom, John N., Editor
Media Type:
Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Macassa Revisited; A. Andrew Merrilees; Additional Marine News; Toronto Harbour's Winter Fleet
Date of Publication:
Jan 1980
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Toronto Marine Historical Society
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Friday, February 1st - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Movie Night. We will be presenting a number of films of both lake and salt water interest. We think our members will be pleasantly surprised.

Friday, March 7th - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Milton J. Brown will present an illustrated history of the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company. This should be an interesting evening and we recommend that members should plan to attend if at all possible.

The Editor's Notebook

Our December meeting was a slide presentation by Carl Ehrke, who has travelled aboard many deep-sea passenger vessels. The high point of the evening, in our opinion, was the showing of colour photos of various long-departed ships of the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co. Ltd.

Our traditional winter lay-up listings will appear in the February and March issues. We would appreciate the assistance of all members in making sure that we have reports for all of the major lake ports. Please do not leave the sending of your harbour's list to someone else; instead, do it yourself to ensure that we receive the material while it is still of a timely nature.

In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to Francis Strong of Buffalo, to Barrett Smith of Toronto, to Robert Smith of Port McNicoll, and to John H. Moore of Terrace Bay, Ontario.

Marine News

With the termination of the Welland Canal shunter test program for 1979, the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority has ended its charter of MARINSAL and returned her Marine Salvage Ltd. She was towed from Port Weller on December 18 and was taken to Hamilton where she will spend the winter. It is said that Marine Salvage will send her overseas for scrapping during 1980.

Marine Salvage Ltd. has also acquired the 55-year-old Misener Transportation Ltd. steamer ROYALTON, which laid up at Hamilton early in September, the ship having seen only some four months of service during 1979. It seems likely that ROYALTON would have continued to operate for Misener had she not damaged her tailshaft, stern gland and engine bed during the summer. Faced with an estimated $500,000 in repairs, Misener decided that ROYALTON was beyond help. It was originally thought that she might be donated to a group in Collingwood that proposed to use her as a marine museum, but such plans did not come to fruition and she was, accordingly, sold for scrap. Present plans are for ROYALTON to go overseas during 1980, making the Atlantic crossing in tandem with MARINSAL.

As mentioned in the December issue, the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company's FRONTENAC has been declared a constructive total loss as a result of her grounding at Silver Bay. She is presently laid up at Superior, an examination of the damage having been done at Fraser Shipyards. It is evident that FRONTENAC will never again sail as we have known her, but we have been hearing suggestions that either Cliffs or another U.S. fleet may make use of her stern section to replace the stern of another boat. The purpose of such an exchange would be to take advantage of FRONTENAC's good power plant. She was reboilered in 1954 and fitted with a new DeLaval two-cylinder steam turbine capable of developing 5,500 shaft horsepower. Such a conversion might well benefit one of the AmShip-built Maritime-Class vessels equipped with a Lentz-Poppet four-cylinder compound steam engine, a type of machinery which has proven to be something less than satisfactory.

Another victim of the 1979 navigation season has been the self-unloader G. A. TOMLINSON of the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton Company. Damaged in collision with a barge at Cleveland in the spring and in an altercation with the Ashtabula breakwater during autumn, the veteran appears to have reached the end of her career. She arrived at Ashtabula under her own power on December 13 and laid up at the scrapping berth of Triad Salvage. It is anticipated that Triad will dismantle her there. TOMLINSON, 532.0 x 58.2 x 32.0, 6598 Gross and 4850 Net, was built in 1907 at Ecorse, Michigan, Hull 29 of the Great Lakes Engineering Works, as (a) D. O. MILLS for the Masaba Steamship Company (Pickands Mather and Company). She was transferred by P.M. in 1913 to the newly-formed Interlake Steamship Company, for whom she ran until sold in 1959 to the Tomlinson Fleet Corporation. Converted to a self-unloader at Superior, she was renamed (b) G. A. TOMLINSON (II) in 1960. Upon the final dissolution of the Tomlinson interests in 1971, she was acquired by Columbia, for whom she has laboured hauling coal and stone.

The latest acquisition of the Soo River Company, the former Kinsman steamer GEORGE D. GOBLE, entered the Welland Canal downbound late on December 15 and arrived at winter quarters at Hamilton on the morning of December 16. She will receive a general refit during the winter months. While there have been suggestions to the contrary, and understandably so, we must reiterate that, at the time of the purchase of GOBLE, Soo River advised that there were no immediate plans to convert the ship to oil firing. This is not to say, of course, that a change of heart might not occur.

Meanwhile, the Soo River Company has been stripping out PIERSON INDEPENDENT which has been lying at the foot of Wellington Street, Hamilton. The ship has not yet been sold for scrapping, but it seems evident that such a sale will occur once all useful equipment has been removed from the old steamer.

CONSUMERS POWER (III), which sailed briefly as CAPTAIN JOHN ROEN, has been purchased by the Erie Sand Steamship Co. Photo by Capt. Wm. J. Taylor dates from 1945 or 1946.The self-unloader CONSUMERS POWER (III), which went into winter lay-up at Erie, Pennsylvania, on December 13, has been purchased from the American Steamship Company by the Erie Sand Steamship Company and will replace another former BoCo self-unloader, J. F. SCHOELLKOPF JR., in the Erie Sand fleet. The SCHOELLKOPF, meanwhile, has been sold to Marine Salvage Ltd. for scrapping; she was to have been towed to Port Colborne in late autumn but a tow could not be arranged. CONSUMERS POWER, Hull 796 of AmShip's Lorain yard, was built in 1927 for the Kinsman Transit Company as (a) GEORGE M. HUMPHREY (I). She is, perhaps, best known for the remarkable Roen salvage effort which reclaimed the ship after she had been sunk in the Straits of Mackinac in a June 15, 1943 collision with D. M. CLEMSON. Placed back in service in 1945 by the Roen Transportation Company as (b) CAPTAIN JOHN ROEN, she was chartered in 1945 to the Pioneer Steamship Company (Hutchinson and Company) and in 1946 to the Interstate Steamship Company (Jones and Laughlin). Sold in 1947 to Boland and Cornelius, she was converted to a self-unloader the following winter at Manitowoc. Renamed (c) ADAM E. CORNELIUS (II) in 1948, she took on her present name in 1958.

The small bulk cement carrier LOC BAY, (a) SPINDLETOP (46), (b) LAKE CHARLES (62), (c) ATLAS TRAVELLER (77), which has operated sporadically on the cement run between Bath, Ontario, and Charlotte, New York, for the Erie Sand Steamship Company, was sold late in 1979 to the Medusa Cement Company Division of the Medusa Corporation. It is not known what Medusa will do with the 1943-built motorship, but it is to be hoped that the company's plans for her will be more successful than earlier intentions concerning C. H. McCULLOUGH JR. and HULL NO. 3, the latter now running under charter to Cliffs as PIONEER (III). LOC BAY's place on the Lake Ontario cement trade will be taken by Erie's barge canal motorship DAY PECKINPAUGH.

It would seem that the career of HELEN EVANS as a storage hull at Toronto may have come to an unexpected end. The vessel was purchased in early autumn by Strathearne Terminals Ltd., Hamilton, but instead of scrapping the ship, her new owner chartered her to Victory Soya Mills Ltd., Toronto, for the storage of soya beans. Loaded with beans during the first week of November, she was moored across the end of Polson Street but soon developed a most alarming list to starboard, which increased to the point that her pilothouse roof could be seen from dock-side. She was moved back to the elevator in the week before Christmas and was hurriedly unloaded. It is not known whether her cargo sustained water damage.

The Branch Lines tanker EDOUARD SIMARD, the victim of a late-season grounding at Amherstburg, was towed down the Welland Canal on December 15 by DANIEL McALLISTER, STORMONT and LAVAL. The tanker's pumproom was flooded in the accident and her rudder was seriously damaged, rendering the ship unmanageable. She was taken to Montreal for unloading and then to the Davie shipyard, Lauzon, for repairs. The tug LAVAL, by the way, is the former ATLANTIC which, along with two wood-chip barges, was constructed at Port Weller back in 1909. She is owned by Atlantic and Pacific Barge Transport Ltd. of Vancouver.

At long last, there have been significant developments concerning the U.S. Steel self-unloader IRVIN L. CLYMER. The 1917-built steamer, (a) CARL D. BRADLEY (I)(27), (b) JOHN G. MUNSON (I)(51), has been laid up at Rogers City, Michigan, for many years, despite the fact that she has been looked over by an assortment of other interested operators. The latest prospective purchaser is the Huron Cement Division, National Gypsum Company, which definitely wishes to obtain CLYMER's services. No sale has yet been finalized due, apparently, to labour difficulties, but the transfer will probably be completed by the spring of 1980.

The veteran Huron Cement steamer E. M. FORD, laid up for the winter at Jones Island, Milwaukee, was torn from her moorings in a storm on December 24 and, after being pounded repeatedly against the dock, holed herself and sank. Loaded with a storage cargo of bulk cement, the vessel settled until submerged to deck level aft. We presume that the 82-year-old FORD will be raised quickly and hope that this incident will not bring her career to an untimely end.

With the acquisition of TEGUCIGALPA, Secola Shipping Ltd. and/or Ship Repairs and Supplies Ltd., Toronto, have disposed of SECOLA, (a) CEDARBRANCH (II)(78). The tanker has been purchased by Japanese interests and was renamed (c) KITO MARU before she cleared Sorel for the sea on December 5.

The United States Steel Corporation Great Lakes Fleet has embarked on an extensive program of installing new sewage treatment plants in its boats during the present winter. The vessels involved are B. F. AFFLECK, ARTHUR M. ANDERSON (which will also get new tanktops at Fraser Shipyards), SEWELL AVERY, CALCITE II, CASON J. CALLAWAY, PHILIP R. CLARKE, JOHN HULST, WILLIAM A. IRVIN, HORACE JOHNSON, THOMAS W. LAMONT, EUGENE W. PARGNY, ROGERS CITY, GEORGE A. SLOAN, ROBERT C. STANLEY, MYRON C. TAYLOR, EUGENE P. THOMAS, RALPH H. WATSON and HOMER D. WILLIAMS. We are pleased to note the inclusion of IRVIN, AFFLECK and JOHNSON in the list, for this would appear to confirm that they do have a future with the fleet. One notable omission is the self-unloader T. W. ROBINSON; she operated in 1979 but her retirement has been rumoured for several years.

The self-unloader conversion of the Interlake Steamship Company's ELTON HOYT 2nd will be performed during the winter at the AmShip Toledo yard. It will be recalled that this work was originally scheduled for the winter of 1978-79 but had to be postponed as a result of AmShip's lengthy labour unrest. Once the shipyard has done its thing with HOYT, work will begin on a similar conversion for the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company's EDWARD B. GREENE.

Two vessels of the Inland Steel Company will receive considerable work during the winter months. PHILIP D. BLOCK will be fitted with new fuel burners and automated boiler controls, while WILFRED SYKES will be taken in hand by Fraser Shipyards, Superior, for the renewing of much of her plating and internal framing.

The Hall Corporation Shipping Ltd. has added another tanker to its fleet, but it is unlikely that this boat will ever venture into the lakes as she is intended for service in the Gulf of Mexico and European waters. BIRK, a vessel of 15,000 tons deadweight, has been purchased from Odfjell Tankers, a Norwegian concern. Renamed COASTAL TRANSPORT, she will be drydocked at Rotterdam and will then enter service under the Liberian flag but with a Canadian crew. Hall officials have stated that she will remain in Liberian registry until such time as Canadian authorities reveal their proposals for the country's sadly-neglected deep-sea fleet. Unfortunately, the present political situation is unlikely to speed any decision in this regard.

Much to the surprise of many observers, the salty SARONIC SEA was not forced to spend the winter in the Great Lakes. The Ministry of the Environment stepped into the picture when it began to look as if the ship would remain ashore for the winter. Fearing ecological damage should the ship break up, the Ministry ordered her removal and the various tugs renewed their efforts to free the ship. She was finally refloated at noon on December 6, nearly a month after her stranding, and managed to escape the system before the closure of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

One salty that did not clear the lakes in time is the Greek bulk carrier ARCHANGELOS which will winter in Port Weller's lower harbour. Beset by mechanical problems in her race against the calendar, the vessel was finally towed back up Lake Ontario, arriving at Port Weller on December 21.

We continue to hear suggestions that the Soo River Company may be interested in acquiring the services of the 1906-built Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. bulk carrier GODERICH. There is nothing definite to report at this time, although we know that representatives of the Pierson interests were aboard GODERICH as she unloaded at Maple Leaf Mills, Port Colborne, during the second week of December. GODERICH is presently in winter quarters at Toronto.

CANADIAN ENTERPRISE was christened at Port Weller on December 8 by Maureen McTeer, the wife of Prime Minister Joe Clark. The self-unloader was upbound at Port Weller on her maiden voyage early on December 13.

We have received a report that the barge MANILA, built in 1899 at Chicago for the Minnesota Steamship Company, was removed from documentation in May 1978, the hull allegedly having been scrapped. Her last owner was the Gulf Atlantic Transport Corporation, Jacksonville, Florida. MANILA last operated on the lakes for the Buckeye Steamship Company, Hutchinson and Company, managers, but was retired in June of 1956, as were all of Hutchinson's barges, as a result of a tug strike which made the passage of barges through the Soo Canal virtually impossible. She was sold in 1956 to the West Kentucky Coal Company (Nashville Coal Company) for use in the Gulf of Mexico and was taken to salt water via the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. She was operated by the River and Gulf Transfer Company, Jacksonville, but had passed to Gulf Atlantic by 1964. She was shortened from 436.0 feet to 399.5 in 1964 by Gibbs Shipyards Inc., Jacksonville.

It has been reported that Port Huron Seaway Terminals Inc. paid $145,000 to purchase KINSMAN ENTERPRISE for use as a storage hull. The firm had earlier attempted to purchase her sistership HERON BAY (II), but this sale was blocked due to problems involving her Canadian registry. The ENTERPRISE, which may well be renamed in the near future, is allegedly to be used for the storage of sugar beets and sunflower seeds!

Shipments across Lake Michigan via the Ann Arbor Railroad's carferries reached such a high level during autumn that shipping embargoes were imposed at Kewaunee and Manitowoc to prevent a further backup of cars in the yards. In an effort to improve the situation, which was worsened when CITY OF MILWAUKEE had to be drydocked at Sturgeon Bay for tailshaft repairs, the Michigan Interstate Railway Company, operator of the Ann Arbor, attempted to charter from the Chessie System its idle SPARTAN. The charter, however, was vetoed by the Michigan Department of Transportation, a wise move considering that SPARTAN is too large to berth at Frankfort. Chessie, meanwhile, was operating only CITY OF MIDLAND 41, but has since placed BADGER back in service as well. The I.C.C. extended its hearings on Chessie's abandonment petitions and thus, much to the relief of most shippers and observers, no approval has yet been given to the so-called "Kewaunee Plan", a scheme which would be little more than a protracted licence for Chessie to drop its ferry routes.

Two keels were laid at the Bay Shipbuilding Corporation's Sturgeon Bay shipyard on November 12. The first, Hull 724, will be another 635-foot self-unloader for the American Steamship Company, scheduled for delivery late in 1980. Hull 725 will be a 396-foot tanker barge ordered by Turecamo Coastal and Harbor Towing Corporation, Staten Island, N.Y.

The Algerian salty BIBAN finally cleared Montreal behind the French tug ABEILLE 30 on December 11, bound for a European port. She suffered serious engine damage at Duluth in early July and was towed down the lakes at that time. We have no idea what she has been doing at Montreal in the interim.

The scrapping of the storage barge K. A. POWELL (II), the former ELMDALE, was completed early in December by the Western Metals Corp. at Thunder Bay.

Not only will Lake Ontario see three hydrofoils operating between Toronto and Youngstown in 1980, but plans are underway for a major ferry service across the lake. Such schemes have been mentioned for many years, but are now, apparently, being spurred on by plans to approve gambling casinos in New York state,. We understand that prospective operators have already gone to the east coast to inspect idle Canadian National ferries which might be available. It was originally suggested that the service would run between Oshawa and Rochester, but the latter city would not make suitable docking facilities available, and the Canadian backers feel now that Toronto would make a more suitable northerly terminus than Oshawa. We have heard that Lewiston is being considered as the southerly port for the route.

The former Stag Line salty PHOTINIA, which has been lying at Chicago and awaiting scrapping since being towed there from Sturgeon Bay late in 1978, was again picked up by tugs this autumn. She arrived at Kewaunee, Wisconsin, on November 14, and it would seem that she will be dismantled there.

The Columbia straight-decker ASHLAND suffered a loss of power in Lake Superior on December 10 as a result of electrical problems. WILLIS B. BOYER, LEWIS WILSON FOY and EDWIN H. GOTT, as well as Coast Guard assistance, stood by as ASHLAND drifted some twenty miles east of Copper Harbor. Bound from Silver Bay to Ashtabula with taconite, the steamer was eventually able to get underway without the help of a tug which had come to the scene. She reached Thunder Bay on December 12, underwent repairs, and cleared under her own power the following day.

A newcomer to our area recently has been the big tug R & L NO. 1 (C.391523) which was completed in 1979 at Wheatley, Ontario, for Wakeham and Sons Ltd. of Hamilton. She measures 79 x 25 x 9, 143 Gross and 58 Net.

Macassa Revisited

We featured the Hamilton Steamboat Company's passenger boat MACASSA in the December issue but, as readers will recall, we were unable to explain how this famous steamer came by her name. No sooner had he read our piece on MACASSA, than member Jack Heintz of Burlington set out to research the problem. After an extensive search of the records of the local press, he believes that he has the answer to this perplexing question.

Hamilton Harbour is, of course, situated on a body of water known as Burlington Bay. The bay is separated from Lake Ontario by Burlington Beach, a narrow strand severed near mid-point by the ship canal which gives access to the Hamilton dock areas. Burlington Bay has, for many years, been touted as an example of what can happen to a body of water should the outpourings of industrial effluent not be checked. The situation has been improved of late, but we are still not in any position to describe Burlington Bay as did the Indians, who referred to it as "Beautiful Water". The Indian word for this quaint description of the bay was, as one might now guess, Macassa, and as such the local residents knew the bay before the coming of the white man.

The name itself has long since disappeared into antiquity, although one famous Hamiltonian once used "Macassa" as the name for his cottage on the Beach. It follows, however, that the H.S.B.Co. could scarcely have picked a more appropriate name for its new steamer back in 1888.

We extend our sincere thanks to Jack Heintz for his efforts in solving a most difficult problem. We are pleased that, after all these years, we finally have the answer.

The Survivors

- Answers to our December Quiz -

In the December issue, we ran a short quiz on the subject of former lake shipbuilders. We had thought that this exercise might finally stump our readers, but they have come through with flying colours once again. We can say little more than that T.M.H.S. members must be the cream of all marine historians as regards their knowledge of the shipping scene. The honour of submitting the first correct answer goes to Alan Sykes of Welland, whose reply was received on December 17. We sincerely thank those who participated and would apologize for the typographical error (of some considerable consequence) in one of the clues. We will have another quiz for our readers shortly in an effort to baffle them!

There follow the identities of "The Survivors", listed by question and in the order in which the clues appeared.

1. F. W. Wheeler and Company, West Bay City, Michigan:

BLACK RIVER (79), (a) SIR ISAAC LOTHIAN BELL (37), (b) BLANCHE H. (49), (d) TUXPANCLIFFE, (C.158269). Quebec and Ontario Transportation Co. Ltd. Straight-deck bulk carrier (formerly barge), built 1896, Hull 118.

2. NIAGARA, (U.S.130738). Erie Sand Steamship Co. Self-unloading sandsucker (formerly straight-deck bulk carrier) built 1897, Hull 121.

3. West Bay City Shipbuilding Company, West Bay City, Michigan:

SYLVANIA, (a) SYLVANIA (14), (b) D. M. PHILBIN (29), (U.S.201840). Columbia Transportation Div., Oglebay Norton Co. Self-unloading bulk carrier (formerly straight-decker) built 1905, Hull 613.

E. J. BLOCK, (a) W. R. WOODFORD (12), (b) N. F. LEOPOLD (43), (U.S. 205250). Inland Steel Co. Straight-deck bulk carrier built 1908, Hull 626.

R. G. SANDERSON, (a) FRANK W. GILCHRIST (13), (b) CEPHEUS (26), (c) MANTADOC (I)(63), (C.116580). Goderich Elevator and Transit Co. Ltd. Grain storage hull (formerly straight-deck bulk carrier) built 1903, Hull 611.

4. American Shipbuilding Company, Cleveland, Ohio:

W. W. HOLLOWAY, (a) HENRY A. HAWGOOD (12), (b) C. RUSSELL HUBBARD (37), (U.S.203582). Columbia Transportation Div., Oglebay Norton Co. Self-unloading bulk carrier (formerly straight-decker) built 1906, Hull 435. (See illustration, December photopage.)

PIERSON DAUGHTERS, (a) CHARLES M. SCHWAB {75), (C.370154). Soo River Co. Straight-deck bulk carrier, bow section only built 1923, Hull 496.

BUCKEYE (II), (a) LEONARD B. MILLER (37), (b) CHARLES W. GALLOWAY (58), (c) ROBERT C. NORTON (I)(74), (U.S.207272). Lake Services Inc. Self-unloading barge (formerly steamer and originally straight-deck bulk carrier) built 1910, Hull 447.

D. B. WELDON (II), (a) JAY C. MORSE (65), (b) SHELTER BAY (II)(79), (c) SHELTER B. (79), (C.317136). Goderich Elevator and Transit Co. Ltd. Grain storage hull (formerly straight-deck bulk carrier) built 1907, Hull 438.

LIONEL PARSONS, (a) HOWARD M. HANNA JR. (I)(l4), (b) SIR WILFRED LAURIER (15), (c) GLENSHEE (26), (d) MARQUETTE (27), (e) GODERICH (I)(63), (f) AGAWA (H)(68), (C.134511). Goderich Elevator and Transit Co. Ltd. Grain storage hull (formerly straight-deck bulk carrier) built 1908, Hull 442.

MILWAUKEE CLIPPER, (a) JUNIATA (II)(4l), unofficially renamed (c) CLIPPER in 1977, (U.S.201768). Illinois Steamship Co., subsidiary of Great Lakes Transit Co. (both now apparently defunct). Passenger vessel built 1905, Hull 423.

5. Cleveland Shipbuilding Company, Cleveland, Ohio:

E. M. FORD,(a) PRESQUE ISLE (I)(56), (U.S.150786). Huron Cement Div., National Gypsum Co. Self-unloading bulk cement carrier (formerly straight-deck bulk carrier) built 1898, Hull 30. Powered by the last quadruple-expansion steam engine active on the Great Lakes. (Please excuse typographical error (triple) which appeared in original clue.)

6. Chicago Shipbuilding Company, Chicago, Illinois:

LAKEWOOD, (a) CHARLES M. WARNER (28), (b) MICHIGAN (56), (U.S.127752). Erie Sand Steamship Co. Self-unloading sandsucker (formerly straight-deck bulk carrier) built 1903, Hull 58.

KINSMAN ENTERPRISE, (a) NORMAN B. REAM (65), (U.S.203543). Port Huron Seaway Terminals Inc. Storgae [sic] hull (formerly straight-deck bulk carrier) built 1906, Hull 70.

7. Superior Shipbuilding Company, Superior, Wisconsin:

H. C. HEIMBECKER, (a) GEORGE W. PERKINS (64), (b) WESTDALE (II)(77), (C.317133). Soo River Co. Straight-deck bulk carrier built 1905, Hull 512.

C. W. CADWELL, (C.138579). Evans McKeil Work Boats Ltd. Self-propelled cargo barge (formerly self-unloading sandsucker) built 1911, Hull 523.

8. Detroit Shipbuilding Company, Wyandotte, Michigan:

LAC DES ILES, (a) LYMAN C. SMITH (66), (b) MARTHA HINDMAN (78), (C.310-470). Quebec and Ontario Transportation Co. Ltd. Straight-deck bulk carrier built 1905, Hull 159.

GODERICH (II), (a) SAMUEL MATHER (III)(25), (b) PATHFINDER (II) (64), (C.306336). Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. Straight-deck bulk carrier built 1906, Hull 165.

MARINSAL, (a) HARRY COULBY (I)(27), (b) FINLAND (69), (c) PETER ROBERTSON (II)(78), (C.348596). Marine Salvage Ltd., chartered to St. Lawrence Seaway Authority. Welland Canal shunter test vessel (formerly straight-deck bulk carrier) built 1906, Hull 163.

9. Erie Marine Incorporated, Erie, Pennsylvania:

STEWART J. CORT, (U.S.532272). Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Self-unloading bulk carrier. Mid-section only built at Erie, 1972, Hull 101.

PRESQUE ISLE (II), (U.S.553417). Litton Great Lakes Corporation. Self-unloading bulk carrier tug/barge combination. Hull of barge only (excluding bow segment) built 1973 at Erie, Hull 102.

A few other extant hulls built by these shipyards were excluded from this quiz because they are idle (perhaps awaiting scrapping) or have been cut down for use as scows, dock facings, breakwaters, etc.

A. Andrew Merrilees

Andrew Merrilees, member of T.M.H.S. and longtime collector of marine and railroad memorabilia, passed away suddenly at Toronto on December 3, 1979. Known widely for his purchase, almost twenty years ago, of the famous Young collection of photos from the Michigan Sault. Mr. Merrilees was predeceased by his wife, the late Joan Reid. He left no immediate family.

Ship of the Month No. 89

Thordoc (I)

Those whose marine activities have centred around the lower lakes and, in particular, the Welland and St. Lawrence Canals, became considerably attached to the many canal-sized steamers which plodded around the area in the years before the opening of the Seaway. There were times, however when observing these boats became rather like watching rabbits; there were a great many of them and it was often difficult to tell them apart. This was particularly true of the Misener, Paterson, and Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence fleets which included many of the "built-by-the-mile-and-cut-off-by-the-foot" canallers which had been spewed out by British shipyards during the 1920s. Of rather more interest were those canallers which had been built before the First World War, for they were seldom built in large numbers from the same plans, and tended to be of much more original design and pleasing proportions.

One of these "different" canallers was a vessel which was built in 1908 for the Western Steamship Company Ltd. of Toronto, a firm controlled by one Captain W. J. Bassett. The order for the construction of the steamer was awarded to Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd., which put her together at its shipyard at Newcastle-on-Tyne as Hull 798. The vessel measured 248.0 feet in length, 42 feet 10 inches in the beam, and 25.0 feet in depth, these dimensions giving her a tonnage of 2158 Gross and 1375 Net. She was powered by a triple-expansion engine with cylinders of 20 1/2, 33 and 54 inches and stroke of 36 inches. Steam was provided by two coal-fired Scotch boilers measuring 13.6 feet by 10.6 feet.

This is J. A. McKEE as she appeared in the colours of the Western Steamship Co. Ltd. prior to 1914. Photo on the St. Clair River by Pesha.She was completed late in the summer of 1908 and was enrolled as Br. 125442, her port of registry being Newcastle. It was not unusual for Canadian owners of this period to have British-built canallers registered in British ports, normally nominating the town in which each had been built. The new steamer was christened J. A. McKEE, although we have as yet been unable to discover who this gentleman may have been. It is to be assumed that he was somehow connected with Western Steamship Company.

J. A. McKEE was an exceptionally fine-looking canaller for her day, her lines being rather more appealing than those of certain other boats. Her hull was painted black, the forecastle white above the shelter deck rail, the cabins white fore and aft, and the stack black with what seems to have been a silver band. She carried a full forecastle, on which sat a large round-fronted texas cabin. Above this, and between unusually deep bridgewings, was a large (much more so than normal) rounded pilothouse which sported large windows across its front. The foremast was located immediately abaft the first hatch, while the main was stepped midway down the deck, both masts being fitted with cargo booms. McKEE's after cabin was the usual boxy affair with overhang only beneath the lifeboat stations. Her stern was a graceful counter and her tall, heavy funnel, raked to match the masts, rose abaft the coal bunker hatch.

It was not unusual for the British-built canallers to carry coal across the Atlantic on their delivery voyages, but it was common for their destinations on such trips to be either Montreal or Toronto. Just to be different (although there were, obviously, other reasons), J. A. McKEE unloaded her coal at St. John's, Newfoundland. She then proceeded light to Sydney, Nova Scotia, where she loaded a cargo of rails for delivery at Fort William, Ontario. On her way up the lakes on this, her first fresh water trip, she called at Toronto on Monday, October 12, 1908, presumably for bunkers.

J. A. McKEE soon took up regular duties for her owner, normally carrying grain downbound from the Lakehead for eastern ports and returning with cargoes of rails to be used in the expansion of railroad services in the Canadian mid-west. Her only untoward incident during this period involved a stranding on Grecian Shoal in western Lake Erie off Colchester, Ontario, on July 12, 1910. Fortunately, her steel hull sustained little damage in the grounding and she was soon released.

It is interesting to note that most of the vessels which operated in this fleet were actually owned by the Bassett Steamship Company Ltd., a concern incorporated in 1914 and with which Capt. W. J. Bassett and his successor, Capt. R. D. Bassett, were also involved. Capt. W. J. Bassett himself served as master of J. A. McKEE for a number of years. WEXFORD, a salt water vessel lost during the Great Storm of 1913, was, like McKEE, owned by Western, but, although they were painted in roughly the same colours, MARISKA, GALE STAPLES, BRITON and (so it seems) WESTERIAN appear to have been registered to the Bassett Steamship Company Ltd.

The Western Steamship Company Ltd. sold McKEE on March 1, 1914 to the Algoma Central Steamship Company Ltd., Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. A subsidiary of the Algoma Central and Hudson Bay Railway Company Ltd., A.C.S.S. had an up-and-coming fleet at that time a needed a vessel to replace LEAFIELD, another casualty of the storm of November 1913. J. A. McKEE was soon painted up in the Algoma livery but she retained her old name. She was, however, brought into Canadian registry as C. 125442, her home port being changed to Sault Ste. Marie. The Canadian Sault was, of course, the centre of operations for the Algoma fleet.

In fact, the McKEE was not long to serve Algoma Central, for she was requisitioned by the Dominion government in 1916 for war service on salt water. Her ownership was transferred to the Minister of Railways and Canals, Ottawa, and she was taken to the east coast, where she was to serve for seven years.

Thursday, December 6, 1917 found J. A. McKEE in the vicinity of Halifax, nearing her destination on a trip from Sydney, N.S. Unfortunately, it was on that morning that the French munitions ship MONT BLANC, loaded with some 2,600 tons of picric acid, gun-cotton and T.N.T., collided in Halifax Harbour with the Belgian refugee steamer IMO. The collision was not particularly damaging to either ship, but MONT BLANC caught fire and, her crew having fled immediately, it was not long before the flames reached her cargo. The resulting explosion, audible more than two hundred miles away, caused utter devastation in the area; a large portion of the city of Halifax was levelled, as was much of the surrounding countryside, and the loss of life was staggering. MONT BLANC totally disappeared from the face of the earth and IMO was thrown up on the Dartmouth shore with very severe damage and much loss of life aboard.

Fortunately, J. A. McKEE was not close enough to be destroyed but she did receive damage estimated at $125,000., a substantial sum of money in those days. It was considered that she was worth the cost of repairs, and so she was put back into operating shape and resumed service the following year. It would seem likely that it was at this time that certain small changes were made in McKEE's appearance. Her original masts were replaced by more substantial masts, located in the same positions but equipped with heavier lifting equipment for the cargo booms. The rounded front of the texas disappeared at this time, probably due to explosion damage; thereafter, the texas was nothing more than a basic rectangular structure, although the bridge deck retained its original forward curve. The pilothouse was not substantially altered, although it was given a small sunvisor.

J. A. McKEE continued her government service through the war years, most of her time being spent on the east coast. On November 27, 1918, she managed to strand in U.S. waters near Fisher's Island whilst en route from New York City to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Soon released, she remained in government service despite the cessation of hostilities; all available tonnage was desperately needed in the aftermath of the Great War. During 1920 and 1921, McKEE was chartered by the Ministry to the Dominion Steel and Coal Company Ltd., Sydney, N.S. Whilst in the course of the charter, she grounded on August 28, 1920, on Prince Shoal, a hazard to navigation located near Tadoussac at the mouth of the Saguenay River. McKEE was duly refloated and taken to Levis, Quebec, for repairs.

The post-war duties of J. A. McKEE were to continue yet a while longer but, by 1923, she was back on the lakes, chartered by the Ministry to N. M. Paterson and Company Ltd., Fort William, the shipping company which had been formed about 1915 by the Winnipeg and Fort William grain merchant who was eventually to become a Canadian Senator. In 1926, the Paterson fleet was greatly expanded with the purchase of a number of steamers from the Interlake Steamship Company and, in anticipation of these acquisitions, the company was reorganized as Paterson Steamships Ltd. This firm was incorporated under the Dominion Companies Act in 1926 with authorized capital of $2,000,000., the officers of record being Norman M. Paterson, president; Donald E. McKay, vice-president; E. B. Sutherland, secretary-treasurer; W. H. Hall, general manager; B. E. O'Donnell and P. C. Poulton, directors.

The newly-organized company took over the assets of its predecessor, these including four boats, namely the World War One "Lakers" NORMAN M. PATERSON, (a) CANADIAN ENGINEER (24), and DONALD E. McKAY, (a) CANADIAN PATHFINDER (24), as well as the regular canallers THOMAS J. DRUMMOND and J. A. McKEE, the latter having been purchased outright by Paterson. Interestingly enough, the DRUMMOND had been built for Algoma Central in 1910 and had served it until 1917, carrying rails just as had the McKEE.

With the reorganization of the Paterson interests in 1926 came one of the most distinctive naming schemes ever developed by a lake fleet for its boats. With but a few exceptions, all subsequent Paterson boats have been named for Canadian cities, provinces or territories, the letters 'DOC (standing for Dominion of Canada) being tacked onto the tail of each name. Accordingly, PATERSON was renamed (c) NEWBRUNDOC (I) in 1926, while McKAY became (c) NOVADOC (I). The DRUMMOND was renamed (b) CALGADOC (I) and J. A. McKEE was rechristened (b) THORDOC (I), this name being chosen to honour the town of Thorold, Ontario.

When McKEE/THORDOC entered the Paterson fleet, she was given the usual stack design, black with a large white 'P'. Her hull was black, while the entire forecastle and the cabins were white. Shortly after her renaming in 1926, however, the forecastle was painted black, only the rail above remaining white. At the same time, the company's name was removed from the forecastle and replaced by the diamond logo which has become so familiar over the years. The red diamond, bearing the company name in very small letters, had a black centre on which was superimposed a white 'P'.

Another interesting change in THORDOC's appearance came with the enlargement of the centre three pilothouse windows, these being lengthened downwards to provide increased visibility whilst canalling. Although not immediately, her port of registry was changed from Sault Ste. Marie to Fort William, the normal home port for Paterson steamers.

Although the summer was uneventful, the 1929 season was not a good one for THORDOC, for the autumn brought an accident which very nearly proved to be her undoing. On November 9, having just cleared Port Arthur with 2,000 tons of flour for Montreal, she ran foul of Porphyry Reef. This shoal is a particularly nasty piece of business which lies southeast of Point Porphyry and just off the southwestern end of Porphyry Island, the southernmost of a group of islands lying near the entrance to Black Bay. The bay, of course, is a large indentation in the north shore of Lake Superior, located to the northeast of Thunder Cape. Solidly grounded on the reef, THORDOC was abandoned to the underwriters as a constructive total loss. A salvage contract was soon let and the steamer was successfully refloated on December 5, 1929. She was towed to the shipyard at Port Arthur for repairs and, repurchased by Paterson Steamships Ltd. after her salvage, she was returned to service in 1930.

THORDOC (I), looking as she did near the end of her lifetime, is pictured in the St. Lawrence canals. Photo from the Bascom collection.The Great Depression of the 1930s struck a heavy blow at the lake shipping industry and most lakers spent considerable time in ordinary. THORDOC's service in the early years of the decade was typical of the times and some detail in this regard will help to show how bad things became. THORDOC managed to keep busy during 1930 and most of 1931, but she laid up during November of 1931 in the Toronto ship channel with a storage cargo of coal. There she remained for the better part of a year, for it was not until September of 1932 that she was fitted out once again. In November 1932, however, she was back in lay-up at Toronto with a grain storage cargo.

THORDOC did not fit out at all during 1933, and she lay in the Toronto ship channel until the spring of 1934. She was then placed in service but did not operate for long; in due course, she was back in lay-up, this time at Fort William with a storage grain cargo that she had loaded there. The grain cargo was unloaded during the spring of 1935, but the steamer remained at the wall at Fort William until she was placed back in service during the spring of 1936.

THORDOC was laid up at Halifax for the winter of 1936-37 and, for the seasons of 1937 and 1938, she was again chartered to the Dominion Steel and Coal Company Ltd. It was at Sydney, N.S., that she spent the winter of 1937-38. Nevertheless, she was back in the lake trade for Paterson by the autumn of 1938, and she spent the following winter at Owen Sound with a storage cargo of grain.

Late in the 1939 season, after the outbreak of World War Two, THORDOC was once more chartered to Dominion Steel and Coal for coastal service. Her normal route at this time was between Sydney and Newfoundland ports. It was whilst on such a trip, on March 30, 1940, that THORDOC stranded on Wingham Point, near Louisburg, Nova Scotia. She became a total loss and, this time, salvage was not possible. And so THORDOC met her fate far from the Great Lakes but in an area which was not exactly strange to her. THORDOC was, however, not alone in her fate, for CALGADOC had been lost with all hands while operating in the same service on November 1, 1937. The Paterson fleet suffered terribly during the war years, NOVADOC (II) being lost by stranding on Lake Michigan in 1940 and the upper laker PRINDOC (I) by collision on Lake Superior in 1943. To make matters worse, no less than eleven of the company's canallers were lost on salt water, a few as a result of weather conditions but most as casualties of enemy action. Had THORDOC managed to survive her last grounding, her services would have been much in demand after the war.

(Ed. Note: Our thanks to James M. Kidd, Chief Purser, for helping us to trace THORDOC's activities during the Depression years.)

Additional Marine News

The former Q & O steamer HELEN EVANS will not be spending the winter at Toronto as had been expected. The premature unloading of her storage cargo having been completed by Victory Mills, the EVANS was towed from Toronto on December 29, her destination being Hamilton where, no doubt, she will eventually be dismantled. The towing was done by McKeil tugs from Hamilton.

The Welland Canal closed at midnight on December 29, 1979, and work was immediately begun on a number of winter projects, including the refacing of the west wall of Lock One. Also scheduled is the removal of the abutments of old Bridge 12 at Port Robinson.

From The Wheelhouse

The Story of a Great Lakes Captain: Horace L. Beaton

For some few months, local marine historians have been aware of the preparation of a book dealing with the distinguished career of Captain Horace Louden Beaton, and have awaited its appearance with considerable anticipation. At long last, the 80-page softcover arrived on the bookshelves in early December, and even a quick glance at the finished product will confirm that it has been well worth the wait.

"From The Wheelhouse" contains the reminiscences of Capt. Beaton (as told by himself and arranged into book form by his son, Rev. Charles P. Beaton) concerning almost half a century of service aboard Great Lakes vessels, beginning in 1919 with the government tender LAMBTON and ending in 1967 with his retirement from FORT CHAMBLY. The events of the intervening years are mentioned in chronological order but are not presented simply as a factual listing of Capt. Beaton's activities; instead, we are treated to a series of interesting anecdotes involving the ships and the men with whom Capt. Beaton had contact over the years.

As might be expected, one whole chapter is devoted to the fire which destroyed the passenger steamer HAMONIC at Sarnia on July 17, 1945. It was Capt. Beaton who was in command of HAMONIC at the time, and had it not been for his courageous efforts in moving the ship away from the flaming wooden freight sheds and downriver to a spot where she could be driven ashore and the passengers removed, it is certain that the fire would have been accompanied by considerable loss of life. Strangely enough, this portion of the Captain's story is recounted with a detachment and matter-of-fact objectivity that might seem unusual to the present-day onlooker, especially in view of the nature of the disaster and the fact that to command HAMONIC had been Beaton's dream ever since he first laid eyes on the handsome steamer. Of such stuff, however, are made those persons who can continue to function in a rational manner when faced with immediate danger to themselves and those about them.

"From The Wheelhouse" is well-written and much attention has obviously been devoted to the verification of historical material. Only a few minor errors of an historical nature have crept into the text, and they are of such minimal importance as to be scarcely recognizable. The book is profusely illustrated with well-chosen and superbly reproduced photographs, a number of which are completely new to us. The highlight of the book, however, in our opinion, is the magnificent colour photograph of the beautiful HAMONIC (lying at the Port Arthur wharf, we believe) which graces the front cover. Historians may wish to obtain an extra copy of the book simply to have an unsoiled copy of this photo for their collections.

We heartily recommend "From The Wheelhouse" to all of our members, and we extend to Capt. Beaton, a T.M.H.S. member himself, our congratulations on a piece of work very well done. "From The Wheelhouse" will be priced at $8.95 in your local bookstore, but may also be obtained from The Boston Mills Press, R.R. 1, Cheltenham, Ontario, L0P 1C0. While they last, autographed copies of the book may also be ordered from a bookstore in Capt. Beaton's hometown, Broad Horizons Books, P.O. Box 2259, 625 Mill Street, Port Elgin, Ontario, N0H 2C0 (phone 519-832-6025) for the afore-mentioned price plus postage of fifty cents.

Charles Barker

We regret to report the passing, at Toronto, on December 10, 1979. of Charles Barker, member number 15 of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.

Charlie Barker was a longtime observer and enthusiast of passenger steamers, and amassed an interesting collection of original photographs of such vessels, many of which he showed at various T.M.H.S. meetings over the years. In particular, he greatly assisted in the preparation of our Ship of the Month No. 72, the famous and much-admired (especially by Charlie) steamer CHIPPEWA of the Niagara River service.

We extend to Charlie's family our deepest sympathy on his passing. We of T.M.H.S. have lost a valued member and friend.

Toronto Harbour's Winter Fleet

With the closing of the Welland Canal for the season on December 29th, we feel fairly safe in reporting Toronto Harbour's lay-up fleet at this time, no further vessels being expected.


































In addition, the following assorted vessels are presently in port:

NORMAC and JADRAN (permanently moored as restaurant facilities)

CAYUGA II and MARIPOSA BELLE (small excursion and charter boats)

COLINETTE and TERRY S. (pilot tugs)

G. W. ROGERS and BAGOTVILLE (Canadian Dredge & Dock tugs)

WILLIAM REST, FRED SCANDRETT and J. G. LANGTON (Harbour Commission tugs)

WILLIAM INGLIS, THOMAS RENNIE, SAM McBRIDE and TRILLIUM (Island ferries, all in winter quarters) ONGIARA (Island ferry in winter service) MAPLE CITY (Western Gap ferry in winter service) SALVAGE PRINCE and BAYPORT (tugs inactive in Turning Basin) NED HANLAN II (Metro Works tug)

HIAWATHA and KWASIND (Royal Canadian Yacht Club ferries) HARVEY H. SIMPSON, DAVID H. SIMPSON, GLADYS M. SIMPSON, MISS KIM SIMPSON, MISS SHAWN SIMPSON (glass-topped tour boats) Plus assorted dredges, derricks, scows and workboats which shall remain nameless in these pages!

Any changes to this listing will be reported in the February issue, at which time we will also present listings of major vessels laid up at other lake and St. Lawrence River ports.

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Scanner, v. 12, n. 4 (January 1980)

Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Macassa Revisited; A. Andrew Merrilees; Additional Marine News; Toronto Harbour's Winter Fleet