Friday, March 7th - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Milton J. Brown will present an illustrated history of the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company. Plan to attend this interesting evening.
Friday, April 4th - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. An illustrated address by Fred Addis of Port Colborne. Fred will speak about the shipbuilders of the old Welland Canals - Louis Shickluna et al.
Saturday, May 10th - 6:30 p.m. at the Ship Inn. Annual Dinner Meeting. Speaker will be William J. Luke, his subject "From Thunder Bay to Sept-Iles - A Trip Down the Seaway". Details of cost, menu, etc. will follow. Please note the date and plan to attend.
The Editor's Notebook
Our January Meeting was another in our series of annual theme slide nights and ports of the world were the subject. We never cease to be amazed at the material which our members present at such meetings. We thank all who attended, but particularly those who brought slides.
We have been overwhelmed by the response to our request for winter layup reports. We wish that we could reply personally to all who have written but this would be impossible. Instead, Ye Ed. will take this opportunity to extend a sincere vote of thanks to all contributors.
In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to R. G. Hicks and to Scott Young, both of Goderich, to Capt. Earl W. Richards of Brockville, and to James J. Michael of Erie, Pennsylvania.
A pre-New-Year fire came dangerously close to ending the 75-year career of the American Steamship Company's self-unloader NICOLET. On Saturday, December 29, NICOLET was in winter quarters at the Hans Hansen Welding Company Inc. dock at Toledo, Columbia's ASHLAND moored along her outboard side. Welders aboard NICOLET left the ship during their break, unaware that welding sparks had fallen on and ignited her unloading belt. The fire spread rapidly through the unloading equipment and completely gutted the forward end of the ship, including pilothouse and accommodations. It took fifteen fire department units more than 21 hours to extinguish the blaze and five Toledo firemen were injured. The fire was prevented from spreading to ASHLAND, but damage to NICOLET was so severe (first reports suggested $4-million) that most observers felt certain that she would be declared a constructive total loss, even though her stern was undamaged. Fortunately, however, the decision has been made to repair the handsome vessel, the work being expected to take most of the 1980 navigation season. We are indeed pleased that NICOLET will live to sail again.
The victim of a Christmas Eve sinking at Milwaukee, E. M. FORD is seen in happier days, downbound on the St. Clair River near Marysville. Photo by William R. Wilson, September 17, 1972.We were only able to report briefly in the last issue on the sinking of the Huron Cement steamer E. M. FORD at Milwaukee on Christmas Eve. More information is now available. The FORD was not actually in winter quarters but was docked at Jones Island so that her crew might enjoy a short Christmas holiday. Had she been at her usual berth, the accident would not likely have occurred. Strong winds and heavy seas caused the 1898-built steamer to snap her mooring lines and, driven forward repeatedly, she knocked a large hole in the end of the slip. FORD's bow was badly gashed and her hull cracked from the stress when she settled on the bottom. No injuries were suffered in the strange occurrence, the five crewmen who were aboard at the time having been rescued early Christmas Day. Early reports indicated that the FORD was likely a constructive total loss in view of the apparent necessity of cutting off her deck to remove what might be left of her cement cargo. Later news however, seems more optimistic and suggests that most of the cargo is salvageable and that the underwriters are prepared to proceed with the repair of the veteran steamer.
It seems probable that there will be a change in the colours of the Huron Cement vessels in 1980. The National Gypsum Company has sold Huron Cement to the General Dynamics group which will operate the company in conjunction with its own Material Service Corporation. Apart from colours, there will not likely be many changes in the operation of the Huron fleet.
The Welland Canal closed for the 1979 season on December 29, the last boat upbound at Lock 8 being ALGOPORT and the last downbound at Lock 1 being CANADOC. Since the closing of the canal, certain sections have been drained and some major maintenance work started. A new west wall is being built in Lock 1 and an early start on this work was required.
The St. Lawrence Canals closed on December 22, some four days later than planned. The last downbound ship was LAKE WINNIPEG, while the last upbounder was MAPLECLIFFE HALL. Several salties were required to pay rather substantial penalties for having left their departures from the lakes too late and forcing the canals to be kept open past the scheduled closing date. One salty which did not manage to clear the Seaway was NAMARU which, due to a number of problems, will spend the winter under arrest in the lakes. It had earlier been thought that FEDERAL ST. CLAIR might also have to remain in the lakes, but she did manage to escape in time.
Although, as previously reported, it had been planned to name the newest Boland and Cornelius self unloader CHICAGO, this will not come to pass. It seems that the executive of G.A.T.X., of which the American Steamship Company is a subsidiary, have had a falling-out with the lady mayor of Chicago. Shortly thereafter, the name was quickly removed from Bay Shipbuilding's Hull 723. The stemwinder will, instead, be christened AMERICAN MARINER. Perhaps this will be the first of a whole series of "American" names'.
Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. has awarded to Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. a $4-million contract for the conversion to a self-unloader of JAMES NORRIS. The work is to begin in the autumn of 1980 and NORRIS should be ready to re-enter service in the spring of 1981. She will be fitted with a polyethylene-sheeted hoppered hold, with one conveyor belt, and a loop-belt elevating device. The ship will be used to carry stone to the St. Lawrence Cement plant at Clarkson and, as such, it would seem that Upper Lakes will be cutting Westdale Shipping Ltd. out of that trade. JAMES NORRIS was built in 1952 at Midland, a sistership of GORDON C. LEITCH and of C.S.L.'s SIR JAMES DUNN and THUNDER BAY (II).
Another important contract obtained by Port Weller calls for the construction of a $54.8-million icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. The 322-foot vessel is to be delivered during the summer of 1982. This is the first time that P.W.D.D. has received an order for this type of vessel.
With the Port Weller shipyard working on the job of reconstructing ST. LAWRENCE NAVIGATOR as a 730-foot laker, work is progressing on the dismantling of the ship's old bow at Port Maitland. As of January 19, the sideplates of "NEWMAN HULL" had been removed down to the waterline and cutting was under way on the bow.
As a result of a greatly decreased demand for tonnage since the loss of the Republic Steel ore float, the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company has found itself with an excess of vessels, this despite the regrettable loss of FRONTENAC in her November grounding at Silver Bay and the probable (but not yet certain) retirement of WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR. as a result of her condition and age. It is entirely possible as well that the three former "Red Tomatoes", TOM M. GIRDLER, THOMAS F. PATTON and CHARLES M. WHITE, may remain at the wall for the next few years; these boats are not economical to operate and are suitable for almost no other lake trade. All things considered, it is not surprising that Cliffs, after only one year, has dropped its three-year charter of PIONEER (III) from Medusa Cement. Medusa asked for bids on her, although the asking price was highly inflated, and she was laid up for the winter in the Frog Pond at Toledo. We understand that the steamer has been sold very recently to the Interlake Steamship Company, but that plans for her are not yet certain although she may be held for the grain trade. Interestingly enough, this will be the second time that the ship has served Pickands Mather, for she once sailed as FRANK PURNELL (I) and was traded to Bethlehem Steel for its STEELTON (III), the two vessels exchanging names in the process.
The future is not all gloomy for Cliffs, however, for the company has obtained a contract to float the Wisconsin Steel Company's ore out of Escanaba, Michigan. As a result, Cliffs has taken a five-year bareboat charter on Wisconsin's 57-year-old steamer MAXINE, (a) WILLIAM H. WARNER (34), (b) THE INTERNATIONAL (77). Laid up for the winter at Chicago and due for drydocking for her five-year inspection, MAXINE faces an uncertain future. Cliffs, quite obviously, are taking MAXINE because she goes along with the ore contract, but if she should require any sort of expensive repair, Cliffs will undoubtedly use one of its own boats on the service.
When the Welland Canal closed for the winter late in December, a strange trio of vessels was lying in the Port Weller drydock. Incarcerated within were the two shunters and the Carryore steamer MENIHEK LAKE. What, one might ask, were these boats doing together in the drydock? The answer, if it is not already obvious, is that MENIHEK LAKE will be the new test hull for use in the early part of the 198O season, replacing MARINSAL. Chartered to the Seaway Authority for about a month, she will test methods of securing the shunters to the hull.
The St. Mary's Falls Canal, commonly known as the Soo Locks, closed for the 1979 season on January 15, 1980 and most of the lakers then in operation, except for a few specialty carriers, headed for winter quarters. Of course, there is no extended shipping season this winter, but a recent report from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has recommended a twelve-month shipping season in the future for Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior. Needless to say, the foes of winter navigation are howling like banshees over the report and the only certainty is that there will be much heated discussion before the future of winter sailing is finally settled.
Hull 218 of Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., a maximum-sized self-unloader for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., was successfully sidelaunched on December 18. The ship, despite previous word that she would be named GLENEAGLES (II) (something that was more than just a rumour, we can assure you!), will be given the name NANTICOKE when she is christened in the early spring. It is hoped that the vessel will be ready for delivery in May. The Collingwood yard will be kept busy for a considerable period of time to come, much to the pleasure of local residents. In addition to NANTICOKE, the yard is building the tug POINTE SEPT-ILES for Eastern Canada Towing as a replacement for POINTE MARGUERITE, the tug sunk late in 1978 by ALGOBAY. Collingwood's Hull 219 will be a self-unloader for Algoma Central Marine and it has recently been announced that yet another similar boat will be built for Algoma as Hull 224. These two Algoma vessels are scheduled for delivery in 1981 and 1982, respectively.
A great surprise is the fact that Collingwood has also been awarded a contract for the construction of a straight-deck bulk carrier for Nipigon Transport Ltd. We understand that this hull will somehow be worked into the schedule before the second Algoma boat. No doubt the Nipigon vessel will be used primarily in the grain trade and that it is for this reason that she will be a straight-decker rather than a self-unloader; nevertheless, she will be the first straight-deck bulk carrier built by any lake shipyard since Davie completed OTTERCLIFFE HALL at Lauzon in 1969.
The rumour mill has been particularly active this winter concerning the Columbia Transportation "Maritime Class" steamer THOMAS WILSON. Currently laid up in Toledo's Frog Pond, she has been stripped of much of her equipment and has been offered for sale, this because of her condition which is much-deteriorated in all respects. Several operators have allegedly expressed interest in acquiring her services but nothing is definite as yet. In all probability, the WILSON would be most useful to an operator who would convert her for some specialty trade and thus not worry about the condition of her insides.
The Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company's grounding-damaged FRONTENAC, presently lying at Superior, Wisconsin, has been offered for sale on an as-is-where-is basis, her damage being so severe that repair is out of the question. Her forward end has been completely stripped but the stern, including the machinery, is untouched. We understand that a number of U.S. vessel operators are still interested in acquiring FRONTENAC's stern so that the engine may be used to repower another ship.
The Greek freighter ARCHANGELOS is presently wintering at Port Weller, having missed the closing of the St. Lawrence Canals as a result of her stranding in the St. Lawrence River in mid-December. Rushing for the canals with a cargo of scrap from Hamilton, ARCHANGELOS ran aground on a shoal near Crossover Island, some 15 km. west of Brockville, on December 16. Lightered by McAllister equipment from Kingston, the ship was finally refloated on December 21 after more than half of her cargo had been removed. She was towed to Bay State anchorage near Brockville and then, when it was evident that the canals were closing and that ARCHANGELOS could not negotiate them anyway while she was making water, she was towed back up to Port Weller. There she will be drydocked come spring and repaired as may be necessary.
At long last, the troubles of the St. Mary's River ferry SUGAR ISLANDER may be nearing an end. After several years of somewhat indifferent operation by Poirier Marine Inc., a deal was worked out (under considerable pressure) whereby the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority will assume control of the boat under a charter-purchase agreement and will ensure her continued operation. The agreement should ensure at least a modicum of peace for residents of Sugar Island as well as for Chippewa County officials who have borne the brunt of complaints about the manner in which the ferry was being operated. Meanwhile, operators of NEEBISH ISLANDER, the small car and passenger ferry which runs across the head of the Rock Cut to Neebish Island, have suggested that "Transpo" might also like to take over their route. They allege that the ferry has regularly been losing money and that they have no intention of continuing the service. Here we go again...
The former canaller EAGLESCLIFFE, (a) EAGLESCLIFFE HALL (II)(74), found herself in dire straits at Christmas whilst on voyage Mexico to Houston, Texas. Part of her cargo shifted, causing a heavy list, and special pumps were dropped to her by helicopter. The influx of water was eventually stemmed and the ship was scheduled to arrive at Houston on December 26. EAGLESCLIFFE is owned by the Cayman Shipping Corporation, the same firm which, late in 1979, purchased BLACK RIVER and took her to salt water under the name TUXPANCLIFFE.
A similar but less happy incident has involved the Chimo Shipping Ltd. coaster BILL CROSBIE which suffered a shift of her steel cargo on January 4 while she was some 600 nautical miles east of St. John's, Newfoundland, en route to Ireland. The West German tug HIRTENHURM came to the scene, removed most of her crew, and took CROSBIE in tow. The rest of the crew was taken off by a helicopter which used an oil drilling platform as a mid-ocean refuelling facility. The CROSBIE was towed safely into St. John's on January 9, despite the 40-degree list which she had assumed, but later in the day she rolled over and sank at her dock. BILL CROSBIE was built in 1965 in Sweden and sailed as (a) GARDA before her acquisition by the Crosbie interests of Newfoundland.
At 10 a.m. on January 21, Triad Salvage Inc. pulled the last piece of the bow of HENRY STEINBRENNER out of its scrapping berth at Ashtabula. With the last of the former Kinsman steamer out of the way, the cofferdam in the slip will be broken and G. A. TOMLINSON pulled into the berth for dismantling.
Shipping observers who live anywhere but the Lakehead area have probably found it as difficult as we have to keep track of the scrappings of old Tinstack steamers. The record is herewith updated. As of early January, WILLIAM P. PALMER was almost all gone at the Hyman-Michaels yard at Duluth. JAMES A. FARRELL and WILLIAM B. SCHILLER were lying at the same yard, the handsome old FARRELL being next in line for the wreckers' torches. Lying in Duluth at the Hallett Dock No. 6 were RICHARD TRIMBLE and PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR., both of these vessels having already been cut down to the tanktops. U.S. Steel still has a number of unused boats lying in the Duluth-Superior harbour area, but their numbers have been much reduced in recent years and we have not yet seen the end of the parade to the scrapyard.
TEGUCIGALPA, the former IMPERIAL LONDON, has been renamed (c) CONGAR (III) by her new owner, an affiliate of Ship Repairs and Supplies Ltd. The steam tanker is presently in winter quarters at Toronto and will be commissioned in the spring after she has undergone a complete refit.
Whilst the package freighter FORT CHAMBLY is laid up at Hamilton this winter, her Fairbanks Morse diesel machinery is being taken apart and completely refurbished. This major work has been necessitated by the lack of maintenance which the engines received while FORT CHAMBLY was operating on salt water.
Ship of the Month No. 90
Few and far between are the marine historians of the Great Lakes who have not, at some time, turned their attention to the Montreal Transportation Company. Regular readers of this journal will be quite familiar with the firm as a result of its frequent mention in these pages. In fact, the M.T. Co. was, at the height of its operations, one of Canada's oldest and largest lake and river transportation corporations.
The Montreal Transportation Company Ltd. was formed in 1867, the year of Canadian Confederation, by Hugh McLennan of Montreal, a gentleman who had been active in shipping and forwarding at Kingston and Chicago from 1850 onwards. In its early years, M.T.Co. was involved mainly in the forwarding of cargo by river barge between Kingston and Montreal, but it was not long before the company was operating its own steamboats. By the time improvements to the St. Lawrence canals were completed in 1900, the company had grown to become the largest in its field and had committed itself to the grain trade out of Fort William and Port Arthur to the river ports. Another highly lucrative M.T.Co. enterprise was its 800,000-bushel Kingston elevator which was frequented by vessels whose passage down the St. Lawrence was prevented by the small locks of the old canals. The cargoes they unloaded were, of course, carried downriver by M.T.Co. hulls, mainly wooden barges.
This spirited photo of ROSEMOUNT (I), upbound above the Soo Locks, came from the camera of A. E. Young in 1913 and shows her graceful lines.To remain in business for better than half a century, a shipping company needs good clients who will remain loyal to its services. One of the best customers of the M.T.Co. was the Ogilvie Flour Mills Company, and much of the grain brought down the lakes by the fleet's boats was consigned to the Ogilvie mills at Montreal.
By the beginning of the last decade of the nineteenth century, however, the days of the wooden steamers and barges were waning, the spotlight shifting to the more modern iron and steel-hulled steamers which were then appearing. Montreal Transportation was eager to maintain its position of dominance on the shipping scene and wasted no time in adding a number of new steel canallers to its fleet. One of the first of these was the handsome steamer BANNOCKBURN, an 1893 product of the shipyard of the Sir R. Dixon Company at Middlesbrough, England, on the River Tees. Unfortunately, BANNOCKBURN was to serve the M.T.Co. for less than a decade, for she disappeared without a trace on Lake Superior on the night of November 21, 1902.
Almost an exact sistership of BANNOCKBURN was the steel-hulled canaller ROSEMOUNT (I)(C.103565) which was built in 1896 by the firm of Wood, Skinner and Company at Bill Quay, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, the yard's Hull 63. Of full canal dimensions for the day, ROSEMOUNT measured 245.0 feet in length, 41.0 feet in the beam, and 18.4 feet in depth. Her tonnage was registered as 1589 Gross and 989 Net. Her single screw was driven by a triple expansion engine with cylinders of 20 1/2, 34 and 57 inches and a stroke of 39 inches, steam being provided by two coal-fired Scotch marine boilers measuring 13'6" by 9'6". The machinery was new when installed in ROSEMOUNT, built for her by The North Eastern Marine Engineering Company Ltd. of Wallsend-on-Tyne.
Registered at Montreal, ROSEMOUNT was the first of many M.T.Co. ships to carry a name ending with the "mount" suffix; a great number of the company's latter-day steamers were given such names. ROSEMOUNT, herself, was named for a community which has since been swallowed up by the Montreal urban area.
ROSEMOUNT was a truly beautiful vessel, built, as was the style of the day, to a design rather similar to that of many small salt-water steamers. She was the proud possessor of magnificent lines, with a graceful, sweeping sheer and a stem that pulled back as it neared deck level so that, when riding light, she appeared to sit back on her stern and raise her bow even higher above the water. She had a full forecastle, the break of which curved gently down to the closed rail which completely surrounded the shelter deck. The hull and forecastle were painted black, the name emblazoned in large white letters on the bows at deck level. Steel fender strakes ran along her sides to protect her plating but, in the early years, she frequently carried hanging wooden fenders on her sides to provide extra protection whilst canalling. Two navy-type anchors hung from hawsepipes, no anchor pockets having been provided.
While most of ROSEMOUNT's accommodations were located below decks, the deck officers were housed in a round-fronted texas cabin located one hatch off the forecastle. This house was painted white and contemporary photos show the sun gleaming on its polished brass portholes. Atop the steel texas was the beautiful wooden pilothouse and, just behind it, the master's cabin, both of these structures being finished in varnished teak. Distinctive bridgewings soared out from the roof of the captain's cabin and the pilothouse itself was surmounted by an open bridge, complete with canvas weathercloth and stretchers for a protective awning.
The after cabin, located about two-thirds of the way aft, was a rather spartan structure, featuring an enclosed coal bunker at its forward end and sporting outsized davits and a lifeboat on each side, perched atop outward extensions of the "boat deck". ROSEMOUNT's tall, heavy stack, painted black with the letters 'M.T.Co.' in white, rose immediately abaft the bunker and was gracefully raked. Matching the stack in rake were three heavy masts, the foremast set at the break of the forecastle, the main just abaft the texas, and the mizzen behind the after house. All three masts were fitted with cargo booms for the working of cargo through the hatches.
It was not readily noticeable because of the closed shelter deck rail, but ROSEMOUNT did boast a slightly-raised quarterdeck complete with a heavy but open wood-topped rail around it. At one time, there was also an awning over the emergency steering position atop the fantail. The steamer, of course, was given a beautifully curved counter stern.
In most details, ROSEMOUNT and BANNOCKBURN were virtually identical, although the latter boasted rather larger Gross and Net tonnages. ROSEMOUNT was, however, readily distinguishable from her earlier sister in that her pilothouse had four large, undivided windows across its front, while BANNOCKBURN's wheelhouse had three sectioned windows.
ROSEMOUNT was duly commissioned by M.T.Co. and, along with BANNOCKBURN, was used primarily in the grain trade out of the Canadian Lakehead. She could usually be seen towing one or two of the company schooner-barges. BANNOCKBURN is known to have had three barges in tow on at least one occasion, and ROSEMOUNT may have done the same, although such occurrences would have been rare indeed, as the benefits of the increased trip cargo capacity would have been more than offset by the reduction in the steamer's speed with the added burden and the lack of manoeuvrability which would be the inevitable result of having so many barges "on the string".
ROSEMOUNT's early career appears to have been generally free from untoward incidents. One notable exception, however, occurred on September 12, 1906, when she stranded some twelve miles below DeTour Light in Lake Huron while upbound with coal for Fort William. The accident was caused by poor visibility resulting from nearby forest fires which cast a thick pall of smoke over the lake.
Returned to service after her grounding, ROSEMOUNT plied the lake and river runs with regularity until 1915. In that year, with the hostilities of the Great War raging in Europe, the steamer was chartered for a time to the Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Company Ltd. of Sydney, Nova Scotia. She was taken to the east coast to help alleviate the wartime demand for additional bottoms in coastal service.
The year 1915 did, however, produce a fair amount of grief for ROSEMOUNT and her owner. On May 3, 1915, she collided with the gates of a lock on the Lachine Canal but sustained only minimal damage. At the time, she had been upbound light from Montreal to Port Colborne for grain, Capt. R. Graham in command. On July 9, bound from Montreal to Sydney under the command of Capt. A. B. Langlois, she grounded in the St. Lawrence River opposite Lotbiniere, Quebec. She was released, but did suffer about $2,000 damage in the incident. Another minor stranding occurred on October 7 when, with Capt. Graham back on the bridge, she grounded off Knapp's Point whilst bound from Port William to Montreal with grain.
By this time, however, things were not going at all well in Europe and all available tonnage was required on the other side of the Atlantic. Being blessed with lines that would make it easier for her to cross the ocean than for a canaller of more modern design, ROSEMOUNT was purchased from Montreal Transportation in 1916 by the French Government Marine. Her Canadian registry closed, she was renamed (b) AUBE by her new owner and was sailed to French coastal waters where she was operated for the duration of the war by the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, Le Havre, France. After the war was over, she was laid up at St. Nazaire, France, her services no longer required.
While lying at St. Nazaire, AUBE was observed by Capt. J. W. Norcross who soon purchased her. If this name should happen to sound familiar, it is because Norcross was the general manager of Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. and was involved in most of the "deals" which led to the emergence of C.S.L. as the most important Canadian lake fleet of all time. Through intermediaries, namely Anderson and Company of Canada, Norcross obtained AUBE in 1922 and brought her back across the Atlantic for further lake service. In order to facilitate her re-entry into Canadian registry, C.S.L. gave her back her old name, (c) ROSEMOUNT. This state of affairs was not to last for long, however, for it was later in 1922 that she was transferred to the ownership of the Aube Steamship Company Ltd., Montreal, which promptly renamed her (d) AUBE. The managers of the Aube Steamship Company were Mapes and Ferdon Ltd. of Montreal.
The confusion caused by all of these transfers and renamings and the frequently inaccurate reporting of them in publications of the period has provided something of a dog's breakfast for the marine historian. The whole situation, however, becomes somewhat more clear when the personalities involved are properly identified. Early in 1916, the year that ROSEMOUNT was sold to the French Government, financial control of the Montreal Transportation Company had been acquired by Roy M. Wolvin, himself an executive of Canada Steamship Lines and a close associate of Capt. Norcross. It was Norcross who brought the ship back to Canadian waters after the war, but C.S. L. itself was only briefly involved. Even more interesting yet is the fact that, in January of 1920, D.H. Mapes, Jr., the principal shareholder of Mapes and Ferdon Ltd., had married one Jessie Eileen, the daughter of none other than Capt. J. W. Norcross!
In any event, AUBE was placed back in lake service by Mapes and Ferdon and was given extensive repairs in the Kingston drydock over the winter of 1923-24. She was painted in the usual M & F colours with a black hull and forecastle, white cabins, and black stack with three broad gold bands. Her tall stack and good lines remained, but she was no longer the handsome ship that she had been before her overseas excursion. Her pilothouse, with its beautiful teak planking, had been painted white; it also had been lowered so that it was no longer necessary to climb four steps to the door. Sometime after 1926, a rather flimsy wooden upper pilothouse was added where the open bridge had previously been.
Worst of all, however, her once tall and stately masts had been cut down to stubs. For a short time, all had pointed tops but, sometime after 1926, the foremast was cut square across, just as if someone had taken a saw to it. Even more shocking to the eye was what was done to the mizzen at about the same time; about fifteen feet down from the top, it took a distinct and alarming bend forward. This bending of the mast was undoubtedly done to facilitate the entry of elevator unloading legs into the after hatch but, from an aesthetic point of view, the purpose could just as well have been served by removing the mast altogether and, if necessary to carry the cargo boom, replacing it with a short kingpost.
AUBE spent the winter of 1925-26 laid up at Sydney, Nova Scotia. She fitted out there in the spring and, on May 1st, cleared for Fort William with a cargo of steel rails. Her master was Capt. Horace H. Thorn and this was his first command. (Capt. Thorn now resides in Point Edward and is a member of T.M.H.S.) He recalls that AUBE was in company on this trip with the canaller DONALD STEWART and three vessels belonging to the Dominion Steel and Coal Company Ltd. They encountered heavy ice some five miles above North Point and were forced to lie in the ice through the night. By 3 p.m. the following day, the Canadian government icebreaker MIKULA had released AUBE, which then proceeded to Montreal and unloaded a portion of her cargo of rails to bring her up to canal draft of fourteen feet.
AUBE made two trips from Sydney to Fort William during 1926, but she kept busy for much of the year trading in grain from Port Colborne to Montreal. It was in 1926, while Capt. Thorn was master of AUBE, that she came across the Mathews Steamship Company's composite freighter MALTON lying disabled in Lake Ontario with engine troubles. AUBE took MALTON in tow and managed to get her safely docked at Kingston, Mapes and Ferdon being the proud recipients of salvage monies from the underwriters as a result of the rescue. Later in the season, when AUBE's stack happened to catch fire, Capt. Thorn suggested to D. H. Mapes, Jr. that the MALTON salvage money should be used to replace the stack.
In late November of 1926, AUBE loaded a cargo of grain at Fort William fer delivery at Quebec City. Capt. Thorn was relieved by Capt. J. Hurley, who took the ship from Quebec to Sydney for another load of rails for the Lakehead. On the return trip up the lakes, AUBE grounded on Chateque Shoal above the Brockville Narrows section of the St. Lawrence River. The season was growing late and, by the time she was refloated, the canals were closed for the winter. AUBE was then taken to Kingston and her rails were transferred to a C.S.L. boat; AUBE herself was drydocked during the winter for repairs which included the replacement of eleven plates in the forepeak. She re-entered service in the spring of 1927.
The year 1926 had, however, seen the disposal of most of Mapes and Ferdon's fleet. The company had always had close connections with the management of Canada Steamship Lines and all of the M & F steel canallers, with the exception of AUBE, were transferred to the ownership of C.S.L. in 1926. One wooden vessel, JOYLAND, was sold to other operators, for C. S.L. had already managed to rid itself of her back in 1922. Mapes and Ferdon carried on with AUBE, still under the ownership of the Aube Steamship Company Ltd., and she was to be the last vessel to serve the fleet. Nevertheless, M & F did contract in 1927 for the construction of the sandsucker SAND MERCHANT, and this steamer was operated by another affiliated company until she was seized for debt in 1931.
A news item published in March of 1929 by "Canadian Railway and Marine World" indicated that, on February 1st, sitting at the Toronto Admiralty Division of the Exchequer Court of Canada, Mr. Justice Hodgins rendered judgment in an action brought by J. P. Porter and Sons, Port Dalhousie, against the Aube Steamship Company Ltd., Montreal, to recover damages for the loss of a scow while in tow of a tug on the Welland Canal. It seems that, sometime in 1928, AUBE had rammed the scow and, presumably, had sunk it. Mr. Justice Hodgins ruled that the tow had disregarded rules 17, 26 and 68 governing navigation in the canal and that due caution was not exercised in the navigation of tug and barge. The action by Porter was dismissed, with costs to the defendant, and a counterclaim for damage to AUBE was allowed with costs, the damages to be assessed in the usual manner by the registrar. In December of 1928, AUBE had gone into winter quarters at Kingston and she had immediately been placed on drydock for the repair of damage caused in the incident out of which the litigation had arisen. She spent the better part of a month in the drydock while repairs were carried out to her starboard bow and a number of loose rivets replaced.
AUBE continued to operate steadily, even after economic conditions began to deteriorate in 1929. During June, 1930, while downbound with grain from the Lakehead to Montreal, AUBE received a severe pounding in a nasty storm on Lake Superior. Some contemporary reports have indicated that she grounded as a result of the storm, but this has been denied by a person who was on board at the time and, in fact, no casualty report was ever filed to confirm that a grounding had ever taken place. Be all this as it may, AUBE proceeded once again to Kingston where her cargo was unloaded and the boat placed on drydock for repairs. Once the storm damage had been put right, AUBE cleared Kingston without cargo and made her way down the St. Lawrence. She passed through Dickinson's Landing Lock on July 14 and, in due course, arrived at Lachine, where she was placed in temporary lay-up on July 18, 1930. With business conditions being what they were at that time, it was not unusual for grain carriers to lay up for the summer months. It is not known exactly how long AUBE remained at the wall at Lachine, but it is to be assumed that she was out and running again in the fall of the year.
It was in 1931, however, that AUBE made her last trip as a self-propelled freighter. Late in autumn, she cleared the Lakehead with grain for Montreal. Whilst downbound in the St. Clair River, her rudder jammed and AUBE went around in a circle and then slid up on a mudbank. The crew managed to perform the necessary repairs on the rudder and then worked AUBE off the bank without assistance from other vessels. She continued on down the lakes and soon began her transit of the St. Lawrence Canals. It is interesting to note that on this, her last trip, she was the last downbound vessel of the year to pass through the canals. The passage was not, however, without incident for, when she was about three miles downstream from the Morrisburg Canal, she struck bottom "hard enough to clear off the supper table for the cook". She was, however, able to continue on her way and, in due course of time, arrived at Montreal and began to unload her cargo.
Downbound in the St. Lawrence, this is AUBE as she looked in her last few years of service. Photo from the Simzer collection, courtesy George Ayoub.But things were no longer going at all well for Mapes and Ferdon. The reversal of business conditions had hit the company hard and the fleet, as small as it was, could not generate enough income to pay the expenses of continued operation. While AUBE was unloading at Montreal at the end of her last trip of the 1931 season, a local ship supplier delivered a load of groceries to the steamer. Both the captain and the cook knew that Mapes and Ferdon Ltd. was going into bankruptcy and, after the grocer had gone on his way, they let the crew know that he would not be paid for the order. It was then obvious to all on board that AUBE's career was drawing to its close.
After the unloading was finished, AUBE cast off her lines and got under way once again but for what was to prove the last time. She steamed back up the Lachine Canal, fighting ice as she went, for it was by then deep in December. Her crew laid AUBE up at Lachine and she never again turned a wheel. In the spring of 1932, the Aube Steamship Company Ltd. was libelled by Sin-Mac Lines Ltd., the famous Montreal towing and salvage company, which was itself under the trusteeship of the Montreal Trust Company at the time. It was apparently the unpaid account concerning the repair of the 1930 storm damage that led Sin-Mac to take legal action for collection. The net result was that, on June 6, 1932, AUBE was sold to Sin-Mac Lines Ltd. by the Exchequer Court for the princely sum of $2,800. It was on August 6, 1932 that AUBE was towed from her lay-up berth at Lachine to Sorel by the Sin-Mac tugs LUCIA and MATHILDA.
In 1934 Sincennes-McNaughton Tugs Ltd., Montreal, was incorporated to take over from the Montreal Trust Company the assets of the bankrupt Sin-Mac Lines Ltd. AUBE was included in the transfer and was officially reregistered to the new company on October 23, 1934. She had not, however, operated since 1932 and the sale did not alter her status.
It was reported that, after her arrival at Sorel, AUBE was stripped down for use as a salvage barge. She may have been used for storage purposes for a short time, but there is no record of her having operated. We do know, however, that by 1937 she had been laid away in the Richelieu River boneyard, tucked in amongst an assortment of worn-out hulls awaiting scrapping. Her time duly came and, late in 1937, AUBE was cut up for scrap. It seems likely that she was dismantled by Les Chantiers Manseau Ltee. but the possibility exists that Sincennes-McNaughton may have done the job itself, as the company did maintain premises at Sorel. In any event, her Canadian registry was closed on August 15, 1938.
As it developed, ROSEMOUNT /AUBE had a total career of only 42 years, not an overly long period of time for a laker. She was, however, a victim not only of the horrors of the Great Depression, but also of the advancements in technology that permitted the construction of vessels which could be operated more economically than could an old canaller built back in 1896 and which had never been substantially modernized. But despite the development of marine architecture over the years, no one would ever again build a canaller (or any other lake freighter, for that matter) as beautiful in all respects as was ROSEMOUNT (I).
(Ed. Note: For their help with the preparation of this feature, we are greatly indebted to Capt. Horace H. Thorn, to Robert L. Campbell and to James M. Kidd. A very special word of thanks is due to members George Ayoub and Ron Beaupre, both of whom did exhaustive research on our behalf to develop the information necessary to present a history of ROSEMOUNT / AUBE that would be as complete and definitive as possible. It is also through the courtesy of George Ayoub that this history is accompanied by a rare photo, from the Simzer Collection, showing AUBE as she appeared in her last days.)
Additional Marine News
It would appear that the end of the line has come for the barge-canal-type bunkering tanker GARY, (a) WHITE FLASH (44) , (b) BERT REINAUER (51), (c) CHARLES McCARREN (53), (d) SINCLAIR POWER (55), (e) SINCLAIR GARY (72). Owned by Energy Co-Operative Inc., East Chicago, and operating in the Chicago-Gary area, she was built in 1931 by the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company at Chester, Pennsylvania. As her many name changes indicate, she has had a varied career. Now, however, it would seem that her condition has deteriorated to the extent that repairs would be prohibitively expensive and her owner has decided to take her out of service .
According to the January 12 issue of "Skillings' Mining Review", a company going by the name of Am-Can Transportation Inc. plans to enter lake trade in 1981 with two self-unloading tug/barge combinations featuring 150-foot, 9,000-horsepower tugs and 575-foot, 22000-ton barges. As yet, nothing has been said about the trade in which these vessels will serve.
Winter Lay-up Listings
We present here our annual report on the vessels wintering at various lake and river ports. We have not included small tugs, local ferries, derricks, scows, or similar items, nor have we included vessels operating throughout the winter months. The report will be concluded in the March issue, so if you do not see a list for your home port in this issue, please drop us a line and send along the necessary information. Corrections also welcomed!
We begin with a revised listing for the port of Toronto, one additional ship having arrived since we prepared the list for the January issue.
HOWARD F. ANDREWS
R. BRUCE ANGUS
BLUE WATER BELLE
GEORGE M. CARL
C. W. CADWELL
LOUIS R. DESMARAIS
W. M. EDINGTON
GEORGE D. GOBLE
H. M. GRIFFITH
JOAN M. McCULLOUGH
HUDSON TRANSPORT *
LAC DES ILES
GORDON C. LEITCH
E. J. NEWBERRY
ST. LAWRENCE NAVIGATOR
SENATOR OF CANADA
GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER (remains)
P.S. BARGE NO. 1
J. W. McGIFFIN
NEW YORK NEWS
JUDITH M. PIERSON
FRANK A. SHERMAN
H. C. HEIMBECKER
LAC STE. ANNE
R. G. SANDERSON
D. B. WELDON
NANTICOKE (Hull 218)
SIR JAMES DUNN
JOHN E. F. MISENER
V. W. SCULLY
A. S. GLOSSBRENNER
JOHN O. McKELLAR
JOHN A. FRANCE
J. N. McWATTERS
FORT GASPE (barge)
ARTUR GROTTGER (new)
ILE AUX COUDRES
ILE D'ORLEANS (remains)
T. R. McLAGAN
BOLESLAW RUMINSKI (new)
SAULT AU COCHON (barge)
BAIE ST. PAUL
D.D.S. SALVAGER (barge)
D. C. EVEREST
CASON J. CALLAWAY
PHILIP R. CLARKE
WILLIAM H. DONNER
BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS
A. H. FERBERT
E. M. FORD
EDWIN H. GOTT
IRVING S. OLDS
CLARENCE B. RANDALL
ENDERS M. VOORHEES
WILLIS B. BOYER
FRANK R. DENTON *
JOSEPH H. FRANTZ
EDWARD B. GREENE
ELTON HOYT 2nd
ROGER M. KYES
ROBERT C. NORTON
THOMAS F. PATTON
RICHARD J. REISS
WILLIAM A. REISS
WILLIAM R. ROESCH
J. R. SENSIBAR
WALTER A. STERLING
THOMAS WILSON *
* - Frog Pond
STEWART J. CORT
LEWIS WILSON FOY
ARTHUR B. HOMER
J. S. ST. JOHN
J. F. SCHOELLKOPF JR.
MERLE M. McCURDY
JOHN J. BOLAND
TOM M. GIRDLER
W. W. HOLLOWAY
JOHN A. KLING
C. H. McCULLOUGH JR.
B. F. AFFLECK
C. L. AUSTIN
JAMES A. FARRELL
JOSHUA A. HATFIELD
WILLIAM A. IRVIN
THOMAS W. LAMONT
JOHN G. MUNSON
WILLIAM P. PALMER (remains)
EUGENE W. PARGNY
PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR.(remains)
WILLIAM B. SCHILLER
RICHARD TRIMBLE (remains)
RALPH H. WATSON
PETER A. B. WIDENER
HOMER D. WILLIAMS
ARTHUR M. ANDERSON
EUGENE J. BUFFINGTON
D. M. CLEMSON
THOMAS F. COLE
ALVA C. DINKEY
HERBERT C. JACKSON
D. G. KERR
WILLIAM A. McGONAGLE
J. P. MORGAN JR.
ROBERT C. STANLEY
EUGENE P. THOMAS
JAMES R. BARKER
CHARLES M. BEEGHLY
E. G. GRACE
J. L. MAUTHE
HENRY STEINBRENNER (remains)
G. A. TOMLINSON
JOHN R. EMERY
We should like to extend our sincere thanks to the following members who have assisted with the preparation of this report: Richard Armstrong, Barry Andersen, Jim Bartke, Neil Bauman, Rene Beauchamp, Duff Brace, David Bull, Roger Chapman, Don Dube, Brian Gamula, Jim Hoffman, Jim and Ron Konkol, John Lefaive, Bob MacDonald, Larry Morrill, Ed Schwartz, Laurence Scott, Paul Sherlock, Vern Sweeting, Al Sykes, Tom Wilson and George Zock.
Thomas E. Appleton
It is with deep regret that we report the passing at Kingston, in the early morning hours of January 22, 1980, of Thomas E. Appleton in his 69th year. Although not a member of T.M.H.S., Tom Appleton was a good friend of the Society and had addressed our meetings on two occasions.
A native Scotsman blessed with a superb sense of humour and seemingly inexhaustible good spirits, he was long a marine enthusiast and had served with the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve. As official marine historian of the Canadian Coast Guard, he produced his first book, "Usque ad Mare", about that service. His second work, "Ravenscrag", was a history of the Allan Royal Mail Line. At the time of his death, he was working on a manuscript dealing with the history of the Cunard Line. Only the evening previous to his passing, he had delivered an address on the Canadian Coast Guard, one of a series of lectures sponsored by the Kingston Marine Museum.
We extend to his family our deepest sympathy.
Additional Marine News
Although there has been no formal announcement either from the shipyard or from Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., we understand that plans call for the conversion to a self-unloader of GORDON C. LEITCH as soon as a similar job on JAMES NORRIS has been completed early in 1981. It would now seem fairly certain that Upper Lakes has wrested the limestone float for the St. Lawrence Cement Company away from Westdale Shipping and we wonder how this will bear on Westdale's future.
MONTCLIFFE HALL, wintering at Sarnia, somehow managed to allow 5,000 gallons of fuel to escape into the St. Clair River on January 9. The Canadian Coast Guard was notified immediately but it took the authorities a further day to relay the news to the provincial environment ministry. There has been no explanation of how the fuel escaped from the vessel.
The Gaelic Tugboat Company, Detroit, has acquired the bunkering tanker MARINE FUEL and has renamed her GAELIC 101. We presume that she will be used for fuelling vessels docked in the Detroit area.
Last month, we reported the purchase by the Hall Corporation from Norwegian interests of the tanker BIRK, the vessel being intended for salt water service under the Liberian flag as (b) COASTAL TRANSPORT. Halco's plans are indeed ambitious, for the company is also reported to be interested in obtaining the services of a similar Norwegian tanker, the LONN.