The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 13, n. 4 (January 1981)
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Jan 1981

Bascom, John N., Editor
Media Type:
Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; A Short History of Marine City, Michigan; Lake Erie Wreck Identified; JAMES B. EADS Revisited; Additional Marine News
Date of Publication:
Jan 1981
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Toronto Marine Historical Society
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Friday, February 6th - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Capt. John Leonard will present the second instalment of his reminiscences. This definitely will be a "not-to-be-missed" evening.

Friday, March 6th - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Ye Ed. and Bill Wilson will present an evening of Steamboating on the Lower Mississippi.

The Editor's Notebook

Our December Meeting, the Annual Film Night, was an evening enjoyed by all present. Our thanks to program chairman Gordon Turner for obtaining two of the films, and to John Lang for persuading Cunard Line to loan us its print of the spectacular "Twilight of an Era". We should also like to express the Society's appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. Lauritz Randeriis who set up a most interesting display of their invaluable marine postcards and special covers, all of which bear mailed-at-sea postmarks.

Ye Ed. would like to extend his usual New Year's message of thanks to all of those members who assisted with the production of "Scanner" during the past year. We refer not only to our special "stapling crew", but to all of our regular correspondents, without whom we would be totally lost. We greatly appreciate your assistance and look forward to receiving your continued support in 1981.

In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to William D. Carle III of Lakewood, Ohio, to John T. Philbin of Sarnia, to Jack Atchison of Windsor, to Delbert Ring of Brockville, to William L. MacLean of Toronto, and to Captain J. W. R. Tackaberry of Willowdale.

Marine News

As previously reported, the American Steamship Company's self-unloader JOHN A. KLING operated during the autumn of 1980 to the account of Westdale Shipping Ltd. as a replacement for BROOKDALE. We suspected that Westdale would attempt to purchase the KLING, and our suspicions were soon confirmed. The motorship arrived at Toronto on December 15 and went into winter quarters on the south side of the ship channel, just outside the Cherry Street Bridge. It was on the following day that we received definite word of Westdale's purchase of the boat. As yet, there has been no confirmation of a rename for KLING, but we have heard rumours to the effect that the name PINEDALE (II) is being considered.

HOCHELAGA emerged from the drydock at Thunder Bay on December 13, complete with her new 250-foot unloading boom, which is of tubular construction and thus considerably lighter than the old boom. We understand that she will once again be chartered to Westdale Shipping Ltd. in 1981, the previous charter to Westdale having been suspended early in 1980 when HOCHELAGA lost her boom over the side at Windsor and could only operate thereafter as a "straight-decker" in the grain trade.

The Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company is continuing the long-anticipated purge of outdated vessels from its fleet, a clearing-out caused by the loss of the Republic Steel Corporation ore contract. The 1916-built motorship RAYMOND H. REISS, (a) EMORY L. FORD (65), has been sold to Marine Salvage Ltd. and arrived at the Humberstone scrapyard under her own power on December 22. Interestingly enough, her crew took the time to give her a decent lay-up, something rather unusual for a vessel which has been sold, allegedly, for scrap. Cliffs' WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR. has been laid up for the winter at Ashtabula, and it is anticipated that she will be sold to Triad Salvage Inc. during February, unless another purchaser for the 1912-built steamer can be found. While the apparent retirement of these two veterans is not good news, there is a distinct possibility that both may eventually find their way into the service of other operators. We sincerely hope that this will be the case.

There appears to be considerable doubt concerning the future of MAXINE, (a) WILLIAM H. WARNER (34), (b) THE INTERNATIONAL (77), which is owned by the Wisconsin Steel Corporation. She was bareboat chartered during 1980 to the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company (which now hauls Wisconsin Steel's ore) but she did not operate at all during the year. Cliffs certainly does not need the 58-year-old ship and we understand that she will be sold to the highest bidder at a sale to be held during late winter. Certain operators have already expressed interest in obtaining MAXINE's services.

LAC DES ILES eluded many photographers during her brief service under that name. Photo by Dyke Cobb shows her upbound near Allanburg during October, 1980. The Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. has called for scrap bids on its retired steamer LAC DES ILES. The vessel has been stripped of some of her navigation equipment and is presently lying across the end of the Parliament Street wharf at Toronto, with OUTARDE alongside her. LAC DES ILES remains light and was not loaded with storage soya beans for the winter. We believe that Q & O has been searching for a replacement, and several names have been mentioned, but there is no word as yet on any actual transaction.

We reported previously that MARLHILL had been loaded with a storage cargo of beans by Victory Mills at Toronto. We had expected that this load would not be removed from the ship until late winter or early spring, but MARLHILL was moved from Pier 35 back to the elevator in mid-December and unloading was begun. We also understand that her Canadian registry was closed on August 20 with a notation that she had been sold to U.S. interests. Not only, therefore, do we not know why she has been unloaded so quickly, but we do not even know who owns her at the present time! No effort has been made to obliterate either the MARLHILL name nor her Q & O insignia and, apart from the removal of certain equipment, the vessel appears to be in reasonably good condition.

December 4 was not a good day for the Halco self-unloader HALLFAX. Whilst battling heavy seas off Miscou Island, New Brunswick, she suffered steering failure and called for assistance. Seven crewmembers were lifted off the boat by a Canadian Armed Forces rescue helicopter, but such efforts were abandoned because of freezing rain which had begun to fall. HALLFAX was later taken in tow by the tug IRVING BEACH and she was safely secured on December 6 at Sept-Iles, Quebec.

The trials and tribulations of the Halco fleet continue. On December 5th, MONTCLIFFE HALL was docking at the Saskatchewan Pool 7 elevator at Thunder Bay. In an effort to reduce her forward way, she dragged her anchor and managed to snag the bubbler system which had been installed to clear the slip of heavy ice and facilitate late-season navigation. To make matters worse, while moored at the elevator, MONTCLIFFE HALL later attempted to pump out ballast water but instead spewed a considerable quantity of Bunker 'C' fuel into the harbour. It took four days to clean up the resultant mess.

Johnstone Shipping Ltd. of Toronto has expanded its fleet from one vessel (CONGAR) to two with the purchase during early December of the diesel-powered canaller D. C. EVEREST from American Can of Canada Ltd. As soon as CONGAR's crew had finished laying up their boat at Toronto for the winter (she had to be towed up the Seaway to Toronto on her last trip due to mechanical difficulties), the crew went to Thunder Bay, where EVEREST had been lying idle, and began to fit her out. EVEREST loaded a storage cargo of wheat and set off down the lakes, arriving at Toronto shortly before Christmas. She is now laid up in the Polson Street slip near Atlas, the heavy-lift crane. We have no idea what Johnstone will do with D. E. EVEREST, but we wish her a long career in the company's service. EVEREST is one of the last true canallers still operating on the lakes, and was built in 1953 at Kingston. She will be renamed (b) CONDARELL by her new owner.

The tandem scrap tow of HELEN EVANS and THORNHILL encountered difficulties which delayed the departure of the two 1906-built steamers from Canadian waters. EVANS was towed from Hamilton on August 30 and THORNHILL on September 4, and both left Quebec City behind CAPT. IOANNIS S. on September 17. Bound for a Colombian scrapyard, the tow was twice forced by mechanical problems to return to the safety of Halifax harbour. The tow was reported at Halifax on October 8, and it was not until November 13 that the tug and her two venerable charges were able to set off southwards. We presume that their destination was Cartagena, but we would not have expected the trip down the east coast to have been attempted at such a late time of the season.

The final exit of D. G. KERR from the Great Lakes has proven to be anything but uneventful and the luck of the tinstacker seems to be holding, all bad! KERR was one of five U.S. Steel vessels which were sold, during 1980, for scrapping by overseas breakers. The other four were taken to Montreal or Quebec in preparation for the Atlantic tow, but TUSKER took D. G. KERR all the way to Sydney, Nova Scotia, where she lay awaiting her tow across the ocean. On November 19, however, Sydney received the "benefits" of its first major winter storm; KERR was torn from her moorings and was cast ashore, a news photo taken after the stranding indicating that she was driven so far up the beach as to be almost out of the water. We have no word as yet as to whether KERR has been released.

In the December issue, we mentioned that Halco had plans for the conversion to a self-unloader of its 1969-built straight-deck bulk carrier OTTERCLIFFE HALL. As far as we are aware, a firm date for the actual conversion has not yet been set. Nevertheless, OTTERCLIFFE HALL is spending the current winter at Toronto, and some of the preparatory work for the eventual conversion is being done by Ship Repairs and Supplies Ltd. while the ship lies in the Leslie Street slip.

The appearance of the Soo River Company steamer E.J. NEWBERRY, (a) WILLIAM C. ATWATER (36), (b) E. J. KULAS (II)(53), (c) BEN MOREELL (I)(55), (d) THOMAS E. MILLSOP (II)(76), was changed somewhat late in 1980. Upbound from Toronto to load a winter storage cargo for Humberstone, NEWBERRY stopped at Hamilton on December 15 to pick up the old "doghouse" from the scrapped steamer MARINSAL. The doghouse was placed at the after end of NEWBERRY's boat deck and will be fully outfitted during the winter months in order to provide additional accommodation for the crew. The cabin was removed from MARINSAL before she went overseas for scrapping earlier in 1980.

It has been decided that Hull 909, the next self-unloader being built at Lorain by AmShip for the Interlake Steamship Company, will be christened WILLIAM J. DE LANCEY in honour of the chief executive officer of the Republic Steel Corporation. With a length of 1,013 feet, and similar in design to JAMES R. BARKER and MESABI MINER, she is due to be commissioned in 1981.

E. S. Fox Ltd. has abandoned plans to construct a shipyard on the disused section of the Welland Canal above Port Robinson. The project had received the support of local municipal officials who were impressed with the effects such a facility would have had on the local economy and employment situation. However, residents voiced complaints about the ecological effects of building the yard and this opposition was strong enough to force the reconsideration of the project.

The Sainte Marie Yard and Marine Company has been doing very well recently. The firm obtained the contract to complete repairs to the bow of the carferry CHIEF WAWATAM, and this work was done right at the CHIEF's St. Ignace dock, thus saving the State of Michigan the cost of taking her to drydock and reducing the total repair bill from an estimated $87,500 to something in the area of $35,000. Then, during November, the company announced that it had been awarded a contract to construct two barges, each 180 x 54 x 12, for delivery during the summer of 1981 to Offshore Barge Rentals of Houston, Texas. Sainte Marie Yard and Marine hopes to obtain other similar contracts in the future. A permanent launch system will be installed at the old Carbide Dock, which the yard leases from the City of Sault Ste. Marie, and a lease will be taken on space in the second floor of the Edison Sault hydro plant for truss fabrication facilities.

The repairs done to CHIEF WAWATAM are not the only commitment that Michigan legislators have been forced to make recently concerning the aging carferry. During late autumn, the Department of Transportation was required to consider an extension of the operating subsidy for the CHIEF and a sum of $2.2 million was eventually budgeted for this item. Support for the continuation of the Straits carferry service has been growing of late and local officials seem committed to the maintenance of this important rail link between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. It is expected that a task force will eventually be called to study the future of the service and to decide whether CHIEF WAWATAM is the best vessel available for the route.

In an attempt to compensate for the discontinuance of the Milwaukee carferry route by the Chessie System and for other Lake Michigan ferry lines whose futures are in doubt, the Michigan Department of Transportation is proposing that a new ferry route be created. The new service, primarily intended for passengers and autos rather than for railroad cars, would run to Milwaukee and Chicago from a Michigan port yet to be designated, although Muskegon, Grand Haven and Ludington are all being considered. The state would purchase the necessary boats and would then contract the ferry operation to a private operator. The May 1 through October 1 service would be subsidized to a proposed figure of $500,000 per year. This project seems all well and good on paper, but we would wonder where the state is going to come up with the necessary money, particularly when it does not seem to have the funds to live up to commitments already made to the Ann Arbor Railroad.

Although the autumn of 1980 was not blessed with particularly pleasant weather, temperatures remained warm enough that the St. Lawrence Seaway was able to close without any threat of salties being stuck in the system for the winter. Operations went smoothly in the lakes as well until early December, at which time high winds and very cold temperatures began to beset the upper lakes areas. Icebreakers had their hands full in the St. Mary's River and, as a result of delays encountered in heavy ice, a few lakers found that they had problems in reaching the lay-up ports to which they had been assigned. As if that was not bad enough, record cold weather struck Southern Ontario during Christmas week and played havoc with shipping in the Welland Canal. Ice plugged the canal so badly that some boats took as much as three days for a transit. Several tugs assisted at locks and U.S.C.G. NEAH BAY was brought over to help traffic at Port Colborne and down the canal as far as Port Robinson.

A new tanker service will appear on the lakes during 1981, when Suncor Inc. of Toronto takes delivery of SUNCO CHIPPEWA, a 20,000 dwt. parcel tanker to be built at Hayashikane yards in Japan. Flying the Liberian flag (in honour of our great Canadian deep-sea fleet, no doubt), she will operate between Sarnia and European ports, carrying chemicals and assorted refined petroleum products. A second ship for the service will be supplied by Suncor's parent firm in the U.S., this boat also to be registered in Liberia.

Speaking of the Canadian deep-sea fleet (or lack of same), we would be remiss if we did not mention that the fleet of Federal Commerce and Navigation Ltd., Montreal, has been expanded to include 20 ships, of which only four are or will be flying the Canadian flag. We lack the space to list all of the company's ships, but suffice it to say that the lake-trading part of the fleet has been enlarged with the addition of two 730-footers built in Belgium, FEDERAL OTTAWA and FEDERAL DANUBE. Flying the Maple Leaf in 1981 will be FEDERAL NOVA, FEDERAL PIONEER (the recently purchased CARL G0RTH0N of 5,595 Gross Tons), TUNDRALAND and CABALLO (another new acquisition, yet to be renamed). These four will be in coastal service.

Residents of the area are still attempting to bring a sidewheel steamer back to Sandusky Bay, but the cost of building a replica of the old G. A. BOECKLING has prompted the group to consider the purchase of the actual remains of the original BOECKLING which, engineless, is still used for storage purposes by Peterson Builders Inc. at Sturgeon Bay. Peterson has offered BOECKLING to the group for $45,000 and the fund-raising continues.

EMPIRE SANDY, the former tug CHRIS M., returned to Toronto from drydock at Whitby during mid-December. She is now moored in the York Street slip alongside the old Pier 6 shed. We understand that the Harbour Commission forbade Norman Rogers, her owner, from mooring the hull on the east side of the shed where she has lain for several years. This edict resulted from complaints received from residents of the Harbourside development who, quite naturally, objected to having this eyesore at their doorsteps.

The Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. self-unloader CAPE BRETON MINER is at Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. this winter for an extensive refit. She already was in the drydock for much of the summer for assorted repairs, but she is in need of considerable refurbishing. Much of her sideplating will be replaced, as will her ballast tanks, and some of her steam auxiliaries will be supplanted by diesel machinery. When she emerges from the shipyard in the spring, the MINER will return to the east coast trade which she shares with ONTARIO POWER and CANADIAN HIGHLANDER.

In the December issue, we mentioned the loss in the Arctic of EDGAR JOURDAIN. To replace her, Jourdain Navigation Ltd. of Montreal has purchased, from the U.K.'s United Baltic fleet, the ice-classed freighter HUDSON VENTURE. We have no further information concerning this vessel as yet.

At long last, James Gillon's Illinois Steamship Company and Great Lakes Transit Company have been able to free their passenger steamer MILWAUKEE CLIPPER from the clutches of the Bay Shipbuilding Corp. which had instituted proceedings for the sale of the ship in order to satisfy outstanding accounts. Had the court allowed this, it is almost certain that the 76-year old boat would have been sold for scrap. However, BayShip's request was denied and Gillon and his companies were declared the legal custodians of the vessel. She was taken in tow and arrived on November 26 at Chicago, where she will become a floating restaurant and museum at Navy Pier. MILWAUKEE CLIPPER (unofficially renamed CLIPPER when Gillon first purchased her) encountered problems during the tow from Sturgeon Bay and began to take water. She arrived at Chicago with twelve degrees of starboard list and the fire department was called to pump out the water after she was docked.

Bay Shipbuilding Corp. will build two large barges for use on salt water. The first, to be delivered during the autumn of 1981, will be a 550-footer for the coal trade. The second, a self-unloader, 610 feet in length, will be designed to carry phosphates and will be ready for service in the spring of 1982. Meanwhile, BayShip's Hull 727, the latest barge built for the Hannah Marine Corporation, was launched on November 20 and christened HANNAH 6301. This barge is 407 feet in length.

Word has it that Soquem Inc. has purchased a self-unloader from a Canadian lake fleet for use on its Magdalen Islands salt run. The contract for the transportation of this salt has been awarded to Navigation Sonamar Inc. and will, presumably, be handled by vessels of the soon-to-be-merged Desgagnes and Logistec fleets.

Deep Diving Systems Ltd. of Thunder Bay has sold its 341-foot salvage barge D.D.S. SALVAGER, (a) BALSAMBRANCH, (b) M.I.L. BALSAM, (c) TECHNO-BALSAM, to the St. Lawrence Cement Company Ltd. She will be converted to carry cement in bulk from Duluth to Thunder Bay.

The venerable, although much-rebuilt, tug ABURG, long operated by the McQueen interests of Amherstburg, was sold on October 19, 1980, by William E. Smith, who used her as a yacht, to Sub Services Ltd. of Penetanguishene. Her new owner intends to use the 90-year-old tug in the Georgian Bay charter service, fitting her out to carry groups of divers who might wish to visit wrecks in the area. It is anticipated that ABURG will be able to carry 25 persons per trip, and she is already well booked for her first season. She was moved from Amherstburg to a berth at Penetanguishene, but a setback to her owner's plans occurred in mid-December when, as a result of a frozen pipe, the tug took on water and sank at her dock.

A recent report indicates that the famous KEEWATIN, the beautiful 1907-built Canadian Pacific Railway passenger and package freight steamer, has been moved about a quarter of a mile to a new berth in the Kalamazoo River at Douglas (Saugatuck), Michigan. KEEWATIN is owned by entrepreneur R. Peterson and is used as a museum, albeit a rather sad one. KEEWATIN floats so high out of the water now that she looks completely unnatural, and the sight is not helped by the fact that she sports the U.S. flag on her stern, something very much out of keeping with her 58 years of service. We are pleased that KEEWATIN was preserved and escaped the fate of ASSINIBOIA, but we have always resented the fact that not a single Canadian stepped forward at the time of her retirement, 15 years ago, to preserve her in waters to which she was more accustomed.

Canada Steamship Lines expended considerable funds to repair NIPIGON BAY after her autumn encounter with Whaleback Shoal in the St. Lawrence River. Now the steamer, built at Collingwood in 1951 as the tanker (a) IMPERIAL LEDUC (55), is back at Port Arthur Shipyards for the installation of a new deck. Over the winter months, she will be given a five-foot-high hatch trunk similar to that fitted on her sister, GOLDEN HIND, several years ago.

Sailors and Crocodiles Don't Mix

We thought it only proper that we should begin 1981 with a bit of humour for our readers. The following item originated with the May 30, 1980, issue of The Sydney Herald (yes, that's Sydney, Australia), and we thank member Capt. Charles Colenutt for sharing it with us.

"The crew of the Australian destroyer DERWENT has shed about $43,600 (Australian), but no tears, over a fracas in a Manila bar called The Crocodile. Involved, progressively, were two DERWENT sailors, two chickens, a live crocodile, a Filipino barman, three Jeepneys and their passengers, a posse of Philippines police, diplomats, and finally a compensation bill for $U.S. 50,000.

"It all began with what was officially called a goodwill visit to Subic Bay in the Philippines by H.M.A.S. DERWENT, while on a three-month tour in South-East Asian waters between January and March. Subic Bay services a large part of the U.S. Seventh Fleet and, accordingly, is not short of bars. Two DERWENT sailors had hardly settled themselves in the Crocodile Bar, when they noticed the barman tossing two live chickens into a pond beside the bar. There was a sudden swirl of water and the chickens disappeared as if they had been swallowed by something big and hungry, and indeed they had been.

"Their curiosity aroused, the sailors questioned the barman, who explained that in the pond was a live crocodile which liked live chickens. The sailors remonstrated, the barman was unrepentant, whereupon his jaw was broken with one blow. The barman reeled backwards, smashing a large bar mirror. Turning their attention to the crocodile, the sailors jumped into the pond (!!!) , one grabbing the crocodile's head, the other the tail.

"The writhing crocodile, 1 1/2 metres long, was carried into the street, where the sailors lost either their grip or their courage, or both, and tossed the creature away. The crocodile landed in the back of a Jeepney (a decorated Jeep bus), whose passengers smartly jumped out. One passenger was run over by another vehicle. The driver of the Jeepney, hearing the commotion, looked 'round. Coming face-to-face with an enraged crocodile, he lost control of his vehicle and drove through the plate-glass front of another bar, injuring some of its occupants.

"The crocodile, unharmed up till now, scurried into the street and was run over and killed by a lorry. The two sailors ran off but were caught by a posse of police, bar owners, and their pursuers.

"Negotiations between DERWENT officers and numerous claimants followed and produced a settlement; DERWENT would pay damage claims reaching the impressive figure of $U.S. 96,000. Further negotiations by Australian diplomats on behalf of DERWENT reduced the claim to $U.S. 50,000. The crew of DERWENT was so impressed with the great crocodile show put on by their two crewmates that they held a tarpaulin muster to pay for the damage.

"When told of the story, a Navy spokesman would only say that DERWENT was on deployment in S.E. Asia between January and March of this year."

A Short History of Marine City, Michigan

This small paperback, 48 pages, edited and abridged with additional detail, is based upon an address delivered at Marine City in 1929 by Frank McElroy. It contains much material of marine interest and can be obtained by sending $2.50 U.S. (including postage) to the Marine City Rotary Club, Marine City, Michigan 48039, U.S.A.

Ship of the Month No. 98


During those years when the operation of vessels built to the dimensions of the old St. Lawrence and Welland Canals was necessary, many different types and designs of canallers could be seen. One of the most interesting ship profiles was that displayed by the ten small coastal steamers which were brought from French waters to the Great Lakes in 1923 by the Tree Line. Most of these unusual boats had left the lakes again by the beginning of the Second World War and, by the time that the St. Lawrence Seaway was completed, only three remained afloat on fresh water, with one additional hull resting in the depths of the St. Lawrence River.

The ten canallers were built in 1919, 1920 and 1921 by various French shipyards to the order of the French government, which intended them for coastal service. They were all of generally similar dimensions and all were named for professions which were somehow related to ships, their construction, operation, or cargoes. The boats were christened CHARPENTIER (carpenter), GREEUR (rigger), MARINIER (mariner), MINEUR (miner), PEINTRE (painter), PERCEUR (driller), RIVEUR (riveter), SOUTIER (stoker), TOLIER (sheet-iron manufacturer) and TOURNEUR (lathe operator).

PEINTRE was built in 1921 at Aries-sur-Rhone, France, by Soc. Anciens Etab. Henri Satre. A dry-cargo coaster, she was given a length of 219.4 feet, a beam of 34.3 feet and a depth of 12.7 feet. She was propelled by twin screws which were driven by two triple-expansion engines built by Soc. des Moteurs La Chaliassiere at St-Etienne, France. They had cylinders of 13 3/8, 19 3/4 and 31 1/2 inches and a stroke of 16 1/2 inches. Steam was supplied by two Scotch boilers which measured 9'8" by 11'6", and which were manufactured by Chantiers Nabals et Chaudronneries.

PEINTRE was a most unusual steamer, as also were her near-sisters. She possessed a remarkable sheer for such a small hull and her bow was gracefully flared. She carried a full forecastle with a closed rail which ran back for about half its length. Her deck sported a raised trunk into which were fitted the hatches, and this trunk made her look much like a tanker. Her quarterdeck was raised a half-level above the spar deck and the cabin that sat atop it was completely plated in down its sides and around the stern. As a result, PEINTRE showed a particularly long counter and one that was even more remarkable in that it curved upwards and inwards to the boat deck. We have no idea why the sterns of these ships were constructed in such a manner, but the thought may have been that such a design would help to throw off the heavy seas which these coasters might encounter on the North Sea and in the English Channel.

The centre section of PEINTRE's after cabin was extended forward to the break of the quarterdeck and, immediately above it, was placed the pilothouse, which was of exactly the same width as the lower appendage. The pilothouse had four large windows across its front and above it was an open navigating bridge equipped with wide bridgewings. This small pilothouse was the only cabin that appeared on the boat deck, and its only companions there were two very large ventilator cowls, several smaller ventilators, a pole mast, two lifeboats, and a rather scrawny but nicely raked stack which rose out of a high apron with its own cowl.

PEINTRE was duly placed in the service of the government of France but, almost immediately, was renamed (b) BEISSARD. Five of her sisters were also renamed at this time, but the rest retained their original names until they came to Canadian waters. We know nothing about their service at this time, and so it is not surprising that we have no idea why the ships were given other names. As a matter of fact, we do not even know whether there may have been other vessels operating in the French government's service which had been built to the same design.

POPLARBAY approaches her dock at Toronto's Pier 5. Photo, c. 1933, by J. H. Bascom. Whatever may have been the early life of PEINTRE/BEISSARD, we are more particularly interested in her history from 1922 onwards, for it was late in 1922 that she and her nine sisters were purchased by the Bay Line Navigation Company Ltd. of Montreal, a subsidiary of the Ogilvie Flour Mills Company Ltd., Montreal. The ten coasters were sailed across the Atlantic and arrived at Montreal during the early summer of 1923. Immediately upon their arrival, they were all given names which incorporated the designations of various types of trees, followed by the suffix "bay". In this fashion, BEISSARD, which had been placed on Canadian registry as C.150833, was renamed (c) POPLARBAY. Each of the steamers was registered to a different company, and POPLARBAY was listed as being owned by the Poplarbay Steamship Company Ltd. The manager of the fleet was J. D. Calvin, a member of the famous Calvin family of Garden Island, Ontario.

When POPLARBAY was placed on the Canadian Register, her Gross Tonnage was shown as 1263 and her Net as 664, She had three hatches, one over each of her three cargo compartments. It is not known whether her cargo-handling equipment was original but, when she made her debut on the lakes, she carried cargo booms on the foremast, set at the break of the forecastle, and on a kingpost which was located between the second and third hatches. It was not long after POPLARBAY and her sisters arrived on the lakes that they were given new and more modern pilothouses. These new structures were wooden, roughly square in shape, and had either seven or five (POPLARBAY had seven) windows across the front, the centre window being wider than the others to provide added visibility for the officers on watch. The new pilothouse was placed atop the old monkey's island, and awnings were provided to give some shelter to the bridgewings onto which the master could now venture simply by walking out of the pilothouse door. Some of the steamers appear to have had the indented forward corners of the quarterdeck cabin made flush with the centre section but, strangely enough, this little operation seems to have been done only on the five boats that had the five-windowed pilothouses, namely ASHBAY, BEECHBAY, ELMBAY, OAKBAY, and PINEBAY. These five also had larger stacks than did the other ships.

The original intent of the Bay Line Navigation Company was to carry grain from the Lakehead or from various transfer points down the old canals to the Ogilvie mills at Montreal, but the line also booked coal, sugar, and pulpwood cargoes for its boats. The original name of the managing company was changed in 1923, for it seemed that certain parties confused it with the Bay Steamship Company Ltd. which was operated by the Hudson's Bay Company. When litigation was threatened, Ogilvie changed the name of its transportation subsidiary to the Tree Line Navigation Company Ltd., Montreal. Although Ogilvie originally planned that its ships would operate in the bulk trades, the Tree Line was, by 1928, established in the package freight trade between Montreal and Fort William, with calls at major ports en route. As time passed, the package freight service was also extended to include calls at Chicago and other major Lake Michigan ports.

The Tree Line operated in competition with Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., the conglomerate which had bought out the Montreal Transportation Company Ltd. in 1920. It is significant to note that, up until the demise of that fleet, the M.T.Co. had attended to the shipping requirements of Ogilvie Flour Mills. No doubt it was the inability of the much larger C.S.L. fleet to serve Ogilvie's needs adequately that prompted the company to involve itself in the business of owning and operating lake vessels.

The Tree Line ships were originally painted green with white deckhouses and forecastle, and a black stack on which appeared a large white 'T'. On the bow, below the white upper section of the forecastle, appeared the white outline of a shield in which, also in white, was inscribed the line's 'T.L.N.' monogram. The ship's name appeared in white abaft this design.

Like all lake shipping companies, the Tree Line was dealt a nasty blow by the Great Depression of the 1930s, and it became more and more difficult to keep the vessels of the fleet gainfully employed. The Tree Line began to sell off its French-built canallers (the original wooden boats having long since been retired) and, in 1937, the company itself became the Tree Line Division of Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal. ASHBAY and OAKBAY were sold out of the fleet in 1935. CEDARBAY and WILLOWBAY in 1936, MAPLEBAY and POPLARBAY in 1937, BEECHBAY and PINEBAY in 1939, ELMBAY in 1942 and SPRUCEBAY in 1945. Most of the steamers were sold for operation off the lakes but some of them managed to stay in fresh water. POPLARBAY was one of the lucky ones, and was thus assured of a rather longer life than were those of her sisters which returned to the corrosive nature of salt water.

When POPLARBAY was sold out of the Tree Line in 1937, her ownership passed to Transit Tankers and Terminals Ltd. of Montreal, a firm operated by Gaston Elie. POPLARBAY was actually registered to an affiliate, Tankeroil Ltd. of Valleyfield, Quebec. She was immediately sent to the Muir Bros. drydock at Port Dalhousie for conversion to a tanker, a conversion which meant little change in outward appearance (except for the removal of her cargo gear) in view of the already strange configuration of the ship. Her conversion by the Muir yard followed a similar reconstruction done to her sistership CEDARBAY, which had been sold in 1936 to Lloyd Refineries Ltd. Sold to Transit Tankers the same year as POPLARBAY was a third sister, MAPLEBAY, which was registered to Transcoal Ltd. and then sent off to Les Chantiers Manseau Ltee. at Sorel for her tanker conversion.

TRANSLAKE, upbound at Cornwall, was caught by the camera of J. H. Bascom on October 30, 1957.Shortly after their acquisition by Transit Tankers, POPLARBAY was renamed (d) TRANSLAKE, while MAPLEBAY became (d) TRANSRIVER. The ownership of both steamers was eventually transferred to another affiliate, Canadian Coastwise Carriers Ltd., of Edmundston, New Brunswick, but TRANSLAKE and TRANSRIVER both remained under the management of Transit Tankers and Terminals Ltd.

TRANSLAKE was given a black hull with white forecastle (the whole forecastle, not just the upper portion of it) and white cabins, although in later years the forecastle was painted black and only its rail was white. The Transit Tankers stack design incorporated a black funnel with two narrow yellow bands, a wide blue band, and the letters 'T.T.T.' in yellow or white, varying from year to year. For a while, the 'T.T.T.' insignia also appeared on the forecastle, but this practise was soon discontinued.

In 1947, TRANSLAKE and TRANSRIVER were joined by JOAN VIRGINIA, the last of their lake-running sisterships, the former CEDARBAY, which had been bought by Transit Tankers from Lloyd Refineries and which was operated by Gaston Elie under yet another affiliate, Coastalake Tankers Ltd. of Ottawa. This steamer kept her old name until 1952 and was then renamed (e) COASTAL CASCADES .

TRANSLAKE's career with Transit Tankers was generally uneventful, such as any tanker operator might wish, with the exception of one major accident, one which, but for exceptional circumstances, might have resulted in the loss of two vessels. On September 24, 1947, TRANSLAKE was proceeding upbound in the St. Lawrence River with a cargo of crude oil. Near Pine Tree Point, some three miles west of Morrisburg, Ontario, the pilot on board, Capt. Charles A. Willard, failed to port the wheel sufficiently to prevent the full force of the river's current from striking TRANSLAKE's starboard bow. The strength of the current prevented TRANSLAKE from responding to starboard wheel, and she veered to port across the channel.

Unfortunately, it was at that moment that TRANSLAKE was preparing to pass the downbound and coal-laden canaller MILVERTON which was owned by Colonial Steamships Ltd. of Port Colborne. MILVERTON had been built in 1929 at Glasgow by Barclay Curie and Company Ltd. and had originally sailed for Paterson Steamships Ltd. as (a) COTEAUDOC (I)(47). She had done wartime service in the bauxite trade and had only been purchased by Capt. R. Scott Misener and returned to the Great Lakes earlier in the 1947 season. She was to operate under the name MILVERTON for but a brief time indeed.

In any event, on that September day in 1947, TRANSLAKE suddenly took her shear to port in the current, a deviation that took her directly across the bows of the downbound MILVERTON, whose crew could do nothing to avoid a collision. Both ships were severely damaged and the bows of MILVERTON were stove in to the point where she was making considerable water. TRANSLAKE, also badly wounded, drifted downstream and grounded, releasing some 2,000 gallons of crude into the St. Lawrence River in the process. The unlucky MILVERTON also drifted downstream and finally grounded heavily in midstream, where she settled on the bottom. Unfortunately, MILVERTON's bunker tanks ruptured in the stranding (she was one of only a few bulk canallers at that time to be fuelled with oil instead of coal) and the entire steamer was soon completely engulfed in flames. MILVERTON was gutted from stem to stern and then broke in two sections abaft the second hatch. The stern portion sank at an angle such that the entire after cabin was submerged.

Had it not been for the extreme demand for canal-sized tonnage after the Second World War, many of the canallers which had been sent to salt water having been lost there, it is likely that neither TRANSLAKE nor MILVERTON would have been salvaged for further service. As it was, however, TRANSLAKE was refloated and was taken to Montreal, where she was repaired during 1948. MILVERTON presented something more of a problem. Her stern was cofferdammed in 1948 after she had spent the winter, a sorry sight indeed, in midstream with the current swirling around her. With great difficulty, she was eventually refloated and was moored along the shore of the rapids. Her hull was temporarily strapped together and she was towed off to Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd., where she was completely rebuilt during 1949. Misener returned her to service as (c) CLARY FORAN and she served his fleet until 1959, at which time she was sold to Reoch Transports Ltd. and renamed (d) FERNDALE (I). She was finally scrapped at Hamilton by the Steel Company of Canada Ltd. in 1963.

TRANSLAKE enjoyed an uneventful few years of operation after her return to service. She and her two sisters, together with the rest of the Transit Tankers rather odd fleet, plodded back and forth through the old canals and up onto Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, although their forays above the Welland Canal became more rare as time passed. All three of the former Tree Line boats had the fronts of their lower pilothouses plated in, and the four large windows were replaced by four portholes. There was no other change for TRANSLAKE or COASTAL CASCADES, but TRANSRIVER had the forward bulkhead of the lower cabin moved forward, so that it was flush with the front of the pilothouse above. In that she lacked an open walkway around the front of her boat deck cabin, she was thereafter distinguishable from her sisterships. The entire Transit Tankers fleet having been operated in a somewhat "impromptu" manner, there were minor changes in colours, etc., over the years, but no other structural changes to any of the three stemwinders.

During the late 1950s, though, as the construction of the new St. Lawrence canals was nearing completion, TRANSLAKE, TRANSRIVER and COASTAL CASCADES were all relegated to standby status in the fleet. From mid-1958 onwards, they were moored at Cascades, at the lower entrance to the Soulanges Canal, TRANSLAKE and TRANSRIVER moored side-by-side with COASTAL CASCADES secured astern. The latter did emerge to run briefly during 1959, and was used for a short period thereafter as a storage barge at Montreal, at least until she sank at her dock, but neither TRANSLAKE nor TRANSRIVER saw any active service after they had been laid to rest at Cascades.

The three steamers were not, as yet, even forty years of age, but their unusual and seemingly antiquated design made them look much the part of relics from the past. Of course, they also did not carry as much cargo as did other vessels of the Transit Tankers fleet and yet they cost as much if not more to operate, for all of the other boats owned by Gaston Elie were diesel-powered. They might have lasted longer had they been lengthened to full canal size (approximately 252 feet) at the time that they were converted to tankers, but such expensive reconstruction was never deemed necessary.

TRANSRIVER and COASTAL CASCADES were both broken up in the early 1960s, but TRANSLAKE was, instead, sold in 1962 to Foundation Maritime Ltd. She was towed to Halifax where she was stripped to the deck and converted to a bunkering barge, renamed (e) HALFUELER. Her tonnage after this change was reported as 1266 Gross, 1191 Net. (It is, perhaps, interesting to note that the Canadian register never indicated a change of tonnage for TRANSLAKE at the time that she was originally converted to a tanker back in 1937.)

In 1973, Marine Industries Ltd., Sorel, Quebec, took over the remains of the fleet of the Foundation Company of Canada Ltd. Her new owner gave HALFUELER the name (f) M.I.L. FUELER, and put her to work bunkering the various dredges and other assorted boats being used in the North Traverse dredging project just downstream from Quebec City. This was an especially ambitious dredging program and a large fleet had to be assembled in order to carry it off successfully. It provided an opportunity for the reactivation of several lakers that otherwise would have been at the end of their respective careers. M.I.L. FUELER was one of these, and North Traverse was her last gasp.

After the completion of the channel dredging, M.I.L. FUELER was without work and Marine Industries had no need for her. Accordingly, she was sold to one Paul E. Caron of Louiseville, Quebec, a gentleman who, for several years, has been assembling a fleet of assorted junk at Louiseville, a town located on the north shore of Lake St. Peter. One of the other interesting denizens of this unusual collection is GOLDEN SABLE, the former tanker IMPERIAL CORNWALL. M.I.L. FUELER seems to be in good company, but the chances of her ever seeing further service of any kind are extremely remote, and it is highly likely that she will shortly find her way to the breaker's yard.

And so, as the former POPLARBAY/TRANSLAKE nears her sixtieth birthday, she is the last of the ten famous Tree Line stemwinders to remain afloat. She has survived almost two decades longer than either of her Transit Tankers sisters, and much longer than any of the six vessels of the group that returned to salt water either during or just before the Second World War. The last vestige of the Tree Line within the C.S.L. fleet, the conventional canaller TEAKBAY, was scrapped in 1964, and the Transit Tankers and Terminals fleet went out of business with the sale of its last ships in 1969.

So what, one might ask, happened to the tenth Tree Line stemwinder? Well, she was the OAKBAY, (a) MARINIER (23), one of the first of the group to be sold. She was purchased in 1935 by Capt. Henry C. Daryaw of Kingston who renamed her (c) HENRY C. DARYAW. She was equipped with a travelling A-frame and a clamshell on a long boom, and she ran in the coal trade on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Late in 1941, she was requisitioned for wartime service on the east coast. With Henry C. Daryaw aboard as second mate, she was downbound on her delivery voyage to salt water when, on November 21, 1941, she stranded near the Brockville Narrows. The steamer rolled over on her port side so that only the tip of her starboard bridgewing and part of her stern remained above water, but the wreck soon slipped off the shoal and foundered in deep water. All salvage efforts have been unsuccessful and the wreck remains in the same spot where it sank almost forty years ago. There is no doubt that HENRY C. DARYAW will still be lying on the bottom of the St. Lawrence River long after the last remains of POPLARBAY/TRANSLAKE have vanished under the breakers' torches.

Lay-up Listings

With this issue, we begin our annual report, spread over several months, on the vessels wintering at the various Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River ports. More lists will appear in the February and March issues, so please send us your report on local winter fleets as soon as possible. Kindly do not assume that someone else will report from your area; even if there may be duplication, this will serve to verify the data. All contributions will be acknowledged in print.

As usual, our listings contain only freight and passenger vessels of significant size. We do not include ships in winter operation, nor ferries, tugs, scows, dredges, or the like, unless for some special reason, and we will try to identify all such exceptions. One such exception is the comprehensive Toronto Harbour listing which follows.


































Additional Smaller Vessels:


BAYPORT (former tug)

BLUE WATER BELLE (excursion boat)

BONNIE B. (tug)


CAYUGA II (excursion boat)

KAY COLE (tug)


EMPIRE SANDY (former tug)




JADRAN (restaurant boat)

J. G. LANGTON (tug)

MARIPOSA BELLE (excursion boat)

SAM McBRIDE (ferry)

NORMAC (restaurant boat)

R.C.L. TUG 11 (tug)



SALVAGE PRINCE (former tug)


TERRY S. (tug)

THE LADY GALADRIEL (excursion boat)

TRILLIUM (ferry)

WORKBOAT NO. 10 (tug)

Operating in Toronto Harbour during Winter:

MAPLE CITY (Island Airport auto and passenger ferry at Western Gap)

ONGIARA (Auto and passenger ferry to Ward's Island and Hanlan's Point)

Lake Erie Wreck Identified

For many years, historians have sought the location of the wreck of the carferry MARQUETTE AND BESSEMER NO. 2 (I) which disappeared, with all hands, on Lake Erie on December 7, 1909. In April, 1975, a Port Stanley fishtug operator discovered a large hull off the north shore of the lake and it was thereafter generally assumed that the wreck was that of the long-lost carferry. Divers have recently visited the wreck, however, and have retrieved artifacts that identify the steamer as the 1893-built, 360-foot bulk carrier MERIDA. Purchased by James Playfair on September 29th, 1915, MERIDA was still officially registered to the Valley Camp Steamship Company when she disappeared on Lake Erie in the infamous Black Friday storm of October 20, 1916. There were no survivors of the sinking.

Does Someone Borrow Your "Scanner"?

It always pleases us when T.M.H.S. members introduce other interested persons to the Society by showing them a copy of "Scanner", for it lets us know that our little publication is an effective means of communication. However, persons who continually read someone else's copy, instead of joining the Society themselves, are not playing fair ball either with T.M.H.S. or with its loyal members; they reap the benefits of "membership" in our group without contributing their share of the costs incurred in the production and distribution of our newsletter.

The cost of a T.M.H.S. membership is still one of the best bargains going, and every little bit received helps us to bring you the best publication we can for as little cost. So please, if someone else is mooching a free look at your "Scanner" each month, kindly suggest that they send us $10 so that they may receive their own copy. Not only will this assist the Society, but it will also help to keep your copy of "Scanner" from getting all wrinkled and creased!

Thanks, friends.

JAMES B. EADS Revisited

Our feature on the steamer JAMES B. EADS, which appeared in the December issue, prompted member William E. Young of Goderich to write concerning the adventures of the EADS during the winter of 1927-28. Mr. Young is a retired marine engineer who happened to be serving aboard the big wooden tug REGINALD on Georgian Bay during the spring of 1928. (REGINALD had been built back in 1894 by the famous Calvin Company Ltd. of Garden Island for its own fleet.)

Late in the season of 1927, JAMES B. EADS loaded a winter storage cargo of grain for Midland, Ontario. James Playfair's Great Lakes Transit Corporation Ltd. had only purchased the EADS earlier that same year from the Nassau Dredge and Ship Company of Chicago. Undoubtedly, Playfair had plans for work that would be done on his newly-acquired steamer during the winter months as she lay in the harbour of her owner's home port.

But the EADS, whilst downbound in the lower St. Mary's River, became trapped in heavy ice and all efforts to free her proved to be of no avail. EADS was stuck fast in the ice and there she remained for the duration of the winter, as also did a number of other vessels that had fallen victim to the early formation of the heavy ice. It was necessary to keep steam up in the boilers of the EADS and to keep a partial crew aboard, so Playfair arranged for teams and sleighs to bring coal and supplies down from the Soo to the ship. As well, the crew was changed off every few weeks and sent home to their families in Midland, from whence hailed most of the crews that worked on Playfair's boats. JAMES B. EADS was not freed from the icy grip of the river until the spring thaw, and it was in April of 1928 that she finally steamed into Midland harbour to deliver her cargo.

Today's mariners may speak of the problems they encounter in battling late-season ice and in having to rely on the assistance of powerful icebreakers such as U.S.C.G. MACKINAW when they are beset, but we wonder how many of them would care to change places with the men that spent that icy winter out on the St. Mary's River looking after JAMES B. EADS.

Additional Marine News

The Q & O steamer LAC STE. ANNE is laid up for the winter at Wharf 13, Port Colborne, and is being worked on by Herb Fraser and Associates. It appears that she will be fitted with the boilers from the retired Westdale self-unloader BROOKDALE.

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Scanner, v. 13, n. 4 (January 1981)

Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; A Short History of Marine City, Michigan; Lake Erie Wreck Identified; JAMES B. EADS Revisited; Additional Marine News