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.
Friday, April 3rd - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Jack Heintz will show marine photos from Hong Kong, Singapore, the Hook of Holland, etc.
Saturday, May 2nd - Annual Dinner Meeting. Lorne Joyce will present historic Bay of Quinte material from the collection of our late member Willis Metcalfe. Watch for details in the March issue.
The Editor's Notebook
We were pleased to see so many members and guests in attendance at the January meeting. Our Theme Slide Night was most successful and we thank all who participated. As usual, the photography was spectacular.
The response to our request for lay-up listings has been most gratifying and a lengthy report appears in this issue. In order that our listing may be as complete as possible, we look forward to hearing from even more members. We hope to include a further report on additional harbours in the March issue.
In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to Philip Nash of Kitchener, to Capt. John Tackaberry of St. Catharines (a canal pilot), to Brian Fedeski of Hamilton, to Irvin Golem of Desboro (chief engineer, JOAN M. McCULLOUGH), to Earl J. Teskey of Niagara-on-the-Lake (fleet engineer, Soo River Company), and to Capt. K. C. Clark (retired from COMEAUDOC), Ray J. Smith (retired chief of ONTADOC (I)), and Capt. A. O. Hurlbut (master, MANTADOC), all of Midland.
One of the worst accidents of the 1980 navigation season, at least from the point of view of vessel damage, occurred on December 22, when the American Steamship Company's 25-year-old self-unloader DETROIT EDISON (II) ran on Grays Reef and very nearly gored herself to death on the rocky bottom. The EDISON was upbound in Lake Michigan at the time and, rather than taking the recommended course, longer but less dangerous, to the west and north of the Beaver Island Group via Lansing Shoal Light, she was put on a course through Manitou Passage and up the easterly channel between Beaver Island and the tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. As the EDISON was attempting to negotiate the narrow channel off the eastern tip of Grays Reef, visibility deteriorated and she strayed from the channel and struck the rocks of the reef. The ship was freed without assistance some three hours after her stranding, and she was taken to Charlevoix for temporary repairs. Divers descended to look at the damage and returned with the news that bottom damage was very extensive and that five of her tanks had been ripped open. It was originally hoped to take the ship to South Chicago where she could be repaired by AmShip, but the damage was so severe that doubts were expressed as to whether the EDISON would remain afloat long enough to reach her destination. Instead, it was arranged that repairs be completed by Bay Shipbuilding. A volunteer crew made the trip aboard as she was towed across the lake and, in due course, she was safely berthed at Sturgeon Bay. Repairs, which will be very costly indeed, will be put in hand during the winter months.
D. G. KERR, the former tinstacker which broke away from her moorings at Sydney, Nova Scotia, in a storm on November 19, was freed from her perch on the beach by the tug FEDERAL 6 on November 21. The same tug set out across the Atlantic with KERR sometime shortly thereafter, but the 64-year-old steamer never made it across the ocean. She foundered near the Azores on December 12, thus becoming the twelfth laker to be lost during the course of an Atlantic scrap tow since such tows were begun in 1960. She was the first "Steel Trust" boat to be lost in this manner. The KERR was known for setting records, however, and she carried record cargoes several times in 1917 and 1918. Her greatest claim to fame arose out of the events of September 7, 1921, at which time she was loaded with 12,508 gross tons of iron ore at Two Harbors during the remarkably short time of 16 1/2 minutes. It was always rumoured that this feat had subjected her hull to undue stress and that she was structurally weakened in the process. If so, this may have hastened her demise out on the stormy North Atlantic.
Strangely enough, one of the deep-sea tugs often used to tow old lakers to European scrapyards has, herself, foundered at sea. DOLPHIN X, built at Lauzon, Quebec, in 1956, sailed until 1972 as H.M.C.S. ST. JOHN. She was lost off the coast of Labrador on November 27 whilst, towing a barge to Norway.
Westdale Shipping Ltd. has been thwarted in its plan to give the name PINEDALE (II) to its newly-acquired self-unloader, JOHN A. KLING. Despite the fact that she is currently being broken up in Hamilton, PINEDALE (I)(C.199-403) is still enrolled in Canadian registry and, until her documents are surrendered, the name cannot be used by Westdale or, for that matter, by anybody else either. As a result, KLING will become LEADALE (II) before she enters service this spring.
In the Mid-Summer issue, we mentioned that Halco's 1967-built tanker JAMES TRANSPORT would be lengthened by about 40 feet and given a complete refit, but it was not known at that time which shipyard would get the contract for the work. In fact, JAMES TRANSPORT entered the Halifax shipyard of Halifax Industries Ltd. late in January (her arrival delayed by ice problems in the St. Lawrence River), and it is expected that she will be ready to re-enter service during March. Compared with the other Halco tankers, JAMES TRANSPORT is a relative stranger to the lakes, as she spends most of her time on the St. Lawrence River and on the east coast.
Another tanker which will be rebuilt this winter is NORTHERN SHELL (II), (a) OLAU SYD (72), (b) AXEL HEIBERG (74), (c) FROBISHER TRANSPORT (77), which is operated by Shell Canada Ltd., primarily in coastal service and on the St. Lawrence. NORTHERN SHELL will be lengthened 87 feet by Canadian Vickers Ltd. at Montreal, and should be ready to return to service during the spring. The work has been delayed by labour problems at the yard.
The new name which will be given to D. C. EVEREST by her new owner, Johnstone Shipping Ltd., is not spelled CONDARELL (as previously reported), but rather CONDARRELL. Her two small derricks will be removed and she is to be fitted with a travelling crane for the handling of steel products. It is our understanding that she will be carrying such materials from the Stelco plant at Hamilton, but that she will also be available to carry wood-pulp out of Marathon for American Can of Canada Ltd., her former owner.
Despite the fact that she was not much in evidence in the Toronto area during 1980 subsequent to her commissioning in June, Johnstone Shipping's CONGAR (III) apparently enjoyed a successful year. The only fly in the ointment came late in the year when, on a trip down the St. Lawrence, she managed to get salt water into her boiler feed, a problem which necessitated having her towed back up the Seaway to her winter berth at Toronto.
We can now confirm that PETER A. B. WIDENER never got as far as Sorel on her ill-starred trip down the Seaway with grain during the autumn of 1980. She was moored at Montreal's Shed 4 immediately after clearing the Seaway downbound, and has not moved since. It was while the tugs were manoeuvring WIDENER in Montreal harbour on November 7 that she brushed the Swiss wine tanker RHONE.
Last autumn, we reported that the Bultema Dock and Dredge Company's tug JOHN ROEN V would tow Bultema's barge MAITLAND NO. 1 to the Caribbean for service there, but that ROEN V would return to the lakes. This report was in error, for neither vessel will return. MAITLAND NO. 1, originally a carferry, and long a pulpwood barge for the Roen Steamship Company, loaded scrap at Holland, Michigan, and cleared that port behind ROEN V in mid-November. The tow, whose destination was Progresso, Mexico, was due to put in briefly at Port Everglades during January. Now registered in Honduras, ROEN V has been renamed (c) TRIO BRAVO, while MAITLAND NO. 1 is rechristened (b) TRIO TRADO.
Huron Grain Leasing of Parkhill, Ontario, is considering the construction of a grain shipping facility on the St. Clair River north of the Lambton hydro generating plant. The terminal would specialize in the shipping of locally-grown grains and, if built, would almost certainly eliminate any possibility of government dredging of the Sydenham River and Chenal Ecarte to maintain Wallaceburg as an active commercial port.
In the January issue, we mentioned that Soquem Inc. was said to be in the act of obtaining a lake self-unloader for use on its Magdalen Islands salt run. It has since become known that the boat involved is the Algoma Central Railway's self-unloader ALGOSEA, (a) BROOKNES (75), which has not been sold to Soquem but rather chartered for a period of fifteen years. ALGOSEA was built at Port Glasgow in 1969 for salt water trades and it was not until the A.C.R. acquired her in 1975 that she was lengthened, brought to the lakes, and converted to a self-unloader at Port Colborne. It would seem likely that the charter will carry ALGOSEA through to that time at which Algoma might normally be expected to dispose of the vessel.
Rumour has had it that the U.S. Steel Corporation might be considering the imminent conversion to self-unloaders of its lengthened steamers ARTHUR M. ANDERSON, CASON J. CALLAWAY and PHILIP R. CLARKE. While such alterations to the three sisterships will, almost certainly, be considered in the future, we have it on the best of authority that no such contracts are to be let in the near future.
The future of the Misener Transportation steamer GEORGE M. CARL (II), frequently in doubt over the past few years, seems to be relatively secure for the present. Considerable engine work is being done this winter and, later in 1981, she will visit Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. for the renewal of much of her rivetting.
Depressed steel markets have prompted the Hanna Mining Company to close its Groveland iron mine, located near Randville, Michigan. In addition, the affiliated Iron Ore Company of Canada will, by May 15, close its pellet plant at Sept-Iles, Quebec, which will force 500 persons out of work, and will also lay off 150 workers at its mines at Schefferville, P.Q. This closures will have a noticeable effect on Canadian lake shipping in 1981, but the plants will reopen should the steel market improve.
It has previously been reported that OTTERCLIFFE HALL might be considered for a self-unloader conversion, such as was given to FRANKCLIFFE HALL. We have learned more recently that Halco does not intend at the present time to proceed with such a conversion. The work being done on OTTERCLIFFE HALL at Toronto this winter by Ship Repairs and Supplies Ltd. is limited to the renewal of her tanktops and sidetanks, and the replacement of considerable plating on her starboard side.
The Great Lakes' oldest licensed shipmaster, Capt. Thomas A. Small of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, died at Cheboygan on Christmas Day at the age of 107. Capt. Small, who sailed for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company for many years, was master of the whaleback COLGATE HOYT when she carried the first ore cargo through the then-new Poe Lock in October, 1896. As a result, U.S. Steel named him honourary master of PHILIP R. CLARKE when she made the first passage of the rebuilt Poe Lock in June, 1969.
Last issue, we mentioned that Jourdain Navigation Ltd. of Montreal had acquired a vessel named HUDSON VENTURE to replace the lost EDGAR JOURDAIN. Clarification of this report is necessary. Jourdain had arranged a tentative purchase of BALTIC VENTURE from the United Baltic fleet last spring, and the name HUDSON VENTURE was chosen for her. The sale was never consummated, however, and Jourdain instead acquired SILVA, (a) GONDUL (71), from Frans E. Karlsson P/R. Built at Stockholm in 1964, she is 307.9 x 45.3 x 19.7, 2479 Gross. She arrived at Montreal on July 19 and sailed for Rimouski and the Arctic on July 31. Her Canadian registry was opened August 6 as (c) HUDSON VENTURE. (She is a sistership of BILL CROSBIE, which sank at St. John's earlier in the year and was raised and intentionally sunk at sea November 1.)
Work on the reboilering of LAC STE. ANNE is proceeding at Humberstone. Her stack has been removed and the after cabin cut open to allow the removal of her old boilers and the installation of those taken from BROOKDALE.
Most of the exterior work has been done in connection with the self-unloader conversion of JAMES NORRIS at Port Weller. Her forward-mounted A-frame is in place and her boom has been placed on deck. In addition, bridge wings (of the enclosed variety) have been built on the sides of her pilothouse.
Marine Photographs Available
The Lake Huron Lore Marine Society and the Port Huron Museum of Arts and History have available for sale a number of interesting old photos of lake ships, including many schooners from the Capt. H. C. Inches Memorial Collection. For a list and prices, address the Lake Huron Lore Marine Society, 97 Gratiot, Marysville, Michigan 48040, to the attention of Frank R. Crevier. Interested parties should enclose stamps to cover the return postage; Canadian readers may enclose Canadian stamps as replies to them will be mailed from Sarnia.
Alan Howard Retires
The Marine Museum of Upper Canada is one of the most respected facilities of its kind in the entire Great Lakes area. That the museum which serves as the meeting-place of the Toronto Marine Historical Society has attained such an enviable reputation is due almost entirely to the efforts of Alan Howard who, as its first curator, has served in that capacity for two decades. Alan, a long-time resident of Toronto Island, came to the museum after having served as managing director of the Cayuga Steamship Company Ltd., the organization that, from 1954 through 1957, operated the reactivated passenger steamer CAYUGA on the Niagara River route. Alan, of course, has long been a steamboat enthusiast and is also a marine artist of considerable talent.
Ever since the official formation of T.M.H.S. in 1968, Alan Howard has acted as our "den father", making the necessary arrangements that we might meet regularly at the museum and ensuring that the necessary equipment was always available. He and his charming wife, Barbara, have always been on hand to greet arriving members with a hearty word of welcome and a cheerful smile.
But, as of January 31, 1981, Alan Howard has retired from his position as curator of the museum. It is difficult to imagine that Alan could possibly have reached the age of retirement but, in fact, he stayed on with special authorization past the normal retirement age. Arrangements have been made, however, for Alan to remain as the museum's official host at the remainder of the T.M.H.S. meetings scheduled for our 1980-81 season.
On behalf of the executive committee and all of the members of the Toronto Marine Historical Society, we should like to extend to Alan our sincere thanks for all of his efforts on our behalf during his tenure as museum curator. We wish both Alan and Barbara all the best for a long and happy retirement, and we look forward to seeing them both, albeit in an unofficial capacity, at T.M.H.S. meetings for many years to come.
Oops . . . . (Or Translake Revisited)
As our long-time readers will know, we do our level best to ensure that the material which appears in "Scanner" is as accurate as we can make it. We do not wish to proliferate incorrect data, as errors that appear in print have a way of finding their way into the general record unless they are quickly rectified. Even though we hate to admit it, an error did creep into the Ship of the Month feature of the January issue, this despite our considerable efforts at proofreading.
In the feature on the tanker TRANSLAKE, the former POPLARBAY, we mentioned that she was originally christened (a) PEINTRE and that she was almost immediately renamed (b) BEISSARD. In fact, the latter name should be spelled BIESSARD. We sincerely regret the appearance of this error.
Incidentally, member Rene Beauchamp has mentioned that the hull of the old tanker is still lying at Louiseville, Quebec, and that when he last saw her there, the name HALFUELER was still on her, this despite the fact that she was officially renamed (f) M.I.L. FUELER after Marine Industries purchased the remains of the Foundation Maritime fleet. She is listed as M.I. L. FUELER in the Canadian List of Shipping, so we must assume that Marine Industries simply never managed to find the time to paint her proper name on the tired old hull. This is not entirely surprising, considering that her last job was nothing more glamourous than fueling dredges on the North Traverse project.
Ship of the Month No. 99
From the familiar and/or famous vessels that we have featured in these pages over the last few issues, we turn our attention this time around to a small wooden passenger steamer of which, we are fairly certain, the majority of our readers will never have heard. Despite her small size, however, she made a considerable contribution to the convenience of the travelling public on Lakes Ontario and Erie, as well as in the Sault Ste. Marie area.
One of the most renowned builders of wooden-hulled passenger steamers on western Lake Ontario in the latter years of the nineteenth century was a gentleman by the name of Melancthon Simpson. Born in 1823 and a resident of Oakville, Melancthon Simpson and his brother, John, had begun their shipbuilding activities with the construction of schooners. Simpson built many steamers as well, these at various yards in the Toronto - Hamilton -St. Catharines area. One of his products was the 90.5-foot ferry and excursion steamer QUEEN CITY (88), (b) ONGIARA (I), which he built at Toronto in 1885, and which we have mentioned in this journal on several previous occasions .
It was in 1888 that Melancthon Simpson built, to the order of W. G. Gooderham of Toronto, a wooden-hulled propellor. The work was done at a yard at Hamilton. She was a double-decked vessel, 130.0 feet in length, 25.2 feet in the beam, and 9.0 feet in depth. The Inland Lloyds Vessel Register of Canadian Hulls for 1892 shows that her "New" tonnage was 265. Unfortunately, we have no information as to the type or measurements of the steamer's machinery or boilers; we would suspect, however, that her screw was turned by a small two-cylinder compound engine with steam supplied by an old firebox boiler.
This is GREYHOUND as she apeared when she ran between Toronto, Lorne Park, and Oakville. Photo, probably dated 1893 or earlier, from the Oakville Historical Society collection, courtesy of Lorne Joyce. Her register was opened at Toronto on June 30, 1888, at which time she was enrolled as C.92735. Gooderham was undoubtedly very proud of his new boat, but the name he chose for her was a bit more pretentious than a vessel of her conservative dimensions might otherwise deserve. For, you see, he had her christened GREYHOUND, presumably in an effort to lure excursionists away from other steamers by giving them the impression that she could make the intended trip much faster than could her opposition.
GREYHOUND was operated by the Lorne Park Navigation Company, and her route took her from Toronto westwards up Lake Ontario to Lorne Park and Oakville. On certain occasions, she even crossed the end of the lake to make calls at Grimsby and at Port Dalhousie. Her main port of call, however, was Lorne Park, which then was a popular and exclusive summer resort community and picnic ground located to the west of Port Credit.
The Park first opened for business in 1879 and it soon boasted a large summer population and many impressive "cottages" occupied by well-to-do Torontonians. The Toronto and Lorne Park Summer Resort Company thrived, partially because of the restricted land access to the park which kept out "undesirables", but more particularly because of the company's cardinal rule. It was guaranteed, as noted in all of the company's advertisements, that "as no intoxicating liquors are, under any circumstances, allowed to be sold either on the steamboat or at the hotel or refreshment booths, the most complete order and quietness will be secured in the park".
In the early years of Lorne Park, steamer service was provided to and from Toronto by EMPRESS OF INDIA, PICTON and ARMENIA, while, in the later years of the old century, ROTHESAY, C. H. MERRITT, GREYHOUND and the ill-fated QUINTE were regular callers at the Lorne Park wharf. In 1889, the round-trip fare to Lorne Park from Milloy's Wharf at the foot of Yonge Street, Toronto, was 25 cents for adults and 15 cents for children. Steamer service to the park was maintained through the turn of the century, but the old wharf collapsed on June 6, 1903, with a crowd of prospective passengers standing on it. The people were fished out of the lake and the wharf was fixed up for a few more years of use, but it soon fell into a state of total disrepair and steamer service to Lorne Park was abandoned. Never again would passenger boats crowded with happy excursionists ever call at the park, and anyone wishing to visit the summer community would have to travel by road or by train.
As early as 1892, H. A. Simpson was listed as the owner of GREYHOUND, although he might, perhaps, have been more appropriately described as her manager. This change (if it really was one) did not have any apparent effect on her operation, for GREYHOUND continued her runs westward from Toronto. It would seem that she remained on the route to Lorne Park and Oakville through 1898. For many years, her master was Capt. James Quinn.
GREYHOUND was a handsome little steamer, although a bit unusual. She had pleasant lines and an extremely graceful counter stem. Her main deck was fully enclosed and was well illuminated with outside light which entered through a row of round-topped windows which completely encircled the deck. Her promenade deck was sheltered from above by the boat deck, but there was little if any enclosed cabin space on this deck into which passengers might flee to seek refuge during inclement weather. The pilothouse was located forward on the boat deck and was surrounded by a railed walkway, which was considerably narrower than the rest of the boat deck and which projected forward from it. There was no permanent cover over the forward end of the promenade deck, although an awning was undoubtedly rigged there in very hot weather, as was the custom of the day. Stepped immediately abaft the pilothouse was GREYHOUND's single, tall, fidded mast, and just abaft that again was her relatively tall and thin smokestack.
Purchased in 1898 by R. H. Hamelin and W. G. Thurston, GREYHOUND was taken to St. Catharines and there she was rebuilt and "enlarged" over the winter of 1898-99. The reconstruction increased her Gross tonnage to 331. In addition, she was renamed (b) LINCOLN in honour of the county in which St. Catharines and much of the Niagara Peninsula is located. For the seasons of 1899 and 1900, Hamelin and Thurston chartered LINCOLN out to the Lakeside Navigation Company Ltd., which used her along with LAKESIDE on its route between Toronto and Port Dalhousie. There had been much heated competition on this popular route, but the three steamers involved, LAKESIDE, EMPRESS OF INDIA and GARDEN CITY, were all operating under the same management by this time, although GARDEN CITY, a large sidewheeler, had been used on the run between Buffalo and Crystal Beach Park on Lake Erie since 1896.
It was early in 1899 that EMPRESS OF INDIA, owned by A. W. Hepburn, had been sent down the lake to Picton for rebuilding and lengthening. It was to replace her that LINCOLN was chartered, for LAKESIDE could not possibly have handled the traffic on the busy Port Dalhousie route herself. In 1901, with the cross-lake service attracting ever more patronage, GARDEN CITY was brought back to Lake Ontario to run with LAKESIDE, and LINCOLN was sent up to Lake Erie to replace her there. LINCOLN may have operated briefly on the Crystal Beach route, but she was soon chartered out to the International Navigation Company of Buffalo for service between Buffalo and Chippawa, Ontario.
In this manner, LINCOLN came to be a part of the final link in the transportation chain between Toronto and Buffalo. She operated in conjunction with the electric line of the Niagara Falls Park and River Railway (the International Railway Company), which provided service from Chippawa across to the face of the escarpment and down the side of the gorge to the dock at Queenston, where connection was made with the steamers of the Niagara Navigation Company Ltd. for Toronto. In fact, the Niagara connection was one of the most important sections in the steamboat services that joined the cities of the upper lakes with those of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. As necessary as the service provided by LINCOLN may have been, however, she did not long remain on the Buffalo - Chippawa route and she was released from the charter at the close of the 1901 season.
LINCOLN was then sold by Hamelin and Thurston to Albert G. Knowles of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. For the 1902 season, Knowles chartered LINCOLN to W.B. Rosevear of the Canadian Sault, who was the general traffic manager of the Algoma Central and Hudson Bay Railway Company. The charter of LINCOLN was a personal venture of Rosevear's and was not related to the services provided by the railway. He operated her on a route between the Sault and Thessalon, a small port located on the northern shore of the North Channel of Lake Huron.
Nevertheless, it was not long after LINCOLN had made the long trip northwards to the Sault from Lake Erie that she was required to make the reverse passage. It was on June 10, 1903, that LINCOLN was sold to a consortium which consisted of Alexander Cowan of Kingsville, Ontario, and of Arthur M. and John McCormick, both of Pelee Island. LINCOLN was placed on the ferry service between the Canadian mainland on the northern shore of Lake Erie and Pelee Island. Having completed her first season of service on this run, she was laid up for the winter of 1903-04 at Windsor. As luck would have it, however, she was holed by ice on March 9, 1904, and she sank at her dock in 40 feet of water. Raised without undue delay, LINCOLN was repaired and was ready to resume service at the opening of navigation. She operated a longer service in 1904, running from Windsor to Pelee Island and Sandusky, Ohio. On September 3, 1904, she was officially transferred to the ownership of the Pelee Island Navigation Company Ltd., Pelee Island, Ontario.
LINCOLN was not destined to be able to stay out of trouble for long, unfortunately, for it was on April 6, 1905, presumably whilst laid up for the winter, that she was severely damaged by fire at her dock at Sandwich, Ontario (on the Detroit River below Windsor). She was burned right down to the level of the main deck and, had not vessels been much in demand at the time, there is no doubt but that she would have been dismantled. Instead, she was sold on May 3, 1905, to Fred William Doty of Goderich, Ontario. If that name sounds familiar, it is because this Doty was affiliated with the famous Doty Engine Company of Toronto, a firm which built the machinery for a number of well-known Lake Ontario steamers and Toronto Harbour ferries. This company also built hulls, two notable examples being the big sidewheel ferries MAYFLOWER and PRIMROSE.
In any event, LINCOLN was rebuilt over the winter of 1905-06 at Collingwood and, on March 28, 1906, her ownership was transferred to the Doty Engine Works Company Ltd. of Goderich. She was totally rebuilt from the main deck upwards, and her tonnage was altered to 337 Gross and 219 Net. The windows around the main deck cabin were gone, to be replaced by occasionally-spaced portholes, and a rather substantial wooden cabin was constructed on the promenade deck. A new and more modern pilothouse, complete with sunvisor, was placed on the boat deck forward, and a tall and very thin stack was placed abaft a pair of large ventilator cowls. The original fidded mast disappeared in the fire and it was replaced by two short pole masts, one immediately behind the pilothouse and one well aft. Four large lifeboats now graced the boat deck, which was railed in only at its forward end.
On April 19, 1906, LINCOLN was officially renamed (c) PREMIER, and her new owners, the Doty interests, placed her back on her old Pelee Island service. The remained on this route until she stranded at Pelee Island during August, 1906. Soon released, she was chartered for the remainder of the season to the Crystal Beach Company of Buffalo, the organization for which she had operated briefly back in 1901 after leaving Lake Ontario. She was put to work on the service between the city of Buffalo and the park at Crystal Beach, which is located on the Canadian shore of Lake Erie between Fort Erie and Port Colborne.
PREMIER looked like this during her latter years on the route between the Canadian Sault and St. Joseph's Islad. Photo, in Little Rapids Cut, by Young, c. 1915. On March 10, 1908, PREMIER was purchased by William C. Fremlin of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It is not known whether he actually operated her or, if so, where, but she was sold again, on July 15, 1909, to Thomas Jefferson Wilcox of the Canadian Sault. It was on August 3, 1909, that PREMIER was transferred to the St. Joe Island and Soo Line Ltd. for service between the Sault and St. Joseph Island, which is located in Canadian waters, below Sugar Island and to the east and south of Neebish Island. The 1913 Dominion List of Shipping indicates that William C. Fremlin was the managing owner, but it would appear that Albert G. Knowles of the Sault, who owned the boat back in 1902, had an interest of some nature.
On the St. Joe Island and Soo Line route, PREMIER ran opposite the wooden steamer CITY OF CHATHAM, which had been built in 1888 at Toronto by the Polson Iron Works Ltd. Despite the fact that they were the same age and approximately the same size, PREMIER was much the more modern-looking of the two but that was probably due solely to her rebuild after the fire. Both steamers were to serve the St. Joseph Island route for a little more than a decade, and both would bow out of the route and also out of their active careers at about the same time. CITY OF CHATHAM would outlive her running-mate, but only by a few months.
PREMIER was sold on June 14, 1914, to a consortium composed of Edwin Stubbs, James Lyons, and Thomas Jefferson Wilcox, all of the Canadian Sault. As Wilcox had not only been her previous owner but also was part of the new consortium, we assume that the change in ownership was little more than a matter of financial rearrangement, and that PREMIER remained on her normal route.
Then, on November 22, 1917, the vessel was acquired by Capt. Thomas B. Climie and William Wesley Climie, both of the Canadian Sault. PREMIER, her name displayed on large nameboards which were hung over the forward rail on the promenade deck, continued with the service to St. Joseph Island. The years had been passing the steamer by quickly, however, and they had begun to exact their toll on PREMIER's wooden hull, which began to lose its strength. As did many of the wooden vessels of her time, PREMIER began to droop downwards at the stern and, as no hog chains or braces were fitted, her entire hull showed signs of hogging and sagging. (Of course, this did not always bring a boat's active career to an end, for many small steamers continued to operate for years after their hulls had begun to show signs of longitudinal weakness, particularly if their owners were not sufficiently flush to be able to afford a replacement ship.)
On November 13, 1920, the 38-year-old PREMIER was totally destroyed by fire whilst lying at Bruce Mines on the North Channel. The "Canadian Railway and Marine World" reported at the time that her owners were Messrs Climie and Stubbs, so it would appear that the sale of 1917, as was that of 1914, was little more than just a financial reorganization. PREMIER's register was closed on December 6, 1920. Her certificate was never actually surrendered physically, for it had been destroyed in the fire that ended the life of the little steamer.
Interestingly enough, the St. Joe Island and Soo Line Ltd. took CITY OF CHATHAM out of service at the close of the 1920 season. She was partially stripped in 1921 and the hull was then towed to Wiarton, where it was allowed to rot away. As far as we are aware, the demise of PREMIER and CITY OF CHATHAM brought the operations of the St. Joe Island and Soo Line Ltd. to a final close.
We continue our report on the vessels laid up for the winter at the various Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River ports. We do not list tugs, small ferries, scows, etc., nor boats operating through the winter, and any exceptions (of which we are aware) will be specifically noted. If you do not see a report for your own area, please drop us a note for the March issue.
BAIE ST. PAUL
E. B. BARBER
W. M. EDINGTON,
PIC R. (scrapyard),
ALGOBAY ALGOLAKE ALGORAIL,
CANADIAN ENTERPRISE, CANADIAN TRANSPORT, C.C.G.S. GRIFFON, HILDA MARJANNE, IMPERIAL SARNIA, ISLAND TRANSPORT, LAKESHELL, MONTCLIFFE HALL, TEXACO WARRIOR
D. M. CLEMSON (scrap),
THOMAS F. COLE (scrap),
C.C.G.S. ALEXANDER HENRY,
J. W. McGIFFIN,
HOWARD F. ANDREWS CHI-CHEEMAUN ROBERT S. PIERSON,
CHESLEY A. CROSBIE,
LOUIS R. DESMARAIS,
JOHN A. FRANCE,
H. M. GRIFFITH,
JOHN O. McKELLAR,
T. R. McLAGAN,
PETER A. B. WIDENER
FORT ST. LOUIS,
WM. H. BENNETT,
GOODTIME II (excursion),
W. W. HOLLOWAY,
J. A. W. IGLEHART,
MARINE FUEL OIL,
MARINE FUEL II,
FRED R. WHITE JR.
CHARLES M. BEEGHLY, BELLE RIVER, PAUL H. CARNAHAN, IRVIN L. CLYMER, BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS, FRONTENAC, J. L. MAUTHE, EUGENE W. PARGNY, WALTER A. STERLING
B. F. AFFLECK,
C. L. AUSTIN, SEWELL AVERY, FRANK R. DENTON, LEON FRASER, JOSHUA A. HATFIELD, JOHN HULST, INDIANA HARBOR, WILLIAM A. IRVIN, HORACE JOHNSON, THOMAS W. LAMONT, MERLE M. McCURDY, JOHN G. MUNSON, IRVING S. OLDS, RESERVE, PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR. (remains only) WILLIAM B. SCHILLER, ROBERT C. STANLEY, EUGENE P. THOMAS, RICHARD TRIMBLE (remains only), ENDERS M. VOORHEES, RALPH H. WATSON, HOMER D. WILLIAMS, AUGUST ZIESING
ARTHUR M. ANDERSON, ROGER BLOUGH, CASON J. CALLAWAY, CANADIAN LEADER, RACHEL CARSON (research), PHILIP R. CLARKE, WILLIAM H. DONNER, E . M. FORD, EDWIN H. GOTT, SEA CASTLE, ROGER R. SIMONS (res'rch), EDGAR B. SPEER
WILLIS B. BOYER,
ERNEST R. BREECH,
JOSEPH H. FRANTZ,
EDWARD B. GREENE,
WILLIAM G. MATHER,
ROBERT C. NORTON,
RICHARD J. REISS,
WILLIAM A. REISS,
WILLIAM R. ROESCH,
J. R. SENSIBAR,
AMERICAN MARINER, AMOCO ILLINOIS, AMOCO INDIANA, J. BURTON AYERS, JAMES R. BARKER, BURNS HARBOR, COURTNEY BURTON, DETROIT EDISON, MIDDLETOWN, ST. CLAIR, CHARLES E. WILSON
E. G. GRACE,
ELTON HOYT 2nd,
WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR.
AGAWA CANYON, CAPE BRETON MINER, FRONTENAC, JAMES NORRIS, QUEDOC
LAC STE. ANNE,
E. J. NEWBERRY,
RAYMOND H. REISS,
SENATOR OF CANADA,
ALGOWAY, LAKE NIPIGON, MONTREALAIS, FRANK A. SHERMAN, TADOUSSAC
CAPE TRANSPORT, CONCRETIA, FORT HENRY, FORT YORK, FRENCH RIVER
COMEAUDOC, C.C.G.S. SIMCOE
JOHN J. BOLAND, HARRY COULBY, ALASTAIR GUTHRIE, WILLIAM A. McGONAGLE
Windsor: FORT CHAMBLY
At Monroe. Mich.: SHARON
ADAM E. CORNELIUS, LEON FALK JR., GEORGE M. HUMPHREY, GEORGE A. STINSON, JOSEPH H. THOMPSON
JOHN DYKSTRA, BENSON FORD, HENRY FORD II, WILLIAM CLAY FORD
COLUMBIA (excursions), STE. CLAIRE (-do-)
MELDRUM BAY, LIONEL PARSONS, PIERSON DAUGHTERS, R. G. SANDERSON, D. B. WELDON
A. S. GLOSSBRENNER,
SIR JAMES DUNN, H. C. HEIMBECKER, J. N. McWATTERS, JOHN E. F. MISENER, C.C.G.S. MONTMORENCY
V. W. SCULLY
ALGOWOOD, PATERSON, UNGAVA TRANSPORT
HIGHWAY 16, ROGER M. KYES, H. LEE WHITE
JOHN R. EMERY, ESPERANCE III
At Port Lambton. Ont.: SAMARU
For their assistance in preparing this report, we extend grateful appreciation to the following members: Richard Armstrong, Neil Bauman, Rene Beauchamp, Richard Bockus, Duff Brace, David Bull, Roger Chapman, Donald Dube, Harold Fricke, Brian Gamula, Alain Gindroz, Cyril Hudson, Gerald Hutton, Jim Kaysen, Gerald Kennedy, Ron and Jim Konkol, John Lefaive, Buck Longhurst, Alan Mann, Larry Morrill, Philip Nash, Mike Nicholls, Dave Nolan, Thomas Salvner, Al Schelling, Rob Sharik, Paul Sherlock, Robert Smith, Al Sweigert, Al Sykes, Ron Taylor, Frederic Van Wesep, John Vournakis, George Williams, Tom Wilson, William Young, and George Zock; also to the Marine Historical Society of Detroit (which sent to us any listings it received) and to "Lake Log Chips" (publication of the Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University). Also to Jim Hoffman (a last-minute report)!
Captain Augustus R. Hinckley - Lake Ontario Mariner
by Richard F. Palmer
It was eight days before Christmas, 1902. The steamer HINCKLEY had been fighting her way through a blinding Lake Ontario snowstorm for hours, returning from Cape Vincent to her home port of Oswego. No land, beacon, or buoy pointed the way; on every side, there was only whiteness. Even before HINCKLEY had cleared the Cape Vincent breakwater, the storm had been raging, and heavy seas buffeted her as she steamed southward. With only a compass to determine the course, and an approximate knowledge of his ship's speed, the captain guided his boat by "dead reckoning", and the crew prayed that his accuracy would bring them safely through the storm.
The "rabbit" HINCKLEY is seen moored at a dock in the Thousand Islands. Photo from the collection of Richard F. Palmer. Quite suddenly, the seas calmed and the steamer brought up against a mountain of ice. Startled but undaunted, the captain held the bow of his craft against the ice while one of the men scaled it. So thick was the falling snow that the sailor was unable to see more than a few feet. He reported, however, that a mysterious tower-like structure stood at the edge of the ice. What this might be, no one ventured to guess, but when further investigation revealed timbers beneath the ice, HINCKLEY was allowed to drift back until she reached the far side of the ice. There, to their amazement, the crew found themselves at the entrance to Oswego harbour. The strange structure was, in fact, the lighthouse!
Capt. Augustus R. Hinckley had won another battle against a lake storm. He was one of only a few men who had sailed completely "blind" from the St. Lawrence River to Oswego, and none of his crew ever forgot the anxiety of that passage. Henry Lake, the mate who climbed the "iceberg", is said never to have sailed again.
Hinckley was the proprietor of the Hinckley Forwarding Company of Cape Vincent, N.Y., and was a very well-known Lake Ontario captain. In spite of the bad luck that seemed to follow him for much of his life, he never lost his love for the water. He knew the thrill of success against tremendous odds, yet a strangely malign fate dogged his course and he saw wealth wrenched from his grasp and his most ambitious ventures come to naught.
The beginning of his career had been auspicious enough. Augustus R. Hinckley was born on Wolfe Island on August 11, 1856, the youngest son of an old-school St. Lawrence River pilot. Even as a boy, he took great interest in all things nautical and he was still just a lad when he took up sailing as a career. On May 27, 1829, his grandfather, Samuel Hinckley, had been granted a license to run a ferry between Wolfe Island and Cape Vincent, and the family had retained the franchise for many years. Gus' father, Coleman Hinckley, piloted on the river, built ships, and ran the ferry from Kingston to Wolfe Island from 1857 until 1872. In time, Gus Hinckley came to own his own fleet of boats and was awarded a U.S. government contract to place buoys in the St. Lawrence between Cape Vincent and Morristown. In addition, his skill as a salvager won him wide renown.
One of Hinckley's misfortunes involved the loss of the wooden steamer PENTLAND (U.S.150656), 192.8 x 35.5 x 14.3, 827 Gross, 617 Net, which had been built at Grand Haven, Michigan, in 1894 by Duncan Robertson for the Pent-land Steamship Company. After passing through several sets of hands, she was purchased in 1916 by the Coastwise Steamship Company and, in 1918, by the Ontario Trading Company of Ogdensburg. On November 22, 1921, PENTLAND was upbound from Montreal to Oswego in ballast under Capt. John J. "Jack" Powers, master and part-owner, when she grounded hard at Weaver's Point on the north shore of Gooseneck Island, three miles from Morrisburg. The Donnelly Wrecking Company of Kingston was called to the scene but was unable to take her off and there she remained until the following spring. In June, 1922, PENTLAND was purchased by John E. Russell of Toronto but, not long thereafter, Capt. Hinckley bought the wreck for the sum of $800.
In his own unique manner, Hinckley refloated PENTLAND. He then hauled her to the channel and steamed her to Ogdensburg and onto the St. Lawrence Marine Railway for survey and complete refit. It is said that a Cleveland concern offered Hinckley $30,000 for the boat, but that he refused to sell her. Shortly after her return to service, PENTLAND struck the Port Colborne breakwater and sank, but Hinckley again raised her. She was finally abandoned in 1928.
Early in his career as a shipowner, Capt. Hinckley's ventures into Canadian waters brought him into conflict with the Canadian pilots' association. He recalled that, one day, a shot came across the bow of his vessel and he was "escorted" to Montreal. His dual citizenship came in handy on that occasion, as he was able to prove to the authorities that he had as much right to be in Canadian waters as did any of the pilots who had questioned him. They did not bother him again!
His first experience as a wrecker involved the barge GEORGE T. DAVIE of the Montreal Transportation Company Ltd., which had sunk in some 80 feet of water in the St. Lawrence. As his boats passed the wreck, Hinckley noted the fruitless efforts of the salvagers who tried to raise the DAVIE. When they finally gave up, he offered to tackle the job. He had three boats and sixteen men working for him at the time. He placed his barges JESSIE and BERTIE CALKINS (an old schooner) on drydock at Kingston, where holes were cut through their bottoms at the stern, forming eight ten-inch wells in each. Through these were dropped two-inch iron chains capable of lifting 50 tons.
When Hinckley's little squadron anchored above the DAVIE, it was with a lifting capacity of 1,000 tons. Divers passed chains beneath the wreck, hatches were secured, pipes attached, and the pumps were started. As the jacks began to lift, DAVIE came up between the two improvised wreckers, but the hull rolled in the chains and slid over on one side. Hinckley hastily assembled his discouraged crew and had them lift carefully on the chains on one side. Slowly, the DAVIE rolled back to an upright position.
Hinckley cleared several thousand dollars on this job and such feats won him wide repute as an expert salvager. Be this as it may, he lived in Oswego during most of his sailing days but is still remembered by older residents of that city as "the little old man with the leaky boats". As a result of a series of financial reverses, John S. Parsons, noted Oswego ship chandler, ran the Hinckley Line for two or three years until the captain got back on his feet. Jack Donovan, who worked in Parsons' store, remembered that Hinckley "didn't handle money too well". "I remember him as a little, withered old man who used to come into the store to pay Mr Parsons with a gallon of maple syrup or a dozen eggs. Mr Parsons was always ready and willing to help down-and-out sailors." Donovan added that Hinckley would load his boats so heavily that there would not be a foot of freeboard.
One interesting vessel owned by Hinckley was ISABELLA H., named for his daughter. This wooden steamer had originally been McCORMICK (U.S.91938), 106.0 x 24.7 x 8.0, 160 Gross, 120 Net, built at Grand Haven, Michigan, in 1887 and purchased by Hinckley about 1909. He ran McCORMICK, with a built-up forecastle and steel A-frame, between Oswego and Montreal, and also serviced buoys in the spring and fall for the U.S. government. Unfit for service, she was abandoned in June, 1911, at Chaumont, N.Y. She was rebuilt at Chaumont in 1915, 100.8 x 25.9 x 11.1, 248 Gross, 141 Net, and was renamed (b) ISABELLA H. (U.S. 213012).
On September 28, 1925, ISABELLA H. and HINCKLEY were near Oswego with loads of stone, bound from Alexandria Bay to Big Sodus Bay, when, with a storm running on the lake, ISABELLA H. sprang a leak. Both boats immediately altered course for the Oswego harbour entrance but ISABELLA H. began to sink rapidly. She listed heavily to port and then came to rest squarely on the flat rock at the entrance. One of the mates, Hiram Bush of Gouverneur, N.Y., was drowned in the accident, but the remainder of the crew was rescued by the Coast Guard. ISABELLA H. eventually broke up and became a total loss.
Another of Hinckley's boats was the tug CHIPPEWA (U.S.75818), which had been built at Philadelphia in 1875. She was 66.5 x 16.5 x 7.0, 43 Gross and 21 Net, and foundered off Weaver's Point on August 12, 1920.
One by one, Augustus Hinckley's old wooden boats outlived their usefulness and their ability to remain afloat. The pet of his own design, the "rabbit" HINCKLEY (U.S.96578), was lost on Stony Point, about 28 miles northeast of Oswego, during a storm in 1929. She had been built in 1901 in the shipyard of Frank Phelps at Chaumont, 114.4 x 24.0 x 10.0, 211 Gross and 177 Net. She was rebuilt and deepened in 1920 to 11.7 feet, 232 Gross and 188 Net. She carried a crew of six and had a 150-horsepower steam engine. (A typical "rabbit" of her day, HINCKLEY had her machinery and her double-deck cabin aft. Unadmiring crewmen sometimes referred to such boats as "coffins".)
HINCKLEY met her end on July 29, 1929, whilst en route from Fair Haven to Gananoque with a cargo of coal. There was a choppy sea running and the boat developed a leak which admitted water into the hold faster than the pumps could remove it. As she neared Stony Point Light, HINCKLEY began to settle and it was feared that she would founder in deep water. The crew abandoned the ship but Capt. Hinckley remained aboard and finally managed to bring the steamer up on the table rock in Gravely Bay. As the captain, a man in his 70s, later recalled, "the best thing for me to do was to go forward and drop in (the water). I forgot that I hadn't been in for years. I jumped in with all my clothes on, even my boots. The first wave caught me. After that, I was more careful."
Although her owner/master reached shore safely, HINCKLEY was a total loss, despite the efforts of the Pyke Salvage Company Ltd. of Kingston which had been summoned by the captain in an effort to salvage the ship and her cargo. Lying in an exposed position, with her decks awash, HINCKLEY went to pieces in a storm which sprang up shortly after she had been beached.
To Be Continued
(Ed. Note: The last cargo carrier owned by Capt. Augustus R. Hinckley was the wooden steamer HARVEY J. KENDALL, a former lumber boat from the upper lakes. In the March issue, we shall present the story of her strange loss as told by Capt. Hinckley's nephew, who was aboard on her last trip as deckhand and coal passer.
(We wish to thank Richard F. Palmer, of Tully, New York, for preparing this most interesting account of one of Lake Ontario's true "characters". Our sincere apologies to the author for the rather severe editing which has been necessary as a result of space limitations.)