Friday, February 5th - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. An illustrated address by James M. Kidd. This should be a superb evening. Plan to attend.
Friday, March 5th - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Speaker will be David Fortier, Director, Marketing, Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., who will present the company's film "From Design to Discharge".
The Editor's Notebook
Our December film night was a very pleasant event, enjoyed by all. We extend sincere thanks to Gordon Turner and to Bruce Smith for making the necessary arrangements for the films, to Roger Chapman for serving as projectionist, and to Collingwood Shipyards for sending along their excellent film on the launching of ALGOPORT.
LAY-UP LIST TIME IS AT HAND! We once again ask for the assistance of all of our members so that we may publish a complete and accurate listing of ships laid up at the various lake ports. Please send us your port's list as soon as possible after the close of navigation, so that we may include the information in our February and March issues.
This being the New Year, we would be remiss if we did not thank all members who served as correspondents in 1981, especially those who regularly supplied us with news items. Without this assistance, we could not produce a newsletter of this nature, and we look forward to receiving your continued assistance and support in 1982.
In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to Robert E. Williamson of Port Colborne, and to Norman O. Gray of Toronto.
In recent years, the Hall Corporation fleet, now known as Halco Inc., has fallen victim to an alarming number of major accidents involving its boats, with the result that Halco's safety record has reached an unparalleled and unenviable low point. The following list itemizes some of Halco's major misfortunes over the last two decades:
LEECLIFFE HALL (II) - Collided with APOLLONIA, September 5, 1964, and sank 65 miles below Quebec City. Three lives lost. Ship total loss. (She was the first maximum Seaway-sized laker ever to be lost.)
LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL (II) - In first year of service, collided with SUNEK, November 16, 1965, and sank 14 miles below Quebec City. Salvaged, 1966.
STONEFAX - Collided with ARTHUR STOVE, October 14, 1966, and sank in Welland Canal north of Port Robinson. Salvaged, November 1966.
EASTCLIFFE HALL - Grounded near Crysler Shoal and sank in upper St. Lawrence River, July 14, 1970. Nine lives lost. Ship total loss.
CARTIERCLIFFE HALL - Severely damaged aft by fire, June 5, 1979, off Copper Harbor, Lake Superior. Seven lives lost. Ship repaired, but with further casualty in explosion during repairs at Collingwood Shipyards.
LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL (II) - Struck and severely damaged the St. Louis railroad bridge over the Beauharnois Canal, July 21, 1980.
COASTAL TRANSPORT - During November, 1980, ran down and sank supply tender SALEE P. in Mississippi River below New Orleans. Three lives lost.
MONTCLIFFE HALL - Severely damaged aft by fire, February 26, 1981, whilst in winter quarters at Sarnia. Ship repaired.
Christmas Day, 1981, brought even more bad news for Halco for, at about 3:00 a.m. on December 25, fire broke out in the crew quarters of the tanker HUDSON TRANSPORT while she was about five miles off Métis sur Mer, a town on the south shore of the lower St. Lawrence between Rimouski and Matane, about 200 miles below Quebec City. At the time, HUDSON TRANSPORT was en route from Montreal to the Magdalen Islands with a full load of Bunker 'C' and diesel fuels. The vessel was abandoned, although none of the crew had survival suits, and 14 of the crew of 21 were rescued, four of these having been picked up off rafts by the ferry CAMILLE MARCOUX. The first body was hauled from the river the same day by the Pitts Construction tug KAY COLE of Toronto. By late on December 26, HUDSON TRANSPORT had been boarded and the fire controlled, her entire aft end having been completely gutted. By December 27, with the tanker under tow and heading for Baie Comeau, the casualty count stood at four crewmembers confirmed dead and three others missing and presumed dead from drowning or exposure. One of the dead, the second mate, allegedly had been a survivor of the 1979 CARTIERCLIFFE HALL fire.
HUDSON TRANSPORT is 340.1 x 46.1 x 31.3, 4076 Gross, 2904 Net. She was built in 1962 for Hall Corporation by Davie Shipbuilding Ltd. at Lauzon, Quebec, as Hull 629. She was an important ship to the fleet, for she was the first of a series of stemwinder diesel-powered tankers to be built for Halco, and thus started the company on the modernization of its tanker operations. It is to be assumed that she will eventually be towed back to Montreal or to Lauzon for assessment of damage and possible repair. We sincerely hope that her career has not been brought to an end by this most unfortunate and untimely accident. Meanwhile, a federal enquiry will investigate the accident.
During the afternoon of December 16, the Windsor Detroit Barge Line Inc.'s 106-year-old carfloat HURON was being unloaded at Windsor's Aylmer Avenue slip. She began to take on water and listed heavily, with her bow on the bottom of the slip and her forward compartment flooded. Coast Guardsmen from BRISTOL BAY used pumps to keep the barge's other compartments from filling, while divers sealed open deck hatches. Seven railroad cars loaded with white beans fell into the river, but the major cause for concern was a car loaded with a toxic chemical, ethyl oxazoline, which could have caused severe pollution problems had it also gone into the river. Fortunately, it remained upright aboard HURON.
The Toronto Harbour excursion steamer CALEDONIA, (a) LAVIOLETTE, (b) BLUE WATER BELLE, was moved on December 11 from her berth at the foot of Sherbourne Street to a winter mooring at the inner end of the Polson Street slip alongside terminal 35. This is a much more suitable winter berth for the former St. Lawrence River ferry than were her past lay-up quarters in the turning basin. It is to be noted, however, that she was not moved to the York Street slip where other Sherwood Marine Inc. boats were moored, possibly because of the financial problems which currently face Sherwood. The Niagara bank that holds liens on NIAGARA and SHIAWASSIE, meanwhile, succeeded in having them returned from Toronto to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Sherwood had brought them to Toronto for the winter on November 14, perhaps in an effort to keep them from being attached (as was CAYUGA II), but they sailed back to Niagara by December 19, a most unlikely time of the year for them to be out on the open lake. Sherwood Marine has since been placed in receivership and the receiver has asked for bids on CAYUGA II, with a deadline of January 27 for tenders. We question what 1982 will hold in store for Sherwood; we do not much care what happens to the other boats but we would not like to see CALEDONIA fall victim to her part-owner's financial difficulties.
As previously reported, some observers have felt that Collingwood Shipyards' Hull 222 might eventually be named for Paul Martin, one of the new owners of Canada Steamship Lines. However, another recent report indicates that she may be christened ATLANTIC SUPERIOR in the spring.
Once Hull 222 was launched, Collingwood began work on Hull 226. This will be a straight-decker for Algoma Central, with a tentative date of April 22 set for her launch. It is thought that she will be named ALGOWEST. As regards her hull number, it should be remembered that hulls are not coming from Collingwood in strict numerical sequence. Hull numbers are assigned when contracts are let, and if there should be a shuffling of the order to get a particular ship off the ways earlier, the numbers are not changed.
McKeil Work Boats Ltd. of Winona, Ontario, has bought two more tugs to add to its growing fleet. As of 1981, the fleet already comprised the workboats BURLINGTON BERTIE, FLO-MAC and WILLMAC, the tugs GLENBROOK, GLENEVIS, GLENSIDE, JOHNNY B., LAC COMO, LAC ERIE, LAC MANITOBA, LAC VANCOUVER, ARGUE MARTIN and STORMONT, together with C. W. CADWELL, the barges BLACK CARRIER, HANDY BOY and CARGO MASTER, plus assorted scows. In early December, GLENEVIS arrived at Toronto with the newly-acquired CANADIAN FRANKO, the former GLENLIVET II, a sistership of the company's other "Glen" tugs and, likewise, a former east coast government tug. Much rebuilt and recently used as a yacht, she was "drydocked" by Atlas, Toronto's heavy-lift sheerlegs crane, during December and then was taken back to Hamilton by GLENEVIS. The second new addition is BAYPORT (II), (a) BANSWIFT (60), which, after 13 years of service for C.S.L. at the Bayports, was acquired in 1973 by Meridan Marine Ltd., Scarborough. Ever since, she has laid idle in the Leslie Street slip of the Toronto turning basin, lately disfigured by the addition of the grossly oversized pilothouse which was removed from CAPE TRANSPORT when she was cut down to a barge. BAYPORT has degenerated into a sorry state of decrepitude and, despite her lifting by Atlas during December for hull blasting, etc., we question what use she could be to McKeil without very extensive refitting. BAYPORT, placed on the deck of BLACK CARRIER, cleared Toronto for Hamilton in tow of GLENEVIS on December 23, after once having turned back because of inclement weather.
Toronto Islanders, commuting daily to the city by ferry and thus able to watch the outboard (port) side of the sunken NORMAC (Captain John's Restaurant) in the Yonge Street slip, noticed much breaking-up of the boat's aluminum-sheathed wooden upper cabin during the autumn. On the bottom since June, and with no immediate prospects of removal, NORMAC now looks very bad indeed, and we suppose that there will be little left of her superstructure once the winter ice has finished with her.
Although it had earlier been announced that the Welland Canal would remain open until December 31, a paucity of vessel traffic allowed the Seaway Authority to close the canal at midnight on December 27. The last downbound boat was Upper Lakes Shipping's CANADIAN MARINER, while the final upbound passage was made by the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker GRIFFON.
Quick work has been made of the dismantling of the tanker PANOIL at the Nicholson yard at Ecorse, Michigan. After 29 years of idleness at Ecorse, PANOIL was moved to her final resting place on September 10 and, by mid-November, only the lower hull of the 62-year-old steamer remained intact.
We previously mentioned that SALVAGE PRINCE had been moved to the inner Ward's Island pier of the Toronto Eastern Gap. We now learn that she is for sale and that a buyer is actively being sought. Various parties have taken a look at her where she lies, one of these being a group led by the senior captain of the ferry WOLFE ISLANDER III. SALVAGE PRINCE has no engine in her at present, but perhaps we will see her someday back in her old home port, Kingston, running winter icebreaking service for the Wolfe Island ferry...
The Seaway Towing Inc. tug CHIPPEWA, a diesel conversion from the former U. S. Steel Corp. steam tug DOLOMITE, was formally christened at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on November 19. The tug, bought by Seaway Towing in 1980, was brought to the Soo, laid up in the old Carbide slip, and spent most of the 1981 season at the local shipyard. During early autumn, with CHIPPEWA not yet in service and with SIOUX and DAKOTA (the former STE. MARIE I and II) having been transferred to Duluth, the handling of salties through the Soo Locks was the duty of the venerable COMANCHE, the former SEAWAY NO. 1. She was assisted, when necessary, by tugs from the Canadian Soo.
Recent reports indicate that Davie Shipbuilding may be about to dispose of its Branch Lines tankers to another, as-yet-unidentified, Canadian operator. As a result, the renames for the tankers, which we announced in the December issue, may be abeyanced pending the disposal of the vessels.
An interesting winter lay-up this year is SAMUEL MATHER, which the Interlake Steamship Company has put into winter quarters at the disused DeTour Coal Dock on the St. Mary's River. We cannot recall any other boat wintering at that location in recent years, but Interlake's HARRY COULBY did spend some time in ordinary there during the summer slowdown of 1980.
There now seems to be yet another twist to the suggestion that the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company will use WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR., WILLIS B. BOYER, CHAMPLAIN and CADILLAC on a container service between lake ports and Quebec. It is now said that Cliffs, under the name of Seaway Lines Inc., will operate the four ships in the coal and container trades down the Seaway from Lake Erie ports. This would mean the securing by Cliffs of a very large coal contract indeed, and it will be interesting to see if any such development actually occurs. Meanwhile, SNYDER JR., which was hauled out of the scrapyard at Ashtabula in early November to make way for the arrival of H. C. HEIMBECKER, was to be towed to Toledo on December 10, but this move was rescheduled at the last minute due to poor weather conditions.
After a year of uncertain business conditions, such as those of 1981, it is not surprising that rumours abound concerning vessels that might not operate again. Several boats of the American Steamship Company, including SAGINAW BAY, have been so mentioned. Likewise, it is said that the Columbia Transportation Division's 76-year-old self-unloader W. W. HOLLOWAY has reached the end of her service in Oglebay Norton colours. We have heard, however, that the HOLLOWAY may find employment elsewhere.
The Toronto Island ferry THOMAS RENNIE, built in 1951 and operated since 1962 by the Metro Toronto Parks Dept., is having her entire electrical system replaced this winter. She is the last of the three major Island ferries to undergo this operation, for WILLIAM INGLIS and SAM McBRIDE received similar treatment several years ago.
In the December issue, we reported that J. F. VAUGHAN, the former MAXINE, which was recently purchased by the Soo River Company, was towed from South Chicago to Hamilton via Toledo by the Malcolm tug BARBARA ANN. By way of correction, we should state that the tow was actually handled by TUG MALCOLM, with an assist part-way by BARBARA. ANN and help in the Welland from two McKeil tugs. VAUGHAN was still in her "Envirodyne" colours when she passed down the canal, except that her new name had been painted in black on her forecastle. We can just imagine how much better she will look in the spring, when she enters service in the full Soo River Company livery.
It was whilst on her way to South Chicago to collect the VAUGHAN that TUG MALCOLM collected the Medusa Cement steamer PIONEER, which she delivered at Sturgeon Bay for her conversion to a cement handler. After the necessary conversion, PIONEER will be taken to the Lake Calumet area of Chicago, where she will serve as a cement storage and transfer facility.
Entrepreneurs seem incapable of abandoning the idea of returning the old Chicago, Duluth and Georgian Bay Transit Company passenger steamer SOUTH AMERICAN to the lakes. The boat last operated in October, 1967, and now lies at Camden, New Jersey, in extremely sorry condition due to the effects of time and vandalism on her wooden cabin interiors. But, every once in a while, someone comes along with a plan to bring the old girl back and moor her at Mackinac Island as a tourist facility. The latest such scheme is allegedly the work of John Carr, a former Michigan Congressman, who is said to have paid $20,000 for the boat. None of these plans ever amount to anything and, considering her condition, we almost wish that the SOUTH could be put out of her misery. We would find it most painful to see her brought back to the lakes now, particularly if plans were to fall through and leave her languishing here in her debilitated condition.
The Ford Motor Company continued the unusual dispatch of its ships, which was caused by the uncertain business conditions of 1981, with the sending of JOHN DYKSTRA and ERNEST R. BREECH down the Seaway during late autumn. Both vessels headed eastward with grain from Toledo for Baie Comeau, and returned with taconite from Port Cartier for the Rouge Ford plant. Other unusual autumnal visitors to the Welland Canal were Columbia's J. BURTON AYERS, which brought coal to Hamilton, and BoCo's NICOLET, which took coal to Oshawa.
Chessie System Inc. is actively seeking a buyer for its idle ferry SPARTAN, and is asking $1,900,000 for her. With CITY OF MIDLAND 41 and BADGER capable of handling whatever Lake Michigan ferry trade Chessie now has left, SPARTAN is no longer needed by Chessie. The State of Michigan had made option payments ($25,000 per month) from October, 1980, to March, 1981, to keep her available for the Milwaukee passenger/auto route which operated experimentally in 1981, but the State (which cannot afford to purchase SPARTAN anyway) will apparently leave that route to private operators. SPARTAN is 393.7 x 59.7 x 20.3, 4244 Gross, 2033 Net, and was built in 1952 as Hull 369 of the Christy Corporation at Sturgeon Bay. She is coal-fired and powered by two four-cylinder steeple-compound Skinner Unaflows.
The small ocean motorship SAMARU, which has been lying at Port Lambton, Ontario, will not be going to Beaver Island on Lake Michigan as expected. Instead, she was towed from Port Lambton on November 29 by the tug NANCY (assisted on Lake Erie by JOHN D.) en route to the Harry Gamble shipyard at Port Dover. She is allegedly to be refitted for Caribbean service, but we will watch with interest to see whether she ever does leave the lakes...
It has been reported that the Duluth-based Corps of Engineers tug MARQUETTE and the steam dredge COL. D. D. GAILLARD were to be retired at the end of 1981. The retirement of the 65-year-old GAILLARD would be sad indeed, for it is not often, these days, that one has an opportunity of seeing a steam dredge at work, particularly one as large as COL. D. D. GAILLARD.
To clarify the situation involving the St. Lawrence River and east coast services of Newfoundland Steamships Ltd., we present a brief description of recent events. (The interinvolvements of Chimos, Clarkes, Crosbies, etc., can be most confusing!) Newfoundland Steamships (the original company dates from 1947) was established as an independent operating entity on January 1, 1981, combining previous services of Crosbie Enterprises Ltd. (Chimo Shipping) and Northmont Holdings Ltd. (Clarke Transport), the fleet then comprising CHIMO, A. C. CROSBIE, CABOT and LADY M. A. CROSBIE. The line's first sailing was made by CABOT on January 2, 1981. In May, opposition services appeared, operated by Atlantic Freight Lines Ltd. and by C. A. Crosbie Shipping Ltd. (both companies being run by former Chimo personnel). On July 22, A. C. CROSBIE and LADY M. A. CROSBIE were arrested by Versatile Vickers Ltd. (the new name of Canadian Vickers Ltd. now that it is owned by Versatile Corp., Vancouver, and allied with Burrard Dry Docks) for Chimo's unpaid accounts relating to work done on the boats in 1980. N.S.L. secured the release of LADY M. A. CROSBIE, as Chimo no longer owned her, and renounced the charter of A. C. CROSBIE. Chimo Shipping Ltd. went into receivership on August 6 as a result of an action by Imperial Oil Ltd. over unpaid bunkering bills, and A. C. CROSBIE went up for sale. (She is now believed sold to Swedish interests.) By October, the container capacity of CABOT and CHIMO had been increased. The same month, The Newfoundland Capital Corp. Ltd., owner of Eastern Provincial Airways, bought all the shares of Northmont Holdings Ltd., this acquiring 50% ownership of N.S.L, and full ownership of Clarke Transport Canada Inc. In the interim, the opposition interests have moved to consolidate and reinforce their services.
The Friends of the Boeckling
Back in 1909, the Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, Michigan, built for Sandusky Bay service, a double-ended sidewheel steamboat, which was christened G. A. BOECKLING (U.S.206423). She was 155.2 x 30.0 x 9.1, 328 Gross, 157 Net, and a most handsome ferry indeed, with three decks and flying bridgewings. She spent her entire active lifetime running the five-mile round trip between Sandusky, Ohio, and the Cedar Point amusement park for the Bay Transportation Company. But she made her last trip in the autumn of 1951 and, on July 10, 1952, the tug JOHN ROEN IV took her in tow and hauled her to Sturgeon Bay, where she became a floating parts warehouse for Peterson Builders Inc.
BOECKLING has languished at Sturgeon Bay ever since, with her open decks closed in and with her pilothouses and inclined-compound engine removed, but otherwise in relatively good condition. Sandusky residents, however, began to wonder whether it would be possible to bring the old steamer back to her home port and, to this end, The Friends of the BOECKLING, a charitable and historical foundation, was incorporated on March 31, 1981. Through the good efforts of Peterson Builders, the society has arranged for an exclusive purchase option, valid until April 1, 1982, which gives the group a very good chance to purchase the ferry under favourable financial conditions.
The BOECKLING has been inspected by marine surveyors who indicate that she is in sufficiently good condition to withstand the tow back to Sandusky and subsequent restoration for historical display purposes. (With her machinery long since removed, there is no present likelihood of a return to active service.) Fundraising efforts are now under way to cover the purchase of the vessel, drydocking her for preliminary work, and the tow home. If all goes well, it is hoped that she will arrive back in Sandusky, amid gala celebrations, on July 10, 1982, the 30th anniversary of her departure for Sturgeon Bay .
This project certainly seems worthwhile and, we believe, deserves the support of lake marine historians. Unlike the municipally-funded restoration of TRILLIUM, the return of BOECKLING must be financed by public contribution (which is tax-deductible in the U.S.). Annual memberships are available in the following categories: Deckhand - $5.00; Watchman - $10.00; Wheelsman -$25.00; Engineer - $50.00 and First Mate - $100.00. Payment may be made to Friends of the BOECKLING, and mailed to P.O. Box 736, Sandusky, Ohio 44870. As well, T-shirts promoting the return of the BOECKLING are available for $6.00 from the Star Cafe, Sandusky, and large ($75.00) and small ($25.00) prints of an excellent painting of the steamer can be ordered from The Erie Bay Company In The Bay Gallery, 111 East Shoreline Drive, Sandusky. All proceeds from the sale of these items will go directly to The Friends of the BOECKLING to assist the financing of the project.
We wish The Friends of the BOECKLING every success with their ambitious restoration plans, and we shall look forward to seeing G. A. BOECKLING back on her home waters of Sandusky Bay in the near future.
Toronto Harbour Winter Lay-ups, 1981-82
The following major commercial vessels are laid up at Toronto this winter:
HOWARD F. ANDREWS
R. BRUCE ANGUS
GEORGE M. CARL
GORDON C. LEITCH
MCASPHALT 201 (barge)
JOAN M. McCULLOUGH
NEW YORK NEWS
JUDITH M. PIERSON
JOSEPH X. ROBERT
FRANK A. SHERMAN
SOO RIVER TRADER
In addition, the following other vessels are in port, some operating:
BAGOTVILLE (tug - operating)
BONNIE J. B. (small tug)
CALEDONIA (excursion steamer)
CAYUGA II (excursion boat)
COLINETTE (pilot service tug)
EMPIRE SANDY (former tug)
NED HANLAN II (small tug)
HIAWATHA (R.C.Y.C. ferry)
WILLIAM INGLIS (Island ferry)
JADRAN (restaurant boat)
KENNETH A. (small tug)
KWASIND (R.C.Y.C. ferry)
J. G. LANGTON (small tug)
WM. LYON MACKENZIE (fireboat -operating)
MAPLE CITY (airport ferry - operating)
MARIPOSA BELLE (excursion boat)
SAM McBRIDE (Island ferry)
NORMAC (restaurant boat - sunk)
ONGIARA (Island ferry - operating)
PROGRESS III (derrick barge)
THOMAS RENNIE (Island ferry)
WILLIAM REST (tug - operating)
SALVAGE PRINCE (former tug)
FRED SCANDRETT (tug)
TERRY S. (pilot service tug)
T.H.C. 50 (derrick barge)
TRAVELLER (tug -- operating)
TRILLIUM (excursion/ferry steamer)
plus the numerous Simpson glass-topped harbour tour boats.
We will begin our lay-up listings for other lake ports in the February issue. Please send us your reports as soon as possible so that our list may be as complete and accurate as we can make it. In the case of smaller vessels included in your reports, please indicate what type of boat is involved, so that we may list or exclude as may be necessary. For most ports, we include only major commercial vessels, excluding ferries, small tugs, barges, workboats, etc.
Ship of the Month No. 107
When we prepare this feature each month, we attempt to select a vessel which will be of interest to our readers for some particular reason, whether it be the circumstances of her operation, something peculiar about her appearance or her ownership, or an unusual accident or even the loss of the ship. Too often, we tend to neglect boats which have been well known throughout their careers but which, on first glance, we cannot consider to have been particularly interesting. And yet, if we dig back through the pages of history, we frequently can come up with enough information to put together a colourful feature.
This issue's Ship of the Month is a case in point. We rather doubt that we would ever have thought of BRENTWOOD for a feature had not member Tom Wilson of Bath, Ontario, come across a newspaper clipping which mentioned her. Tom wrote seeking information about BRENTWOOD, and this feature is the result.
The St. Lawrence and Chicago Steam Navigation Company Ltd. was incorporated at Toronto in 1890, although it had actually been formed several years earlier by three prominent Torontonians, John H. G. Hagarty, Captain Samuel Crangle, and wharfinger W. A. Geddes. The company's officers at the time of incorporation were Capt. Samuel Crangle, Sir Casimir S. Gzowski, G. Hagarty, J. H. G. Hagarty, F. W. Kingston, W. D. Matthews and E. B. Osler. All of these gentlemen were well known both in lake shipping and in Toronto social circles of the period.
The company was formed for the purpose of carrying grain down the lakes, and it began operations with two steamers which had been built in 1888 in Britain for the Canadian Northwest Steamship Company Ltd. (Thomas Marks and Company) of Port Arthur, Ontario. Named ALGONQUIN and ROSEDALE, these handsome ships were sold to the St. Lawrence and Chicago Steam Navigation Company Ltd. shortly after their arrival on the lakes. They were to be the first of eight steamers that the company would own during its quarter-century of operation. It is unfortunate that the fleet seems today to be best remembered for its ill-fated steamer JAMES CARRUTHERS, which entered service on June 11, 1913, and was lost on November 9, 1913, in the Great Storm.
The St. L. & C. S. N. Co.'s fourth ship, and its first of larger-than-canal dimensions, was built in 1903 as Hull 3 of the Collingwood Shipbuilding Company Ltd. She was launched on June 20, 1903, and was registered at Toronto on October 8th as W. D. MATTHEWS (C.116264). She was 366.5 feet in length, 48.0 feet in the beam, and 28.0 feet in depth, with Gross Tonnage of 3965 and Net of 2450. She was powered by a triple expansion engine with cylinders of 20, 33 1/2 and 55 inches, and a stroke of 40 inches. Steam was supplied by two coal-fired, single-ended Scotch boilers which measured 14.0 feet by 12.0 feet. The engine and boilers were built for the vessel by the shipyard.
A report in "The Railway and Shipping World" of August, 1903, indicated that W. D. MATTHEWS was designed for a deadweight capacity of 5,500 tons on a draught of 13 feet, and 6,100 tons on 19 feet. She was originally given three pole masts, each of which carried a cargo boom. "To facilitate the handling of freight", three steam hoists were fitted, one at the foot of each mast. Of course, these fancy machines were but winches which wound up or let out the lines which ran out over the cargo booms. She was equipped with ten hatches , which were nine feet wide and laid out on deck with 24-foot centres. The cargo hold was divided into four compartments.
W. D. MATTHEWS had a typical turret pilothouse forward, and it sat right on the forecastle, with the texas cabin just behind. An open bridge, complete with awning, was fitted on the monkey's island atop the pilothouse, for it was not then considered proper for a ship to be navigated from an enclosed position offering any degree of comfort. She carried a large deckhouse aft, and from this rose her tall black stack, which carried upon it a large red diamond.
The MATTHEWS was an almost exact sistership of MIDLAND KING, built by Collingwood as its Hull 4 for the James Playfair interests of Midland. MIDLAND KING was launched on August 19, 1903, not quite two months after MATTHEWS. Neither ship was blessed with much sheer to her lines and, as a result, both looked rather stiff. Each steamer carried a doghouse on the spar deck, between hatches four and five, to provide additional crew accommodations. MIDLAND KING was to retain this cabin for her entire life, short as it was, whereas W. D. MATTHEWS would lose her doghouse after some twenty-five years of service. Although the two sisters were built for different owners, they eventually found their respective ways into the same fleet, and their final dispositions were remarkably similar and untimely.
In order to raise money for the construction of W. D. MATTHEWS, especially considering the fact that the fleet had just purchased the newly-built canaller THE IROQUOIS in 1902, St. Lawrence and Chicago proposed a special issue of stock. The company actually issued 1,500 shares of stock for this purpose, in the proportion of two shares of new stock to five of the old shares, at par to shareholders of record as at December 15, 1902.
W. D. MATTHEWS was named in honour of one of the founding directors of St. Lawrence and Chicago, a Torontonian who was very active in the grain brokerage business. Wilmot Delouir Matthews was born in 1850 at Burford, in Brant County, Ontario, and he lived in Toronto from 1856 until his death in 1919. One of the leading financiers of his time, Matthews was one of the founders of the Canada Malting Company Ltd., which was formed in 1890. He was a director of the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company Ltd., Montreal; the St. Lawrence River Steamboat Company Ltd., Kingston; the Thousand Island Steamboat Company, Clayton, N.Y.; the Niagara Navigation Company Ltd., Toronto; the Northern Navigation Company Ltd., Collingwood, and the Canadian Shipbuilding Company Ltd., Toronto.
In addition, he was president of the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company; a director and vice-president of the Dominion Bank; a director and president of the Canada Permanent Mortgage Corporation; vice-president of the Confederation Life Association; a director and vice-president of the Toronto Electric Light Company and the Toronto Railway Company, and a director of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Toronto General Trusts Corporation, and the Canadian General Electric Company Ltd.
Matthews was president of the Toronto Corn Exchange and, in 1888 and 1889, he was president of the Toronto Board of Trade. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the Toronto Club, the York Club, the Toronto Golf Club and the Mount Royal and St. James Club, Montreal. His massive Toronto home, built in 1889 in the Romanesque style, still stands on the northeast corner of Hoskin Avenue and St. George Street, and today serves University of Toronto students as Newman Hall.
W. D. MATTHEWS operated from 1903 until 1916 in the service of the St. Lawrence and Chicago Steam Navigation Company Ltd. She changed very little during this period, with the exception of the fact that her three masts were soon reduced to two, with the mainmast being repositioned abaft the stack. We can find no reference to any serious accident involving her during these years, although she undoubtedly had her share of minor scrapes. She spent most of her time hauling grain from the Lakehead to the Bayports, or to Port Colborne where it was transferred to canallers for the remainder of the eastbound voyage.
On April 20, 1916, W. D. Matthews, who at the time was president of the St. Lawrence and Chicago Steam Navigation Company Ltd., announced that the company had been taken over by Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal, at the price of $185 per share. The total outlay by C.S.L. to the 230 shareholders of the St.L.&C.S.N.Co. was $1,787,840. In acquiring the company, C.S.L. engaged in a bidding war with James Playfair of Midland who also sought to acquire the fleet, perhaps only to keep it out of the hands of C.S.L.
The finalization of the acquisition of the company, however, was delayed, for three shares were held in Dublin, Ireland. 1916, of course, was a year of great unrest in Ireland and the disturbances, notably the holding of the Post Office by rebel forces, prevented the handing-in of the last three outstanding St. Lawrence and Chicago shares. At last, however, the transaction was properly concluded. The actual transfer of the ownership of W. D. MATTHEWS to Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. took place on July 18, 1917.
The MATTHEWS was then painted in C.S.L. livery, colours that she would wear for twenty years. She operated for her new owner on much the same trades that she had frequented in her St. Lawrence and Chicago days, still managing to retain her earlier ability to stay out of trouble. She did get herself stranded on October 7, 1922, whilst on passage from Fort William to Port McNicoll, but the damage was not serious. No other details are available.
The days of the open navigation bridge on lake vessels were at an end by the 1920s and, accordingly, C.S.L. gave W. D. MATTHEWS a new upper pilothouse about 1920. A very similar upper pilothouse was also fitted aboard her sistership, MIDLAND KING, which C.S.L. had acquired from James Playfair at the time of the formation of C.S.L. in 1913. The only other notable change to the MATTHEWS was the removal, about 1925, of her spar deck doghouse. Such cabins were all the rage in the early days of steel shipbuilding, but they later proved to be something of a nuisance, for they interfered with the operation of modern loading and unloading gear. Presumably, space for the crew members displaced from the doghouse was found by squeezing additional berths into the cabins in the forecastle and the after deckhouse.
C.S.L. had acquired many ships when it was formed in 1913 and, in the intervening years, through the absorption of the fleets of other operators. By the mid-1920s, C.S.L. had begun to sort out its boats and get rid of those hulls which were either obsolete or no longer required. Many of those ships that were retained were renamed according to certain naming schemes which the company had developed. And so, on October 1, 1926, W. D. MATTHEWS was officially renamed (b) BRENTWOOD. Her sister, MIDLAND KING, was not renamed, for her original name remained suitable for her service to the Bayports.
The opening of the new Welland Canal in the early 1930s permitted the operation of upper lakers into Lake Ontario for the first time, and many of these boats began to serve such ports as Toronto, Hamilton and Kingston. The canal, however, did not accept all large steamers immediately, but rather opened in 1931 to smaller upper lakers and gradually increased the size of vessels permitted to transit the waterway. Being only 375 feet in overall length, BRENTWOOD was one of the first upper lakers allowed to use the new canal and, beginning in 1931, she was placed in this service, carrying coal down to Hamilton and grain to Kingston. BRENTWOOD also made history of a different kind in 1931 for, in that year, she entered the drydock of the Kingston Shipbuilding Company Ltd. for inspection and repairs. "The Kingston Whig-Standard" reported that she was the largest steamer ever to have used the drydock, and we have no cause to doubt the truth of that statement, for the Kingston dock had, until then, been used only for the drydocking of canallers and Lake Ontario passenger boats.
BRENTWOOD spent the winter of 1931-32 laid up at Hamilton and, despite the poor business conditions that were plaguing lake shipping as a result of the Great Depression, BRENTWOOD was placed back in service in 1932, still on the run to Lake Ontario. The winter of 1932-33 saw her again laid up on Lake Ontario, this time at Kingston, to which port she had undoubtedly carried a storage grain cargo. It was at Kingston that C.S.L. laid up so many canallers that had been idled by the Depression but, despite her relatively small size for an upper laker, BRENTWOOD managed to avoid joining the boneyard fleet.
BRENTWOOD fitted out again in the spring of 1933, but it was not to be a happy year for her. On June 15, 1933, she grounded in the St. Mary's River while downbound with a cargo of 187,000 bushels of grain from Fort William for Kingston. The stranding occurred at night, when BRENTWOOD's master mistook a light on a barge, owned by the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, for a navigation marker. The steamer suffered a fifteen-foot gash in her hull, with damage estimated in the $60,000 range. Temporary repairs were put in hand at the Soo after BRENTWOOD was hauled off the bar, and a news report of June 19, 1933, indicated that it was anticipated that she would be able to resume her voyage on June 20. BRENTWOOD was, in fact, able to proceed and she reached Kingston safely.
Canada Steamship Lines eventually took legal action against Great Lakes Dredge and Dock in an attempt to recover the cost of BRENTWOOD's repairs. The "Chicago Press Dispatch", April, 1934, reported that the case was tried at Chicago, March 1-10, 1934, and that "Federal Judge Woodward gave judgment against C.S.L., having held that negligence on the part of BRENTWOOD'S officers was responsible for the ship's grounding. BRENTWOOD was under the command of Capt. John Carson, who testified that he had been misled by a red light placed on a barge owned and used by the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, in dredging the channel under a contract awarded it by the United States government. In reply to argument by C.S.L. counsel that the red light had been placed wrongfully and that its presence had been responsible for the grounding, defendant's counsel argued that the red light had been placed in accordance with U.S. War Department regulations and that, if Capt. Carson had given consideration to other lights in the channel, the accident would have been avoided." Accordingly, the action failed.
The effects of the Depression, however, were deepening, and more and more lake ships were being laid up as cargoes became ever more scarce. Only the most economically-operated boats remained in service, and BRENTWOOD hardly qualified as one of those, considering that her small size did not compare favourably with larger carriers of the fleet which could be operated with the same size of crew. As a result, BRENTWOOD laid up at Midland, Ontario, by September of 1933. Never again would she turn a wheel.
In this respect, she was not alone, for it was not only canallers that C. S.L. began to send to the scrapyard in 1937 when it had become evident that, even if business conditions improved, the company would never again need such a large fleet. In all, eight small upper lakers, including BRENTWOOD, had sailed their last. The other seven were HUGUENOT, (a) MATOA, (23), (b) GLENRIG (26); MARTIAN (I), (a) MARS (I)(13); MIDLAND KING; PORTSMOUTH, (a) GEORGE E. HARTNELL (23), (b) GLENSANNOX (27); RENFREW, (a) ALVA (11), (b) MINNETONKA. (14), (c) GLENFINNAN (26); SASKATCHEWAN, (a) WAWATAM (14), (b) GLENLIVET (27) and VALCARTIER, (a) WILLIAM HENRY MACK (14). Of these steamers, BRENTWOOD, HUGUENOT, PORTSMOUTH, SASKATCHEWAN and VALCARTIER were laid up at Midland, while RENFREW was at Sarnia and MARTIAN and MIDLAND KING were at Toronto. All would soon be scrapped.
On January 15, 1937, the Midland Shipbuilding Company Ltd. and Frankel Bros. Ltd., Toronto, signed an agreement which stipulated that the shipyard would provide facilities for Frankel to dismantle four ships. The work was to provide employment for 40 men. BRENTWOOD was officially transferred to Frankel Bros. Ltd. on May 7, 1937, and, by June 18, 1937, when her registry was closed, she had been totally reduced to a pile of scrap on the shipyard wharf.
HUGUENOT, SASKATCHEWAN and VALCARTIER followed under the Midland scrappers' torches soon after the cutting-up of BRENTWOOD had been completed, and their last remains had been completely dismantled by the end of 1937. The other four old ships already mentioned were also sold for scrap in 1937, and the torches made quick work of them as well. PORTSMOUTH was towed to Sturgeon Bay for breaking up, whilst RENFREW was taken to Indiana Harbor and dismantled there. MARTIAN and MIDLAND KING were towed from Toronto to Hamilton, and there were scrapped by the Steel Company of Canada Ltd.
W. D. MATTHEWS/BRENTWOOD enjoyed but a relatively brief career, considering that she operated for only 31 seasons. Nevertheless, she was used hard and she made a valuable contribution to the earnings of each of the fleets for which she sailed. If only her original owner and builder had displayed the foresight to have her designed with just a few feet more length and beam, her carrying capacity would have been such that she would, in all likelihood, have survived the black days of the Great Depression and lasted well into the years following World War Two, when operable hulls of almost any description were so very much in demand.
(Ed. Note: We thank Jim Kidd for his research efforts on our behalf re the BRENTWOOD. Biographical notes on Wilmot Delouir Matthews based on material from several sources, including "Greater Toronto and the Men Who Made It", 1911, Inter-Provincial Publishing Company, and "Aristocratic Toronto: 19th Century Grandeur", 1980, Lucy Booth Martyn, Gage Publishing Ltd.)
St. Lawrence Steamships Limited
A Brief Corporate History and Fleet List
E. S. Crosby and Company Inc. were grain dealers and elevator operators at Buffalo during the years when that port was a major grain receiving and trans-shipping centre. The company operated the Frontier (Washburn-Crosby) Elevator which was located on the old City Ship Canal just to the north of the Michigan Avenue bridge, and which, to this day, remains as part of the elevator facilities of General Mills Inc.
The Crosby interests realized that much grain had to be unloaded from upper lakers at Buffalo and Port Colborne and then reloaded into canal-sized steamers for the rest of the journey eastward to Montreal and other St. Lawrence River ports. They decided that considerable profit might be made by operating their own canallers in this trade. Accordingly, E.S. Crosby of Kenmore, N.Y., together with attorneys-at-law A. M. Saperston and O. G. Olds of Buffalo, barrister G. H. Pettit of Welland, and T.J. Darby of Humberstone, joined forces early in 1929 to form a Canadian company which could handle these grain shipments through the old canals.
The result was the incorporation of St. Lawrence Steamships Ltd. under the Dominion Companies Act with authorized capital of $250,000. The new firm had its offices at Welland, Ontario, and its first officers were E. S. Crosby of Kenmore, N.Y., president; Thomas H. Hanrahan, Buffalo, vice-president; Ernest S. Crosby, Buffalo, treasurer; A. M. Saperston, Buffalo, secretary, and G. W. Darby, Welland, assistant secretary.
The new company immediately placed orders in Great Britain for the construction of two canallers and, soon afterwards, it purchased two more canallers, of very similar design, which had been built on speculation by a British shipyard and then repossessed from the lake operator who had originally purchased them. These four steamers were the only boats that St. Lawrence Steamships Ltd. ever owned, and they gave the fleet more than a decade of good service, even if they were completed just before the onset of the Great Depression. They carried grain and coal downbound from Lake Erie ports to Montreal and usually returned with cargoes of pulpwood. Although they occasionally called here, they were not frequent visitors to Toronto Harbour.
St. Lawrence Steamships vessels were always distinctive in appearance, but the black-and-white film then in use failed to do justice to the ships' colours and, undoubtedly, has left many of today's historians, who never saw the boats, wondering just how they were painted. Originally, all four ships carried grey hulls, while their forecastles and cabins were buff. Stacks were dark red with a large white letter 'S' and a black smokeband. By about 1938, however, the steamers were appearing with black hulls, white forecastles and cabins, and their stacks silver with a black 'S' and smokeband.
The St. Lawrence Steamships canallers were all equipped with light pole masts and (although perhaps not originally) with kingposts and cargo booms. Despite their contemporary design, however, they came from the shipyards with "sawmill" stacks, funnels that were very thin and of great height. By the late 1930s, these were cut down to more reasonable height. But if their stacks looked old-fashioned, the boats themselves were good carriers and St. Lawrence Steamships took steps to ensure their economic viability. Two of the ships were deepened in 1939 to provide extra carrying capacity, this operation being carried out by raising the whole forward end so as to eliminate the step in the spar deck which was common to most canallers. This left the vessels with a deck which was completely flush from bow to stern, although the forecastles were later raised by subsequent owners to give them back their traditional canaller appearance. This major rebuild ensured their continued operation even after the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway and, as it developed, these were among the first canallers so improved, although other operators would later apply the same enlargement methods to their own vessels.
Three of the four boats were requisitioned for wartime service on salt water, but none of these were lost abroad. In this detail, the company achieved something of a record, for most canaller owners found that many of their ships were unavailable after the cessation of hostilities, for they had fallen victim either to enemy action or to the rigours of deep-sea service.
All four of the ships continued to run on the lakes after the war, three of them in the Paterson fleet. They all ran well into the 1960s and, in fact, two of them proved to be the last steam canallers operated by Paterson, remaining in service until the close of the 1965 season. They were among the last steam canallers to operate anywhere, and their retirement virtually brought the era of the canaller to a close.
There follows a fleet list, with as much information concerning each of the company's four steamers as we are presently able to assemble:
ALGONQUINS (46), (b) TROISDOC (II) (C.161515). Steel bulk carrier built 1929 at Whiteinch, Glasgow, Scotland, by Barclay Curie and Company Ltd., Hull 631. Launched April, 1929. 252.7 x 43.8 x 17.8, 1938 Gross, 1157 Net. Triple-expansion engine 15", 25", 40" x 33" and two coal-fired single-ended Scotch boilers 10'1 3/8" x 10'10" built by Barclay Curie & Co. Ltd., Glasgow. Built for St. Lawrence Steamships Ltd., Welland. Rebuilt 1939 at Port Dalhousie by Muir Bros. Dry Dock Company Ltd. by removing deck step; deepened to 21.8, 2100 Gross, 1461 Net. Requisitioned 1940 for war service on salt water and later sold to government of Newfoundland. Purchased 1946 by Paterson Steamships Ltd., Fort William, and returned to lake service. Later transferred to N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd., Fort William. Again given raised forecastle c.1948, 2140 Gross, 1505 Net. By 1954, tonnage increased to 2211 Gross, 1522 Net. Operated until close of 1965 season and then sold to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne. Laid up at foot of Catherine Street, Hamilton, with SORELDOC. Resold to Steel Company of Canada Ltd. and scrapped at Hamilton 1966.
CHEYENNE (46), (a) PHENICIA (31), (c) SORELDOC (II) (C.149498). Steel bulk carrier, built 1929 at Sunderland, England, by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd., Hull 1367. Launched March, 1929. 252.8 x 43.4 x 17.8, 1938 Gross, 1157 Net. Triple-expansion engine 15", 25", 40" x 33" and two coal-fired single-ended Scotch boilers 10'1" x 10'9" built by MacColl and Pollock Ltd., Sunderland. Built on speculation by shipyard. Sold to Kenneth A. Scott, Cleveland, who founded and then managed Inland Lines Ltd., Winnipeg, but later repossessed by shipyard. Subsequently sold to St. Lawrence Steamships Ltd., Welland. Was not requisitioned for war service on salt water. Sold 1946 to Paterson Steamships Ltd., Fort William, and later transferred to N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd., Fort William. Rebuilt 1946 at Montreal by removing deck step and raising forecastle. New dimensions 253.5 x 43.4 x 21.8, 2210 Gross, 1550 Net. By 1954, tonnage amended to 2214 Gross, 1526 Net. Operated until close of 1965 season and then sold to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne. Laid up at foot of Catherine Street, Hamilton, with TROISDOC. Resold to Steel Company of Canada Ltd. and scrapped at Hamilton 1966.
DELAWARE (43), (a) IMARI (31), (c) EMPIRE ROTHER (49), (d) MANICOUAGAN (I) (51), (e) WASHINGTON TIMES-HERALD (54), (f) MANITOULIN (C.149497). Steel bulk carrier built 1929 at Sunderland, England, by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd., Hull 1383. Launched March, 1929. 252.8 x 43.4 x 17.8, 1940 Gross, 1158 Net. Triple-expansion engine 15", 25", 40" x 33" and two coal-fired single-ended Scotch boilers 10'0" x 10'9" built by MacColl and Pollock Ltd., Sunderland. Built on speculation by shipyard. Sold to Kenneth A. Scott, Cleveland, who founded and then managed Inland Lines Ltd., Winnipeg, but later repossessed by shipyard. Subsequently sold to St. Lawrence[sic] Steamships Ltd., Welland. Requisitioned for war service on salt water and later chartered by the British Ministry of War Transport to William Cory and Son Ltd., London, England. Purchased October 18, 1948, by the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd., Montreal, and returned to lake service in June, 1949. Was never deepened but remained in service for Q & O until laid up at Thorold at close of 1960 season. Towed to Port Weller May, 196l, by tug PORT WELLER, and laid alongside south end of fitout berth at shipyard. Sold to A, Newman and Company, St. Catharines, and towed to Port Dalhousie. Scrapping began August, 1961, in Port Dalhousie drydock.
SIOUX (46), (b) PRESCODOC (II) (C.161516). Steel bulk carrier built 1929 at Whiteinch, Glasgow, Scotland, by Barclay Curie and Company Ltd., Hull 632. Launched April, 1929. 252.7 x 43.3 x 17.8, 1940 Gross, 1160 Net. Triple-expansion engine 15", 25", 40" x 33" and two coal-fired single-ended Scotch boilers 10'1" x 10'10" built by Barclay Curie & Co. Ltd., Glasgow. Built for St. Lawrence Steamships Ltd., Welland. Rebuilt 1939 at Port Dalhousie by Muir Bros. Dry Dock Company Ltd. by removing deck step; deepened to 21.8, 2100 Gross, 1461 Net. Requisitioned 1940 by the Canadian government for war service on salt water. Operated 1942-46 by the United States Maritime Commission. Purchased 1946 by Paterson Steamships Ltd., Fort William, and returned to lake service. Later transferred to N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd., Fort William. Again given raised forecastle c.1948, 2140 Gross, 1505 Net. By 1954, tonnage altered to 2197 Gross, 1500 Net. Operated until close of 1962 season and laid up at Cardinal, Ontario. Sold 1963 to Western Iron and Metal Company Ltd., Toronto. Arrived at Toronto September 24, 1963, in tow of G. W. ROGERS. Scrapped along west wall of Toronto turning basin during autumn of 1964.
As a sideline to the story of the St. Lawrence Steamships canallers, it is interesting to note that these four steamers were almost identical to yet another pair of ships, with names of the same type as those given to IMARI and PHENICIA. These vessels were also built on speculation by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. Hulls 1395 and 1397 of the Wallsend-on-Tyne yard, they were named DAMIA (C.161522) and SARACEN (C.161523) and were launched in May, 1929. Like IMARI and PHENICIA, they were acquired by Kenneth A. Scott of Cleveland, but this pair managed to avoid repossession.
For a quarter-century, DAMIA and SARACEN were owned by Inland Lines Ltd., Winnipeg, which was first managed by Scott and later by Robert A. Campbell of Montreal. Neither steamer went overseas in the war and, in 1954, both were purchased by N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd. SARACEN became (b) TORONDOC (II), while DAMIA became (b) COTEAUDOC (II). TORONDOC and COTEAUDOC, which thus finished their careers in the same fleet as three of their sisterships from St. Lawrence Steamships, were scrapped in 1962 and 1963, respectively, at Toronto.