The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Steamer Wexford Wrecked and Likely Two More Ships
Globe (Toronto, ON), 12 Nov 1913, p. 1, 3

Full Text
Awful Toll of Human Life Paid to Fury of the Great Storm
Several Vessels Come to Grief at Various Points Along Great Lakes

It is positive that the steamer Wexford was lost in Lake Huron, five bodies having been picked up on the shore between Kettle Point and Bayfield, bearing life-belts with that ship's name. It is also probable that another steamer has gone down with all aboard, seven bodies having been found south of Grand Bend, Ont. This is thought to be the Charles S. Price. A third vessel, the Edwin F. Holmes, may also be lost, as considerable wreckage has been found five miles below Goderich, among it being a life-preserver with that same painted on it.

(Special Despatches to The Globe.)

Goderich, Ont. Nov. 11--That the steamer Wexford of the Western Steamship Company, Limited, Toronto, was lost in the storm of Sunday is evidenced in the finding of five bodies bearing the steamer's life-preservers, at a point about twenty miles below here, or halfway between Bayfield and Kettle Point. Two bodies were found this morning along the ashore by residents from the village of Blake, who, after communicating with Coroner Dr. Campbell of Zurich, continued their search and afterwards found three more. Five more bodies are reported to have been found between Kettle Point and Port Franks, strewn along the beach, but as yet their identity is unknown.

Description of Bodies

The constables' description of the bodies found near Blake is as follow:

No. 1--A young man, apparently twenty-eight years of age, clean shaven, reddish hair and blue eyes, of about five feet ten inches in height, and weighs about 170 pounds. In his pocket was a letter addressed to George Glen, Saltford. His clothes were of dark material, with a knitted jersey having a white border. On his left hand he wore a gold ring with flat top.

It has since been learned that the description of this man would indicate him to be James Glen, from Scotland, who had been sailing on the Wexford and made Goderich his home for a short time.

No. 2 -- A man slightly older than the first, probably thirty to thirty-two years. The upper teeth were false, and he would weight about 185 pounds. In appearance he resembled No. 1 very much. Some papers in his pocket had been written with indelible ink, which the water had obliterated.

No. 3-- A man slightly older than the preceding two, but lighter in weight, one tooth of the right upper jaw is missing. Northing could be ascertained to indicate his name. In the clothes were $25.

No. 4 -- A man heavier than the others, of perhaps 200 pounds in weight, wearing a blue suit of good material, and tan button shores. No [p. 3] letters were found, but photos of two young ladies were carried in his pocket. His complexion was fair. In his pockets were found a $5 gold piece and cash aggregating $43,81. This description is much like that of Malcolm McDonald, a passenger from Goderich.

Inquest This Afternoon.

An inquest is to be held near the scene at 2 o'clock to-morrow afternoon, when attempt at identification will be made by the owners of the vessel and familiar elevator men from here.

Little Wreckage Found.

Very little wreckage was found, other than an empty oil barrel and stairway, which had been carried on top of the engine-room, but the vessel, being of steel, would leave very little floating material to trace the disaster. No yawls have been reported.

Description of Wexford.

The Wexford was a steel vessel of 2,800 tons capacity, built in London, England, and brought out by the Western Steamship Company of Toronto, carrying a crew of probably fifteen to twenty. She had been engaged principally in grain carrying, and was on her way down from Fort William to Goderich with a cargo of wheat for James Richardson & sons. The last word received from the vessel was in passing the Soo last Friday midnight, which under ordinary weather would have brought her here on Sunday morning.

Perhaps Tried to Reach Goderich.

Nothing was seen of any vessel from this point all day Sunday, but it is reported by some residents that a steamer was blowing off here during Sunday night when the storm was at its height. It is though that the Wexford was caught in the middle of the lake, and unable to make her way to shelter against the force of a sixty-mile gale, turned before it, possibly attempting to make this port. From the location of the point where the bodies were found, and the direction of the gale, it is conjectured that the vessel foundered about ten or fifteen miles southwest of here.

Could Not be Capsized Vessel.

The report that it is the Wexford floating upside down near Port Huron can hardly be credited. The vessel would fill with water when she turned turtle, even before the grain cargo could flow from the holds. The bottom of the Wexford was painted red, not black, as that reported from Port Huron, and from the fact that she is only 270 feet long there would be little visible above water. The finding of the bodies above Kettle Point indicates that the foundering occurred above the Point, precluding any possibility of the vessel floating over thirty miles down the lake in an inverted position.

The E. F. Holmes Lost Too?

A patrol despatched from here to search the shore south of this point reports finding a life-preserver, with the name Edwin F. Holmes painted on it, about five miles down the shore. Considerable wreckage, consisting of pilot-house, window-sash, doors, bottles etc. would indicate this as of[f] a comparatively new boat. The Holmes is about 400 feet long.

Seven Other Bodies Found.

Grand Bend, Ont. Nov. 11.-- In addition to the five bodies found between Kettle Point and Bayfield, the remains of seven other victims of the great lake storm are being cared for here to-night, their bodies strewn along the Huron shore having been found this afternoon by Mr. Bassenbery of the Imperial Hotel, Grand Bend, and others. The five sailors, whose bodies were washed up north of the Bend, were apparently all members of the crew of the Wexford, bound with a load of grain for Goderich.

In the pockets of one man, who was evidently the Captain, was the shipping bill of the boat, and from his description it is clear that he is Capt. Bruce Cameron of Collingwood, in the employ of the Western Steamship Company of Toronto.

In addition to the identification of Captain Cameron, and of George Glen of Goderich, it is reported here that two others of the five are men by the name of James Flynn and William Dodson, address unknown. All five are to-night in the barn of Mr. Robert Turnbull, whose farm lies between Grand Bend and St. Joseph, and who has the first to discover the lifeless body of one sailor wearing a life-belt marked "Wexford." He thought it was a log at first, but when he found that it was a human body he made a search for others, and within a short distance of one another recovered the four others.

Four had "Wexford belts but one had a life preserver bearing the word "London." A boat was lost a week ago by the latter name but no lives were understood to be lost and it is expected that this man was also one of the crew of the lost "Wexford."

Another Ship Evidently Lost.

These, however, were not all the bodies found, as Grand Bend is tonight the centre of a ghastly coast line, and besides the seven others found south of the Bend it is possible that the morrow may reveal more victims of the tragedy.

Likely the Charles S. Price

Those south of the Bend were found within a distance of four miles and were apparently from a different crew than those found to the north. It is thought that they belong to a boat by the name of Charles S. Price, of the Mahoning Steamship Company, M. A. Hanna & co., Managers, Cleveland, and that one of the men is the wheelsman, his name being given as McGinnis. It is supposed that they are all Americans, as in the pockets of each was a quantity of United States money. The seven bodies are to be taken to Thedford to-morrow, and it is likely some Port Huron steamship men will go there with a view to identifying the remains.

Much Wreckage Washed Ashore.

Considerable wreckage is being washed up on the shore for mils on each side of grand Bend. A lifeboat was taken from the water here to-day and another two miles north of here. A watch is being kept for possible survivors, and for more bodies, should others be washed up during the night or the coming day.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Publication:
12 Nov 1913
Personal Name(s):
Campbell, Dr. ; Glen, George ; Glen, James ; McDonald, Malcolm ; Bassenberry, Mr. ; Cameron, Bruce ; Flynn, James ; Dodson, William ; Turnbull, Robert ; McGinnis, Mr.
Corporate Name(s):
Western Steamship Company ; James Richardson & Sons ; Mahoning Steamship Company ; M. A. Hanna & Company
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.75008 Longitude: -81.71648
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Steamer Wexford Wrecked and Likely Two More Ships