The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Northern Advance (Barrie, ON), July 6, 1859

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We learn from the Leader of yesterday that the steamer Ploughboy, on her way to Lake Huron sustained an accident which threatened to be fatal to the boat, as also to the lives of those on board. The account says, shortly before the arrival of the vessel at Lonely Island, in Georgian Bay a part of the machinery, the cross-heads, snapped in half, and it became absolutely necessary, in consequence, for the safety of the ship, to shut off the steam. The Ploughboy being like most of all of the steamers on Lake Huron, unprovided with masts, she was thus necessarily left to the mercy of the winds and waves, which drifted her at their pleasure. The danger of such a position being apparent, some of the crew volunteered to proceed in an open boat to Owen Sound, a distance of some seventy-five miles, to secure the aid of the steamer Canadian to tow the Ploughboy into safe anchorage. But long before the assistance thus sent for could be obtained, the Ploughboy had been slowly but inevitably and helplessly drifting to that dangerous portion of the coast lying west of Chabot Point, and in spite of every precaution, a little before dawn of Sunday morning found the unfortunate vessel within fifty yards of a precipitous rockbound shore, with a heavy swell of the sea setting in toward it and a gale blowing her directly upon the breakers. Immediate death stared all the passengers in the face, it being too evident that if the vessel struck-as seemed inevitable-in a few minutes not a soul would be left to tell the tale. Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, and all friends therefore took a last farewell, commended themselves to Providence, and prepared to meet their doom, when they were miraculously saved when just in the very jaws of death. At a distance of only forty-five yards from land, on a lee shore, and in one hundred and eighty feet of water, the anchors which had been dragging for some twelve miles, in the simple hope of postponing the fate of the ship till daylight, caught bottom and held fast the vessel at that moment beyond all possible help from human agency. She remained in that position from half-past two o'clock on Sunday morning until about the succeeding midnight, when the steamer Canadian from Owen Sound, which had been sent to the rescue, took her in tow and landed all her passengers in safety at Collingwood at half-past one o'clock yesterday. The excursion was thus broken up, and the party returned at once to Toronto. The following as, we believe a correct list of the passengers on board the Ploughboy during this disastrous voyage:- Hon John Ross, Mrs Ross, Mrs Baldwin, two children and maid; Hon. J.A. Macdonald; ...

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July 6, 1859
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Bill Hester
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Northern Advance (Barrie, ON), July 6, 1859