STRANGE CONDUCT OF A LAKE CAPTAIN
The following statement has ben sent us, with a view, we presume to its publication, although no explanation accompanied it, nor do we know to what intent it was made.
The inference to be drawn from it is, either that the Captain was in an unsound state of mind and incapable of managing his vessel, or was wilfully bent on wrecking her.-It seems proper, in any case to give publicity to the matter:-
Thursday, November 1st 1866
John McDuff, mate of the schooner Ann Harkley, made statement before me this day as follows: - I have been mate of the Schooner Ann Harkley, of Owen Sound. Left St. Clair river (Sarnia) with fair wind on Monday Oct. 8, bound for Owen Sound, loaded with 170 blrs. Whiskey 50 brls. Coal Oil. Same evening got abroad of Cape Hood, Capt. Harkley went to put back. He took the wheel all the time. When we came near Saugeen, I told him to steer for the Village. He did not do so. I was on deck; a squall came on; we could not takedown canvass in time. I let go anchor and checked her, and she came up to the wind. Capt. ordered to let go again, and the vessel struck on a rock. Capt. Ordered us to take away the sails and bore holes in her bottom to scuttle her. The vessel lay there on the rocks; part of her bottom stove in. Capt. Went to Owen Sound. We took cargo ashore on Charity Island; pumped vessel out, and stopped up the holes, and got her afloat again. Made protest in Saugeen. Mr. Stephens came from Owen Sound and gave Capt. Money to pay the men. We landed up the cargo again, and finished about dark. I wanted the Capt. To wait till morning, but he would not, and we started out. I loosed head canvass first, I told him to keep for the pier. He did not mind, and the vessel run on the rocks again. We got her off and came alongside the pier. In the morning we sailed , got out safe, kept on to Big Island, and from N.E. Capt. Was steering North. I told him that would bring us ashore. I said N.W.1/2 N. would do. We put the vessel out to save going ashore; got abreast Cove Island about 12m. Next upon Light House, Capt. was at the wheel. We would have cleared had the Capt. Kept on the way I told him. I saw we were going ashore, and ran forward, put the vessel about from the island. Capt. Put the vessel on again. I told him to keep her off. He said he knew his own business. Vessel struck on a rock. I Told the men to get ashore. I wanted to land the jolly boat, Capt. Would not. I took his wife and children ashore, got a lamp and went to the cove to let them see the way in with the yawl. I went aboard and took the hands ashore. I told Capt. I was going to save all I could. He said if I took any of the rigging off or touched anything he would make an end of my life if he had to hang for it the next morning. I went to him about it, and he said I could save the things. I went to save them and he stopped me again. We took the cargo ashore. Capt. Went to Owen Sound. He took away the anchor and chain-there was only one anchor and chain aboard the vessel. I put line out to the vessel to hold her there. The men were almost naked. I got an older from Stephens to load the Scott, and dorie so The Captain took some other articles, and went away. I went after them with the skiff, and got a receipt for 50 brls. Coal Oil. Chisolm's vessel came, and we loaded him, next morning; put the rigging and 84 brls. of Whiskey on his vessel. She had bad canvass .I told him I would help him if he wanted any help. He went off and took the skiff with him. Windswept away 14brls of whiskey; we saved part of the others. The McDuff came then. I got the men some boots and shirts and shipped the rest of the stuff aboard the McDuff for Owen Sound. We started and it came on to blow hard. We had to cut away the yawl, d carried away the foremast. We could not get to Owen Sound and had to come to Collingwood where we arrived Oct 31st 10a.m.
Sworn before me at Collingwood by John McDuff, Thomas Kennedy, Henry Harington, and William Schuybo this first day of November A.D.. 1866, 1030 a.m.
(Signed) Henry Robertson,
Notary Public, U.C.