The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Times (Orillia, ON), December 4, 1879

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Wreck of the Steamer Waubuno in Georgian Bay



Midland, Nov. 24 - Mr. A Cadotte reports that while coming down Georgian Bay Yesterday he passed portions of the cabins and decks of a steamer, also barrels of flour, coming from the western islands. He says that the north shore is strewn with portions of the wreck and cargo.

Collingwood, Nov.24 - Fears are entertained for the safety of the Georgian Bay Transportation Company's steamer Waubuno, which left here on Saturday morning at four o'clock for Parry Sound, and nothing has since been heard of her. The steamer Maganettawan left here at ten a.m. On Saturday, and arrived at Parry Sound at noon to-day, having laid behind Christian Island from 12:30 on Saturday till this morning. She reports having seen nothing of the Waubuno. A tug has been sent out from here, and also one from Parry Sound, in search of the missing steamer.

LATER - The wrecking tug Mary Ann left here this afternoon in search of the missing steamer, but it is expected nothing will be heard from her until to-morrow morning. The tug Mittie Grew left Parry Sound at 2 p.m. to-day, and returns with the report of finding a metallic life boat and portions of flour barrels - The metallic life-boat could possibly have been wash overboard, not being tied. Great hopes are still entertained for the safety of the crew, but it is thought the steamer is lost.

PARRY SOUND, Nov.24 - Considerable excitement was caused here this morning by news from Waubaushene that the wreck and cargo of a steamer supposed to be the Maganettawan had been seen by fishermen in the Georgian Bay yesterday. About two hours after the news first came the Maganettawan arrived all safe, reported that the steamer Waubuno let Collingwood about four o'clock Saturday morning heavily laden with freight and a few passengers, among whom was Mr. B. N. Fisher, editor and proprietor of the North Star. The Maganettawan left Collingwood at 2 p.m. on Saturday, and encountered a heavy sea before she reached Christian Island, where she lay at anchor until this morning when she came in without any signs of the Waubuno. Mr. J.C. Millar M. P. P. , at once started the tug Mittie Grew, in charge of Captain Burritt and a few picked men to proceed to Moose Point in hopes of rescuing some of the passengers and crew it may have possibly got on some of the islands as the wind on Saturday morning would have carried any survivors in that direction. The Waubuno was built by Messrs J. & W. Beatty, of St. Catherines, in 1865, and was by many considered quite unfit for the route, especially at this season of the year.

LATER - The tug Mittie Grew has just returned and reports having found a portion of the wreck of the Waubuno near the Haystacks, about five miles north west of Moose Point. The life-boat was found bottom up. The shores of the island are strewn with cargo and wreck of the steamer. No trace of the passenger or crew has been discovered. The tug returned in the morning to resume the search.

The Lost "Waubuno"

PENETANGUISHENE, Nov.29 - The trunk of Captain Burkett, of the Waubuno, was found this side of the hay-stacks by one of the men searching for remains of the wreck. He deposited the trunk on one of the islands close by and went back and resumed the search. To his surprise, he found upon his return that the trunk had been forced open and everything stolen out of it. The man who found the trunk offers to give the manes of the parties who burst it open if proper persons will come here and look after them. Doctor Doupe's trunk, containing his stock of medicines and some other things, has also been secured, and is here in the possession of the man who found it, who is willing to give it to the proper parties as soon as they claim it. A Frenchman living in the French settlement near here who has been gathering up some of the wreck, is said to have obtained about four hundred dollars worth of flour and other stuff. The Indians and half-breeds living on the islands near he wreck are having a rich harvest.

We learn to-night that the tug Susan Doty was forced to run ashore on Christian Isalnd during the gale, and still remains there.

Parry Sound Dec.2 - The steamer Northern Queen of the Georgian bay Transportation Company's Line arrived here from Collingwood about 11 o'clock to-day with a heavy load of freight and passengers. She left Collingwood at 3:30a.m. the weather being fine, but after passing the Christian islands a furious snow storm arose which caused the greatest anxiety to the captain and others on board. The storm increased until when near the supposed scene of the Waubuno disaster nothing could be seen forty yards from the steamer. With the greatest ability however Captain Campbell succeeded in making the entrance to the channel, and amid the blinding storm brought the vessel safe through the innumerable shoals and islands.

A Fearful Wreck on Georgian Bay


(Special correspondence of of the London)

Parry Sound Nov.25 - The steamer Waubuno, which had plied between this port and Collingwood for the last thirteen years has become a total wreck, and her crew and passengers all supposed to have perished. She left Collingwood on Saturday, 22nd inst, about four o'clock, with a very heavy load of freight, and with at least fifteen passengers. The steamer Maganettawan, left Collingwood some five or six hours afterwards and managed to reach the Christian Islands, when she had to cast anchor there until Monday morning. And as she saw no sign of the Waubuno it is supposed that she had got past the Christian Islands before the heavy gale of Saturday struck her. It is thought she then directed her course towards what is called Moose Point, in order to get into shelter as soon as possible. But unfortunately she never could have reached it. It was blowing a living gale, and a blinding snow falling at he same time, and owing to her very heavy load, and as swell after swell struck her, it is very reasonable to suppose that she spread right out and floundered. She had about six thousand dollars worth of goods for Geo. McLean, Esq., of the Guelph Lumber Co; about three thousand for Wm.. Beatty, Esq., general merchant four hundred for Thos. Walton, M.D., of drugs, etc., three hundred or more in leather for Wm. Taylor, and a whole host of other stuff for different parties.- The following is a list of those supposed to have been on board, and who have undoubtedly perished. Dr. Clark and wife, and family of seven, of Cobourg; B. N. Fisher, proprietor of North Star, Parry Sound; Jas. Huff and mother and two sisters, of Parry Sound; James Carradice and Mrs. McDougall, of Parry Sound; and the crew Waubuno, consisting of thirteen. In all probability there were more passengers, but those enumerated are those we are almost sure were on board. The people here are all excited; and can think of nothing else. When it was first surmised that something was wrong, Mr Miller sent his Mittie Grew out the south channel to see if she could see anything of the Waubuno. She left just after the arrival of the steamer Maganettawan, who reported as having seen nothing of the Waubuno. The Mittie returned in the evening with the news that our worst fears were realized. From what is called the Haystack, as far as the eye could see, there was merchandise of all kinds beating against the rocks and floating around.-They found the sofa out of the captain's cabin, and also a picture. They also found one of the life boats with both ends stove in, also a life preserver and pieces of the covering of the paddle wheels, and everything goes to show that she is literally torn to pieces. But they could not see or hear the slightest evidence of any person alive. This morning a larger party have taken tents, blankets and provisions and gone out to the wreck again, to pick up what they can of the goods, and if possible, get the bodies of those who have perished. This is the first evidence of a serious nature that has ever occurred so near home, and I don't think there was ever such a total wreck in so short a time and so many lives lost on the Georgian Bay before.

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December 4, 1879
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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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Times (Orillia, ON), December 4, 1879