The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Times (Orillia, ON), September 28, 1882

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The Asia Disaster

COLLINGWOOD, Sept.25 - After the excitement of the past week the Sabbath brought with it a temporary feeling of rest and quiet to all and the interval was appreciated by this community, which has passed through a time of terrible excitement and anxiety. But all day long the people thronged the docks and appeared to think that their proximity to the water kept them in advance of the rest of the world in obtaining news. The topic of the wreck was discussed, if not with the eagerness of the past week, at least with unabated interest, and the churches shared in the general discussion. At the Presbyterian church at night Rev. R. R. Rodgers made the disaster the subject for a special address, and in the Methodist pulpit it was also referred to. Soleman prayers were made in all the churches for those at sea, and next Sabbath a memorial service will be held in the Methodist church. All these signs indicated that friends on shore are now more than ever anxious for the safety of friends on the water and captains are at present very cautious and careful. The town has quieted down into its night's rest and further news was not looked for until morning. About 1:30 a.m. the familiar whistle of the tug Mary Ann was heard, and in a few minutes your reporter was on the docks conversing with the returned searches, only to learn that disappointment was the main result of a search which was however not fruitless, for the body of Mr. A. Ducan has been recovered and brought back. Very few citizens were aboard at the hour named. The party were too weary to admit to interviewing, and the telegraph office was of course closed, so that no news could be sent until the present writing. The searchers had a thrilling experience, and the following is the story of the search, as graphically told by Mr. Bledsoe, of Cincinnati, who went to look for the remains of Mr. And Mrs. A. H. Wood.


Capt. Foote of the Emerald, returned from Parry Sound on Saturday night. He took with him to that place Mr. Neil McKay, a cousin of Miss Morrison and formerly second mate of the Emerald. The latter gentlemen went over for his cousin but she was detained on a certificate from the doctor and from Inspector Menneilly, People at the hotel where the girl was stopping were unwilling to allow anyone to see her, and acted as though they were afraid Capt. Foote wanted to steal her. Public feeling at Parry Sound was very bitter, and some people there looked at him as though they thought he was a company. They looked at him like "meat axes" He had not known Capt. Savage, and should have judged him to be a cool headed man, and one who would know just what to do in an emergency. He referred to the opinions of Toronto captains, and said he believed Captain Savage could take those gentlemen out in the lake and lose them. The mate McDonald, was one of the smartest men on the lakes and perfectly trustworthy. It would be difficult for any boat to stand such a tornado as foundered the Asia. In regard to the boat Capt. Moore, who was in command of her two years ago, told him that she was the best sea boat he ever was in. Much surprise is expressed here that Capt. Scott, the Government investigator went to Owen Sound to conduct an enquiry on a company at this port. When he gets through at the Sound he may possibly come here and do something to satisfy the public clamour for an investigation. He can scarcely learn anything worth knowing about the disaster in Owen Sound.

KINGSTON, Sept.25. - Mr. Macdougall of Orillia, lumberman, is in the city. As his employees were on the foundered Asia, a Whig reporter asked for an interview. He said he left Port Hope on the Tuesday before the big blow with a party of men for French River.


These he took from the raft at port Hope, and were named A. D. Maclonnell, foreman, Orillia; D. Chisholm, Parry Sound; Isaac Lecarte, Stayner; Joseph Despatries, Couteau; Wm. Heavnor, Orillia; Hugh McNeil Scott and Joseph Quinn, of England, both just out a few few weeks; Dan and Roray McDonald, Rama; Bethan, Rama; Robert Marshall, of Port Hope; and Murphy of Orillia. Most of these men were old hands and several married. A. D. Macdonnell and Isaac Lecarte were widowers. As the prop Asia was about moving off Joseph Despatries handed Mr. Macdougall $160 and asked him to place it to his credit. The amount will probably be handed over to the deceased friends. Besides these men there arrived from the vicinity of Arthabaska, Que., a number of Frenchmen. Mr. Macdougall had only time to transfer them from the express train to the boat. Their names which have not been previously published are as follows; - Jacques and Andrew Terry, Julian Janan, James and Felix Jondreas, Octave Vuliso, Peter Dumo, Peter Roberge, Sr. Peter Roberge, Jr., Joseph Lascelle, and Robert Borrelle, There are others unknown. It has been reported that Frank Jordon, of Rosseur, N. Y. was on the ill-fated steamer, but Mr. Macdougall says this is not so. There were about thirty men for the French River eight horses, outfits, and a large amount of supplies. His actual loss has been $6, 000. Mr. Macdonald had four boats on the Asia, The schooner Dednought, which the Asia towed belonged to him. Whether she cut loose from the propellor or broke loose it is hard to say. She was capable of carrying 40 persons. The new canoe found at Byng Inlet belonged to Mr. Macdougall. Mr Macdougal intended to go to French River, himself but the weather prevented him. During the spring he sent a quantity of lumber from French River to port Hope, where Dit was rafted and made ready for a trip down the river. At Collingwood the weather looked rough, and he decided to come to Kingston and see if the lumber had arrived safely. It was well he did. He said he understood that the Asia was a very fair craft. When she went out everything about her looked well.


a few days ago a statement of Henri Gauvais was published to the effect that he was on his way to French River as foreman for Mr. Macdougall and got on the Asia at Collingwood. Observing that the propellor did not obey her helm he secured a life preserver, and determined to save his life. He leaped into the water and made for the shore. A woman and a little girl in the water clung to him after struggling in the waves for two hours they were taken into a smuggling boat and taken to Collingwood. The lady gave him $50 in gold and offered him a valuable watch which he declined. Mr. McDougal regards the story as false. He had not a foreman named Ganvais in his employment. The particular business of Mr. Macdougall to Kingston is to see after the raft which went to pieces on the day of the great blow. The timber is strewn along the sandy beach from Wellington to West Point, but is lying safely McMacdougall is securing the schooner to bring it to Kingston. There are 3, 000 pieces which he will raft and send down the river in the spring. Though this accident he has sustained a heavy loss.

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September 28, 1882
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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), September 28, 1882