The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 7 Nov 1892

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A Squall And A Snow Storm Proved Disastrous.

"A sailor's life is the life for me," is a line of a beautiful song, but it is a question whether the author of these words would care to realize the actual carrying out of its meaning. Seldom is such continuous gales encountered as have been prevalent on Lake Ontario for the past couple of weeks. And it is thought the worst is not yet. Reports of disasters are daily coming in and has a tendency to make the vessel owner anxious as to the safety of his vessel if it is on the lake. The schr. B.W. Folger arrived from Charlotte, on Saturday night, and Capt. Bates has indeed a thrilling tale to tell of his adventures in crossing. The Folger was off the piers at Charlotte at 10:30 o'clock, Friday morning with a strong fair wind down the lake. Six o'clock the same evening fast sailing brought her abreast of the False Ducks, and at three o'clock the following morning the craft was sailing at anchor (sic) off Stoney Island, in the entrance to Sackett's Harbor. This was due to a terrific snow storm which struck the vesse about 7:30 o'clock. The sleet was blinding and he was unable to see his men on the deck of the schooner. The wind had been blowing a gale from the west when the squall sprung up from the north. Capt. Bates understood thoroughly the meaning of such a change and headed his craft into the channel for safety. With a man at the teller (sic) Capt. Bates busied himself testing the bottom and finding his way, as it was impossible to discover land ahead. Finally he took the wheel himself, and, watching his chance, brought the vessel about, head to the wind. This resulted in the foremast being smashed like kindling wood and the foremast chain plate also being broken. He then ordered the boom cut away but the mate said some one would surely get killed if he attempted to use an axe in that darkness. Capt. Bates grabbed the axe himself and in a few minutes had the vessel clear of the trailing timber. The vessel was finally anchored in eleven feet of water and at daybreak Capt. Bates found that he could not possibly have run across a better anchorage. He says he never saw a vessel do better sailing in his life. Pointing to the schr. Jessie Drummond laying in the harbor, Capt. Bates said: "I thought that vessel would turn a regular somersault. She was plunging at a terrible rate with her boom sometimes under water." When making for shelter Capt. Bates saw a vessel aground on Calf Island reef. She had only one spar and was a craft of probably 500 or 600 tons. She was hard aground for her bow was exposed to view. He thought it might be either the Russell or Wheeler.

Capt. Bates said he was unable to render the vessel any assistance on account of the roughness of the weather. From the time the vessel went aground, on Friday night, until Saturday, when the Folger cleared, there was no means of the crew gaining communication with the shore. The vessel had a red bottom.

This morning three pumps were started on the schr. Grantham for the purpose of raising her so that she could be placed in the dry-dock for inspection. When she was lightened she was taken to the dock, and after being temporarily repaired will be floated again, to be unloaded.

The rumor was current this morning that the schr. Falconer had capsized off the Ducks. When seen by a reporter Capt. Taylor, the owner, stated that he did not think there could be any truth in the matter at all. He received a telegram from the Falconer, at Oswego, Saturday, stating she was loaded and ready to leave. If she cleared the wind had not been so strong since then to capsize the vessel.

The Jessie Drummond ran into port for shelter Saturday night. She was bound from Charlotte to Toronto. Capt. Hugh Rooney says in all his experiences on the lakes he never saw anything to equal the gale of Friday night.

The schr. Hanlan left on Saturday for Belleville but Capt. Craig says that sooner than beat around and run probably fifty miles and get half frozen in the bargain he turned back to await a change in the wind. It was blowing pretty much from the west.

The schr. Flora Carveth sank at the entrance to Sodus Point harbor, Saturday. The crew, consisting of Capt. Samuel Phelp, two other men and a female cook, were obliged to remain in the rigging until five o'clock in the morning.

Capt. Bates, of the schr. B.W. Fogler, says the schr. Speedwell has been laying at Charlotte twelve days, trying to get away for Toronto. She has made several attempts to clear, but in each case has had to be towed back by a tug.

Arrivals: schr. Two Brothers, Consecon, 6,000 bush. peas; schr. Rooney, Toronto, 10,000 wheat; schr. Katie Eccles, bay ports, 6,800 peas; tug Hall, Montreal, two barges; str. Ocean, Hamilton; str. Persia, Montreal.

The schr. M.L. Breck dragged her anchor and went ashore in Sand Beach harbor. She is full of water and lies on a stone bottom, loaded with coal for Algoma Mills. She is owned by John McGibbon of Sarnia.

The tug Thompson with schooners Minnedosa and Glenora, passed up to the Soo yesterday, and the tug Walker with schrs. Gaskin and Kildonan met them. The tugs exchanged tows.

The schr. White Oak cleared for Gananoque today to complete her load of barley for Richardson & Sons, and will then proceed to Oswego and return with a cargo of coal for Swift & Co.

The schr. Katie Eccles, Rooney and Two Brothers arrived with cargoes of coal, Saturday morning, at the M.T. Co.'s dock and were all unloaded the same night.

The str. Rideau Belle was to have arrived from Ottawa on Saturday but a telegram received states that her machinery is broke down.

Captain Newton's steam yacht Ingomar is laid up for the winter at Kingston. Before next spring the yacht will undergo some repairs.

The str. Dominion and barges, Toledo to Kingston with wheat and corn, passed Port Dalhousie last night.

The barge Montreal is at Davis' dry-dock being caulked.

General Paragraphs - The bottom of the schr. Grantham is in a bad state. Capt. Donnelly says $2,000 will have to be spent to put the boat in as good shape as she was before the accident. The reason she fared so badly was because she ran on a pile of stones dropped into the lake by a scow which capsized many years ago.

Capt. Bates says the position of the schooner aground on the Calf Island reef is such as to render an utter impossibility to get off with safety. He expects the vessel to be a total wreck.

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7 Nov 1892
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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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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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 7 Nov 1892