The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 21 Apr 1893

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The Welland canal opens tomorrow.

Tomorrow the schr. Ella Murton will clear for Oswego to load coal for Hamilton.

The str. Algonquin will be launched tomorrow, if everything turns out as expected.

The str. Glengarry, with a schooner in tow, will probably leave for the upper lakes tomorrow.

There are 300,000 bushels of corn lying in the Ogdensburg terminal company's elevator, more than in all the elevators in Buffalo.

John McComisky, stopping at the Anglo-American hotel, goes as second mate of the prop. Cuba, now in the dry-dock at Port Dalhousie.

The schr. Julia, down from Brighton, unloaded barley at the malt house and cleared for Oswego to load coal for the St. Lawrence river steamboat company.

The Kingston & Montreal forwarding company has over 1,000,000 bushels of grain laying in the west awaiting the opening of the Welland canal. The M.T. company also has a large amount to come down.

The str. City of Rochester, moored opposite Charlotte, N.Y., was partly destroyed by fire. Nothing remains except the hull. The origin of the fire is thought to be incendiary. The boat is partly insured.

Capt. J.T. Matthews and Capt. Ben Tripp have returned to Toronto from their New York and Baltimore journey of inspection of steamboats for the new Toronto, Rochester and Montreal steamboat company. Capt. Matthews says they reported favorably on two steamboats in New York and three in Baltimore.

Had A Perilous Trip.

The captain of the schr. Clara White was not sorry to get into port this morning. The vessel was loaded with peas for Richardson & Son and came from Cobourg. The White was one of the two vessels seen laying at anchor near Nine Mile Point by the str. Maud yesterday. The gale last night was terrific, and the White dragged anchor from Nine Mile Point to Snake Island, when the captain hauled anchor and let her go before the wind. The captain says he never experienced such a rough night in all his life. One and three-quarters inches of snow fell on the deck in half an hour and so dark was it that to discern objects ahead was an impossibility. The White tried to get to Four Mile Point to stay for the night but was unable to make the point. She got safely into Kingston harbor at an early hour. The schr. Fleetwing was in the storm with him. The latter was anchored at Nine Mile Point yesterday. She could not get in for the ice.


Sailor McCrimmon Knocked Off A Boat And Drowned.

"Man overboard," is a sound not often heard within a radius of ten miles of Kingston, but such were the words that were carried on the wind about one o'clock this morning, coming from the schr. Fleetwing. When Capt. Shaw struck terra firma at ten o'clock he was pale and nervous looking. A sailor for over thirty years the wholesome breeze had made a healthy man of him, probably 225 pounds in weight. But will trouble a man, even an able-bodied seaman, more than the loss of life, especially when the unfortunate person was one of his most trustworthy sailors, and more particularly so when the captain had long held the record of never having lost a mate in all his experience on the water.

The wind blew a regular hurricane last night and citizens lying comfortably in their beds shuddered at the likely fate of vessels out in the storm. The schr. Fleetwing left Oswego on Wednesday morning at four o'clock with 350 tons of coal for Swift & Co. Her crew consisted of Capt. M. Shaw, master; W.A. Dewy, mate; James Cochrane, R.M. Snellgrove, H.L. McCrimmon, sailors. Capt. Shaw's wife and daughter were also on board. The vessel made a nice run during the day, the weather being favorable. Upon reaching Nine Mile Point the vessel came in contact with ice. She beat down towards Four Mile Point and let go anchor in the channel. The wind had been in the northwest during the night, but shifted round to the southwest and later on was dead from the west. The captain then proposed to start and hoisted three jibs. The wind was very changeable and the first thing the crew knew, had shifted again to the south. A strong puff struck the schooner and the captain was not slow to perceive that there was danger of running on Snake Island. He ordered the main sail down and left the wheel in his wife's charge in order to assist the men. It was at this moment when Capt. Shaw was startled by a cry of "help" coming from the icy water below. He rushed aft exclaiming:

"What's that?"

The response he obtained was: "I'm overboard captain."

Capt. Shaw immediately ordered, "Lower the boat, a man's overboard," and quick as lightning, for the Fleetwing's crew was an exemplary one, the boat was cut away with mate Dewy and sailor Snellgrove at the oars. Capt. Shaw was left on board with one man. The moment was a critical one. Mrs. Shaw held fast to the tiller and kept the vessel's head right.

As the captain related his story to a reporter a few minutes after landing beads of perspiration stood on his forehood. Such a night he had never met before. It was impossible to see a foot ahead and only occasionally was the red light on Snake Island visible. There were several inches of ice on the vessel's deck and the men were sprawling on the deck most of the time. The boat was converted into a sheet of ice and might as well have been exploring for the north pole. Capt. Shaw immediately dropped the small anchor but the chain was snapped asunder like a pipe stem. The big anchor was then resorted to and after dragging a quarter of a mile the schooner was brought to a standstill. They were indeed a sorrowful lot of men when half an hour after the boat returned with no tidings of the lost one. Capt. Shaw had hoped the poor fellow might have struck a layer of ice and stuck there until assistance arrived, but not so. He was so heavily clad in a long rubber coat that he would be almost helpless in the sea. About this time the schr. Eliza White passed so near the Fleetwing that upon showing a light Capt. Shaw was asked how many feet of water he had. This question he was unable to answer as he had dragged anchor. He replied, "Not much." The Eliza White passed on and dropped anchor a few feet further east.

Capt. Shaw thinks McCrimmon must have got caught in the sail as the vessel came to in the wind.

The unfortunate sailor was a married man and lived at South Bay Point. His father is dead and his wife's name is Preston, daughter of Harry Preston a farmer at that place. McCrimmon had no children and while he was sailing in the summer his wife resided with her father. In the winter they lived together in a little house of their own. It is indeed unfortunate that such sailor should be taken away. Capt. Shaw states that it will be many a day before he can replace McCrimmon. Sailors who do not drink liquor are in great demand these days and temperance was one of McCrimmon's best virtues.

Capt. Shaw always felt that his vessel was safe when McCrimmon was around. This was his third season on the Fleetwing. Last year he served as mate and would have had that position this year had not Capt. Shaw's son-in-law, W.A. Dewy, desired the place. McCrimmon was a nephew of Capt. N. McCrimmon of the schr. Two Brothers. He is well known at this port and everyone has a good word for him.

Capt. Shaw telegraphed Mr. Preston, South Bay, the sad news.

The schooner Fleetwing is owned by Capt. Shaw and James Cochrane. Capt. Shaw lives at Brighton, and it was there the vessel was wintered. The accident occurred about a quarter of a mile from Simcoe Island. Capt. Shaw stated the case to the customs authorities here.

The most serious accident Capt. Shaw ever met with before was the losing of anchors and breaking of a boom. He has lost two anchors near Four Mile Point.

Mate Dewy stated that he heard McCrimmon yell as the boat put out. No sound was heard after this.

The Fleetwing dropped anchor off the dry-dock and was towed to Swift's dock by the str. Pierrepont. It had been McCrimmon's watch on and he had just carried out the captain's orders in waking the men. If McCrimmon had not had the long rubber cloak on he might have been able to keep up until the life-boat reached him.

Mr. Preston is expected to arrive at once when search for the body will be made.

A Variety of Weather.

.....At the harbor front the effects of the storm were more severe. The large dredge, Sir Hector, lying at the dry dock, went down in the gale. The crew of the steambarge Quebec were very much alarmed. They feared the boat, moored in front of Gunn's dock, would pound herself to pieces. This would have been true had not the captain and his crew worked her into a slip close by. She was loaded with ties for Oswego....Part of the unfinished paddle boxes of the str. Empire State were blown away last night.....

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21 Apr 1893
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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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), 21 Apr 1893