The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 7 Dec 1893

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p.1 General Paragraphs - W. Dewey, mate of the schr. Fleetwing, has returned home after laying the vessel up at Brighton.

Capt. Miller has charge of the str. Pierrepont during the absence of Capt. Allan. Mrs. Allan is seriously ill.

Incidents of the Day - Capt. D.J. Kenny, of government tug St. Paul, may be expected home in Jones' Falls in a few days, as the boat is now being laid up for the winter at Hamilton.

The schooner Eliza Fisher, Port Hope, is ashore at Weller's Bay. The crew are safe.


Recalling The Run Across The Lake To Oswego.

It was feared that the last trip of the B.W. Folger would be a disastrous one for the vessel, but to a reporter Capt. Bates stated today that he was perfectly satisfied with the way things turned out considering the weather he had to contend with. It is nearly four weeks since the Folger cleared first for Oswego. After making repeated attempts to get out of the harbor a favorable breeze finally came and landed her in the lake. It did not last long, however, and Capt. Bates had to head towards Sackett's Harbor. The wind was terrific and the sea rolled mountains high. The Folger is quite an old craft, but her master knows her like a book, and when many a sailor would give her up for lost he had little alarm. The pounding the vessel got opened up one of her seams pretty badly until she commenced to make water freely. The pumps were applied, and with the first wind in the right direction her bow was headed towards Oswego. The water was by no means all out of her, but the captain concluded the risk was not dangerous and set canvas. The tug Charles Ferris sighted the vessel a couple of miles out of Oswego, and proceeded to give her a line. The tug did not know, however, until the Folger was safely along the dock that her deck was over a foot under water. The strain was too much for the craft and she lay at the dock waterlogged. The services of the fire engine were brought into play and together with the schooner's own pumps she was soon in safe condition. As the dry-dock could not be secured to haul her out Capt. Bates did the patching from the inside and stuffed fat pork, held by wedges, in the cracks.

The cargo of lumber was consigned to the Standard Oil Co., and Capt. Bates was highly pleased with the treatment he received. Another company would have kicked about the delay and wet lumber, but this firm understood the circumstances of the case and was only sorry that the captain had lost money on his trip.

Oswego harbor was frozen in with ice when the Folger left. The Ferris had to break the ice to get her out. When Capt. Bates left the "shutes" were to be closed if word was not received from the schr. Ella Murton. It was understood that Capt. Saunders had got frozen in at Deseronto. The Folger sighted the schr. Freeman at Sodus. She had a tough time of it and was frozen in the ice. Her crew were paid off yesterday and returned to Belleville. Capt. Bates considers the present fall has been the severest to vessels within the past forty years. A great many lives have been lost, on the lakes alone over fifty having perished. The night before the Folger left Oswego the mate of the steambarge Topeka fell overboard in the harbor and was drowned. He had been moving around on the deck when a lurch of the vessel sent him over the rail. His body was recovered. During the entire month's voyage Capt. Bates did not leave the vessel with the exception of one night. When in port the rest of the crew were put up at an hotel. The captain slept on a couch by the fire in the kitchen when the water flooded the floor. He would not leave his ship for fear anything should go wrong. The captain is pretty well played out, and does not care to do any more sailing this fall.

Many Lives Lost.

During the season of navigation just closed 53 vessels and 123 lives were lost on the great lakes. The vessels had an aggregate tonnage of 24,258 and were valued at $1,040,000. The grand total of losses on boats is brought up by stranding, collisions and fire to $2,112,588.

Tabulated by lakes the loss of life was: Lake Erie, 59; Lake Huron, 33; Lake Superior, 10; Lake Michigan, 12; Lake Ontario, 4; Detroit River, 5. Only one passenger was lost of all the vast crowds carried on lake steamers during the world's fair year, but three committed suicide by jumping overboard.

The great storm of Oct. 14th was the most destructive in the history of the lake marine. Not counting cargoes, except on boats which were totally lost, the amount of property destroyed during the storm amounted to $484,327, and fifty lives were lost. Next in severity was the big gale of April 18th when eight lives and property valued at $280,000 were destroyed.

The total insurance on hulls of total losses was $614,260. The aggregate insurance losses on hulls for the season are estimated at $1,100,000. The losses from collisions were $377,487; from strandings $848,578; from fire $247,000; from foundering $508,543; dismasted and disabled, $130,000.

The loss of life during the past season was the largest in six years. The total number lost in 1887 was 204.

Marine Paragraphs.

No repairs are necessary to the str. Rideau Belle this winter. The Belle is a staunch little craft.

Capt. N. Allan states that the schr. Freeman is in a good location for the winter. She is sheltered from the winds.

Capt. Noonan intends changing the time of the str. James Swift's trip to Ottawa, next year, so that passengers will see the Rideau lakes by daylight.

The str. James Swift has had $500 expended on her since laying up. The steamer has been made stronger. She was not stiff enough last season.

The schr. Queen of the Lakes cleared for Bath this morning, to take on about 800 bushels of buckwheat for Oswego. She loaded a part cargo at Richardson's elevator. The Queen will bring back coal if she can get a cargo.

James Hurley, sailor, states there is not the money to be made this fall at sailing there was last. The rough weather has not given the vessels a chance to get out and the sailor's wages are accordingly not as large.

The tugs Glide and Thompson have been frozen in at Lachine. The tugs left about a week ago with four barges of grain. The barges were unloaded all right and the start made for home. The tugs could not get through the Lachine canal, however, and the fleet had been laid up where they were. The crews of the tugs arrived up by train last night. The engineers of both tugs remained behind to lay up the boats.

p.4 Fast In the Ice - Colchester, Dec. 7th - A number of barges are still fast in the ice three miles west of here. A four masted steamer looking like the Sitka or like the Owego, a two-masted barge with two pipes, the Aurora and consorts all bound up are moving slowly. One two masted barge abreast of the light with standing gaffs and looking like the Scranton is not moving. The White Star and consort are six miles east of here fast drifting eastward. The ice is from six to eight inches thick.

The Wheeler A Wreck - Michigan City, Ind., Dec. 7th - The big steamer F.W. Wheeler, ashore three miles east of here, has been abandoned as a total wreck. Next spring an effort will be made to recover her machinery, but that is all that will be worth saving.

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7 Dec 1893
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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.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 7 Dec 1893