The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 19 May 1894

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The str. Columbian will make a trial trip on Monday.

Capt. Rees is here to take charge of the str. St. Lawrence.

The schr. B.W. Folger is unloading coal for James Short, at Portsmouth.

Arrivals: tug Active, Montreal, four barges; tug Bronson, Montreal, four barges.

The tug Bertha, with the barge Francis, from down the canal, has wood for Crawford.

The prop. Acadia lightened 6,000 bushels of wheat at Portsmouth and proceeded to Montreal.

The tug Myra came up from Ogdensburg to tow the schr. Menominee (Menomenee ?) down there to unload her cargo of grain.

Clearances: tug Bronson, Montreal, four barges; str. Ketchum, Oswego; prop. Myles for Soo; str. Hall for up the lake.

The schr. Ketchum will sail up as far as Port Dalhousie. The propeller that towed her crossed over to Oswego to load coal. She will meet her consort at the canal.

Steamboat inspectors Chestnut and Mathers, of Oswego, and Capt. Miller, of Philadelphia, were in the city yesterday, looking over the boats which call at American ports.

The prop. Myles cleared from Portsmouth, last evening, after being lightened of 40,000 bushels of wheat from Port Arthur. She will lay up at Hamilton because her owners cannot get fuel in consequence of the coal miners' strike.

The Empress of India started this morning from Picton for Toronto. She has undergone thorough repair and goes on her route as staunch and attractive as ever before. She will be officered the same as last season, with George O'Brien as captain; Thos. Pickering, steward, and Fred Hepburn, purser.

The str. Spartan will make a couple of trial trips on Monday. She will first go out with the old wheels, and next go on the government dry-dock, when the new wheels made by Mr. Carroll will be attached. Whichever wheels she makes the best time with will be used.

Steel bilge keelsons have been put in on either side of the keelson of the str. New Island Wanderer, and bolted through and through. In this work some 1,200 lbs. of bolts were used. The new keelson weighs 3,700 lbs. The run of sixty-three miles from Oswego to Clayton was made in four hours and eighteen minutes. The steamer will be officered: Master, W.C. Hudson; mate, Chester Hudson; engineer, Chas. White; fireman, Eugene Wood.

The S.S. Craggs has arrived at this port. She has a load of herring for Chicago and comes from Bergen. She took on her lighterage and will get away tonight. The vessel is chartered for the trip. The firm bringing the herrings out here do not make any money out of the thing but merely do it as an advertisement. The same herrings could be brought cheaper from New York by rail but on account of the several transfers made in shipment the herrings would not be in as good as coming through direct by boat.

An Old Time Feat.

The Kingston papers speak of a raft being taken past the Fiddler's Elbow by a tug as a wonderful feat. Years ago all the rafts went that way and nothing extraordinary was thought of it. We were on a tug once that started to take a raft down in the night. At the upper turn the current swung the raft around, and in spite of all the efforts of the men and boat, the raft went around the Elbow first drawing the tug stern foremost after it. We have heard old river men say that all that is necessary is to let a raft alone and it will go safely around the Elbow.


Capt. John McCullough, lost off the schr. Cummings that foundered at Milwaukee, and recorded in our telegrams, was a son of Alexander McCullough who lives near the court house, this city. Deceased has two sisters residing here and a brother, Alexander, on Wolfe Island. Capt. McCullough was about thirty-five years of age, born on Wolfe Island, and a sailor all his days. His death is lamented by many persons in this city and elsewhere.

He has been living with his wife and family in East Saginaw for several years.

Thomas Turcotte, also missing, is a native of this city and about twenty years of age. His father is Lebore Turcotte, Quebec street, an employee of the corporation.

R. Patterson, who is saved, is a son of Capt. Patterson, of this city, who had some lively experience on Lake Superior on the schr. Glenora several years ago.




Chicago, May 19th - Lake Michigan has not been lashed and churned for months as it was yesterday by the fierce wind that has been sweeping down from the north for the past thirty-six hours. Twelve or fifteen lives have been lost along the shore of this city and its suburbs. The only other point reporting loss of life is Milwaukee, where six of the schooner Cummings' crew were drowned before they could be rescued by the life-saving crew. Half a dozen schooners and smaller craft foundered off this city during the day, a score or more are dismantled and stove in in making an almost helpless fight against the gale and the huge waves that every few minutes swept over them, endangering the lives who are still on board.

At least thirty vessels are anchored outside the harbor waiting for the storm to subside. All are more or less damaged, and the signals of distress that have appeared among them from time to time during the day have kept the life savers busy. Twenty-five or thirty men have been brought in all exhausted and suffering immensely from the exposure and cold. In several cases help has arrived too late and a corpse was found among the half conscious sailors.

The John Loomis McLaren, which had been riding at anchor about a mile out, parted her chains and commenced to come for the shore at Twenty-ninth street. Darkness was coming on, but it was seen that eight men were clinging to the rigging. The boat was carried on to the piling. She rebounded like a rubber ball, while another wave came sweeping over the rigging. In the meantime the life saving crew, reinforced by half a dozen of their men, had made ready their lines. The first rocket took effect, and one by one the men were brought ashore.

In the evening the lumber fleet, about two miles out, was throwing out distress rockets and was apparently coming ashore. About the same time the schooner Myrtle was seen drifting ashore near 29th street. Six half-frozen men were clinging to the rigging. The life-saving crew was busy a mile away and could give no assistance. Nine officers with plenty of ropes were on the shore, but having no rockets with which to cast their lines they could not help the doomed sailors. The captain, whose name is Warner, was the first to go. A huge wave swept him overboard and he was not seen again. The schooner had drifted to 34th street when her mainmast was carried away, taking with it as it fell one side of the cabin. Deprived of this shelter, the remaining sailors were washed overboard one by one until but one was left. He took off his clothes during a lull in the storm and jumped overboard, striking out for the shore. He had gone but a few yards, however, when he was carried under by the waves and did not reappear. The schooner foundered 200 feet off 35th street.

One member of the crew, Reinardson, had broken his arm and was unable to reach the lifeboat. The crew climbed into the boat and floated to within 200 feet of shore when it was overturned for the third time. The men, with the aid of their life preservers, floated ashore. The life saving crew went out again and finally managed to reach the boat. Only three members of the crew, numbering seven in all, could be seen still clinging to the rigging, and Frank Guardin of the life saving crew had also been able to hold on. Two of those above water were dead and were not brought to shore. The only two finally saved were Robert Patterson, of Buffalo, whose parents live in Kingston, Ont., and Frank Guardis, member of the life saving crew. The six dead are: Capt. McCullough, 35 years old, Oswego; mate Tom Bessot, Buffalo; Thomas Tercott, Kingston; two unknown sailors from Buffalo; unknown woman cook from vicinity of Toronto.

Forty lives were saved by the crews of the life-saving boats and the tugs of the Chicago company during the day. At midnight the velocity of the wind was 45 to 50 miles an hour. The members of the various life saving crews and the officers from the police stations on the south side of the city are patrolling the beach.

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19 May 1894
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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), 19 May 1894