The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 21 May 1894

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p.1 General Paragraphs - Thomas Bessaw, mate on the schooner M.J. Cummings, was drowned off her at Milwaukee. His home was at Buffalo, but he was well known in Kingston.

The str. North King ran from Charlotte to Port Hope in 3:45 hours or 15 1/2 miles per hour.


There were four vessels arrived at the same time yesterday from Oswego.

Clearances: tug Bronson, Montreal, three loaded barges; str. Craggs, Chicago, herrings.

The str. Columbus (sic - Columbian ?) was given a trial trip today. Her machinery worked easy and gave every satisfaction.

Passed down at Port Colborne: str. Bannockburn, Fort William to Kingston, wheat; barge Whitbeck, Chicago to Kingston, corn.

The schr. Delaware arrived from Oswego yesterday afternoon. She had a fair wind over and left in the morning. She has coal for Anglin.

Up to June 15th the mail boats will leave here for Toronto three times a week, the traffic not being sufficient to warrant a regular daily service.

Capt. Allen, of the schr. Queen of the Lakes, says the coal business is moving along quite briskly at present. There are a large number of vessels in to be loaded.

Arrivals: tugs Walker and Bronson, Montreal, six barges; schr. Queen of the Lakes, Oswego, coal; schr. Ella Murton, Oswego, coal; schr. Acacia, Oswego, coal; schr. Delaware, Oswego, coal.

Irwin Marshall, of this city, will be chief engineer of the new whaleback, launched on Lake Superior in a few days (sic). She will be the largest boat of the kind afloat and will carry 130,000 bushels of grain.

The str. Bannockburn will arrive this evening from Fort William. On Saturday the tug Walker and four barges arrived from Montreal to receive the steamer's cargo. They will clear for Montreal tomorrow.

Capt. John McCullough, the unfortunate captain lost off the schr. M.J. Cummings, purchased the vessel only this spring. He paid Goble & McFarlane, Oswego, $1,500 down and took out an insurance policy of $3,000, which he transferred to the late owners as security for the remainder.

On Saturday the str. Merritt, rebuilt here for Dr. Chamberlain, of Toronto, made her first long trip. She went to Belleville in six hours. This is pretty fast time when it is considered that her machinery works hard. A. Milne was in command and J. McGillivray, engineer. The Merritt will be engaged in the passenger business between Belleville and bay ports.

Accident At Oswego.

Oswego, May 19th - The steamer Coffinberry, bound out, and the Canadian schooner Wave Crest collided in a dense fog just outside the harbor last night. The Wave Crest was damaged considerably, but as the Coffinberry proceeded on her way her injuries are not known.


A despatch on Saturday, telling of the loss of the schr. M.S. Cummings, has these paragraphs:

"Surfman Goordes, as soon as he boarded the schooner, lashed the members of the crew to the rigging, but it is supposed they loosened the ropes to change their positions, hoping to escape the force of the blizzard of pelting snow and rain, but were so stiff that they could not make new fastenings, and he could do nothing for them. Capt. McCullough was the second man to fall. Turcotte went first and the others fell soon after the captain."

"All during the morning efforts had been made to rescue the crew. When Goordes boarded the schooner, before anything could be done, the line parted and the would-be rescuer was left. A huge wave swept along and carried the lifeboat, with its brave crew of rescuers, toward Bayview, where they were drawn into the breakers and capsized. The life-saving crew managed to reach shore safely."

"The life saving crew made another attempt to rescue their comrade and Patterson, who retained his hold on the vessel, and succeeded."

Incidents of the Day - Yesterday prayers were offered for the safety of Mr. Bissaw, who was one of the crew of the schr. M.J. Cummings. He belonged to this city and in the winter boarded with friends on Ontario street.

Ended In Death - Frank H. Taylor, hurt at Garden Island, succumbed to injuries.



Port Huron, Mich., May 21st - The lives of four volunteer life-savers were sacrificed on Saturday in an attempt to save the crew of the schooner Wm. Schupe, which was drifting helplessly off the shore eight miles north of here. Those drowned were: Capt. Barney Mills, married; Angus King, married; Capt. Henry Little, single, nephew of Capt. Nelson Little, of the Schupe; Wm. Lewis, married.

The Schupe ran on a sand reef about a quarter of a mile from shore. The sea was running very high and she soon lost her steering apparatus and was in imminent danger of going to pieces. The tug Thompson went out to the wreck, but was unable to get near enough to the disabled schooner to render any assistance to her crew. She returned for more help and started out again with a yawl and six men who volunteered to make the perilous attempt to board the Schupe.

The boat was launched with Barney, King, Lewis and Wm. Linn as the crew and managed to reach the Schupe in safety. A painter was thrown to the vessel and made fast, but just as the almost exhausted sailors started to avail themselves of the life line the yawl capsized and all its occupants were thrown into the water. Of the five men but one (Wm. Linn) was rescued. As the boat went over he grasped the rope and was drawn to the Schupe. The others were drowned. The tug returned to the shore and the life saving crew at Island Beach, ten miles distant, was telegraphed for. They came by a special train and succeeded in rescuing those who were aboard the disabled schooner.

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21 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.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 21 May 1894