The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 30 Sep 1896

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About the Wharves - The str. Spartan broke away from her moorings shortly before seven o'clock. The steamer had been well fastened, but the trouble arose when the wind shifted. It had been blowing hard from the north-east, and suddenly shifted around to the south-east about 6:30 o'clock. The Spartan was lying on the east side of Swift's dock, and was well sheltered from a north wind. Her bow, however, protruded from the shelter about twenty-five feet, and when the wind shifted the forward part of the ship was consequently exposed. With the shift of direction the wind blew with redoubled force. The Spartan had an anchor chain from the forward bow through a chaulk and this is where the trouble arose. The chauk drew out and the chain was in such an angle with the spile where it was fastened that the strain ripped it along the side of the boat. This gave the (wind more play ?) and in a minute's time the steamer was free of her moorings, three of the spiles to which she had been tied being pulled up. Her bow swung around and the boat got behind the schr. Fleetwing. It is very fortunate that the Spartan did not collide with the vessel or the result would certainly have been disastrous. Men were engaged as soon as possible and the boat again made secure. A great deal of planking in the vicinity of the spiles were pulled up, while ropes, etc. were destroyed. A hole was also punched in the boat's paddle box by contact with the vessel. A few stanchions were also injured.

The str. St. Lawrence also broke away from the G.T.R. dock, where she was tied up. She drifted against a pier close by and by one of her fenders breaking a couple of the guards under the whole were snapped off. This was about the only injury the steamer sustained. Her condition was discovered before she had time to pound around much.

The str. Maynard, which for two years past has lain in a mudbank at Davis' dock, and was pumped out and floated on Thursday last, preparatory to being repaired, was blown a distance of about twenty-five feet from her original position and stuck fast on another mudbank.

The str. America, lying in Rathbun's dock, broke her moorings and drifted about 100 feet, bringing up against the railway embankment. She now lies in water only a couple of feet below her high water mark.

(repeated from precious issue)

General Paragraphs - The str. Bannockburn is towing two oil tank barges owned by the Standerd Oil company. They are going down to the coast.

The str. St. Lawrence is running on the Cape Vincent route, the str. America having gone into winter quarters.

The str. Islander will go on Davis' dry-dock to undergo repairs.



The Captain Tells How The Man Was Lost.

The tow barge Melrose, consort of the str. Bannockburn, arrived in port last night. It will be remembered that a man named John Riley was drowned off the Melrose, last week, while the tow was en route from Fort William to this port. Capt. Fleming says the tow was about thirty miles north of Standard Rock, Lake Superior, when the accident occurred. Waves were rolling mountains high, every one of them boarding the Melrose. John Riley was forward and attempted to go aft. He got as far as the main mast when a huge breaker mounted the rail and washed him over board. He was not seen until about twenty feet to leeward of the vessel. Capt. Fleming was standing on the lee rail and saw Riley rise to the surface. Orders were given to lower the life-boat, but before this could be done the unfortunate man had disappeared. The vessel was making about six miles an hour at the time. The Melrose carries a crew of only six men and at the time of the accident two were at the wheel. It is just possible that if two or three men had ventured out in a small boat they would have been lost also. Riley had only about a week's pay due him. He claimed to belong to Brooklyn, N.Y., also that he had a sister in the House of Providence here, at which institution he worked last winter. His effects, which are meagre, are still aboard the Melrose. The report that the Melrose was badly damaged was false. Her injuries consist of bulwarks forward being washed out. A trifling sum will make all damages good. The hatches are all in good condition. A small quantity of grain aboard is damaged.

Capt. Fleming Injured.

While coming down throught the Welland canal Capt. Fleming, of the tow barge Melrose, met with an accident, having his right forearm badly injured. The barge stuck on bottom, and in attempting to relieve her of the line on the chock broke it, allowing the line to jump free. In doing so the line struck the pipe rail forward, breaking it. A piece of this rail struck Capt. Fleming's arm, almost fracturing the bone. As it was he received a deep and painful gash, which had to be dressed by a surgeon.

A Schooner Ashore.

Early this morning the schr. Case left Collinsby, after discharging her cargo of timber. It was the vessel's intention to go out in the stream and await the prop. Tecumseh, the steambarge which towed her. She got sailing around the lake when the big blow came up. She finally went ashore near Bath. The Donnelly wrecking and salvage company was wired, and John Donnelly, jr., left on the tug Reginald to pull her off.

Marine Items.

The prop. Tecumseh left the government dry-dock today. She received general repairs and caulking.

The str. Islander left this port for Cape Vincent, N.Y., via the foot of Wolfe Island this morning. She carried eighteen passengers.


Milwaukee, Wis., Sept. 30th - The barge Sumatra foundered off the government pier this morning, and four of the crew were drowned. The dead are all from West Bay City, Mich.

They are: Arthur Burnsted, Charles Hermer, Patrick Peterson and Peter Anderson.

Capt. Charles John, mate John Burbedeck and Ira Purser, the cook, were rescued by the tug Simpson.

The Sumatra was bound down from Chicago with a load of railroad iron and intended to stop here to pick up the Pattie Wells. She was leaking on her way up and had the pumps working all night. The sea was running high and the crew had great difficulty in keeping her from sinking. When she reached South Point she got in the trough, and in a short time her hatches were washed off and her rails carried away. The steamer sounded her whistle and the tug Simpson at once put out for the wreck.

The sea at that time was running very high and great trouble was experienced in getting near the sinking barge. Just as the Simpson reached the Sumatra the latter foundered. The tug men succeeded in rescuing the cook and mate from the wreckage. The life-saving crew was on hand and worked hard to save the other men on the barge, but all were drowned with the exception of the captain, who was taken ashore by the life savers.

The Sumatra is badly broken up, and only her mast can be seen out of water now. The wreck occurred about a mile and a half out from the harbor entrance.

The ill-fated barge went down with scarcely a moment's notice, and according to the statement of Capt. Johnson and the mate, the crew did not even have time to mount the rigging after realizing that the vessel was foundering.

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30 Sep 1896
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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), 30 Sep 1896