The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 26 Oct 1898

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The schooner Eliza Fisher arrived in port yesterday morning after a long and expensive trip to Charlotte. She left here thirty days ago to load coal at the American port, but heavy gales and dirty weather held her at Charlotte until last Thursday night. Seven attempts were made to cross the lake, but each time she was forced to turn back to seek shelter after seeing the north shore three times. Once the Fisher was closely following the schooner Fleetwing across when her flying jib was torn asunder, and again Capt. James Nicholson was obliged to turn back. Last Thursday night another start was made and the schooner made a successful run across to Presque Isle and anchored in Brighton bay until Saturday morning, the wind being too heavy to work in the shallow water. While lying there on Saturday morning the crew assisted in taking soundings for the tug Walker, which ran aground in the bay and was still hard and fast when the Fisher left for this port. Murray canal was reached about the time the heavy wind from the south-west sprung up and the captain was forced to tie up at the head of the canal until Sunday noon, when another start was made to reach Kingston. A smooth run was made through the canal until the iron railway bridge was reached, when the steamer Alexandria attempted to pass her. The schooner kept as close as possible to the windward shore, and the captain hailed the steamer, requesting that she be held back as he was about to pass through the bridge. Instead the steamer kept on, and when abreast of the schooner gave the bells to reverse the engines, as the suction drew both boats together, and both would have crashed into the bridge had not their headway been checked. In coming together the jibboom of the Fisher smashed through the paddle box of the steamer, and her horn went through one of the staterooms, doing considerable damage to her upper works. The headgear and bow chains of the schooner were carried away. After temporary repairs the schooner proceeded to this port, reaching here yesterday morning after a very eventful and expensive trip.

Various Marine Notes.

The schooner Pilot, light, cleared for bay ports yesterday.

The schooner Trade Wind loaded grain and lumber here to-day for Oswego.

The steamer Viking arrived from Chicago yesterday with 62,500 bushels of corn for the M.T. company.

The barge Loretta Rooney left for Deseronto to-day to serve as lighter for the boats laden with iron ore.

The steamer Katahdin, of the Atlantic transportation company's fleet, left Coteau Landing for Montreal this morning.

The tug Bronson arrived from Montreal yesterday with six light barges and returned to-day with four barges, grain-laden.

The schooner Singapore, from Lake Ontario ports, with 7,600 bushels of peas, reached the M.T. company's elevator last evening.

The steamer Ralph and consort Harold, with 99,000 bushels of corn from Chicago, arrived at the M.T. company's elevator this morning.

The steamer Nile, from Iroquois to Deseronto, is windbound at this port. She was forced to turn back when crossing the lower gap. The Nile will be engaged for a few weeks in carrying lumber and shingles from Deseronto to Round Island.

The calm spell yesterday afternoon allowed several boats to get away after being wind bound for several days. The schooners Acacia and Annandale cleared for Charlotte, and the schooner Kate for Oswego. The gale caught them again on the lake last night and they ran into South Bay for shelter.

The schooner Two Brothers, from Fair Haven, is at Crawford's wharf with coal. Saturday's heavy gale caught the schooner a few miles beyond the Ducks and forced Capt. Patterson to square away and run down the American channel to Carleton Island. When the wind lulled he sailed around the foot of Wolfe Island, reaching here on Monday night.

The tug Active, on her way to the stranded barges Hector and Kildonan with the schooner Grantham, ran aground at Graveller point, three miles below Deseronto, last evening. She ran on at full speed and is out four inches aft. The bottom at that point is quite soft and it was expected that she would be released this afternoon. Her boilers were blown off to lighten her.

The M.T. company's barge, Hector, ashore in a bay eight miles above Wellington, is hard on a rock bottom. At least 400 ? tons of her cargo of coal must be removed before she can be floated off. She is six feet out of water. The Kildonan is in better condition. She lies on a sandy bottom over a mile away from her sister ship in distress. Only her decks are above water. Both boats appear to be in a fairly sound condition and it is expected little trouble will be experienced in getting them off and bringing them to this port for repairs. Fine weather must be awaited, as the bay where they are ashore is very much exposed.

Welland Canal Report.

Port Colborne, Oct. 25th - down - steamers Tilley and Merritt, Superior to Prescott, wheat; steamer Averell, Chicago to Ogdensburg, general cargo; steamer Niagara, Toledo to Kingston, corn.

The Sinking Of The Walker - The sinking of the tug Walker amid a wild and turbulent sea, was rather a pretty sight, with a twinge of sadness. Though a small craft her movements in the sea were very graceful, but the two seas, which stove in her upper works and quenched the fires, caused her movements to become more jerked, as though her dangerous position sent thrills of terror the powerful tug. Shipping a few more seas, she took a heavy lurch to port, a plunge forward and then throwing her nose high in the air, as though gasping for breadth, she went down stern foremost before the eyes of her crew. In one minute all that could be seen of the powerful tug was her loosened upper works, soon strewn along Wellington beach.


As a rule the French-Canadians are a nervous and excitable people, and not over courageous. Owing to this condition accidents occur more frequently when they are placed in a tight position. It is among their sailors this lack of courage is most prominently noticed, and French engineers have been known to run excitedly from their posts at a faint sign of danger. The wreck of the tug Walker and barges, however, has shown a courageous Frenchman in Capt. Maxime Lefebvre, in command of the barge Kildonan. From the time his boat began to drag anchor until the crew were safely landed on shore, he remained cool and collected, and also let his men understand that he was master of the ship. Before the Kildonan grounded he had the yawl boat lowered to use if necessary. When the small boat touched the water several of the men moved, as though to jump into her, but the captain, seizing a short oar, threatened to knock down the first individual who left the barge without his permission. He recognized the excitable qualities in his French crew and knew a pell-mell rush for the small boat would mean the loss of more than one man. After the Kildonan beached herself, and nothing more could be done, he allowed the crew to step into the boat, which they did quietly. The officials of the M.T. company speak favorably of Capt. Lefebvre's fearless spirit, and say he would run a boat over Niagara Falls if he was ordered to do so.



Wellington, Oct. 25th - Why was the life-saving station removed from Wellington to Weller's Bay? This is being asked by scores of people since the recent wind storm and wreck of the tug James A. Walker and two barges. Was it because it was more needed at its present location? Since the erection of the station at Wellington there have been sixteen wrecks, including vessels that were driven ashore between Huyck's Point and Point Petre and two rescues by Capt. McCollough and his crew, viz., Capt. Savage and crew, who were wrecked at Weller's on the lake side. Had it not been for Capt. McCollough and crew all hands would have perished. The particulars of the rescue are worthy of note. Word was sent to Trenton for a special to be sent to Wellington for the life-boat and crew. Capt. McCollough was also telegraphed to have everything in readiness when the train arrived. From the time the boat was loaded on the car until she had the crew on the shore was only 1:55, running fifteen miles by train and six miles by waggon. When rescued the crew was nearly perished.

The steamer Hecla's crew was rescued after three attempts were made by Capt. McCollough and his crew.

The chances are that had the life boat been at Wellington William Leduc's life would have been saved.

p.6 General Paragraphs - The steamer Richelieu has been furnished with new plush covered sofas, easy chairs, swinging bracket lamps, etc., for the fall trade. These comforts will be permanent, and next spring additional luxuries will be added.

This morning the steambarge Water Lily unloaded 1,000 cases of canned fruit, which were shipped to Winnipeg by the G.T. railway.

The American propeller Porter collided with the S.S. Turret Age, and sank in three minutes afterwards near St. Croix, Quebec.

Capt. John Gaskin was at Consecon this morning and left for Wellington to visit the two barges ashore on Wellington beach.

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26 Oct 1898
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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), 26 Oct 1898