The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 10 Oct 1905

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p.1 Rather Big Loss - Erie, Pa., Oct.10th - The fishing tug Valiant, of this port, which was captured by the United States revenue cutter Morrill, off Long Point, yesterday, is the largest boat of the Booth Fish company, and her loss to that company is considerable. On board the captured vessel were Captain Cornelius, Cleveland, the engineer and four fishermen of the crew. They will make a statement to the officers of the Booth company today. It is thought Capt. Cornelius will maintain that so long as the Canadian cruiser Vigilant, which passed him several times during the day, did not molest him, the revenue cutter had no right to take him for pulling nets that had drifted over the boundary lines into Canadian waters.



Craig's wharf: steamer Alexandria down last night; steamer Cuba down this morning.

The steambarge Randall arrived back from Charity Shoal after having stripped the stranded schooner Annandale of sails, spars, anchors, etc., worth over $300. The vessel itself will soon go to pieces. The Donnelly Wrecking Co. have got nearly all the coal out of the Annandale.



For Wrongful Dismissal And Damages.

Justice Clute heard the much talked of Crawford case at court today. James Crawford, late captain of the steamer Wolfe Islander, sued the township of Wolfe Island for wrongful dismissal and damages.

On the jury were: S. Thompson, S. Marshall, William Thompson, John Pomroy, Jethro Graham, J.B. Day, W.A. Mitchell, James Hay, James Gordon, M.A. James, H. Cavan, Ezra Campbell. The jury was addressed by T.J. Rigney for the plaintiff, in explanation of the case. The first witness was D.J. Dawson, Wolfe Island township clerk. Minutes of the meeting of February 15th, 1905, were then shown, when Captain Crawford was given the captaincy of the steamer Fawcett, now Wolfe Islander, at $600 yearly. Dawson could not say, officially, when the captaincy of Crawford terminated on the ferry. In the minutes of June 5th, it was seen he had no longer charge, and had been given $50. Capt. Winborne evidently became the Wolfe Islander's master, as he was given the July salary. The agreement between the township and Crawford was: "Captain Crawford to be master of steamer Wolfe Islander, at $600 per annum, board and lodging included. A month's notice could not terminate contract. No official appointment was entered into with Winborne.

John L. Whiting, K.C., took the case for the township of Wolfe Island. No by-law was passed confirming Crawford's appointment.

Captain James Crawford took the box. He recognized his signature on the contract of February 15th. His work for the township commenced February 1st, and terminated May 25th. Reeve Briceland, employed and gave him his dismissal, because he refused to unload freight, considering it out of his line. Briceland said he could obtain a master who could do unloading. I said, "I don't consider it the captain's duty to unload the cargo." Briceland said I could leave as soon as I desired. I was absent from the boat about fifteen minutes at Lawyer Rigney's office, and on my return found the boat was at the G.T.R. wharf, and Winborne in charge. Briceland's cheque, tendered by his son, was refused. Crawford told Mr. Whiting the season opened April 10th. He had unloaded freight. He went to the wharf to be of assistance if possible. He would not take the cheque for his twenty-five days' pay; he wanted the full season's money. He also refused cheque because he felt Briceland had no right to abuse and discharge him before a dock full of people. Councillor Armstrong after seeing Messrs. Horne and Flynn, asked me if I would go back and I said I would if the other man was put off. I didn't object to Briceland, but I didn't wish to take orders from him individually but from the whole council. At the meeting of council June 5th, Crawford said he would return to the steamer if Winborne was discharged.

To Mr. Rigney he said the council as a body did not ask him to return to the steamer.

W.H. Woodman, a resident of Wolfe Island, was present on the boat as a passenger on May 25th. Discussed Crawford with Briceland. Asked where was the third deck-hand, usually carried on Thursday. Briceland said he could get a man cheaper than Crawford, who would handle freight and he would do it. Witness swore it was customary to have three deckhands on Thursday, when possible to get them.

James Davis, mate on the steamer, who was on board when the trouble took place, overheard very little of the dispute with Briceland and Crawford. Thought there were four deck hands last year. Briceland told him shortly after arrival of boat at dock that Winborne would take charge. Capt. Crawford always lent a helping hand, though he never ran a truck. Witness always unloaded freight at ferry dock, and it was not unusual for the captain to leave the boat at the ferry dock. "I don't know that I have seen the present captain use a truck, since coming on the steamer, though he lends a hand. He told Mr. Whiting he himself used a truck.

Gregory Keegan, purser on the Wolfe Islander, and was on board the day of the trouble. He remembered Briceland on a trip over, and had been asked for money by the reeve to pay the captain, shortly after tying up at the wharf. I said: "I haven't any money; if you want to pay the money you will have to give a cheque. Briceland told me to tell passengers there would be no 11:30 trip."

Mr. Whiting got a "yes" to the question that the trip was cancelled because the boat was late. The purser did not hear the captain ask the reeve for his money.

Deckhand Heppner said this was his first season and that he was one of two deckhands on every day but Thursday, when there were usually three. He heard Capt. Crawford say to the reeve, that he didn't have to run a truck; if Briceland wanted him to do so, he could give thirty days' notice. Witness was on board when Wilborne came on.

To Whiting, witness said he was not told to "take it easy" in unloading.

Dr. McCarthy, a resident of Marysville, was on the wharf and overheard Briceland say if the captain would not run a truck he could go, without a minute's notice, he need not give thirty days. Captain said he would not load freight because it was not according to his contract. Witness told Mr. Whiting he did not come to the city, thinking the captain was dismissed, and not knowing whether he would get back to the island or not.

Capt. C. Hinckley, a former ferry master on the route taken by the Wolfe Islander, said: "I consider wheeling trucks not part of captain's duties, there are deckhands for that."

Thomas Flynn, councillor for the township of Wolfe Island, said on the now well known day of the dispute, he was on the wharf and Briceland told him something must be done. To his question as to what was wrong, Flynn received no answer. The reeve said another trip must be made, but Crawford said he would not make it. Briceland said others would and the captain said he would give notice. The reeve said there was no need for giving notice, and the captain asked for his money, which Mr. Briceland said he could get in town. Flynn suggested to Crawford that he remain on the island until the affair blew over. The council made no resolution dismissing Crawford or appointing Winborne. Captain Crawford gave satisfaction to the council. Thursdays usually saw an extra man usually employed on the steamer.

To Whiting, Flynn said both he and Armstrong wanted Crawford back. Witness wanted boat's management changed and the reeve kicked out entirely. (A smiling ripple passed over the court and reeve's face.) Mr. Keys was suggested as manager with Briceland out.

Mr. Whiting put no witness in the stand, asking for a nonsuit, contending that the contract with Capt. Crawford was not broken, and that only pay was due him for services done. Briceland did not dismiss the captain but Crawford said to him "If you say so I'll go now." According to this, he could not say he was discharged. Also the reeve was not authorized to dismiss Crawford, who received his appointment by the township council. Further he told council he would not return to steamer unless Reeve Briceland was put out. Several similar cases to the present one were pointed out by Mr. Rigney wherein councils were held liable, though seals were unattached to the contracts. Due to his suspension the captain did not do his work. With due cause it was within the right of the council to dismiss Crawford, but doing it, without a just reason, he was entitled to damages. The court ordered the case to proceed and the defense is now being heard.

Would Like To Know.

Marysville, Oct. 9th - To the Editor:

If a boat was valued at $24,000 and an insurance policy was placed on her of $15,000 with what is called a seventy-five per cent insurance clause, and a fire occurred by which damage was done to the extent of $15,000, would that amount be paid, if not how much would be paid?

Would some of your experts kindly let us know through your columns and oblige.


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10 Oct 1905
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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), 10 Oct 1905