The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 21 Oct 1905

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A Goodly Number of Those Who Perished Belonged to Kingston.

The Vessel Had Grain From Fort William to Kingston.

Another lake catastrophe has befallen the Montreal Transportation company. About two o'clock Friday morning its big barge Minnedosa foundered in a terrible gale, near Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron, and all the crew were lost. The terrible news came in a telegram Friday evening to L.L. Henderson, local manager of the company. A brief despatch to the Whig from Detroit, Mich., says:

Saw Barge Go Down.

"The barge Minnedosa, of Kingston, Ont., was lost at 2 a.m. on Friday in Saginaw Bay, with all her crew. The Minnedosa was coming down from Fort William, bound for Kingston, with a cargo of wheat. She was in tow of the steamer Westmount, which was also towing the barge Melrose.The tow line broke during the storm and the Melrose and Westmount were separated from the Minnedosa. The Melrose and Westmount managed to make harbor at Harbor Beach late in the afternoon, and reported that they had seen the Minnedosa go down."

The Lost Crew

There were nine of a crew, of whom only seven are yet known. Five are known to have belonged to Kingston. They are:

Capt. John Phillips

His wife, who acted as cook aboard the Minnedosa

James Allen, George Smith and William McIntyre, seamen.

The mate's name was Arthur, and he hailed from Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Another seaman was a man named Jack, a friend of the mate, who also belonged to Charlottetown.

The Minnedosa, with the barge Melrose, was in tow of the steamship Westmount, bound for Kingston, from Fort William, and carried 75,000 bushels of wheat. She was built at the M.T. company's shipyard here in 1890. She was 235 feet long and 35 feet beam, and was valued at $50,000. Her wheat cargo was worth $60,000. It was insured, but the vessel was not. The Minnedosa was one of the best barges the M.T. company had. Its loss the company would think little of had the crew been saved. The lives that went out beneath the turbulent waters, are all the company thinks about at present. It was on November 18th, 1902, that the M.T. company's steamship Bannockburn was lost on Lake Superior. No one saw her sink into the waters, as was done in the case of the Minnedosa whose going down was beheld by the crews of both the Westmount and the Melrose, but who were powerless to give aid to those who might struggle awhile in the foaming waters.

The Minnedosa was first commanded by Capt. John Geoghegan, now of the local customs, who was in charge of her for three seasons after she was launched and until he was appointed customs officer. The steamship Westmount is in command of Capt. James Milligan, of St. Catharines.

Who The Crew Were.

This morning, Mr. Henderson had found out the names of only seven of the nine in the crew. The captain, John Phillips, was born on Wolfe Island, and was about forty-five years of age. He began sailing when eleven years old, going on one of the Calvin company vessels. He was with that company for probably twenty-five years, and commanded a number of its vessels. Ten years ago, he entered the employment of the M.T. company and commanded the barges Dunmore, Quebec, and Minnedosa, this being his second season on the latter. He was twice married. Surviving are three daughters, two in the city and the eldest the wife of Captain Lawrence, of the Calvin steamer Simla. Captain Phillips was a Roman Catholic, and a member of the local C.O.C.F., No. 20, in which he was insured. His wife's name was Katie Little. The latter's mother lives at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and she has a sister in Belleville.

William McIntyre was a young Englishman, who was brought up by Jeremy Millan, Earl Street. He served in South African war, and on his return became a sailor. He had no relatives in this country.

James Allen lived here for the past three years. He boarded at the Lakeview House. It is understood he hailed from New York.

George Smith was a native of Kingston. His mother and sister now reside in New York, and his brother Charles in Picton. For years he was employed in F.A. Bibby's livery and also for a time with T.C. Wilson. Last winter he drove Green's butcher waggon. The young man had only been on the Minnedosa for a few months.

Many Other Wrecks - Detroit, Mich., Oct. 21st - The storm was one of the most severe in recent years. Ten vessels all known to have been completely wrecked and twelve to fifteen more or less severely damaged.

The boats lost, in addition to the Minnedosa, are:

Tug Frank Perry, sunk off Boot Island, in the Chenaux group.

Steamer Joseph S. Fay, ran ashore near Roger's City, Mich., and broken to pieces by the waves. Mate Joseph Syze drowned. Owned by M.A. Bradley, of Cleveland.

Barge D.P. Rhoades, in tow of steamer J.S. Fay, driven ashore near Cheboygan, Mich.

Schooner Emma L. Neilson, stranded in Presque Isle harbor, boat badly damaged, but crew saved.

Schooner Mautince (Mautinee ?), ashore eighteen miles west of Erie, Pa.

Schooner, supposed to be either the Tasmania or Ashland, of the Corrigan fleet, sunk off South East shoal light-ship, on Lake Erie. Nothing known of crew of eight men.

Steamer Sarah E. Sheldon, beached and wrecked near Lorraine, Ohio.

Schooner Kingfisher, beaten to pieces off Cleveland.



Craig's wharf: steamer Alexandria up this morning; steamer Michigan due up tonight; steamer Waterlily down tomorrow.

Swift's wharf: steamer Belleville due up tonight; steamer Rideau King up from Ottawa tonight; steamer Hamilton down today; steamer Aletha, bay ports.

M.T. company elevator: steamer Darnacomia (sic - Donnaconna ?) from Fort William, with 90,000 bushels of wheat; steamer Turret Chief clears for Fort William today; tug Emerson cleared down with grain-laden barges.

Recently while the steamer Belleville was at Cressy wharf, a Belleville lady dropped her gold watch into the water, fourteen feet deep. A number of days after, Geoffrey Denike, a young lad, son of B.S. Denike, dived and brought up the lost treasure.

L.L. Henderson, of the M.T. Co., said this morning, there was no foundation to the rumor that the Rosemount was ashore on Lake Ontario. He received a wire this morning from Port Dalhousie that she had passed up at 4 p.m.

The steamer Turret Crown, which cleared for Fort William, Thursday night from the M.T. company elevator, ran back this morning for coal supply. She had such a fight with the waves all Friday that her coal was pretty well expended. She loaded at Swift's wharf and cleared late in the morning.



Steam Barge Springs a Leak - Is Beached.

Detroit, Mich., Oct. 20th - The death of mate David Syze, of the steambarge Joseph Fay, wrecked at Rogers City, Mich., was reported during the day as a result of a terrific storm on the Great Lakes, and evidence of disaster is found in all directions.

The barge Rhoades, which broke away from the Joseph Fay before the latter was beached at Rogers City, was reported ashore today on Cheboygan Point. She is in an exposed position, but her crew was saved.

From Lake Erie comes reports of the sinking of a vessel thought to be one of the barges of the fleet of James Corrigan, of Cleveland. Capt. Stewart of the steamer Walter Scranton, which passed up to Detroit river today, sent word ashore that he had passed a sinking vessel in Lake Erie two and one-half miles south west of the south-east shoal lightship.

The top of her cabin showed above water, and the Corrigan colors were in evidence. The steamer Bulgaria of the Corrigan fleet was soon after sighted under shelter of an island.

Apparently neither of the barges Tasmania or Ashland, which the Bulgaria had in tow when she passed Detroit yesterday, were then with her. From this it was inferred that the sinking vessel sighted was one of these barges, the fate of the other remaining in doubt.

Evidence of another disaster is found in the discovery of wreckage floating by Thunder Bay Island in Lake Huron late today. The schooner Emma L. Neilson, of Alpena, Mich., is reported ashore in Presque Isle harbor.

Tonight the water at the Lime Kiln crossing near the mouth of the Detroit river had risen to eighteen feet, a fleet of about a dozen vessels being in shelter there awaiting the end of the storm and a nineteen foot stage of water.

At an early hour tonight the wind at Detroit had fallen to twenty-four miles an hour, the maximum here during the storm being forty miles.

The Mate Drowned.

Rogers City, Mich., Oct. 20th - The steambarge Joseph Fay, of Cleveland, owned by the Bardley estate, sprung a leak while fighting the furious gale on Lake Huron off this port, today, and was beached by Capt. Fletcher, at Forty Mile Point light, six miles from here.

The tremendous seas washed off the pilot house after the steamer struck the beach and Capt. Fletcher and most of the crew of fourteen men drifted ashore clinging to it.

All the other members reached shore in safety, clinging to wreckage, except Mate David Syze, who was drowned. The barge Rhoades, which had been in tow of the Fay, was parted from her during the storm, and fears are felt for the safety of the barge and her crew of six men.

It is thought that the crew may have succeeded in making sail and reaching the Straits of Mackinaw.

The Crew Saved.

Chicago, Oct. 20th - The schooner Mautenee struck a rock eighteen miles west of Erie and pounded by the terrific seas commenced breaking up. The waves were so high that it was impossible to launch the lifeboats and one of the seamen swam to shore with a line.

A breeches buoy was soon rigged up, and the entire crew, together with the cook, Mrs. Kate Daly, was brought safely to shore. The boat was bound from Buffalo to Detroit.

Two accidents occurred at Grand Marais, Mich., where the steamer Barth, towing the schooners Nirvana and Galatea, endeavored to make the port for shelter. Both schooners missed the entrance and drifted westward in the lake.

The Nirvana went down about a half mile off shore, and her crew of seven men were rescued by the life-saving crew.

The Galatea went ashore, but probably will weather the storm. Her crew of seven men was taken off.

Pounded By Waves.

Cheboygan, Mich., Oct. 20th - A two-masted tow barge went ashore on Lighthouse Point, in last night's gale, and is now being pounded by the seas.The name of the boat and her condition cannot be learned, as assistance cannot reach her on account of the storm. It is thought that it may be the barge Rhoades, which broke away from the Joseph Fay, last night, on Lake Huron.

The harbor tug Cygnet, which has been aground near the entrance to the harbor for the past two days, was broken to pieces by the storm during the night, and this morning not a trace of her could be seen. None of the crew was on board.

The steamer Simla and consort Burmah arrived back at Garden Island, this afternoon, the Simla's steering gear having been damaged. The vessels had a rough time on the lake yesterday.

p.8 Lights To Burn To Later Date - The Dominion Marine Association has been notified of favorable action of the government on its petition to have the lighthouses on the lakes and rivers kept going until a later date than usual. This will allow navigation being kept open with safety for a considerable time longer than heretofore. The lights and fog horns will be kept in commission at the lower end of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence river until December 20th. In previous years the service was discontinued December 5th.

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21 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.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 21 Oct 1905