The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 19 Nov 1906

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p.1 The Algoma Central steamer Theano was sunk at the entrance to Thunder Bay, on Friday night, and the Winona, of Hamilton, ran on a shoal at Manitoulin Island, early on Saturday, and had to be beached.


Fort William, Nov. 19th - In the same terrific gale which drove the Canadian steamer Theano on the rocks and totally destroyed her, the Canadian steamer Strathcona, and the American steamer Phillip Minch, were blown ashore. Both crews are safe. The Minch may be a total loss. She is a steel ship, built at Lorraine in 1895, is 480 feet long, fifty-two feet beam, and is owned in Cleveland. The Strathcona is owned by the Hamilton and Fort William Navigation company, was built in 1900, and is 255 feet in length and forty-three feet beam.



Quebec, Nov. 19th - The Allan liner Bavarian, which ran ashore on Wye Rock, on the night of Friday, November 4th, 1905, while on the way from Montreal to Liverpool, was successfully floated off at seven o'clock, yesterday evening, and left for this port this morning. Last fall a large sum of money was spent in an endeavor to float the big steamer without success, although experts from Europe and America were engaged in the work. During the past spring experts were brought from Scotland who, after a thorough examination of the position of the vessel, said the vessel might possibly be floated, but the expense of the work would be too great to pay for the result.

W.B. Lesslie, the well-known wrecker, of Kingston, Ont., then undertook the contract. Men who have spent their lives on the river said he would never be successful, as the only way to get the ship afloat would be to (blast the rock by which she is held ?) fast, but they thought if this method was resorted to the steamer would receive fatal damage.

Mr. Lesslie in undertaking the work said the steamer could be floated by compressed air. He set to work and platformed the ship over the holds in which were holes. He imported air bags from New York and placed them under the platforms. As it took considerable time to carry on these operations the attempt to float the ship was postponed from one spring tide to another. When these postponements occurred, the knowing ones shook their heads and said the Bavarian would never be floated except on the retail principle.

On Friday evening last when the tide was unusually high and the effort of three powerful steamers failed to pull the vessel off, the majority of shipping men came to the conclusion that she would remain on Wye Rock for another winter. When the Bavarian reaches Quebec she will be placed on the beach at Wolfe's Cove for the winter. The Dominion government gave the contractor for floating the Bavarian, all the aid in its power to get the ship afloat.



On Friday afternoon last the engineers at work on the stranded steamer Bavarian on Wye Rock, succeeded in raising the ship off the shelf of rock on which she was stranded, and in moving her a distance of ninety feet; they had, indeed, practically effected a floating, but owing to an insufficiency of towboats at the time, the work was temporarily abandoned. It is said that there will be little difficulty in successfully completing the floating operations before Monday morning. The ship will probably be taken to the Louise Basin at Quebec. Air pressure was the means adopted in this latest salvage venture, a number of compartments being rendered watertight, buoyancy then being secured by the pumping in of air.

It is now fourteen months since the Bavarian was stranded in the channel. The steamer was floated off on Sunday evening.

Marine Paragraphs.

The schooner Acacia arrived from Oswego with coal for Crawford.

The schooner Mary Ann Lydon, from Oswego, is unloading coal at Anglin's.

Richardsons': schooner Ariadne, from Wolfe Island, with grain; barge A.D. left for Quebec with 40,000 bushels of oats, towed by tug Weatherby.

Swift's: steambarge Hinckley clears for Oswego this morning; steamer Aletha down and up the bay today; steamer Dundurn down today; steamer Picton up today.

The steamer Belleville is expected up today on her last trip; she goes into winter quarters at Toronto. Capt. Stevenson, the popular master of this boat, expects a successful season.

Craig's: steamer Alexandria passed up Saturday night on her last trip. She goes into winter quarters at Picton. Capt. Smith reports a busy season in both freight and passenger traffic. Propellor Persia down Saturday night.

Capt. Simmons has been doing some quick work with the schooner Acacia. He left Sodus at 5 a.m. on Saturday, sailed to Oswego, took on a cargo of coal and reached Kingston at 9 o'clock that night, covering the whole trip in sixteen hours.

M.T. Co.: steamer W.B. Morley, from Duluth, with 75,000 bushels of flax seed, steamer A.M. Marshall with grain for Montreal; steamer Edmonton from Fort William with 86,000 bushels of wheat; tug Emerson from Montreal with five light barges.

J.B. Reid has sold his motor boat Eureka to Commodore F.G. Bourne, New York, who has a summer home at Dark Island. The Eureka won the cup given by the St. Lawrence River Yacht club in a named race last summer at a speed of twenty-four miles per hour.

Ten days fine weather will complete the western grain trade at Richardsons'. At present 250,000 bushels of grain are on the way to Richardsons, and it is hoped that the weather will continue fine. The steamers now on the way with grain are the India, Simla, Ames and Neeburg.

Is Seriously Ill - Rev. Thomas Bone, the veteran Welland canal missionary, is very ill at his home at St. Catharines. Owing to his advanced age, eighty-two years, his recovery is doubtful.



In Floating The Steamer Bavarian

William Lesslie, of Kingston, has performed an extraordinary feat in floating the steamship Bavarian, which for two years has lain on Wye Rock, below Quebec, and has created the wonder of the whole marine world. Wrecking companies on both sides of the Atlantic ocean attempted to float the Bavarian. Experts were brought from the United States and Great Britain, but all their attempts proved unsuccessful. The Bavarian could not be budged from its position on the rock, and its owners had at last decided that further attempts would be in vain.

But William Lesslie, of whom Kingston today is more than proud, had to be heard from. He had released the steamship Scottish King, which was stranded on the Newfoundland shore and in as difficult a position. He used the compressed air method in that release, and he decided that he could float the Bavarian in like manner. A contract was entered into last August with the owners, by which Mr. Lesslie was to recieve half the value of the vessel should he release it, annd he at once prepared for the task. In three months he has succeeded in floating the Bavarian, and proving himself one of the foremost wrecking experts in the world. Mr. Lesslie is expected to clear $100,000 by his successful performance.

Mr. Lesslie had a force of about sixty men employed at the Bavarian. The divers were from New York but were not giving satisfaction, so he sent to Kingston for his old expert diver, Matthew Murphy, at present a local post-office carrier, and the latter has superintended the diving work during the past two weeks. Ship Carpenter McCarthy, of this city, was also one of the foremen. With Murphy to depend upon for accurate work and reports concerning the conditions under water, Mr. Lesslie was able to make rapid headway, and on Thursday the first attempt was made, and the vessel began to move. On Sunday evening at high tide she was completely afloat.

"Nothing succeeds like success," said Henry Folger this morning. "Mr. Lesslie has achieved this in the raising of the steamship Bavarian, after the wreckers on both sides of the water had pronounced it impossible."

Mr. Lesslie is receiving telegrams of congratulation from all quarters on the success of this most difficult undertaking. He has certainly shown himself a man of pluck and courage. In the face of the expert opinion of British and American wreckers that Bavarian could not be rescued, his friends felt that he was undertaking a job that looked hopeless. But he had faith in his plans, and he floated a company which has floated the ship.

Mr. Lesslie was born in Kingston about sixty-five years ago. In boyhood he entered marine life, and won his way to the top. For years he was with the Calvin company, here, and Quebec, where he represented them as eastern agent. Then he took over the Collins Bay Towing and Wrecking company. Of late years he has been engaged in wrecking on the great lakes, and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. At the latter place he established a wrecking station. His last big undertaking was the floating of the steamship Scottish King, which he took to Liverpool and sold.

He is still full of vigor and enthusiasm. During the summers he spent much of his time at the Yacht Club house where he was one of the most popular members and enthusiastic over yachting events. No doubt, some kind of formal welcome will be arranged when he returns home.

Delayed by Storm - The steamer India arrived at noon today from Fort William with grain for Richardsons'. The vessel was expected several days ago, but was delayed owing to storms on the lake.

Two Big Freighters - Detroit, Nov. 19th - The barges Grampian and Paisley are coming down the lakes with two million, four hundred thousand feet of lumber, on which they will receive $8,400 freight. They are owned by the Davidsons. The Grampian is towed by the Venezuela, ore laden, and the Paisley by the Orinoco, ore laden. The freight bill of the four boats is over $12,000.

The Winona Aground - Toronto, Nov. 19th - The freight department of the C.P.R. received word, this morning, that the steamer Winona, which ran aground on the south shore of Manitoulin Island, on Saturday, had got safely off, and would reach Collingwood this afternoon to go on dry-dock. The Winona was charged by the C.P.R., on her way from Owen Sound to Fort William with 2,500 tons of cement. The loss will be confined to the cement in the forward compartment. The Winona is owned by the McKays of Hamilton.

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19 Nov 1906
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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), 19 Nov 1906