The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 29 Apr 1908

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p.1 St. Lawrence High - high water levels are damaging docks and boat houses.



The M.T. Co. Is Seeking To Recover

Justice Hodgins, Toronto, presided at a special sitting of the admiralty court, held in the court house on Tuesday afternoon. The case tried was one brought by the Montreal Transportation company, for salvage, against the Atlantic Coast Transportation company, of New York, owners of the tow barge Buckeye State. The owners of the barge also brought an action against the M.T. Co., to recover for damages for injuries received to the barge at lock 17, in the Cornwall canal, while under tow of the tug Mary Ellen. Francis King appeared for the M.T. Co.; Mr. Gogault, Cornwall, for the owners of the tug Mary Ellen, and Mr. Cline, Cornwall, for the Atlantic Coast Transportation company.

The case is rather an odd one, and is, briefly, as follows: The M.T. company made an arrangement to tow the barges of the Atlantic Coast Transportation company from Lachine to Port Dalhousie and return, during the summer, exclusive of canal towing, which was done by small tugs, and ones not belonging to the M.T. Co. On the last trip of the tow barge Buckeye State, she received injuries in the canal, and when on her way to Kingston, under tow of the Emerson, she called for help, as she was sinking. She was beached near Morrisburg, and later brought to this city by the M.T. Co., which is now suing to recover for salvage. The Atlantic Coast people entered an action, that the M.T. Co. was liable for the sinking of the boat, as she was in charge of one of its agents when injured.

L.K. Jones, secretary of the commission of railways and canals, was called, and submitted some maps of the canals. Robert Henderson, photographer, was the next witness, and submitted two photographs of the barge Buckeye State, taken in Davis' dry dock, on April 15th. Robert Douglas was called by Mr. Gogault. Witness said he was a photographer in Morrisburg, and identified two pictures taken between locks 15 and 17.

Capt. J.B. Cuttle, managing director of the M.T. Co., was next called by Mr. King. Witness said a contract was made with the Atlantic Coast people to tow their barges from Port Dalhousie to Lachine and return during the summer. He stated that all bills submitted for towage were paid promptly, with the exception of the salvage bill.

The witness stated that immediatley he heard of the accident to the Buckeye State he telephoned to the owners in New York, and told of receiving instructions from them as to the raising of the barge. Cross-examination by Mr. Cline did not bring out any new facts. He questioned the witness at length concerning the arrangements made between the M.T. Co. and the canal tugs for towing their barges through the canal, and the way they are taken through, and also about the arrangements made by witness and the Atlantic Coast Transportation company. Many letters were produced from both sides by Mr. Cline and put in as evidence.

Captain William J. Murphy, of the tug Emerson, was next called by Mr. King. Witness said he remembered towing the barge Buckeye State from Coteau to Cornwall, and leaving her at the foot of the canal, and going on to lock 20 with the tug Emerson. Witness said he did not see the tug Mary Ellen until she had arrived at lock 20 with the barge Buckeye State. When the barge was handed over to him nobody on either the barge or tug Mary Ellen told him that she had been damaged. About half past eight o'clock he left with the Buckeye State in tow, and went as far as Dickinson's Landing, where he remained all night. When he was ready to start at five o'clock the next morning he had to send his watchman on board the barge to wake the men in charge. Captain Murphy said that going into Morrisburg canal the barge scraped her side a little. At the last lock of the Morrisburg canal the barge went in first, locking herself through by aid of a donkey engine. Witness said that as the barge was leaving the lock she ran on the stone steps. In reply to his honor witness stated that the barge hit the steps very hard: hard enough to bounce back so far that the lock men let go of the gates for fear the barge would carry them away. Witness stated that her crew made another attempt to pull her out of the lock under her own power and that she struck the steps again, running up on them so much that she listed about three feet. The third attempt to get her out was successful and witness said he picked her up and started up the river. He was only out a short time when one of the men of the barge came to him and said that the Buckeye State was sinking and told him to run her into shallow water as soon as he could. Witness said that this happened about two miles below Iroquois, and he asked the captain of the barge if he could stand it till they arrived at Iroquois and he replied he could. Witness stated that the tug Jessie Hall came along and took the barge away from the tug Emerson and beached her. In reply to Mr. King witness stated that the captain of the barge agreed to have the Jessie Hall beach her. In reply to Mr. Gogault witness said that he had the barge in charge seventeen and a half hours from lock 20 to the Morrisburg canal, and that fifteen minutes after he left the Morrisburg canal she signalled for assistance. Court here adjourned.

This Morning's Evidence.

Court was resumed at ten o'clock this morning, when Capt. Murphy was again put on the stand and cross-questioned by Mr. Cline. Witness stated that there were three tugs in use in the canal, and he did not know when he left the barge at Cornwall, which tug would tow her up. He also stated that the M.T. Co. had charge of these three tugs. Witness said that when he picked up the barge at lock 20, he did not remember how many barges were there. He was not told anything while lying there. No one told him that there had been an accident to the barge at Cornwall. Witness denied saying that the boat's stern was broken, until he got to Morrisburg. He could not swear whether the barge broke her stern when she hit the steps or not. In reply to Mr. Cline witness said he would not swear whether boat was damaged or not when she entered lock 20, but he did not see it. He rehearsed again the accident, in the lock, where the barge ran on the steps, and the questions did not change his former story. Witness said that the barge hit harder the second time than the first, as she listed over the second time. Witness could not swear as to the depth of water in the canal, or how many steps there were in the canal. A model of a boat was produced and witness pointed out the spots where he thought the boat would hit, and how it would likely affect her. In reply to Mr. King, on re-examination, the witness told how they placed the lines and how they were moved accordingly, as the boat rose in the locks. Capt. Murphy stated that these canals were for a fourteen foot boat, but some could take more.

The next witness called by Mr. King was George Henderson, engineer on board the tug Emerson at the time of the accident. He said his tug towed the barge Buckeye State from Coteau to Morrisburg, with the exception of the Cornwall canal, when she was handled by the canal tugs. Witness told the same story of the trip through the canal as the previous witness. He stated that when they received the barge at lock 20, it was about 8:30 o'clock at night, and he did not see any damage or hear anyone say anything about her being damaged during the night. The plans of the lock at Morrisburg were produced and the witness and the witness told how the boat was pulled out, and also about the steps described by Capt. Murphy. Witness said that the Buckeye State struck hard enough to list her over, and in his opinion the blow was strong enough to injure a boat, especially if she was aged, and this one did not look very young. Witness told of the captain of the tug hailing them when near Iroquois, but would not tell what he said. He could not see anything wrong with the barge when the captain hailed them. Witness stated that it was about twenty-five minutes after the barge struck that the barge captain hailed them that he was in trouble. Henderson stated, in reply to Mr. King, that he was standing, at one time, about fifteen feet from the stem of the barge, when they were in the large lock at Morrisburg, and he could not see any damage. To Mr. Gogault, witness said at no time after they took the tug (sic) in charge until he heard the call for help did he observe any damage, or hear anyone say anything.

Under cross-examination, witness said that he observed the draught of the boat at Coteau and also at Morrisburg and she was drawing the same. Witness held to his story of the boat striking, saying he only saw one blow struck, and that one listed her over on her side, and he could not say which one it was. Witness held, that as he was about two hundred feet from the barge, she might have received a straight blow on the stem, and bounded back ten feet without him noticing it, so he could not swear which blow he saw, or whether she struck twice or not. Witness stated that when she struck, she was moving about a mile an hour.

Israel Daoust, captain of the barge Dunmore, a barge 180 feet long and 35 feet beam, said that his barge, the same size and beam as the Buckeye State, struck the same steps in leaving the Morrisburg canal. Cross-examined by Mr. Cline, failed to bring out any new facts. He endeavored to bring out that the boat in command of the witness did not hit the steps but could not shake his story.

Capt. William Lesslie was next called. Witness said that he was to examine the Buckeye State as soon as she entered the drydock at Kingston. He did so on April 15th of the present year. Witness said the forward part of the false stem was off, it looked as if it had been broken off and carried away. Witness also stated that the inner stem was also badly damaged. He also found a hole on the starboard bow, breaking in two planks, twenty feet from the stem, three feet above the keel and five feet out. Witness stated that he instructed Mr. Henderson to take the photographs. He did not examine the stem of the boat but found no other damage near the stem. When the court adjourned for lunch Capt. Lesslie was still on the stand.

p.5 News of the World - The Canadian tug Annie Moiles, which wintered at Bay City, Michigan, has left for Georgian Bay, the first vessel to leave Bay City this season.



The steambarge Navajo is at Napanee with coal from Oswego.

The schooner Ford River cleared from Oswego with coal for Oakville.

The supply boat Aberdeen from the Main Ducks, was at Swift's wharf today for provisions.

The schooners Acacia and Bertha Kalkins are at Four Mile Point, windbound, on their way to Oswego.

The schooner Blaine arrived from Oswego, with a cargo of coal for the Kingston and Pembroke railway.

The steamers Omaha and Morley, from Chicago, passed down the river this morning, loaded with corn for Prescott.

The steamer John Rugee, which towed the schooner Blaine over from Oswego, cleared this morning for Ogdensburg, N.Y.

The M.T. company's new tug Bartlett has sailed from Scotland, and it will be in Montreal about May 12th. She is built of steel and is 135 feet long, 25 feet beam, 14 feet deep.

Swift's: schooner Keewatin from Oswego with coal; steamer Belleville due tonight on first trip of the season, from Toronto; steamer Rapids King due down to Montreal on first trip.

p.8 Holds the Record - Picton, April 29th - A captain for 53 seasons - this is the remarkable record of Capt. E.B. Smith. When the steamer Alexandria, of the Lake Ontario & Quebec Navigation company, started on her initial trip of the season, Monday, steaming out of the harbor, bound for Charlotte, N.Y., Capt. Smith commenced his fifty-third season of St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario navigation. This is a record probably unequalled in Canadian marine. He had just reached his majority when he took command of a steamer, and since then he has been seen on the decks of the St. Helen, St. Lawrence and Picton, all of which are no more, and which at that time were owned jointly by the veteran mariner and his brother-in-law, the late James McQuaig, M.P. Capt. Smith was the son of an English doctor, and was born seventy-five years ago.

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29 Apr 1908
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 29 Apr 1908