The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 11 Jul 1908

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Of Crew Of Schooner Acacia.

[Watertown, N.Y., Standard]

When it comes right down to heroism and bravery, everyone in Sacket's Harbor takes off their hat to Spencer and Samuel Dibble, the two young men, who in a small boat with the waves going over their craft, went to the wrecked schooner Acacia, of Kingston, Wednesday afternoon, two miles west of the harbor, and there, under the greatest difficulty removed Capt. Simmons and his seven companions from what seemed to them a watery grave. There may have been others in the military village who dared to venture out on the tempestuous sea, but they did not, and to these boys belongs unstinted praise. "Give the boys all the praise you can," said Capt. Simmons, "and don't forget the brave men on the other shore who did their best to get us off. The were the two bravest fellows I ever saw."

A Standard representative asked permission to take a picture of the crew taken from the boat, and the eight who were taken off readily consented. It was suggested that a couple of the men kneel down in front of the others on the ground that they might all get in the pictures. "Yes," said Miss Jeannette Porter, the steward, "get down on your knees there, you fellows, and tell God how thankful you are for being here. You can tell Him that we are all just as glad to be here as you are. I sailed for many years, but this is the first time I was ever shipwrecked, and I'll bet it will be the last time."

"Now, captain, let the old boat go. Let her stay here and go to pieces, and don't try to remove her. You know what happened and how much it cost you when you tried to get the other one off. We'll go back to Kingston, and you quit sailing." Thus spoke the good wife of Capt. Simmons to her husband, after they had had a good square meal at Mrs. Reardon's restaurant, in Sacket's Harbor, the first food they had tasted since the night before.

To the remark of his wife the captain replied: "I've sailed these forty-seven years, but I guess I'm done now. It's no use to try and get her off. She's going to pieces, the captain of the lfieboat crew tells me, and I'll let her go. Ah, but she was as good a boat as there was on the lakes, just as safe and seaworthy." The old captain's eyes welled with tears, for the loss of his boat meant more than an even $3,000.

Mate James Smith is seventy-one years of age. He went ashore on Lake Erie forty-two years ago and on Lake Superior twelve years ago. He has sailed for fifty-four years.

But when it comes right down to veterans of shipwrecks that's "Bobby" Watt. Watt says: "They call me a Jonah, but I ain't no Jonah, for while I have been shipwrecked six times, I have got off safe every time and I have never yet see a man lose his life. That don't look much as though I was a Jonah. The first time I was shipwrecked was, Oh, I guess, thirty-nine years ago. That was off the nor'east coast of England. We ran ashore and our boat went to pieces, but a life-saving crew picked us up. The next time was just a few years later off the south coast of England. We went ashore again and the life-saving crew picked us up. The next time was on the Bay of Trafalgar, off the coast of Spain. We were on the boat a couple of days before we could get anyone to remove us. Fishermen were about us, but the Spaniards wouldn't pay any attention to us. We got a letter to the underwriters in Cadiz and they came and took us off, and year before last I was on the Annandale, which went ashore on Charity Shoals and which went all to pieces. The Donnelly Wrecking company picked us up that time after we had been there two hours. Last year I had another experience. I was on the Queen of the Lakes when she went ashore down near Big Sodus. We were eight miles from shore, but we got there in our own yawl boat. No, sir, I ain't no Jonah, now be I?"

Arthur West had sailed nine years and was the first time he was ever shipwrecked and he hopes that it will be the last. He, like all of the others on the boat, resides in Kingston.

Incidents of the Day - The steamer Aletha brought about one hundred and fifty passengers from bay points to the city today.

The steamer America arrived at noon from Thousand Island points with about two hundred and fifty passengers.

p.5 Canal Open - Cornwall, July 11th - Two steamers passed through the Cornwall canal yesterday morning. At six o'clock last evening navigation was resumed for craft of all kinds.

Gananoque, July 11th - ...The coal schooner Horace Taber arrived here last evening, on her first trip to this port this season, with a cargo for Taylor & Green...

p.6 Mariners Play Ball - captain's crew of steamer Rapids King, under the leadership of "Marty" Walsh vs. steward's crew, captained by Chief Steward Oswald. (details)


Some needed repairs are being made to the schooner (sic) Argyle at Portsmouth.

The schooner Clara arrived from Oswego with coal for the Grove Inn.

The steambarge Mary Louise cleared for Rideau canal points with a general cargo.

The steamer Kenirving passed on her way from Oswego, to Smith's Falls with coal.

The schooner Tradewind has arrived from Oswego with a cargo of coal for the cotton mill.

The schooner Ford River arrived, light, from Charlotte, and is loading feldspar at Richardsons'.

Marine men here from Oswego say that the schooner J.G. Blain is almost a total wreck.

Swift's wharf: steamer Belleville up today; steamers North King down and up today; steamer Aletha from bay points; steamer Caspian down and up Sunday.


The latest addition to the Canadian Pacific's Upper Lake fleet is the Assiniboia, now in active commission, and on her first voyage she has proved herself to be not only the largest and most modern passenger vessel on the Upper Lakes, but also the swiftest. She will sail from Owen Sound at about 5:50 p.m every Saturday for Sault Ste. Marie, Port Arthur and Fort William, the connecting express train leaving Toronto at 1:50 p.m.

The Assiniboia has luxurious accommodation for 250 cabin passengers, with five cabins de luxe (private baths), spacious dining saloon, observation, drawing and smoking rooms, and many new features conducive to passenger's comfort. Intending passengers should make early application to local C.P.R. agent for accommodation.

p.9 To Establish Dry Dock - Sarnia, July 10th - Captain James Reid, owner of a large fleet of boats and one of the most successful wreckers on the great lakes, will establish a first-class up-to-date dry dock in Port Huron, if terms can be made with the present owners of the old Dunfort and Alverson dry dock. The Port Huron chamber of commerce is assisting Superintendent Reid in the deal for the property.

p.10 Georgian Bay Project - will be no grant this session.

p.11 Without Boat Service - Pelee Island lost services of steamer Ossfriage, taken to Buffalo by J. Stockwell.

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11 Jul 1908
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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), 11 Jul 1908