The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 1 Nov 1913

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On Saturday morning, when Thomas Munroe, of South Lancaster, aged twenty-one years, went over the bow of the steamer Compton, to release the anchor, and disregarded the orders of the captain, he was swung off in the Kingston harbor and drowned. In the heavy sea Munroe sank before he could be rescued and the body was not recovered up to the afternoon.

On Saturday morniing the steamer Compton of the F.E. Hall & Co., of Montreal, was trying to get an anchorage in the harbor some distance out from the Forwarders Co. elevator. The anchor, of the old pattern, apparently required one of the crew to go over the bow to release it. The standing orders of Captain Benjamin Munroe (sic) were that in such a case the man must not attempt this without a rope being attached to him or some precaution taken. The young man, who was of a venturesome disposition, violated this rule. He was urged to let a rope be attached to him by Mate Weese ? and another, but he went down the rope to the anchor with a pair of gloves on his hands.

At the time of the accident the steamer Compton was manoeuvring about seven o'clock in the face of the heavy sea blowing down the lake. Munroe was a good swimmer and swam around in the cold and rough water for a few minutes. Life preservers were thrown to him but the vessel quickly drifted away. Capt. Bowen gave orders for a boat to be lowered. But before this was done it was too late. The young seaman had sunk.

The Compton later proceeded to the Montreal Transportation company's wharves, where she tied up, storm-bound. The captain reported the fatality to the police.

On Saturday morning the Compton, which was, until this year, the Eastwood, was on her way from Quebec to Detroit with pulpwood. She had experienced difficulty in locating a place to land at Swift's and the Forwarders' wharves.

Capt. Benjamin Bowen, the master, is known here. His home is in Trenton, Ont. He has sailed for thirty years and this is the first time he has lost a man. G. Annand, one of the crew, was a chum of the late "Tommy" Munroe. The captain and all on board greatly regret his loss.

The deceased's home was at South Lancaster, about fifteen miles below Cornwall. His father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. J. Munroe, and brothers and sisters survive. Mr. Munroe, sr., has been keeper of the Cotta light for some years.

A. McDonald, a native of the same place as Munroe, and acting mate on the City of Ottawa, which was storm-bound at Swift's on Saturday morning, knew the late sailor well. When he enquired for him on board the Compton after his accident he was informed of the fatality. For three or four years Munroe worked on board the M.T. tug Bartlett.


"This has certainly been a great summer and fall for marine work," remarked an old mariner to the Whig today. He pointed out that up to the past week or so the weather had been ideal for the vessels and he had no complaint to make whatever.

"I have been sailing on the lakes for forty years," he added, "and I want to say that this fall has been the warmest I have ever experienced. Why I haven't even had a pair of gloves on my hands as yet, and this is certainly unusual for the fall weather. And we have not been troubled with ice on the decks."

The marine season is making great headway, and already a few boats have been laid up for the winter, in addition to the passenger boats engaged on the river traffic, which, of course, are always laid up earlier in the season."

One local coal schooner, the Katie Eccles, has been put away for the winter, but the remainder of the local fleet is still hard at work, and will continue to carry coal into Kingston until the severe cold weather sets in. This has been a very busy season in the coal trade.

It is from November 1st on, that the mariner runs up against the worst of the bad weather, so from today, his job will not be a very pleasant one, by any means.

The rough weather of the past week or so gave some of the vessels a severe setback. The old schooner Oliver Mowat came into the limelight because of the fact that the vessel was fifteen days on the trip to Kingston from Frenchman's Bay, where she loaded barley.

Movement of Vessels.

The steamer Sarnor got as far as Long Point, on Friday afternoon, on her way across the lake, but owing to the rough weather was compelled to return to Kingston.

M.T. Co.'s elevator:

Capt. J.B. Bongard has retired from the steamer Alexandria

On Thursday the steam dredge Stewart, with mud scows and outfit, and tugs E.E. Frost and Umoria, moved out of Picton harbor, Fallon Bros. having completed their contract. The harbor has been dredged to a depth of fourteen and a half feet from opposite the Orphan's Home up to the bridge. The dredging outfit will next be used at Kingston.

When the barge Cornwall, of the M.T. Co. was proceeding down the river, loaded with grain for Montreal on Friday, she got into trouble at Dickenson's Landing at the upper end of the Cornwall canal. She was reported sunk, and the steamer Cornwall, of the Calvin company, left on Friday night, with the wrecking outfit to her assistance.

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1 Nov 1913
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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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), 1 Nov 1913