Maritime History of the Great Lakes
The Quebec Under Water At Devil's Gap
Sarnia Observer, 24 Jul 1885
Full Text
The Quebec Under Water At Devil's Gap

The telegram received from Capt. Symes on Friday afternoon to the effect that the Quebec had gone down in 20 fathoms of water caused intense sorrow to spread over our townspeople. It however, was alleviated by the information that no lives were lost, and that all the passengers would be down on the Empire. None of the particulars were made known till the arrival of the crew on the Empire, when the full details were learned. The Quebec left Duluth on Monday with forty five cars loads of flour and twenty five passengers, and on Wednesday afternoon passed through the Sault Canal, and down the river. When about two miles below Richard's dock, St. Joseph's Island, and just above the Devil's gap, she went aground on a rock on the north side of the channel. This was about ten o'clock at night and the efforts she made to release herself proved unavailling. It was found that she was hard on, and nothing was done till the Ontario arrived on her upward trip. The Ontario caught hold of her line and pulled, but she was on so hard that the hawser parted. They transferred some of her flour to the Ontario and pulled again to no purpose. When about eight car loads had been transferred she gave a lurch and swung into deep water. It would appear that a gust of wind caught her and in swinging her around, tore a plank off, for she commenced to fill instantly. Of course she had been leaking while on the rocks so as to require the pumps to be kept working, but not to such an extent that any danger was apprehended. It, however, was found that she would soon fill, and the passengers with their baggage were transferred to the Ontario. Capt. Symes made the rounds and sounded the depth of water which was eighteen fathoms amidships, and stepped off the boat a few moments before she went down stern first. As the shore where struck shelves very rapidly she sunk almost perpendicularly, with her pilot above water and her stern in 120 feet of water.

The Quebec was insured in the Continental and Greenwich Insurance Companies for $48,000 about half her cost. The Insurance Companies have taken her in charge and have contracted with S. A. Murphy of Detroit, to deliver her at Sarnia for $87,000. the tugs International and Winslow are at the wreck with lifting pontoons, steam pump, hydraulic jacks, chains etc. The following address was presented by passengers of the lost steamer. “Quebec,” to the captain on board the “Ontario” after their rescue:

To Captain Symes, Steamer Quebec:

Sir-It is with feelings of the deepest sympathy we take this opportunity of expressing to yourself, your officers and crew, on behalf of our fellow passengers and ourselves, our deepest regret at the unfortunate accident which befel the steamer Quebec on the night of the 16th inst., on the Sault Ste Marie River. We also wish to tender you our heartiest thanks for the very able assistance rendered us in saving our lives and property. In conclusion, we beg to say that it will give us great pleasure to have an opportunity in the near future of again sailing under your command, Signed F. C. Keenleyside, Winnipeg; W.F. Carney, Sheriff of Algoma; W. B, Van Zant, J.H. Courtney, Alex, McKean, Mrs. E. Parr, Jas, J. Hall, John Finlayson, Mrs. W. Turner Wm Turner, John Dawson Charles Sequest, Wm Scott, Louis Parent, D.H. McDonald, Miss Carney.

Capt. Symes replied in fitting terms, expressing in a touching manner his thankfulness for so kind an expression of sentiment.

Item Type
Date of Publication
24 Jul 1885
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 46.3170978704541 Longitude: -83.9846914715577
Randy Johnson
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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The Quebec Under Water At Devil's Gap