Maritime History of the Great Lakes

Scanner, v. 35, no. 7 (April 2003), p. 14

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GREAT LAKE MEMORIES 14. THE L A K E ERIE BREEZE - S U M M E R , 1946 OLIVER S. DUSTIN'S MEMORIES OF STEVEN B. GRUMMOND'S MACKINAC LINE In the February issue, we showed you the front page of Vol. XI, No. 1, of "The Lake Erie Breeze", paper of the Ashley & Dustin steamer PUT-IN-BAY. Here, on page 4 of the same issue, "Ollie" Dustin presents some personal re­ miniscences of Steve Grummond's vessel operations. Meat at 10 per pound? Grummond Sold 5-Day All Ex­ pense Trips to Mackinac for $11 I have been looking over an old folder of the Grummond, Mackinac Line, published prior to 1890. It reminds me of the days, as a young fellow on the docks o f the Ashley & Mitchell, now A shley & Dustin. Steve Grummond at that time operated two boats on the run, the side wheeler "Flora" and the pro­ peller, "A tlantic", running between Cleveland, Toledo and De­ troit, up th e Lake Huron Shore to Mackinac Island, each boat making a round trip w ithin a week. They would leave Detroit on Tuesday and Saturday nights, would occasionally stop at St. Clair and Marine City on th e St. Clair River, mostly for cargoes of salt, then on to Port Huron, Lexington, Port Sanilac, Forester, Forestville, W hite Rock, Sand Beach (now Harbor Beach), and Port Hope, then jump across to the head of Sagi­ naw B ay to Tawas, Au Sauble, Oscoda, Harrisville, Black River, Alpena, Crawford's Quarry, Rogers City, Cheboygan, Mackinac City, St. Ignace and Mackinac Island. The boats would come out early in April and withdraw in November, generally about Thanksgiving time. There was much freight handled in the way of lumber camp supplies. I recall some of the lumber camps-- th e Alger Smith Company at Black River, Thompson Smith Sons, Duncan City-- The Loudes, the Gilchrists and the Fletchers also had some holdings at Alpena and different ports. Herman H eft was at Rogers C ity and Boulton & McRae had a big supply house at Alpena. Again referring to the ports between Port Huron and Port Hope, was an agricultural country, bringing down to Detroit their farm products, th is was a great country for growing peas, beans and potatoes, also butter and eggs for the Detroit m arket. A ll this is no more, as the route has been taken up by good roads and auto travel and all th e old docks show nothing but th e wrecked spiling. I am th inking about the w age scale in my youth's days, compared w ith what we are now paying th e seafarers on the Great Lakes. All boats carried their own deck hands and the m ates and wheelsmen and watchmen had to help handle freight. Deck hands were gettin g anywhere from $25. 00 per month to $1. 00 per day. Wheelsmen, watchm en and firemen were get­ tin g about $45. 00 per month. $75. 00 was good pay for a mate. Captain and Engineer top wage was $1, 000. 00 to $1, 500. 00 per season. One item in th is circular reminds me o f the summer months, June, July and August. It says right in the circular, a five day trip to Mackinac Island and all these stops, including meals and berth, would be $11. 00. Now-a-days it costs you more than th at per diem when you take a tourist trip on the Lakes. The propeller "A tlantic" was a one cabin ship, staterooms on both sides and a long dining table was set down the center of the cabin. The food was cooked in th e galley on the main deck, and passed through hatchways to th e pantry above for service. Food was served fam ily style, th e table being laid down with plenty o f vegetables and serve-self dishes and hot meats, good roast beef, and turkey and hot beans or w hat your appetite might crave. The Captain sat a t the head o f the table and all you had to do was eat your fill. I remember as a boy, I always stood in w ith th e Chef or cook as we called him in those days, by seeing th a t h is fam ily got his laundry and other favors, the reward being a big huckleberry pie and pitcher of milk or coffee, and believe me, it was good. Allow m e to repeat myself, for all those m eals I am talking about were included in that $11.00 five day trip. I remember the contract Grummond had w ith Sm ith & Yendall, Marine Supply Butcher, was 10 cents per pound for all meats. They stocked up with white fish and trout a t th e upper Lake Ports. Another thought I have was of the traders. These men carried supplies of green stuff on the up-bound trip, which they traded for butter, eggs and potatoes w ith the natives. Steve Grummond had other interests beside these two boats. He had a fleet of eight tugs, engaged in wrecking jobs and tow ing barges, which they would pick up at Fort Gratiot Light, near Port Huron, tow through th e St. Clair River, over Lake St. Clair, through the D etroit River and release them at the head of Lake Erie. The names o f these tu gs were Leviathian, Swain, Moore, Sweepstakes, Oswego, Crusader, Owen and Champion., Many a tim e I have seen them go through with seven or e ight vessels in tow, also log rafts for the saw mills along the D etroit River. A t m ost shipping offices on the Great Lakes they have that celebrated colored picture of the "Cham­ pion" and tow. I have one of them in m y office. PHOTO COURTESY W. A. MCDONALD Note th a t th is photo shows the S team er F lo ra fa s t in the ice. PHOTO COURTESY REV. EDWARD J . DOWLING. S. J . S tr. S ta te of Michigan, orig inally the "D ePere" . About 1891 or '92, Grummond bought a passenger boat called the "De Pere" origi­ nally owned by the Goodrich Line. She was a propeller, and during the w inter she was re­ conditioned and her name changed to the "State of Michigan". I remember pretty close to the date, for I know they stepped into her a new spar, underneath which was placed a Columbia Half Dollar, gotten out especially for the World's Fair. Grummond was a s well interested in the Detroit-Port Huron run. About th is tim e he was in strong competition w ith other steam ­ boat companies. The Milton D. Ward used to carry passengers for a quarter from Baker's Dock a t the foot o f Shelby St., but he got plenty of that in one season. The Ward was laid up and afterwards used by the City of D etroit as a smallpox hospital, being an­ chored off the head of Belle Isle. A s I remember Stephen B. Grummond, he was nicknamed by the sailors as "Black Steve". He had a big black mustache, handle bar, you would call it today. He grew up from the ranks o f th e tu g boat life, had a big fam ily o f about eleven children, grew fine horses and had a mansion out Jefferson Ave. A t the tim e of which I am writing, he was Mayor o f Detroit. He sure was some Marine Czar. SATURDAY TRIPS T O L E D O SC H E D U L E STEAMER PUT-IN-BAY People get the idea that we carry big loads on Saturday, but as a rule it is the lightest day of the week. Some go to Cedar Point or Put-in-Bay for the week-end, returning Sun­ day. But if you want a nice trip and no capacity load, Sat­ urday is the day. You can leave Detroit a t 9 A . M., have four hours at Put-in-Bay, and be back in Detroit a t 8 P. M., or stop at Cedar Point after le a v in g P u t - in -B a y i f you wish to stop for a tim e a t the Breakers Hotel. The fare for the round trip to Put-in-Bay EVERY TUESDAY SEASON 1946 Sail from Madison Ave. Dock, Toledo, 8 : 30 A. M., E . S. T. Tuesday, June 18th-- Blue W ater Cruise " June 25th-- To Tashmoo Park " July 2nd-- To Put-in-Bay and Cedar Point " July 9th-- To Cedar Point " July 16th-- To Detroit and Belle Isle " July 23rd-- To Cedar Point " July 30th-- To Tashmoo Park " Aug. 6th-- To Cedar Point " Aug. 13th-- To Put-in-Bay and Cedar Point " Aug. 20th-- To Cedar Point Aug. 27th-- To Tashmoo Park day ride, go through to San­ dusky, $3.00 round trip. Call RAndolph 0230 for parlor or steamer chair reservations. Schedules subject to change without notice. Robt. Stalker, Toledo Agent 836 Woodville St. TAylor 1100-1 * * * * * * *

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