Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Men were to blame
Sault Star (Sault Sainte Marie, MI), 11 Dec 1906
Full Text
Men were to blame
Magistrate Reed’s story of Golspie Wreck
Victims would not do as the Mate Ordered
How the poor fellows suffered and came near losing lives after the wreck

Michipicoten River, Dec. 11 1906

Editor Soo Star:

Dear Sir, The wreck of the steam barge Golspie, sailed by Capt. Boult, and the hardships five of the crew suffered before reaching safety is her told. Captain Boult, being caught in the storm of Monday night of Dec.3, and after reaching within twenty-five miles of Whitefish, finding his vessel was not going to stand the gale, turned and tried to make Gargantua Harbor, but before reaching there his vessel became unmanageable and would not answer her tiller, so he could not make the harbor, and had to let her drift, and by good luck kept her off Cape Chicane and beached on the shore of Old Woman Bay close to Brule Harbor. Having got all his crew safe ashore, he started taking off provisions and found out that they had next to nothing to live on; some 12.lbs. Flour and a few chunks of beef, a few buns and a little tapioca and a few canned goods. He gave the mate Mr. McLeod, orders to take 13 of the 18 men and some of the provisions and some blankets, and take the yawl boat and try and make Michipicoten River, and get some food and send word to the owners of the barge. So the mate went according to orders and stared but after getting past Brule Harbor, he encountered a head wind, and out of the 12 men, only three were able to row, the others being poorly clothed and not being very willing on account of being cold, the weather being 10 or 12 below zero. So finding they could not make any head way with the yawl boat they decided to come overland, but before starting from the boat the mate wanted seven of the men to stay at the yawl boat with the wheelsman, and he and the other three being the best clothes to stand the trip as well as the others, so they all started, and they left the blankets in the yawl boat, thinking they could make the mission by dark, but they stopped out in the woods that night. They had two axes with then. and managed to keep from freezing by keeping a fire all night. They walked all next day, keeping close to the shore of the lake length roughest and hardest place possibly could have found to travel, but at dark the second night seven of them reached the mission, some of them pretty well frost bitten. Five of them failed to show up, and it being too late to send a searching party out and they being known to have an axe and lots of matches, it was thought they would be able to pull through but at day light but at day light next morning a searching party was sent out, and they were found to have camped within a mile of the mission, not half a mile from John Andin’s house ( an Indian belong to the mission),the place where the first seven got a drink of tea and some biscuit. They found that the last five had turned back from where they camped and they were found four miles from the mission, all of them being more or less frozen, one with hands and feet both frozen. When found the first men they came up to was the fireman with both hands and feet frozen, and he had no shoes on, having thrown away his shoe and was walking in his socks. The other four had left him behind, as he could not make any head way. The two men that found them built a fire and comfortable brush camp, and gave them some food and cut lots of wood, and came back to get a boat to bring them as they were not able to walk. Next morning, Captain Kimball, John Andind Alexander (Mishne) and Joseph (Mishne) manned a boat and went down the lake shore opposite the place they were and brought them out. They landed at noon, and it was after dark before they got them to the lake shore; one man had to be carried; the other four crawled on their hands and knees for two miles. So when Capt Kimball reached the shore he built two fires and fixed them up good and dried their clothes and gave them food, and he and his men stayed up all night keeping the fires on and looking after them, and when day light came he started for the mission and landed a little after noon at the mouth of the river, where dog sleighs met him and brought them up to the village, and horse being waiting for them conveyed them to seven and a half station; from there they were taken by train to the hospital at Helen Mine, where Dr. Grimshaw is doing his best to save their frozen limbs, but it is feared that some of them will lose some of their fingers, toes, etc. The poor fellow that had frozen so badly brought it on themselves, as they would not listen to the mate or the others that had experience of the woods they were too cold to row; they would not stay at the yawl boat with the wheelsman and they could not walk in the woods or could not chop wood. They lost their axe, and were very contrary with the mate and the other men, and when asked to try and keep up with them would only answer in very rough language, so when it came to the second day, and having nothing to eat for three days, it was then every man for himself. The seventh that came out right were all Canadians, two of them were slim men too, but they, too were all ready to give in if they had not come on to the Indian’s house as they did. Captain Boult did everything a person could do for the safety of his crew, and feels very bad to think after getting all safe ashore so well that they had the misfortune to be frozen as they did. The captain and five men toughed it in one of Everetts and Connor’s old warehouse at the mouth of Old Woman River, until he got a telegram from the barge owners to turn her over to local men. Captain Kimball and his three sons deserve great praise, the way they rescued those men. I have looked this all up and ordered out those rescuing parties, and believe that no one is to blame for the condition that those men are in, but themselves, being too contrary to pay attention to the mate who was doing the best for all the party.

Yours truly

Geo. Reid J.P.

Item Type
Date of Publication
11 Dec 1906
Geographic Coverage
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 47.9341850786655 Longitude: -84.8488223388672
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 47.78339 Longitude: -84.91658
Randy Johnson
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Men were to blame