Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Thrashing Up for Bruce Mines: Schooner Days MCLXIII (1163)
Toronto Telegram (Toronto, ON), 5 Jun 1954
Full Text
Thrashing Up for Bruce Mines
Schooner Days MCLXIII (1163)

by C. H. J. Snider

Toronto-Manitoulin, 1868 - No. 12

August 20, Thursday

Weather fine

Wind N.E. changing to West, blowing a gale

Distance to noon 25 miles

"BACKWARD and forward,"continues Capt. Cooper Campbell's logbook of his schooner yacht Ripple, "on we go, anxiously looking out for Cape Robert, which like the mountain to Mahomet would not come to us, and it was hard work for us to get to it.

Towards evening the wind freshened considerably, leaving us in an awkward position. In a narrow channel, with rocky, shoally shore on one side, and clusters of small islands and reefs on the other, and the wind blowing hard in our teeth. About 6 o'clock we attempted to get under the lee of an island and nearly landed ourselves in a mess.

Capt. Waggoner at the fore masthead, Sutherland at the lead, the Captain at the helm, we ran in under reefed mainsail and staysail, and all hands ready at a moment's notice to take in or make sail. "Keep her away!" "Luff!" "Hard-aport!" shouts Waggoner in rapid succession.

"By the mark five!" "Half four!" "Quarter Four!" "Half two!" "Quarter two and shoaling fast!" "Stand by to go about!" Hoist up the foresail!" "Hard a lee!"—and out of this rocky hole we try to get.

Still the lead warns us and still Waggoner thunders aloft to keep away, or luff hard, as some vile looking rocks show themselves just a few feet under water.

When at last abruptly changing from four fathoms to no bottom at 10 fathoms, a load is lifted from our minds, and we proceed to weather it out.

All hands are now hard at work reefing close. Poor Sutherland, as he sits out on the bowsprit reefing the staysail, is plunged twice out of sight, three feet under water but he holds on like a leech.


With a heavy, short sea and a strong gale blowing we make short tacks of an hour, and sometimes of only half an hour, all night.

Not much fun or jollity tonight, everyone is tired, and only the watch remains up and awake. No lighthouse here to guide us, and a sharp lookout must be kept. Frequent reference to the leadline must be made.

August 21, Friday

Weather fine

Wind W. changing to S.

Distance to the mines 80 miles.

Towards morning the wind abated, and as the sun rose it died away altogether and we found ourselves opposite Crescent Island, near the Straits of Missisagua. Slowly crawling along it was not till noon we were fairly past the Straits and began to get the southern breeze. The water was remarkably clear and so tempting that the port watch being the one on duty from 4 to 8 a.m., enjoyed a "whoo" as he christened it, on account of the water being so cold as to make any one "whoo" when he took a dive or threw a pail of water over himself.

(Lake Superior water never gets warmer than 40 degrees and they were not far from Lake Superior.)

Once we got the breeze we ran on favourably, passing Cockburn Island, False Detour passage and finally St. Joseph's Island, reaching Serpent Island about 6 p.m The wind was gradually lulled and we did not reach the Wellington Mines till half past nine. As we were within a mile of the wharf we heard the Waubuno's whistle, and soon she passed us bound for Collingwood, and we just too late to post our letters on her.


Creeping in slowly we cast anchor in 2 1/2 fathoms. The mines present the appearance of a large town, the houses being built along the shore for a mile and a half and their lights put very much in mind of Toronto harbor at night.

Some young friends surprised at seeing our lights, and wondering who and what we were, came out to us, and we passed a very pleasant evening together.

As to our lights, the conjectures on shore were both numerous and various. The wharfinger went without his supper waiting for the supposed steamer to come in. The Customs officer kept his office open nearly all night. Some thought we were a steamer ashore on the rocks and indeed every one had a theory of his own and it was not till morning when daylight revealed all that we were fully understood.

Saturday, August 22

Weather fine

By 6 a.m. we had sail made, and stood in near the pier, where we again cast anchor and hoisted our burgee. After breakfast we went on shore and paid our respects to Mr. Bennett the manager of the mines, to Mr. Marks and others. In the afternoon we had a croquet party at Mr. Bennett's, and in the evening we bad a party on board. We also made arrangements for visiting the mines on Monday.

This is quite an important village with over 1,200 inhabitants. There are three large copper mines now belonging to one company, the Wellington, Copper Bay and Bruce Mines. The miners with a few store keepers compare the entire population, and the town is dependent solely on the products of the mines. The price of copper being very low at present there is not now so large a population as there was a few years ago.

Snider, C. H. J.
Media Type
Item Type
Date of Publication
5 Jun 1954
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 46.30006 Longitude: -83.79992
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 46.00006 Longitude: -82.81657
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 45.98336 Longitude: -82.98318
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 46.175555 Longitude: -83.6875
Richard Palmer
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Thrashing Up for Bruce Mines: Schooner Days MCLXIII (1163)