Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Good Grandsons: Schooner Days MCCXCIII (1293)
Toronto Telegram (Toronto, ON), 27 Oct 1956
Full Text
Good Grandsons
Schooner Days MCCXCIII (1293)

by C. H. J. Snider

The AZOV - 1

AS told in Schooner Days in The Telegram in 1931 - and copied extensively by Ontario papers since - the Azov was the last vessel launched at Wellington Square, long since absorbed in Burlington, Ont. She was also the last large two-master to sail Lake Huron. She was built on Lake Ontario of Halton County oak for Wm. Buntin, merchant, of Wellington Square, in the year of the Fenian Raid, 1866. She registered 195 tons, being 108 ft. long, 23 ft. beam and 10 ft. deep in the hold. Could carry 400 tons dead weight.

Many of her adventures have been recounted and illustrated in Schooner Days. When she was ultimately lost on Oct. 25, 1911, it was not in a "raging gale," favorite weather with newspapers, but a stiff breeze, through which her yawlboat lived to cross the breadth of Lake Huron burdened with seven people and they luggage. Her heavy deck load of "deadheads" painfully loaded ago Gore Bay in Manitoulin Island, put too much strain on her old boats when beating down Lake Huron. She filled, rolled over and sank, almost under the feet of her crew at the pumps.

TRUE to the Macdonald tradition of reverence for the head of the house - the trait which made Capt. John Macdonald's carve on his tombstone the names of all his commands and the portrait of his last and best beloved, this Azov - Captain John's grandsons embarked on a pious search this summer for the remains of the schooner, which half a century ago, represented the family fortune.

Although they had never seen the ship or her equipment, in a week they found her anchors, chain cables, iron windlass, centerboard winch, diamond steering gear, patent blocks and wire rigging, in comparatively shallow water, four miles south of Port Elgin, on the Canadian side of Lake Huron.

The find was made dramatically in the sunset of August 24th last, after a diligent week's search by Bruce, Bill and Allan Macdonald, of Goderich, grandsons of Capt. John who had owned the vessel for 17 years and lost her in 1911, They were accompanied by Jim Vallance of Atwood, a neighbor. They used one of the family fish tugs, the Anne Mac of Goderich, succeeding a long line of Macdonald fishboats, and went about their search in a businesslike way, with frogmen's diving accoutrement.

THE AZOV must have made a submarine passage of sixty or seventy miles across Lake Huron, to leave her ironwork where it was found. Where she waterlogged and capsized was 15 miles north-northeast of Pointe aux Barques light, on the Michigan side of Lake Huron, and this is 75 miles west southwest of Port Elgin. Pieces of her came ashore years ago on the Canadian shore at McGregor Point, a few miles south of Southampton. The capsized hull may have taken all winter to drift across the lake completely submerged but practically intact. It may have struck the rocky shoals off Nine Mile Point below Port Elgin, and disintegrated there during the years.

Newspapers said the boys expedited to find $2,000 worth of lumber the Azov had aboard, in addition to the deadheads. Lumber would help keep her partially afloat, even if submerged, but when she broke up from the pounding of the waves and natural decay the lumber would be scattered like the rest of her cargo.

Snider, C. H. J.
Media Type
Item Type
Date of Publication
27 Oct 1956
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 45.933611 Longitude: -82.458055
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.41679 Longitude: -81.48306
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 44.06779 Longitude: -82.95995
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.43605 Longitude: -81.38981
Richard Palmer
Creative Commons licence
by [more details]
Copyright Statement
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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Good Grandsons: Schooner Days MCCXCIII (1293)