Month: May 2016

Varuna

 located at N 44’12.239 W76’31.578 this steamer ran an uneventful life as a passenger steamer running mostly the Bay of Quinte line.  She was stripped and scuttled behind the KPH hospital near the KPH and PCB Barge at undocumented date.  This is an immediate dive and penetration is not recommend due to the large amount of mud on her deck,  Those with the experience and directions can scooter from shore to the PCB, KPH and Varuna in one dive. Other wise a boat is required for a single dive on her.

Build City

Wolfe Island

Build State

ONT

Vessel Type

Propeller

Number of Decks

2

Hull Materials

Wood

Builder Name

Robert Davis

Ownership

Original Owner

Jonathan A. Porte

Original Owner Location

Trenton, ONT

Power (Sail)

Propulsion Type

Screw

Power (Mechanical)

Engine Type

High Pressure (including HPNC)

Engine Number Cylinders

1

Dimensions

Length

91.4

Beam

17

Depth

5.1

Tonnage Gross

134

Tonnage Net

85

Final Disposition

Final Date Year

1927

Final How

Broken up.

Final Notes

1940 Removed from registry.

History and Notes

History

1880, May 20 Registered Picton, ONT.

1881, Apr Strengthened by false sides; ran Trenton, Belleville & Picton.

1888, Mar 26 Owned Thomas J. Porte, Picton.

1893, Apr 5 Owned W.E. VanVlack & William B. Cooper.

1893, Oct 3 Owned William B. Cooper, Picton, Alfred Hicks, Hallowell Township & Reuben Norcross, Trenton.

1898, Nov 2 Owned Hicks & Norcross.

1904, Sep 14 Owned Hicks & Cooper, Hallowell.

1904, Nov 18 Owned A. Hicks & J.E. Rathbun.

1908, Feb 6 Owned W.B. Cooper & J.E. Rathbun. Trenton, ONT.

1910, Mar 9 Owned Quinte Navigation Co., Ltd., Picton.

1910, Dec 31 Owned Ontario & Quebec Navigation Co., Ltd.

1916, Apr 28 Owned Canada Steamship Lines.

1927 Broken up

 

stern veruna may 11

JONATHAN A Poarn witness produced by Deseronto Navigation Company sworn Besides at Trenton Ont is master and owner of steamer Varuna of Picton plying on Bay of Quinté from Trenton to Picton as a day boat holds master’s certificate for steamer I know steamer Quinté was burned did not see her burning do not know the origin of the fire I burned last season about equal proportions of hardwood tamarac and bunched wood I don t consider any of such fuel extra hazardous the trouble I found with bunched wood was to get it dry enough to make steam I don t think the bunched wood that I used was more inflammable than other pine cordwood when steamer Quinté was lying at Belleville wharf have been on board saw a captain mate engineer three deck hands purser two women and a boy knew some of their names but not all do not know how many of a crew was on board the day she was burned I considered the crew as I saw them there sufficient to handle steamer Quinté on the route she was on as a day boat I am not com etent to judge as to the number of firemen required on steamer Quinté I used te same kind of bunched wood on my steamer as the steamer Quinté took on at Trenton do not know if steamer Quinté wooded at any place else have been a master of steamers for twenty two years the bunched wood I used was not sufliciently dry to satisfy me as fuel I consider a good man could fire ten cords of bunched wood on steamer Quinté on her regular trip from Picton to Trenton and return JONATHAN A PORTE varuna bow veruna may 11

Oxford

This wreck lies in 160 feet of water.  It is beyond the limits of sport diving as defined by all major certifying agencies.  It should only be attempted by very experienced divers with specialized training for depths in excess of sport diving limits.

The Oxford rests on a mud bottom with her masts reasonably intact.  Her large tiller is another prominent feature of the wreck and before her identity was known she was called the Tiller Wreck. Although there is no crows nest, she was also referred to as the Crows Nest, probably due to the crosstree on her forward mast.  Owing in part to her depth, the ship is remarkably preserved.  While there is damage at the starboard bow from the collision that sunk her, her two large anchors sit prominently on the bow.  Moving to toward the stern, her windlass, bilge pumps, offset centerboard, and rigging winch are sitting in place, ready for use, as though she might one day sail again.

Official #: none

Location: 25ºT 24.7 miles off Erie Pennsylvania harbor entrance

Coordinates: Loran: 44558.7  58671.7    GPS: 42 28.85579 51.843

Lies: southeast/northwest                           Depth: 160 feet

Type: two masted brig                               Cargo: iron ore

Power: sail

Owner(s) Hoag Strong and Company of Cleveland, Ohio

Built: 1842 at Three Mile Bay, New York by A. Copley

Dimensions: 114’  x  24’  x  9’                 Tonnage: 254

Date of Loss: Friday, May 30, 1856

 

OXFORD Brig, and Propeller CATARACT collided off Long Point, the former sunk in deep water, five lives lost, damage to latter $100.
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
January 31, 1857 (1856 casualty list)

. . . . .

COLLISION—FIVE LIVES LOST—BRIG SUNK. – The propeller CATARACT, Capt. Hunt, of the American Transportation Company’s line, bound from Toledo to this port with a cargo of flour and provisions came in collision on Friday morning, about 2 o’clock, off Long Point, with the brig OXFORD, Capt. Lee, bound fron Ogdensburgh to Toledo with a cargo of 300 tons of iron ore.
The propeller struck the brig on the starboard side, just abaft the foremast, cutting her to the water’s edge and causing her to sink in about three minutes. The Captain, his wife, mate and two seamen went down with her. Three seamen out of the whole number were saved.
The following is a list of the lost and saved as far as we have been able to ascertain:
Lost—Capt. John Lee and wife, Oswego; mate Angus —-, Oswego; J. McDonald, seaman, Long Island; and one other, name unknown. Saved—Michael McGinnis, Kingston; James Hull, Kingston; Henry Anderson, Prescott, Canada, all seamen.
The propeller arrived in port about Friday night, not having sustained any material damage. The Captain’s wife was a daughter of Mr. Steele of French Creek. We are indebted to Capt. Bagnall for the above particulars.
Buffalo Daily Courier
June 2, 1856

The Coast Wrecking stmr. RESCUE, Capt. Cotton, arrived at this port Wednesday night from Port Huron with a quantity of freight just recovered from the prop. WABASH, lost over a year ago off Lexington….The RESCUE left here this morning to visit and recover if possible a number of wrecks sunk in Lake Erie, among them the schr. QUICKSTEP at Long Pt. Cut and W.S. KEITH there also; the prop. TONAWANDA, which was sunk off Buffalo last fall; the prop. ACME off Dunkirk; the schr. SARAH E. HUDSON (new) off Pt. Abino, and the brig OXFORD, with a cargo of railroad iron sunk near Mohawk Island by collision with the prop. SPAULDING. – Detroit Tribune
Buffalo Morning Express
July 24, 1871

WRECKING. – The wrecking steamer RESCUE, which left Detroit on Thursday, will visit, and if possible, recover a number of wrecks sunk in Lake Erie, among which may be mentioned the schooners W. S. KEITH and QUICKSTEP, at Long Point Cut; also the propeller TONAWANDA, which was sunk off Buffalo last fall; the propeller ACME off Dunkirk, the schooner SARAH E. HUDSON, off Point Abino, and the brig OXFORD, with a cargo of railroad iron, sunk near Neward Island, by a collision with the propeller SPAULDING.
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
July 22, 1871

SHICKLUNA

SHICKLUNA WAS SUNK.
Steamer Collided With the TECUMSEH and Went Down This Morning,
Port Colborne, Ont. May 29. — The steamer SHICKLUNA left here yesterday evening bound for Cleveland, light. About 1 o’clock this morning when abreast of Long Point she collided with the steamer TECUMSEH. striking her on the port bow and sank out of sight shortly afterwards. The crew were rescued by the TECUMSEH and arrived here this morning at 11 o’clock. SHICKLUNA is a total loss.
She was owned by Sylvester Bros. of Toronto. Captain Clifford cannot account for the collision, as he was on his course when the boats came together. The TECUMSEH was not damaged much, if any, and proceeded for her destination.
Buffalo Evening News
Saturday, May 29, 1897

WITH THE CREW.
TECUMSEH Hove Into Port Colborne Carrying Sailors.
SHICKLUNA’S Men Are Saved, But the Boat is at the Bottom of the Lake.
Port Colborne, Ont., May 29. — The steamer TECUMSEH arrived here today with the crew of the steamer LOUIS SHICKLUNA, the latter boat coming into collision with the steamer TECUMSEH, six miles off Long Point, about 1 o’clock this morning.
The SHICKLUNA was struck abreast of the boiler room and sank in a few minutes. The crew had just time to get in the small boats and did not have time to save any of their clothing. The crew had a hard time in the small boats, as the wind was blowing strong and quite a sea was running. But they managed to keep afloat until daylight, when the TECUNSEH, which had stopped and was on the lookout for them, picked them up.
Buffalo Sunday News
Sunday, May 30, 1897

Port Colborne, May 29. — The steamer TECUMSEH collided with and sunk the steamer LEWIS SHICKLUNA off Long Point, Lake Erie last night. The crew had barely time enough to take to the boats, in which they spent the night. The TECUMSEH picked them up at daylight.
The LEWIS SHICKLUNA was built in 1870, was of 445 tons measured 135 x 26 and was valued at about $15,000. She is in deep water and will be a total loss. She was owned by Sylvester Bros. of Toronto.
Chicago Inter Ocean
May 30, 1897

The Canadian steamer LOUIS SHICKLUNA was sent to the bottom of Lake Erie off Long Point Friday by collision with the steamer TECUMSEH. She was bound for Cleveland without cargo. When about 3 miles off Long Point, the TECUMSEH, which was bound down from Lake Superior, struck the SHICKLUNA abreast of the boiler room. It was just enough time for the crew to launch the boat and get away, They were picked up Saturday morning by the TECUMSEH.
Port Huron Daily Times
Monday, May 31, 1897

Prop. L. SHICKLUNA Official Canadian Number 100752. Built St. Catharines 1870. 135 x 43 x 12 and 626 tons. Rebuilt as 135 x 43 x 12 and 445 tons. Sunk Lake Erie, May 29, 1897.
Prelm. List of Canadian Steamships
Coastal & Inland, 1809 to 1930

. . . . .

LEWIS SHICKLUNA, 303 tons. Home port, Toronto. sunk by collision 5 miles east of Long Point, Lake Erie, April 28, 1897
Casualty List for 1897
Dept. of Transport.

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KPH (Waterlily?)

Located at N44.12.468 W76.31.535 This unknown steamer lies in 65 ft (20m) of water near the Kingston Psychiatric Hospital and is regarded as a diving gem. This wreck is 135ft (41.2m) long, with penetration available, and is usually covered in fish. The wreck is mostly visited as a second Waterlily _KPH_ bowdive, but this is one of the perfect night dives that one can do while visiting the Kingston area. After coming down the ascent line, one is greeted by the debris field and a giant propeller. Coming around to the first available opening, one can see the boilers and large coal chutes. After exploring the inside (be careful; its silty and others may want to see), one can venture around the front and down the side and watch the fish.
Update Aug 2001 An article written by the Marine Museum in Kingston has Capt Henderson Identifying the KPH as the Waterlily.

 

apples1

WATER LILY (1870, Steambarge)
Year of Build:
1870
Official Number:
94923
CONSTRUCTION AND OWNERSHIP
Built at:
Brewers Mills, ONT
Vessel Type:
Steambarge
Hull Materials:
Wood
Number of Decks:
1
Builder Name:
William Ainslee
Original Owner and Location:
Fraser & George, Kingston, ONT
POWER
Power:
Mechanical
Engine Type:
High Pressure (including HPNC)
# Cylinders:
1
Propulsion Notes:
10 1/2 x 12″, 17hp engine by Davidson & Doran, Kingston, ONT, 1870.
DIMENSIONS
Length:
92′
Beam:
22′
Depth:
5.6′
Tonnage (gross):
97
HISTORY

1870, Oct 11 Readmeasured 92 x 22 x 5.6′, 97 3,256/3,500 tons.

1871, Aug 18 Owned George Davidson et al, Kingston, ONT.

1877 Owned J.B. Robinson, Thurlow, ONT; readmeasured 95.77 gross tons.

1891 Rebuilt at Picton, ONT by A.W. Hepburn (or John Tait); 100 x 18.4 x 5.7′, 95.09 gross tons.

1893 Owned Arthur William Hepburn, Kingston.

1905, Apr 17 Owned Ontario & Quebec Navigation Co., Picton, ONT.

1916, May 3 Shortened to 97.01′ at Montreal, QUE.

George M. Cox

George M. Cox (Official Number 150898) – Rock of Ages lighthouse was completed in 1908 to warn ships of the hazardous waters surrounding the Rock of Ages shoals.  Standing 130 feet tall with a second order Fresnel Lens, it was the most powerful light on the Great Lakes.  In spite of this commanding navigational aide, the reef again claimed one more major ship in 1933.  The steel passenger ship George M. Cox en route to Thunder Bay in the fog ran on to the rocks the night of May 27, 1933.  Striking the reef at speed of 17 knots lifted an estimated 110 feet of her keel out of the water.

All 125 passengers and crew were rescued by the lighthouse keeper and spent an uncomfortable night huddled on the lighthouse spiral staircase.

The Cox was built in 1901 at Toledo, Ohio by the Craig Ship Building Co.  It was originally named the Puritan, but was renamed in 1933 to the George M. Cox.  Its dimensions at the time it was built were 233 feet long, 40 feet in beam and 22 feet deep.  It was lengthened by 26 feet in 1908.  The 1620.b.13.4.32.2Puritan had a long operational history in the passenger transportation business mainly between Chicago, Holland, and Benton Harbor.  It was acquired by the US Navy in 1918 for service in World War I then returned to Great Lakes passenger service in 1920.  After sitting idle for four years during the Great Depression, in 1933 millionaire George M. Cox bought the Puritan for service between Chicago, Houghton, Isle Royale, and Port Arthur.  After a total refit the now elegant Puritan was renamed the George M. Cox after its owner.  It was on its maiden voyage as the George M. Cox with its owner on board that the grounding on Rock of Ages shoal occurred.

Today the twisted remains of the Cox remain on the shoal for divers to explore.  The bow section lies in fifteen feet of water badly damaged by ice and waves.  The stern, machinery, and many of the ship’s artifacts still lie in 40’ to 100’ of water.  National Park Service vigilance and a strong diver etiquette, which promotes “Take only pictures – Leave only bubbles”, now protect these shipwrecks and their artifacts.

Cecil J

Cecil JLocation: 2 miles southwest of Port Dover, Ontario
Coordinates: Loran: 44589.3  58529.9   GPS:42 45.78580 13.688
Official #: 170676
Lies: scattered                                     Depth: 17 feet
Type: tug                                            Cargo: none
Power: gasoline engine
Owner(s) John Siskovic and Artley Martin of Port Dover, Ontario
Built: 1915 at Erie, Pennsylvania.  Rebuilt 1929 at Port Dover, Ontario by George Gamble
Dimensions: 47’5”  x  12.5’  x  3’9”  Tonnage: 14 gross   9 net
Date of Loss: May 27, 1944
Cause of Loss: burned and scuttled

 

 

The Blanche

On 26 May 1888, BLANCHE (2-mast wooden schooner, 95 foot, 92 gross tons, built in 1874, at Mill Point, Ontario) was carrying coal with a crew of five on Lake Ontario. She was lost in a squall somewhere between Oswego, New York and Brighton, Ontario.

Not 100 percent proven but local researchers have tentatively named the picton two mastered schooner at N 43’48.303 W 77’03.334 this.

BLANCHE, Schooner 14 years of age, 92 tons reg. Bound from Brighton to Oswego, disappeared Lake Ontario 1890. Home port, Napanee.

Dept. of Marine & Fisheries

Statement of Wreck & Casualty, 1890

The Blanche? by Tom Wilson

. . . . .

BLANCHE, Schooner owned by A. Campbell and belonging to the port of Port Colborne. Became a total loss May 26, 1888. Value of loss $3,500. Tonnage 210 (including cargo)

Casualty List for 1888

Marine Record

January 3, 1889

. . . . .

Fate of the Schooner Blanche

in Lake Ontario

 

[from “The Picton Times” November 10 1932]

It is going on forty-five years since the Blanche of Colborne, vanished with all hands.  Yet still Cat Hollow men stare hard towards the Scotch Bonnet of moonlight nights, to catch, if may be, the gleam of her bone-white hull under the proud arching of her silver-sable sails.

The Bonnet is a little block of an island outside of Nicholson’s off the Prince Edward County shore.  It flashes nightly across the water to the tall lighthouse at Presqu’Ile, where the bay runs up to Brighton and swings east to the Murray Canal, replacing the old Carrying Place, which once afforded access to the Bay of Quinte.  Colborne and Cat Hollow are to the west of the little peninsula which gives Presqu’Ile its name. A famous corner for wrecks, since the government schooner Speedy’s finding of the Devil’s Hitchingpost there in 1804.  The Belle Sheridan’s was another famous wreck near by, eighty years afterwards.  Among them all, the Blanche’s will be remembered long, both from the mystery of it and from the completeness of the tragedy it involved.

It was fitting out time, in the spring of 1888, and Captain John Henderson, of the schooner Blanche of Colborne, was outward bound from his winter home in Cat Hollow.  Colborne lies inland from Lake Ontario, a little town of importance, named after the lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, whose name was later tagged on to Gravelly Bay on Lake Erie;  making it Port Colborne, to some confusion with the Ontario place.  From Colborne a road winds down to Cat Hollow, the settlement by the shore, which has since become the village of Lakeport.  Officially vessels from this vicinity hailed from the Port of Cramahe, but Cramahe or Cramha was only the Highland name for the township.  Harbor there was none.  Once they had to scuttle the Katie Eccles where she lay loading at the pier there, to save her from pounding to pieces in a westerly.  Schooners did a brisk trade in grain and lumber from the two wharves and storehouses at Cat Hollow, but they wintered in Cobourg or Brighton, sheltered in the Bay of Presqu’Ile.

Captain Henderson’s bag and his seaboots and oilskins had gone on before, and he was striding uphill through the thawing slush to meet the Brighton stage.  This would carry him to where the Blanche lay, shimmering in her new white paint, at her winter quarters in Presqu’Ile Bay, eight miles away.

At the hill crest, Captain Henderson turned.  He untied a parcel he had held tightly in his young brown fist.  A pair of heavy woollen socks sprang from the released covering.  They were gay and hand-knitted;  sailors’ socks, the kind that keep sea boots from “drawing the feet.”  He whirled them high above his head.

13292983_10156992920625083_1708006417_n
by Tom Wilson

“Good-bye, mother, good-bye!” he called, in a voice of spring gladness matching the cheery chirrup of the roadside robins.

At a door down in the Hollow a grey haired woman waved a freshly ironed apron of pink and white checks.  Tears brimmed her eyes.  Captain Henderson could not see them.  But he could see, or believed he saw, the glad smile behind them.  A sailor’s eyes are keen.  A lover’s eyes see farther.  Johnnie Henderson was a good sailor and a loving son.

Then he went over the hilltop and out of his mother’s sight, and out of the ken of the small boy who passed him, whistling.  It is from him comes this tale, forty-four years afterwards.  He is Harold Batty, and he helps get out the Port Hope Guide.  The facts are his.  Whose the telling does not matter.

Two months later, Captain Tom Matthews was swinging down the lake in the old black-and-green schooner then in her prime.  Older Toronto folk may remember her when she used to bring stone for the cribs of the Eastern Gap, in the 90’s, when Captain “Mack” Shaw had her.  Younger Toronto folk may remember her putting in here in distress one August day in 1906, when she was on her very last legs.  Her sheer was humped then, and her mastheads sprung and she had a permanent reef in her much patched mainsail.  She had been to Charlotte with a load of cedar posts, and ran for shelter here in the light half of a summer gale, with eighteen inches of water in her hold and her crew in despair.  She was owned then in South Bay, and after she limped away for home with moderating weather no one on the waterfront here knew what became of her.

In 1888, however, the Fleetwing was still a good vessel, and her master was proud of her.  Captain Matthews was Harold Batty’s uncle.  Mrs. Matthews, Harold Batty’s aunt, was the cook of the Fleetwing.  Captain Matthews had with him as mate, James Henderson of Cat Hollow, a brother of Captain John, of the Blanche.  Jim Henderson later became Captain of the steamer Macassa and carried thousands of Toronto and Hamilton passengers between those two ports.  Poor Jimmy is no more now, and his well-known command went to the bottom of Georgian Bay two or three years ago under the name of Manasoo.

At midnight on May 27th, Captain Matthews was called to relieve the mate, it being the custom in lake schooners for the captain to stand watch at night.  In salt water ships, the second mate does this work for the Old Man, and the latter only turns out when he feels like it – which is pretty often.

Captain Matthews glanced at the barometer and it seemed to him the glass had dropped materially since he had gone below.  He emerged to find a perfect moonlight night with a fine steady breeze blowing and the schooner gushing along quietly in smooth water.  The Scotch Bonnet was winking away in the moonlight bearing north-north-west, about five miles distant.

“I haven’t been drinking, Jimmy, but my eyes must be playing tricks on me,” said Captain Matthews to his mate, as the latter prepared to go below.  “I thought the glass was away down, but I come up to as fine a night as man ever set eyes on.  Wait a minute till I have another look at her.”

He popped into the cabin.  The glass was assuredly “down.”  The mercury had sunk even while he was talking.

He emerged in a moment.  All hands were now on deck, standing by for the order “Go below, the port watch.”

“Get the gaff topsails and jibtop sail off her,” shouted the master to the waiting mate.  “Haul the flying jib down too, and we’ll reef the mainsail!”

“What’s wrong, captain?” asked the mate, amazed.

“Plenty,”  said Captain Matthews.  “The glass is down all right, as if the bottom had dropped out of it, and I never knew her to fool me yet.”

With a rattle of complaining blocks, hoops and downhauls the light sails were clewed up and furled, and the main sheet was hauled aft for reefing the mainsail, when a vessel hove in sight.

“It’s Johnny, in the Blanche.  He’s got a load of screenings from Oswego for Brighton,” commented Mate Henderson.

“He may make it before anything hits him,” agreed Captain Matthews,  “Two hours will about put him inside Presqu’Ile Light.  Look at him come!”

The Blanche was booming along, her sails sharp black and white in the moonlight, wing-and-wing with the breeze, a white roll of foam sparkling like diamonds before her white bows.  She had a saucy sheer, and she swam towards them like a snowy swan in a hurry.

Captain Matthews hailed, “This is a fine night, Johnny!”

“Yes,” hailed back Captain Henderson, “It’s a dandy.  We’re making hay while the moon shines.  Is everybody all right?”

He could not understand the Fleetwing shortening down in such fine weather.  His question showed it.  Capt. Matthews called something about the glass having dropped suddenly.  Captain Henderson, now almost beyond earshot, hailed back.  “Goodnight Tom!  Goodnight Jimmy!”  and vanished from sight and hearing.

Half an hour later the squall struck without notice form the northwest.  It was a gagger.  The Fleetwing was not a stiff vessel.  She was a shoal American bottom, built at Wilson, N.Y., near Niagara. In 1863, for Captain Quick, and she capsized and drowned her crew while he had her.  After that she had her masts shortened, and passed into Canadian ownership.

She rolled down under this squall till they thought they’d lose her, although she was already shortened to the reefed mainsail, foresail, and staysail.  She came through safely.  The same squall must have caught the Blanche with every stitch set, her boom guyed out to the soft southerly “feeder” that was bringing on this tiger out of the north west. It must have driven her clean under for nothing was ever seen of her or her crew after she passed the Fleetwing.

Months afterwards the lake gave up one body.  It had been battered by so many weeks of tossing that it was quite unrecognizable.  Even the clothing had been torn from it.  All except the boots and socks on the swollen feet.

They brought the pitiful pieces of knitting to a grey-haired woman in Cat Hollow.  She dried her hands on a pink-and-white checked apron before putting on her glasses.  The pink-and-white checked apron had faded with many washings since fitting out time in the spring.  So too had the grey-haired woman’s eyes, since Captain John Henderson passed over the hill.

She looked at the socks and her fingers shook as she held them.

“Yes,” said she, “it must be Johnny,  I knit them.”

One tombstone in Lakeport, gives the names of all the village sailors lost in the Blanche.  They are:

by Tom Wilson
by Tom Wilson

Captain John H. Henderson, William Seed, mate,  Wm. E. Haynes, before the mast, Annie Smith, cook.

 

The other man before the mast was William Auckland.  He came from Trenton, on the Bay of Quinte

Kingston, June 9. — The schooner BLANCHE of Oswego has not been heard from and fears are entertained that she has foundered.

Port Huron Daily Times

Saturday, June 9, 1888

 

. . . . .

Toronto, June 30 — A portion of a wreck, supposed to be a part of the lost schooner BLANCHE, has been picked up on the beach between Wellington and West Lake Pt. Capt. Matthews of the PARTHENON secured the portion of the wreck. The captain knew the missing BLANCHE well, having sailed her for some time. His theory of the disaster is that, with all sails set in a squall, she plunged headlong into the deep. He is of the opinion that the piece of wreckage secured is a portion of the missing BLANCHE.

[The BLANCHE is owned by A. Campbell of Port Colborne, and loaded with coal at Oswego on Monday, May 26. She left the same evening for Brighton, Ont. and is believed to have been lost in a squall which came up that night. John Henderson of Port Colbrone was the master, with a crew composed of a mate, 2 sailors and a woman cook. – Ed. Free Press]

schooner 6 julDetroit Free Press

July 1, 1888

Schooner BLANCHE. Official Canada No. 71061. Of 92 tons register. Built Mill Point, Ont., 1874. Home port, Port Colborne, Ont. 82.5 x 21.0 x 7.4 Owned by A. Campbell of Port Colborne, Ont.

List of Vessels on the Registry Books of the

Dominion of Canada on December 31,1886

Schooner BLANCHE, ashore near Cobourg. November 1880. Got off.

Toronto Globe (1880 Casualty List)

November 30, 1880

. . . . .

Schooner BLANCHE, of 6 years old and 92 tons reg. Port of hail, Napanee. Bound from Cobourg to Oswego, became a partial casualty in Cobourg Harbour, November 7, 1880. Damage to hull $1,500. No loss to cargo.

Statement of Wreck & Casualty, 1880

Department of Marine & Fisheries

Sessional Papers (No. 11) A. 1881

Schooner BLANCHE. Official Canada No. 71061. Of 92 tons register. Built Mill Point, Ont., 1874. Home port, Port Colborne, Ont. 82.5 x 21.0 x 7.4 Owned by A. Campbell of Port Colborne, Ont.

List of Vessels on the Registry Books of the

Dominion of Canada on December 31,1886

Conestoga

History
The steamer Conestoga was built by Quale & Son of Cleveland for Anchor conestogaLine and launched July 6, 1878. A considerable amount of money, technical design and skill went into construction, as evidenced by the description in the Cleveland Daily Plain Dealer on July 8, 1878: “Fitted out in all proportions with a care to strength, durability and beautyÖ it is estimated that her cost will be near $90,000.00. The Conestoga was powered by a steeple compound engine capable of a speed of 8 knots.

The upper portion of the steeple engine protrudes above the river, marking the site. She sank on May 22, 1922 outside Lock 28 of the Old Galop Canal, one mile east of Cardinal, Ontario. A fire broke out in the engine room while awaiting passage at the lock. The ship was flushed from the Lock and allowed to ground and sink in her present position. Loss was estimated at $200,000.00. She was carrying 30,000 bushels of wheat, much of which was salvaged.

 

smokestack

Location
Take exit 730 from highway 401 and head South on Shanly Road straight past the Highway 2 intersection until you are in the parking lot of the Legion building. Take the tiny unpaved road west of the building which passes between a waterfront beach/park and a small canal. Park your car near the ship’s smokestack, which can be seen protruding from the surface about 50 feet (14 meters) from shore.