Like Glen Fry said, In the City….
Like Glen Fry said, In the City….
(wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 238 foot, 1,432 gross tons, built in 1864, at Cleveland, Ohio) sailed from Toledo, Ohio, on Friday the 13th of October 1893, with a load of bagged meal, flour, zinc and copper ingots. She encountered hurricane force winds of over 60 mph and battled the storm throughout the night. She was seen on 14 October 1893, off Erie, Pennsylvania, missing her stacks and battling the wind and waves. The following day, wreckage and bodies were washing ashore near Dunkirk, New York. Among the dead were the captain, his wife and three children. A few crewmembers managed to make it to shore however all but one died of exposure. The only survivor was found on the beach near Van Buren Point two days later. During the search for bodies, three volunteers lost their lives. The wreck was found in 1984.
THE DEAN RICHMOND FOUNDERED OFF DUNKIRK IN A GALE.
The Crew All Drowned !
Three Bodies Have Been Recovered At Dunkirk
The Others Are Supposed To Be At Angola.
ON VAN BUREN POINT.
The Big Steamer Went On The Rocks And Is A Total Loss.
Not A Soul Survived So Far As Can Be Learned Now.
Miles And Miles Of Wreckage.
Following the news of the terrible storm of Saturday in this city comes new of the foundering of the steamer DEAN RICHMOND off Dunkirk and the probable loss of her entire crew of 18 people.
She was passed Saturday afternoon by steamers which made Buffalo. She was then apparently in great distress but her loss was not dreamed of.
The HELENA which came in with the AMBOY in tow Saturday afternoon tried to give the RICHMOND aid but could not.
The first intimation of the staunch vessel’s loss was when a Dunkirk boy went out early yesterday morning to see the sea in all the grandeur of wind-lashed fury and found bits of wreckage, heaps of merchandise and the dead body of a man with a life preserver on buried in a pile of wreckage.
The tale is a sad one and the probabilities are that no one will ever know how the DEAN RICHMOND foundered and her crew perished.
A very few of the old sailors have a hope that some of the crew might have been saved. This can hardly be so, however. No big boats are known to have been near the spot after Saturday noon. [P.1, c.8]
THE STORY OF THE WRECK.
Struggling For Her Life The RICHMOND Passed From View Forever.
PART OF HER DEAD CREW WASHED ASHORE.
[Special to the Evening News.]
Dunkirk, Oct. 16. – Late Saturday the big steamer DEAN RICHMOND was seen a few miles above here fighting for her life in a wicked sea.
Bits of her wreckage and the dead bodies of some of her crew found on the Dunkirk shore yesterday morning tell eloquently how the fight resulted.
The ship wrecked, the crew dead – every soul, so far as can be told now, is in brief the story of the loss.
All day long the steamer’s wreckage has been coming ashore, sweeping in on the waves with the dead bodies of the crew.
Just when the RICHMOND broke up is not known, but it is thought to have been about 2 o’clock yesterday morning, for people in Dunkirk heard her whistling in distress long after midnight.
The first the people of Dunkirk knew of the wreck was at 8 o’clock yesterday morning when Frand Bowling went down on the shore east of the harbor to see the storm.
All along the shore he found bits of wreckage and piles of merchandise. He suspected a wreck of great extent and began an examination of the stuff.
In a pile of broken wood, boxes and barrels he saw a life preserver end sticking out, he tried to draw it out to fins the boat’s name on it.
It was held fast, and when he cleared away the wreckage he found it was attached to the body of a man about 25 years old, dressed in a sailor’s storm clothing.
Coroner Blood had the body taken to the Morgue and searched. In the pocket were found letters addressed to A.B. Dodge, Toledo, care steamer DEAN RICHMOND. The letter came from Kansas, O., and was signed Mollie.
Then a systematic search along the shore was begun, which was joined in by great many people.
For miles the shore was covered with wreckage from the vessel, boxes of merchandise and barrels and sacks of flour.
The sharks made their appearance early in the day and began looting the debris. Men came in wagons and carted away the flour and boxes. They paid no attention to searching the wreckage for bodies, only caring for what they could steal.
About 3 o’clock in the afternoon another body was found near Polandertown, west of here. Before the Coroner arrived a second body was washed in, and both were taken to the Morgue. Both were sailors, but could not be identified.
All doubts regarding the identity of the vessel were set at rest late in the afternoon, when a big piece of wreckage bearing the name “DEAN RICHMOND” was washed ashore.
The three bodies found had life preservers on, so the wreck must have been expected. It is thought other bodies have been carried onto the beach at Silver Creek, Angola and Irving. The current sets that way.
THE LOST CREW.
The crew of the DEAN RICHMOND when it left Toledo, was made up of the following persons:
G.W. Stoddard, captain, Toledo.
George Boylessen, second mate, East Toledo. [Bolsen ?]
Samuel Meadows, wheelsman, Toledo.
E. Wheeler, lookout, Toledo.
Frank Earnest, lookout, North Toledo.
A. Dodge, second cook, Toledo.
James Evans, chief engineer, shipped at Toledo.
Jacob Earnest, deckhand, Toledo.
William Zink, deckhand, Toledo.
George M. Schilling, porter, Toledo.
Walter Goodyear, first mate, Ottawa, Lake Mich.
J.E. Brady, wheelsman, Residence unknown.
Mrs. Ritta Ellsworth, stewardess, Alymer, Ont.
Frank Hinton, second engineer, Port Huron.
Herman Beathan, fireman, residence unknown.
William Sargenfrie, fireman, residence unknown.
Frank Patten, deckhand, residence unknown.
Unknown man, deckhand, shipped at Buffalo.
Capt. Stoddart leaves a wife and family; Boisen a wife. Mrs. Ellsworth is a widow and has children somewhere in the west. Frank Hilton was a sole support of a mother and sister. The chief engineer, J.H. Hogan, who left the boat before she sailed, is at the World’s Fair, he is part owner of the lost steamer
Dunkirk, N.Y. Oct 16 – Up to noon five bodies from the wrecked DEAN RICHMOND have been recovered. They have not yet been identified.
Searching parties are at work, and it is probable that more bodies will be found during the day. It is now known that not one of the entire crew escaped death. [p.1, c.7 & 8]
THE DEAN RICHMOND.
She Was Once A Buffalo Boat.
Seen Saturday By The HELENA Making a Heroic Fight.
About the only thing marine men are taking of is the foundering of the DEAN RICHMOND. She was looked upon as a safe boat. She was built in 1864 for the Western Transportation Company. She was rebuilt in 1874 and recalked in 1890.
Bottsford and others of Port Huron bought her some years from the Western Transportation Company, and have been running her in the Toledo, St. Louis & Kansas City Line. She ran between this port and Toledo.
The boat was seen off Erie Saturday by the captains of the steamers HELENA, NEOSHA and W.H. STEVENS. They were trying to make Buffalo. A high sea was running and none of the boats could reach her to assist her. Her mast was gone and one smokestack had blown away. From the way the RICHMOND was floundering about, it was quite evident her steering gear was out of order.
When the boat did not appear Saturday night no anxiety was felt over her safety by Buffalo people. Even yesterday morning when she did not appear nobody expected to hear of her sinking, and it was not until the afternoon, when a report reached this city that three bodies had been washed ashore, was any anxiety really felt.
Capt. George Stoddard was one of the best-known sailors on the lakes. He lived at Toledo, where he leaves a family.
So far as known there was only one Buffalo man on the steamer. He was Francis Patton of 145 Gelston street.
There is no doubt the RICHMOND went on the rocks at Van Buren Point. If she had gone on the reef she would in all probability have remained there. The GOLDEN FLEECE wreck can still be seen. The PASSAIC went ashore at the Point last year, but all her people were rescued.
Midnight last night the beach was still thronged with people notwithstanding the terrible storm raging at the time. Well organized searching parties are quartered at intervals between Van Buren Point and the Battery Point, and a vigilant search for bodies will be kept up until all are recovered.
It was reported late last night, that a life-boat containing four of the RICHMOND’s crew came ashore above Van Buren. All inquiries fail to substantiate the truth of the rumor.
It is probable if any had escaped they would come to Dunkirk and report, as this is the nearest telegraph station. [p.1 c,7]
THE CAPTAIN’S BODY FOUND.
Six Bodies From The Wrecked RICHMOND Have Been Found And Identified.
Dunkirk, Oct. 16. – All the morning searching parties have been out along the shore looking for the bodies of the crew of the RICHMOND. There were three bodies in the Morgue this morning. They were recognized by the Company’s Agent Mr. Hill from Buffalo, as those of A.B. Dodge, Samuel Meadows and William Brown At 11 o’clock a searching party found three more and when they arrived at the Morgue one was recognized as that of the captain of the RICHMOND, G.W. Stoddart of Toledo. His watch was stopped at 12:30, showing that to have been about the time the steamer went down.
The other bodies were those of the stewardess, Mrs. Ritta Ellsworth, and the second mate, George Boylessen. These bodies were all in bad shape and when the were found were pounding against the rocks.
In Boylessen’s pocket were found all his papers, showing that he must have known that there was little or no hope for the boat, and prepared for the wreck by attempting to save all he could of his valuables.
Search parties have been sent out all along the shore for miles in each direction to look for the bodies of the rest of the crew and bring them to this city.
E X T R A !
One Man Only Escaped From The DEAN RICHMOND.
24 WERE DROWNED.
The Captain’s Wife And Three Children Were On Board The Vessel.
The Survivor’s Tale.
Dunkirk, Oct. 16 – 2 P. M. – Only one man escaped from the lost steamer DEAN RICHMOND, and he was found wandering on the beach near Van Buren Point in a half demented condition by an Observer reporter. He was haggard and worn and his eyes sunken in his head told a story of terrible suffering. He was found aimlessly wandering up and down the beach, and when spoken to burst into tears and said he was looking for his dog.
He was questioned and said he had been washed off the RICHMOND, and was unquestionably the only man saved from the vessel. After he had been cared for and given stimulants he recovered sufficiently to tell the story of the awful last hours of the steamer.
He said his name was C.L. Clarke, and he shipped in Toledo just before the RICHMOND sailed. He was coming to Buffalo and was working his way, it is believed.
“There were 19 in the RICHMOND’s crew,” he said, “beside Capt. Stoddart, his wife and three children. We left Toledo at 6 o’clock Friday night, and sailed along all right until we got into the gale on Saturday. It struck us hard from the very start, but if we had had good luck we would have weathered the storm and been safe in port at this minute.
“We tried to get into Erie harbor but could not on account of the choppy sea, and then Capt. Stoddart decided to make the run to Buffalo, if he could. We were badly wrenched by the heavy sea which struck us, it seemed, from every side.
“About 2 P. M., after matters had grown worse right along, we sighted a couple of steamers. They were quite a distance away, but we signalled them for assistance. Capt. Stoddart had not given up at that time, but felt it would be safer if we were nearer some other vessel. He was thinking of his wife and children. The steamer we signalled either did not see us or could not get to us, for they went right along fighting their way into the storm, heading toward Buffalo.
“The waves ran right over our decks and everything which was moveable was swept overboard. The captain’s wife and children were locked up in the cabin for safety’s sake, and the crew was working for their lives outside, under direction of the captain, who never lost his head for a moment.
“An hour later we had lost a mast and smokestack. Then we continued to drift along at the mercy of the wind and waves.
“About 7 o’clock in the evening the wheel house was washed away. The rudder and wheel were broken and we were badly crippled. We were then about 15 miles from shore and after considerable work managed to set the rudder so we could make for the shore.
“The captain had made up his mind to run for the shore and beach his vessel. He made fair headway with a hard fight and I began to get things ready to get out in the yawl boat with the captain’s wife and children. I had a little dog on board which I thought a great deal of.
“I tied him in the boat and opened my jack knife, stuck it up in the gunwhale of the yawl, good and deep. I went back to the captain and just before I reached him, we were washed and I was carried overboard.
“This must have been about 11 o’clock. I gave myself up for lost when I found myself in the water. I kept sight of the RICHMOND’s lights for some time and saw her drifting down the lake, turning and twisting in every direction. I knew I was as good as dead and wondered whether the others would be saved or not.
“And then I lost consciousness and did not know anything until I found myself lying on the beach near a town, which I found out was Silver Creek. When I came to myself I went into the town. I had some money and got something to eat, found out where I was and then came here to learn what had become of the steamer.
“I heard this morning that she had gone down, and then I came over here and tried to find the boat and my dog. He must be suffering terribly, for he was tied in.”
Clarke insisted on continuing his search for his pet and a mile or two up the shore an overturned yawl boat from the RICHMOND was found. Clark saw it, junped forward and threw it over.
Inside, tied to the seat, was the dead body of a little dog, and in the gunwhale, sunk deeply, was Clarke’s jack-knife. [p.1, c.2]
Buffalo Evening News
Monday, October 16, 1893
. . . . .
BIG STORM OF SATURDAY NIGHT
The MINNEHAHA loaded with corn went ashore on Saturday afternoon near Manistee. 6 killed, one saved. A few minutes after striking the bar the vessel broke in two and within half an hour nothing but the bow was left. There were no life-preservers on board.
The barge J.D. SAWYER was cut adrift by the B.W. ARNOLD near the Beavers in the saturday evening terrific gale. She is presumed lost.
Eighteen were lost as the steamer DEAN RICHMOND goes down off Dunkirk, N.Y. She was chartered to the Toledo, St. Louis & Kansas City Line.
The barge HECLA is ashore at Wellington, Ontario.
The Barge J.C. MARTIN is ashore at Racine.
The tug ACME foundered on Lake Huron near Black River. None lost.
The schooners MORTON and CASTALIA are ashore near Sault Ste. Marie.
The steamer E.P. CURTIS and tow, ISABEL REED, T.S. FASSET and NELSON HOLLAND are ashore near Cheboygan.
The schooner CRAWFORD is ashore on Bois Blanc Island, Straits of Mackinac.
The schooner YUKON is ashore at Waiski Bay.
The barges KNIGHT TEMPLAR and SWEEPSTAKES, consorts of the steamer SALINE, are ashore between Cheboygan and Duncan.
Port Huron Daily Times
Monday, October 16, 1893
. . . . .
A FIGHT FOR LIFE
A Survivor’s Story of the Loss of the Dean Richmond
Dunkirk, October 16. – One man survived the terible disaster of the steamer Dean Richmond, which was sunk in deep water off this port Saturday night. He is C. L. Clark, who was wheelsman on the Richmond and shipped at Toledo. He came into town today, nearly dead from his terrible fight for life in the angry waters. He was interviewed this afternoon and gave a vivid story of the loss of the steamer.
“We left Toledo Friday morning,” he said, “bound for Buffalo. The weather looked bad and the captain made up his mind to put into Erie for shelter. The gale struck us during Friday night, but we made good progress against it for a long time. Instead of going down, which we supposed it would, it only increased in violence as the night wore on, and Saturday morning Captain Stoddard headed for Erie. The sea was to high to attempt it, as our course was in the trough of the sea. The gale became a hurricane in the morning, and at 2 o’clock in te afternoon the smokestacks went over the side. One hour later a huge wave came over our boats and washed the pilot house off. The wheelsman on duty had a narrow escape at that time and the wheel and steering gear were swept away. The rudder broke and the Richmond drifted helplessly in the sea. The engines were kept moving and it was tried to run her ashore, but this failed also. The seas were following each other in quick succession and the cabins were nearly all gone. At 11 o’clocl I was caught by a wave which landed me some distance from the boat. I turned on my back as a blinding flash of lightning revealed the steamer. I saw the hatch covers fly up and the the boat rolled to one side and took in much water. Then she seemed to stand on end and go down. The light faded and I never saw her again.
“How I got ashore is a mystery to me. I had nothing to cling to and as the waves broke over me I was rendered unconscious by the force of their weight. When I came to I was on the beach, surrounded by wreckage and about four miles from the town.* Slowly my strength came back , and in two or three hours I managed to get on my feet and make my way to a house, where I was given food. I then made my way to town. The captain had his wife and three children, and as they have not been heard from, they must have down with the boat. We had four life boats, but in the storm were unable to launch them.”
Detroit Free Press
Tues., Oct. 17, 1893
*Most of the bodies eventually found were wearing life jackets.
. . . . .
Clark’ Story Discredited
Buffalo, NY Oct 17.–A special dispatch from Dunkirk this morning says the story told by the man Clark, who claims to be the sole survivor of the wrecked Dean Richmond, is wholly discredited here. The agents of the boat line said no such man shipped at Toledo. Clark’s story speaks of Capt. Stoddards wife and children being aboard the Dean Richmond when she went down. Coroner Blood of Dunkirk has received a dispatch from Mrs. Stoddard, dated Toledo, in which she says she will arrive in Dunkirk to-day. Clark has disappeared. There seems to be ground, however, for hope that a single person escaped.
. . . . .
T H I R T E E N !
The Bodies Of About Half Of The DEAN RICHMOND’s Crew Recovered.
TEN ARE IDENTIFIED.
Relatives From Toledo And Buffalo Are At Dunkirk
Waiting For The Sea To Give Up Its Dead.
Dunkirk, Oct. 17. – The scenes around Coroner Blood’s Morgue are sad. Many of the relatives of the lost crew of the RICHMOND have arrived and identified bodies.
Of the 13 which have been found so far 10 have been identified as follows:
Capt. George W. Stoddart, Toledo.
Walter M. Goodyear, first mate, Ottawa Lake, Mich.
George Botson, second mate, East Toledo.
Mrs. Retta Ellsworth, stewardess, Aylmer, Ont.
A.B. Dodge, second cook, Toledo.
Samuel Meadows, wheelsman, Toledo
E. Wheeler, lookout, Toledo.
William Zink, deckhand, Toledo.
J.E. Brady, wheelsman, uncertain, shipped at Toledo.
George M. Schilling, uncertain, shipped at Toledo.
The body of Wheeler was identified by his father, Ezra E. Wheeler of Toledo
Mr. & Mrs. J.B. Wenrich, the latter a sister of chief engineer, J.P. Hogan, who escaped through a visit to the World’s Fair, were on hand, having come from Fredonia to search for their nephew, Frank Hilton, the second engineer. James Patton of 63 Dart street, Buffalo, is also here looking after his son, Frank Patton, deckhand.
Almost all the bodies are badly battered and bruised. Some were found on the beach high and dry, others were found pounding among the rocks.
The theory is advanced that all the people on the RICHMOND died of exhaustion as they all had life preservers on and in almost every case the lungs are free from water, showing they were not drowned.
The man, C.L. Clarke, who claims to be the only survivor of the RICHMOND, has disappeared. Some people doubt his story, but he had so many facts it is hard to understand how he could get them unless he was really on Board the lost vessel.
J.E. Botsford and J.H. Hogan, owners of the RICHMOND, the latter the chief engineer, arrived from Port Huron at 10:30 last night. Both felt badly over the loss of the RICHMOND and crew.
Buffalo Evening News
Tuesday, October 17, 1893 p.4, c.1.
THE RICHMOND’S HULL.
It Is Believed To Be On The Lake Bottom, Eight Miles Off Van Buren Point.
Just where the DEAN RICHMOND sank nobody knows. Mr. H.E. Hyde, agent of the Clover Leaf Line, which operated the boat, was in Dunkirk yesterday and expressed his belief that the hull was at the bottom of the lake about eight miles off Van Buren Point.
“Judging,” he said, “from the position of the bodies when found and the wreckage strewn along the beach, it appears that her upper works only have drifted ashore with some light merchandise from the decks. The hull is certainly at the bottom.”
Mr. Hyde further said; “I do not believe the RICHMOND put into Erie on Saturday as has been reported. Why should she ? Long before she was said to have left there she was seen in the lake many miles this side of that port. Capt. Stoddart, if he had been in Erie would, I hardly think, jeopardize the life of his crew by facing the storm which was then raging.”
Capt. J.G. Orr of C.B. Armstrong & Co. of this city, who was in Erie on Saturday, does not believe the boat put in Erie. He said; “I left Erie on Saturday afternoon at 3 o’clock and she had not put in up to that time. If ever she did there is not the slightest likelihood a captain would ever attempt to put out in such a sea as was then on.”
Capt. A.A. Swan has gone to Dunkirk to protect the interests of the underwriters – especially those of Smith, Davis & Co., who have $12,000 of the $44,275 insurance on the hull.
Buffalo Evening News
Tuesday, October 17, 1893 p.4, c.1
. . . . .
The Lake Still Has Nearly Half The Richmond’s Crew.
Old Lake Erie has not yet given up nine members of the crew of the ill-fated propeller DEAN RICHMOND.
So far 11 bodies have been recovered and they are all in the Morgue at Dunkirk. The lake shore is being searched by the friends of the missing sailor who were on the boat, but so far their search has been fruitless, and it may be many days before the remainder of the bodies are cast up by the waters of the lake.
J.E. Bottsford and J.H. Hogan, two of the owners of the boat, drove to the scene of the wreck yesterday and fully identified the wreckage as that of the DEAN RICHMOND. Mr. Hogan was chief engineer on the boat as well. He left it a few days before she went down, to visit the World’s Fair.
Mr. Hogan thinks the primary cause of the trouble was the blowing away of the smoke stacks. That made it impossible to keep up steam and then the vessel drifted helplessly in the seas and broke up while the brave crew were trying to head her to Buffalo. The owners value the boat at $50,000. She carried about $40,000 insurance.
A yawl boat from the RICHMOND was picked up at Van Buren Point yesterday. It was in a good state of preservation.
Mr. Hogan’s nephew, Frank Hilton, was one of the engineers on the boat who is missing. Henry Roberts of 117 Commercial street called at the Morgue at Dunkirk yesterday. He was looking for Thomas Sullivan, who was on the RICHMOND when she went down, but did not find him.
The bodies of Capt. G.W. Stoddart, George Boison, A.B. Dodge, Samuel Meadows, William Zink and E. Wheeler will be sent to Toledo today, and that of Walter M. Goodyear to Ottawa Lake, Mich.
Buffalo Evening News
Wednesday, October 18, 1893 p.1, c.6
. . . . .
ONE OF THE RICHMOND’S CREW.
Dunkirk, Nov. 16. – Last night’s heavy wind brought to light another of the DEAN RICHMOND’s crew. The body washed ashore near Crooked Creek and this morning was taken to the Morgue. On the left arm is tattooed an anchor in red and blue and on the right arm, was a ship. Outside of these marks there was nothing on the person by which he could be identified. The body is badly decomposed and had the appearance of being in the water for a long time.
Buffalo Evening News
Thursday, November 16, 1893 p.4, c.3
. . . . .
Dunkirk. – The tug HENRY W. JOHNSON has completed the search for the wreck of the DEAN RICHMOND over the 36 square miles marked off, but found no trace of the boat. They believe now that the wreck lies nearer shore and will drag accordingly.
Dunkirk, Sept. 3. – The search for the wreck of the DEAN RICHMOND, which foundered off this place last October with the loss of 20 lives was given up today and the boats were ordered back to Detroit. During the last two weeks the tugs have dragged over 36 square miles of the lake bottom, which was staked off as being the probable place of the wreck. Nothing was found whatever to indicate where the steamer went down.
September 3, 1894 p.5, c.4
. . . . .
A WRECK DISCOVERED. — Dunkirk, N, Y., May 24. — A wreck of a vessel has been discovered five miles off shore, nine miles west of here. It lies in 65 feet of water, and Coroner Blood, who has begun an investigation, is confident that it is that of the steamer DEAN RICHMOND, which foundered with all on board on Oct. 14, 1893.
Buffalo Evening News
Friday, May 24, 1895
. . . . .
Buffalo, Sept. 28. – What is believed by vesselmen to be the long sought wreck of the steamer DEAN RICHMOND has been located by Frederick Dorier and two companions 500 feet off Battery Point, east of Dunkirk. The wreck lies in deep water and the site has been marked.
The DEAN RICHMOND foundered off Dunkirk, Oct. 13, 1893, with the loss of all hands. The Underwriters spent a good deal of money trying to find the ship, owing to her valuable cargo, but the expeditions which swept the bottom of the lake for many miles could find no trace of the boat. The finders expect a large sum for salvage.
September 29, 1900
. . . . .
TO RAISE CARGO
John D. Stanton, a diver of Cleveland, has announced his intention of going after the cargo of the DEAN RICHMOND, sunk near Dunkirk. The RICHMOND had on board 30 cars of pig lead and general merchandise. She was lost nearly 50 years ago.
Buffalo Evening News
May 9, 1910
Above is the site map for the EB Allen Wreck
|GPS Location: N45° 00.976’ W83° 09.899’
Depth: 100 Feet
Wreck Length: 134 Feet
Beam: 26 Feet
Gross Tonnage: 276
Launched: 1864 by H.C. Piersons at Ogdensburg, New York
Wrecked: November 20, 1871
Description: On its last voyage, the E.B. Allen was bound for Buffalo, New York, carrying a cargo of grain. When it was about 2 miles southeast of Thunder Bay Island, it met the bark Newsboy in heavy fog. The two ships collided, and the Newsboy tore a large hole in the Allen’s portside. As the ship began to sink, the Allen’s crew was removed and taken on board the other vessel. Today, the E.B. Allen sits on an even keel, with its hull largely intact. Although the masts are broken and most of the decking is gone, the windlass, anchor chains, and rudder are still in place.
ROBABLE LOSS OF THE SCHOONER ‘PERSIAN’ — The following telegram from Oswego of yesterday – “The schooner PERSIAN, from Chicago to this port with wheat, collided with the schooner E. B. ALLEN 15 days ago on Lake Huron and as nothing has been heard of the former vessel since, it is feared that she is lost with all on board”
The schooner E. B. ALLEN, the vessel which collided with the schooner PERSIAN – reached this port on Thursday, with a cargo of 520 tons of coal, from Cleveland, and from the captain we learn that his vessel collided with the PERSIAN about 4 o’clock on the morning of the 16th of September. When about four miles north of Presqu’isle and three miles from shore – both craft being bound down at the time of the disaster – striking the PERSIAN on the starboard quarter with the blunt of her bows. He also informs us that the last he saw of the PERSIAN she was heading for land, and is surprised to learn that nothing has been heart of her since that time. The ALLEN lost her jib-boom; aside from this her damages were of a trifling nature.
The PERSIAN was the property of Captain Long, her commander, and Mr. Micheal Murphy of Oswego. She registered 545 tons, old style, rated B 1, was built at Oswego in 1855 by James Navagh. Valued at $11,000 and received large repairs in 1865. The crew also hailed from Oswego.
Saturday, October 3, 1868
. . . . .
The Schooner PERSIAN. – As all hopes are abandoned as to the safety of this vessel or any of her crew, the depositions of the crew of the E.B. ALLEN, which collided with her, were taken here yesterday. From their statement, both vessels were bound down with a fair wind, near Presque Isle (Michigan), some four miles from land. The Persian was ahead, winged on.* The ALLEN, with both sails on one side, and hauled up more**, was gradually gaining. In attempting to pass the PERSIAN who, being ahead, had the right-of-way, through some mismanagement, the ALLEN struck the PERSIAN on the quarter, and the last seen the PERSIAN she was hauled up, heading for shore. It seems almost unaccountable that such an accident, with such fatal results, could occur with both crafts in plain view, in good weather, and the conduct of the Captain of the E.B. ALLEN will not bear a favorable scrutiny either on moral or legal ground. Some small articles have been picked up in the vicinity of the disaster, which, without doubt, belonged to the PERSIAN, beyond that there will probably be nothing learned. The knowledge that she has gone down with some ten human beings, and desolated ten homes, through the mismanagement of one man, is all that is known at the present time. – Chicago Republican, 5th.
Detroit Free Press
October 7, 1868
*winged on – in a fore and aft vessel, sailing with the wind from near astern, with booms and sails out on both sides of the boat’s centerline. Also termed “wing on wing” or “wing and wing.”
**hauled up more – tacking a few points off the wind. This adds speed, but heels the boat over more and requires more sail-handling.
NOTE–The virtually-intact PERSIAN was located in deep water in the area of the collision in 1991. Both vessels were from Lake Ontario – the PERSIAN out of Oswego and the ALLEN from Ogdensburg, NY. Ironically, the ALLEN was lost about 40 miles to the southeast of the PERSIAN in another collision, three years later.
. . . . .
The Detroit Tribune calls the attention of captains to the fact that the wreck of the schr. PERSIAN, which was sunk by colliding with the schr. ALLEN a few years ago, lies in the track of passing steamers, a short distance above presque Isle, Lake Huron, with her masthead not far below the surface of the lake and in danger of being run foul by passing crafts. It was doubtless this vessel that was reported a few days since by Capt. Hunt of the stm. PHILADELPHIA.
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
September 8, 1869 3-4
Located in the Wolfe Island graveyard along with several others, it’s not known exactly which of the wrecks is the Simla but locals think she is located at N44 06 976 W76 33 606.
The last wooden steam barge built by the Calvins at Garden Island was the SIMLA (Can. 112144) of 1903. She was 225.6 feet long, 34.8 feet in the beam and 15.0 feet in depth, her tonnage being 1197 Gross and 731 Net. When the hull was completed, it was towed to the yard of Polson Iron Works Ltd., Toronto, for the installation of engines. Like INDIA, the SIMLA went to the Montreal Transportation Company Ltd, in 1914 and later joined the C.S.L. fleet. She was retired from service in the early 1920's and was laid up at Portsmouth, Ontario. The hull being no longer fit for service, her power plant was removed and in 1929 was installed in the steel canaller MAPLEHEATH where the engines continued to see service until this ship was withdrawn from service as a bulk carrier in 1959. The hull of SIMLA burned at Portsmouth about 1926 and the hulk settled on the bottom. It was finally raised by Sin Mac Lines Ltd. on September 6th, 1937, and was scuttled in deep water in Lake Ontario off Kingston.
STEAMER SIMLA SINKS.
The Canadian steamer SIMLA is sunk two miles west of Brockville, Lake Ontario, and is reported to be in bad condition. The steamer, which is owned by the Montreal Transportation Company is insured for $20,000.
Buffalo Daily Courier
October 5, 1916
EXPECTED TO FLOAT SIMLA FROM SHOAL IN ONE WEEK.
Ogdensburg, Oct. 15. – Another week will possibly elapse before the steam barge SIMLA is floated from the shoal west of Coronation Isle. About forty men under Capt. John Donnelly of Kingston, including Murphy and Rowley, are working ten hours a day on the contract.
The forward hatches of the foundered steamer have been released of the cargo of coal and a cement bulkhead has been constructed to be placed aft of the holes in the bow. The bulkhead has not yet been lowered in the water, but will be in position in a day or two. The sides of the SIMLA have been boarded and over these planks canvas has yet to be placed. When this is finished the work of pumping will be started and it is not expected any further trouble will be encountered. Six large steam pumps are being installed on the decks of the SIMLA for this work.
Apart from the hole torn in the bow, through coming in contact with the shoal, it is thought the SIMLA has sustained any other damage, although her stern rests in about thirty feet of water. She is an exceptionally strong and well constructed craft and is good for many years of active use.
Buffalo Daily Courier
October 16, 1916
STEAMER SIMLA WILL BE DRYDOCKED AT KINGSTON.
According to a dispatch received here yesterday, the steamer SIMLA, which was recently sunk in the Narrows near Brockville in the St. Lawrence River, is being pumped out, and is expected to be taken to Kingston in a day or so.
The SIMLA’s bow went high on the rocks when she sank, and it was necessary to build a cofferdam around the after-end before the pumps were put at work. On being taken to Kingston she will have her cargo removed and will be placed in drydock.
The Donnelly Wrecking & Salvage Co., of Kingston is doing the work of wrecking the SIMLA
Steam screw SIMLA. Official Canada No. 112144. Of 1,197 tons gross; 731 tons Reg. Built Garden Island, Ont., 1903. Home port, Montreal, Que. 225.6 x 34.8 x 15.0 Of 731 horsepower. Owned by Montreal Transportation Co., of Montreal, Que.
List of Vessels on the Registry Books of the
Dominion of Canada on December 31, 1920
Ship Yards / Dry Docks
Final Date Year
1937, September 6 Raised by Sin Mac Lines, Limited, scuttled deep water off Kingston, Ontario, Lake Ontario
History and Notes
1903 Engines installed at Polson Iron Works, Limited, Toronto, Ontario
1911 Towed BURMA & CEYLON
1914 Owned Montreal Transportation Company
1920s Retired, laid up Portsmouth, Ontario; engines into steel
1926 Burned, Portsmouth, Ontario
Shipwreck or Site Name: Col. A.B. Williams
Located Near: Richmondville
GPS Coordinates / Location Deg
Latitude/Longitude (Degrees): 43.607830 / -82.511170
Latitude/Longitude (Deg Min Sec): 43 36 28.19 / -82 30 40.21
Latitude/Longitude (Deg Min): 43 36.46980 / -82 30.67020
Minimum Depth: 24.384 metres / 80 feet
Maximum Depth: 24.384 metres / 80 feet
Long Description: The Col. A. B. Williams was lost in 1864 while carrying a cargo of coal. The ship is sitting in an upright position and is almost completely intact. The ship is missing her masts and cabin, which was probably destroyed when it sank. The stern is unattached from the main ship and sits several feet behind it. There are several interesting objects to view on the wreck. The bilge pump is still intact, there are winches and a windlass. The bow sprit is also intact. There are also open hatches for the adventurous divers
In the very early hours of the morning on June 5th 1864 the Colonel A. B. Williams collided with a large ore-laden bark named Twilight and sank stern first. Her crew was rescued by the bark and reports from the time indicate that a tug Prindiville may have recovered some of their personal effects that were floating on the surface a few days later. Divers can still see other effects scattered across the wreck site (although seasoned visitors recall there having been more ceramic plates not so long ago), as well as the large chunks of coal remaining in the ships holds. The ships two masts, although broken at their bases, lie off to the port side of the ship and a large midships windlass is kept free of zebra mussels by visiting divers.
WILLIAMS, COLONEL A.B.
Number of Decks
Original Owner Location
Sodus, New York
Granger, Rogers, Bates & Morley
Tonnage Old Style
3 miles below Port Sanilac, Michigan, Lake Huron
Final Date Month
Final Date Day
Final Date Year
Sank in collision with bark TWILIGHT; crew rescued by small boat from the bark
History and Notes
1856 Enrolled Oswego, New York
1863 Owned Morley & Brothers, Sodus, New York; 242 tons
1864, June 5 Sank, Lake Huron
Stern is located at N 48o 12.018’ W 88o 29.606’ Bow located at N 48o 12.003’ W 88o 29.525’
In 1947, the Canada Steamship Lines steamer EMPEROR, loaded with ore and bound for Ashtabula, hit the rocks off Isle Royale at 4:10 a.m. The vessel sank within minutes but the crew was able to launch 2 lifeboats. Captain Eldon Walkinshaw, First Mate D. Moray, and 10 other crew members drowned when one of the lifeboats overturned. Twenty-one other survivors were rescued by the U.S.C.G. cutter KIMBALL.
The Emperor was constructed in 1910 by the Collingwood Shipbuilding Co. in Collingwood, Ontario, for the Inland Lines Ltd. of Midland, Ontario. It was launched on December 17, 1910 and assigned registry number 126,654. At 525 feet in length, it was the largest Canadian-built freighter ever built at the time of her launching. The ship had a beam of 56 feet in beam, a depth of 27 feet, with 4641 registered tons and 7031 gross tons. It contained a 1,500 horsepower triple expansion steam engine with two Scotch boilers which powered the ship to a nominal speed of 10 knots. The Emperor was built of steel, with an arch and web frame construction to provide an unobstructed cargo hold with hatches placed every 12 feet. The pilothouse, captain’s quarters, and mate’s quarters were at the bow of the ship, and the crew’s quarters and engine room were aft, with unobstructed deck space between.
Although launched in 1910, the Emperor did not begin its first voyage until April 1911. On its first trip, the ship broke its main shaft in Thunder Bay, Ontario and had to be towed all the way to Detroit for repairs. Also in 1911, the ship overrode its anchor while in the Soo locks, tearing a hole in the bottom and sinking the vessel.
In May, 1916, the ship was sold to the Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. It was involved in some additional minor incidents, including groundings in 1926 and 1937, and the loss of a rudder in 1936. including the death of a crew member who fell into the hold in 1918
THE “EMPEROR” OF ISLE ROYALE.
Bettey Tomasi and Frederick Stonehouse
Lake Superior has triumphed over vast numbers of sea-going vessels – most being early sailing wood-hulled craft which were no match for Nature’s moody lady. But the Great Lake continues to prove her superiority over man’s humble efforts to traverse her as she still occasionally claims a trophy in the form of a mighty steel hulled cargo ship. Such was the case in the demise of the ore carrying EMPEROR – Destination — depths!
We had read about her, dreamed about her and yearned to see her and now, finally we were actually going to dive on her! Our excitement mounted as we helped each other into the last wet suit glove prior to our entry off the gunwhale of our dinghy. We tried mentally to prepare ourselves for the icy onslaught of Lake Superior’s merciless waters, but immediately on ‘splash-down’ we became aware that, while we were mentally prepared to descend into the frigid depths, we were definitely not physically ready! The liquid ice seeped into our suits and until our body heat was able to warm the water, a process requiring only a minute or two but seeming much longer, we began to wonder at the dubious wisdom of this adventure. Once the gigantic bow loomed into sight, though, all doubts disappeared and we began eagerly our descent down the starboard – swimming over one ghostly gaping hatch after another. In the eeriness of the swim, it seemed as if the emptied hatches would go on adinfinitum or, perhaps one of the reported trapped crewmen might make himself manifest to confront us with our audacity at trespassing on this watery graveyard. These thoughts were dispelled when we, at last, reached the end of the cargo holds and came upon the stern cabin which was emblazoned with the identification “EMPEROR” across the superstructure. It had been a relatively easy swim to the cabin, to about 110 feet as the ship rests on a steep incline of an underwater granite mountain — one of many such edifices in Lake Superior. However, a glance at our underwater pressure gauges indicated that there would be no time on this trip for exploring the stern as we were well aware that the swim to the surface would be more challenging as it was all ‘uphill’ and therefore, we wanted to conserve enough air for the climb.
During the entire dive, our thoughts were taking us back in history to the early June morning in 1947 when the mighty EMPEROR made her final voyage.
On November 6, 1918, the 525-foot ore carrier CHESTER H. CONGDON met death on the razor edged reefs of Isle Royale’s deadly Canoe Rocks. Twenty-nine years later, on June 4, 1947, the Canada Steamship Lines steamer EMPEROR repeated the CONGDON’s error and died on the same reef. The crew of the CONGDON was lucky; the moody lake gods smiled and not a man was lost, but the gods frowned on the EMPEROR and 12 of her crew of 33 drowned in the
At 3:10 p. m., June 4, the EMPEROR was working her way through the wispy tendrils of a thick Lake Superior fog. The silence of the inky darkness was pierced only by the intermingling sounds of the low rumble of the steamer’s powerful 1500 horsepower Scottish built steam engine, the gentle chuckle of water at her barn-sized bow, and the methodical bleat of her bellowing fog horn. Behind was the dock she had just left at Port Arthur (Thunder Bay, today); ahead, her destination, Ashtabula, Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie.
Sleepily, First Mate James Morrey peered ahead, out through the pilothouse window, but the fog prevented his seeing much beyond the EMPEROR’s bow. Morrey was bone-tired. He had spent the steamer’s entire dockside period (as per regulations) personally supervising the loading of the steamer’s iron ore cargo. Now it was his watch and his responsibility to guide the freighter safety past Isle Royale. There would be plenty of time for sleep later. Sipping his coffee, he continued to search ahead.
Five minutes later, the sleepy Mate was jarred from his feet and thrown to the steel deck. At her full speed of ten knots, the EMPEROR had rammed into the northeast edge of Canoe Rocks! As there was no doubt that the vessel was sinking, an immediate SOS was radioed off
into the airways. Quickly the desperate signal was answered by the U. S. Coast Guard Cutter KIMBALL. The cutter had been at Isle Royale on purely routine matters when the call for help galvanized her into action. With her engines straining at forced full speed, the staunch Coast Guard craft headed for the EMPEROR, now rapidly sinking 3½ miles, 281 degrees from the Blake Point Light (Isle Royale).
On board the ore carrier the situation was serious. Vast torrents of freezing water were gushing through the steamer’s sprung hull plates and rapidly flooding her holds. Aware that the steamer’s life was almost over, fear-stricken crewmen rushed to their lifeboat stations and began to abandon ship. Within an hour the once proud steamer had slipped beneath the
surface of the lake. Above she left the inevitable result of any marine disaster, water-logged lifeboats wallowing in the gentle swells, floating debris of every nature and a total of 21 stunned, half-frozen survivors.
When the KIMBALL arrived on the scene she immediately pulled ten men from a half swamped lifeboat, four from the slippery keel of an overturned boat and seven more from a frigid perch atop the nearly awash Canoe Rocks. All told, twelve men died in the disaster and
it isn’t inconceivable that some of them actually were trapped in the steel coffin of the steamer’s hull when she sank! Notable among those lost was her captain, Eldon Walkinshaw of Collingwood, a veteran Lake skipper of 42 years experience, and James Morrey, the First Mate.
The reason for the loss of the EMPEROR is clouded in the mystery born of a multitude of bureaucratic investigations, all carefully conducted with the distinct advantage of hindsight. That the steamer was far off course is not hard to determine, but why, is. In the official
report, the Canadian Board of Investigation blamed the Mate, stating that he “did not keep proper watch” As the Mate was conveniently lost with the ship, he could hardly defend himself. The Board did, however, criticize the prevailing system “which required the First Mate to be in charge of the loading of the ship during the period when he should have been off duty. (and) . . . resulted in his becoming overly tired, suffering as he was from a lack of sleep.”
But that conclusion hardly touches the root of the problem. The EMPEROR was far to the south of her intended course. Why? The downbound steamer track from Port Arthur was well known, and is in fact indicated on navigational charts, and there was no unusual wind or sea conditions (fog limits visibility, but does not force a ship off course). Regardless of Mate Morrey’s ability to keep a proper watch, the helmsman should have held the steamer on the proper heading. Why then did the steamer strike the rocks? Stories of drunkeness and irresponsibility are legion, and probably untrue. The real reasons for the loss will most likely never be known. The fact remains, however, that the steamer was far south of her course, without apparent reason, when she struck and died on Canoe Rocks.
For the scuba diver, the wreck of the EMPEROR presents both a tempting and a terrifying target. Tempting because it is a relatively intact ore carrier, and therefore a very unusual wreck. But she does paint a streak of terror (however faint and admitted or not) through a
diver’s heart. The grisly remains of at least part of the dozen men lost during the sinking are undoubtedly still entombed in the stern, not a pleasant thought for the diver exploring the steamer’s inner recesses.
Resting on the west slope of Canoe Rocks, only a short distance northeast of the CONGDON, the steamer’s bow is in a shallow 40 feet, but the stern slants sharply downward into 150 foot depths. Listing to port with her hatch covers blown open by trapped air during the sinking and covered in part by a thick brownish-green lake growth, the EMPEROR is an awe-inspiring sight.
The EMPEROR, official number 126654, was launched in 1910 at the Coliingwood, Ontario shipyard of the Collingwood Shipbuilding Company. Until 1916 she was owned by the Inland Lines Ltd., but in May of that year she was purchased by the Canada Steamship Lines. At 7,031 gross registered tons, 525 feet in length, 56 feet in beam and 31feet in depth, she
wasn’t the largest vessel on the lakes, lthough she was still respectable indeed.
During her life, the EMPEROR was just another bulk carrier; but in death, she became the “Emperor” of Isle Royale, and the exalted playground of scuba divers.
Almost before we realized it, we were breaking surface and helping each other with our clumsy reentries into the dinghy for the return trip to our ‘mother ship,’ the W. R. Busch which was standing off about a quarter of a mile in about 600 feet of water. As soon as our teeth stopped chattering, we began to all report different sights, reactions and enthusiasms. On one point we were all clearly agreed — we must return and make another ‘drop’ on one of
the most exciting wrecks Isle Royale has to offer. There was so much left to explore in the stern cabins, that the mutual obsession and resolve was unanimous. We would return to
the wreck of the EMPEROR!
Author’s note: Subsequent dives were made the following summer revealing cabins
with bunk beds still intact, replete with shoes under them! Could these have belonged to the crewmen entombed somewhere in the bowels of the ship?
Canadian Diving News
Vo. 4 No. 9 April
Toronto Area most requested dive on Scubaboard for many years.
Ship Type: Two masted wooden schooner
Lifespan: Built best estimates early 1800s, Sunk: unknown?
Location: 6km north of Port Dalhousie, Lake Ontario, Ontario
GPS N43.14.734 W070.17.064
The “Tiller” wreck, was thought to be the “Henry Clay” for some time until it was disproved, but is simply known as the “Tiller” because of the lack of a ship’s wheel as the ship was steered by a large wooden tiller at the stern of the vessel. As not much is know about the wreck, details of it’s origins and sinking are currently unknown. It does resemble work from ships built in the early 1800s, however, that is the extent of what we know.
The Tiller wreck was discovered in 1991 by Jim Garrington. A few years later a team of four divers embarked on a research project on the wreck.
Little is known about the wreck, which lies six miles off Port Dalhousie.
It is believed the wreck could be that of the Henry Clay, which went down in a strong gale in 1931 near the mouth of the Welland Canal. The team has not been able to find any conclusive evidence the wreck is that of the Henry Clay.
1965: CEDARVILLE and TOPDALSFJORD collided in fog in the Straits of Mackinac. Ten lives were lost when the former, a self-unloader in the Bradley fleet, sank. The latter, a Norwegian freighter, had been a Seaway trader since 1960. Later, on May 11, 1984, as d) JIN XIAN QUAN, it sank the SEA CARRIER, another former Seaway trader as SVANEFJELL, in the Strait of Formosa off Taishan Island. TOPDALSFJORD was last noted as e) CHANGHI and was deleted from Lloyd’s Register in 2005
Depth: 40′ to 110′
Dimensions: 604′ x 60′ x 32′
Cargo: Open-hearth limestone
Cause of Sinking: Collision (in fog) with M.V. Topdalsfjord
Built: 1927, River Rouge MI by Great Lakes Engineering
Date Lost: May 7, 1965
Propulsion: Triple-expansion steam engine, 2200 hp
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Location: N45° 47.235′ W085° 40.248′
The Cedarville was launched in 1927 at River Rouge MI as the A.F. Harvey, a straight-deck bulk carrier for the Pittsburg Steamship Company (US Steel). She was 604 ft. long (588 ft keel) with a triple expansion steam engine. The vessel was transferred to the Michigan Limestone Division (Bradley Transportation Line) and converted to a self-unloader at Defoe Shipyard in Bay City MI over the winter of 1957-58.
In the early morning of May 7, 1965, the Cedarville departed Port Calcite, near Rogers City, headed to Gary, IN with 14,411 tons of limestone with a crew of 35. As they neared the Straits of Mackinac, the fog thickened. Due to a lack of communication, the Norwegian vessel Topdalsfjord collided with the Cedarville on her port side cutting a deep gash in her side between the seventh and eight hatch.
After briefly dropping anchor to consider the situation, the Cedarville’s Captain attempted to beach the vessel near Mackinaw City. While still several miles offshore, at 10:25 am the Cedarville suddenly rolled over to starboard and sank in 105 feet of water about 3.5 Miles SE of the Mackinac Bridge south tower. Twenty-five crewmen were recovered alive from the cold lake, along with two others that succumbed due to exposure, and eight others went down with the ship. All but one of the missing crewmen have been recovered, with one still listed as missing.
The Cedarville is a favorite site in the Straits of Mackinac. She is intact and lies on her starboard side, about 45 degrees from being upside down. Her massive size and inverted orientation makes for an interesting, but sometimes confusing dive. The cabins are visible along with lots of deck equipment and the fatal gash. Caution is warranted given her size, depth, upside down orientation and variable visibility. Many hazards are present and penetration should not attempted without proper training, experience, planning and equipment. Due to the orientation of the vessel to the currents, the visibility is often reduced to 35 ft or less but the ship still presents a great diving opportunity.
On 30 April 1890, the wooden dredge MUNSON and two scow barges were being towed from Kingston, Ontario, by the tug EMMA MUNSON to work on the new Bay of Quinte bridge at Rossmore, Ontario, six miles west of Kingston when the dredge started listing then suddenly tipped over and sank. No lives were lost.
Ship Type: Dredge
Lifespan: Built ????, Sunk 1890
Location: Lemoine Point, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
GPS N44.12.5690 W76.36.4960
The dredge Munson was based out of Belleville and was used for maintaining adequate water depth at harbor entrances or similar contracts. One of the most significant contracts secured for the Munson was to assure that the new schooner-barge the Minnedosa, would have an uneventful launch at Kingston on Saturday, April 26, 1890. The Minnedosa was a notable contract as she was the largest four masted Canadian sailing vessel ever built on the Great Lakes, and owned by the Montreal Transportation Company. She measured an amazing 250 ft, with a 36 ft beam; she boasted finely modeled lines that made her the talk of any seaman who laid eyes on her.
Unfortunately the most important job for the little dredge Munson, turned out to also be her last. She completed her job of dredging Kingston harbor on Wednesday April 23, 1890 and taken in tow by the tug Emma Munson along with two scows, to do construction work on the Bay of Quinte bridge in the town of Rossmore. Just off Lemoines point she was noted to be listing to one side, she had been leaking before leaving Kingston. Then when least expected she began to sink just opposite Lemoines point in 110ft of water. The towlines were quickly cut and she sank beam ends first; the cook was on board cooking dinner and scampered up after being called. He was rescued from the cold water, quite exhausted after having had to wait till the suction abated on the sinking dredge when she hit bottom, until he could surface.
The men aboard the dredge lost everything, she was valued at approximately $15,000, with the case of the sinking attributed to a plank having sprung on the bottom of the dredge. She apparently sank within 4 minutes of her listing first being noted. Diver Rick Neilson relocated the dredge Munson in 1981. Many of the artifacts have been donated to the Hastings County Museum in Belleville, Ontario, creating the beginning of their Marine heritage section.
Present day divers enjoy this well preserved wooden dredge, which sits upright in approximately 110 ft of water. Her most spectacular features are the steam shovel and the fact that she has 2 levels. The arm, which supported the shovel, was at one point entirely upright, but is now only partially articulated and rests on the lakebed with the shovel. A collection of plate’s bottles, cups, and bowls, is on display for the visiting diver to enjoy. The limitations on this wreck are most obviously the depth; therefore air consumption and time must be carefully monitored. A light layer of silt covers this wreck so good buoyancy skills are a must. This wreck is striking in its presence as it greets the divers eye on decent and is sure to remain a favorite for all that visit her.
Yesterday morning the dredge MUNSON of Belleville, which spent some days dredging for the launching of the barge MINNEDOSA, left for the bay city in tow of two small tugs. She had been leaking before leaving but it was thought that it would not amount to much. When opposite Lemoine’s Point and when the crew least expected it, she sank to the bottom, in about 100 feet of water. The tow lines were cut in order to save the tugs. The dredge went down beam end’s first. The cook, in the kitchen at the time making preparations of dinner, was told to come up but before he had run to the stairway the vessel was under water. The fellow went down but soon came up and was rescued by the crew in an exhausted state. He stated afterwards that the suction from the dredge going down kept him from coming to the surface. He had to wait until she reached the bottom. A lot of timber on her deck came up after she sank.
Daily British Whig, Kingston April 30, 1890 . . . . . DREDGE MUNSON SINKS AT KINGSTON. Kingston, May 1. — The dredge MUNSON owned by E.A. Munson of Cobourg sank yesterday. The calamity was very sudden, as four minutes after the craft was seen to be in trouble, she sank like a stone. The three men who were on board were saved, although one of them, Wm. Green of this city, was carried down 35 feet. Loss estimated at $15,000 on which there is no insurance. As the water is 130 feet deep where the accident happened the prospect of recovering anything from the wreck is very doubtful.
Detroit Free Press May 2, 1890 It is likely an attempt will be made to raise the dredge MUNSON, sunk off Lemoine’s Point. Daily British Whig, Kingston May 12, 1890
Located at N44 06 830 W76 34 826is The steel barge GEORGE T. DAVIE, en route from Oswego to Kingston with 1,100 tons of coal and under tow of the SALVAGE PRINCE, began leaking and sank off Nine Mile Point, Lake Ontario, in 85 feet of water. The hull was located by divers in 1999. The ship had once been part of Canada Steamship Lines. 18 april 1945
Story by Rick Neilson
“Capt. Alfred E. Brown paced restlessly in the pilothouse of the tug Salvage Prince. The cold April winds blowing across Oswego Harbour were foremost on his mind; he was anxious to get underway. Since arriving yesterday with the barge George T. Davie in tow, he had managed to get her loaded with 1,148 tons of hard coal at the Oswego coal dock. Strong winds convinced him to stay tied up in port overnight, rather than face a boisterous trip back across Lake Ontario in the dark. Now in the early morning light the skies were clear, and the winds had diminished to about six knots from the west. It was time to cast off. On being informed of his decision, James Ruth, acting master of the Davie, and the other three crew members, G. Conaghan, L. Moore and H. Moore, immediately prepared the barge for departure. Shortly after eight o’clock in the morning the Pyke Salvage tug and her consort cleared the Oswego harbour breakwater and headed north for Kingston. Although the seas were heavy from the west, the barge followed the tug well all day. After passing the Main Duck Islands their course was set for Nine Mile Point, passing west of Pigeon Island. Even after the wind and sea were noted to be “freshening,” there was no indication of danger. But this state of affairs was soon to change dramatically. According to James Ruth’s statement taken from the Shipping Casualty report, “At 2:45 p.m. with a very heavy following sea the barge seemed to begin to steer very badly indicating that she must be going by the head. Forward pump and siphon working steadily.” There were three pumps and three siphons on board, all reported as in good working order at the start of the voyage. At 3:30 p.m. the Davie was observed from the tug to shear badly to starboard, capsize and sink. The four crew members, with no time to launch the lifeboat, were thrown into the ice-cold water, but were picked up within two minutes by the Salvage Prince. For the composite barge George T. Davie it was the end of a forty-seven year career. Built in 1898 at St. Joseph de Levis, Quebec by the Davie Shipbuilding Company, her dimensions were 177.5 feet long by 35 feet wide, with a hold of 12.5 feet deep, and a registered tonnage of 680. For the most part she had an uneventful career, usually serving in the grain and coal trade on Lake Ontario and on the St. Lawrence. Although originally registered at Quebec City, after being acquired from J. R. Booth by the Montreal Transportation Company, her registry was transferred to Montreal. While owned by this company, she sank in the St. Lawrence River near Alexandria Bay in June 1911. After being raised the following year and rebuilt, she went aground at the foot of Wolfe Island. In June 1920 Canada Steamship Lines purchased the Davie from the Montreal Transportation Company. The C.S.L. soon sold her to John E. Russell of Toronto, who in turn sold her to the Sowards Coal Co. in 1926. At this time her registry was transferred to Kingston, where she entered the Collingwood Shipbuilding Company’s dry-dock that fall for a complete overhaul. In 1927 and 1928 she was being towed by the steamer Patdoris. By 1931 the Davie was employed by the Pyke Wrecking and Salvage Company, but it is not clear when ownership officially passed into their hands. Although she occasionally saw more glamorous service as a salvage lighter, her routine role in the coal-carrying trade continued until she disappeared from the surface on that cold April day in 1945. Striking on her starboard side, she still lies with her decks heeled sharply in that direction. Upon impact the weight of the coal forced the hatch covers off, and most of the cargo spilled out over the lake bottom. The crane, lying amid the coal, was formerly on the Henry Daryaw, which sank in the St. Lawrence River near Brockville in November 1941. Fastened on the roof of the intact cabin is a fresh water tank, its shape distorted by the pressure. Windows and doors allow a good view of the tangled woodwork inside. The steam-assisted steering wheel sits proudly at the stern, and the rudder is hard to port, no doubt as a result of the helmsman’s vain attempt to counteract that final sheer to starboard. The lifeboat rests near the side of the barge, not far from the crane’s clam bucket. A wooden ladder leans against the starboard bow, while high on the port bow a large anchor hangs from the hawse pipe. Leading off onto the bottom, the tow cable heads north in the direction of home.
Category Fleet Lists
This record was created from a CSL fleet list
SECTION A: BASIC SHIP PARTICULARS
NAME: George T. Davie
OFFICAL NO.: 107233
TYPE: B1 (St. Lawrence grain barge)
YEAR BUILT: 1898
BUILDER: G.T. Davie & Sons
COUNTRY WHERE BUILT: Canada
MOULDED DEPTH: 12.42
GROSS TONNAGE: 680
SECTION B: OWNERSHIP/NAME CHANGES/DISPOSAL
CSL OWNERSHIP DATES:
YEAR VESSEL NAME OWNERSHIP/COMMENTS
1898-1905 George T. Davie John L. Davie Quebec Que. Ca.
1905-07 George T. Davie J.R. Booth Quebec Que. Ca.
1907-21 George T. Davie Montreal Transportation Co. Ltd.
Montreal Que. Ca.
1921-23 George T. Davie C.S.L.
1923-26 George T. Davie J.E. Russell Montreal Que. Ca.
1926-29 George T. Davie J.T. Sowards Montreal Que. Ca.
1929-44 George T. Davie Pike Towing & Salvage Co. Ltd.
Kingston Ont. Ca.
1944-45 George T. Davie L.R. Beaupre Kingston Ont. Ca.
18 April 1945 Capsized and sank in heavy weather 2 m. W. of Nine Mile
Point, Lake Ontario in tow Oswego-Kingstion, coal.
At times of sin King a local Kingstonian Billy Bois (pronounced
locally Booah) was the sole crew. As she went over Billy went with her
and finally sat on the keel until the salvage Prince returned to rescue
This vessel was named after George Taylor Davie the famous shipbuilder
of Lauzon, Levis, Quebec and was DSL Hull No.2.
SECTION C: CONSTRUCTION
SHIPYARD: G.T. Davie & Sons
SHIPYARD LOCATION: Levis, Que.
HULL NUMBER: 2
DATE OF LAUNCH: 1898
DATE OF DELIVERY: 1898
HULL: Composite, steel framed, wood planked below W.L. steel plated
top sides and deck and hatch coamings.
HULL CONSTRUCTION: Rivetted and Bolted.
SECTION E: ENGINE AND MECHANICAL
ENGINE TYPE: Nil
TURBINES: Not Applicable
NUMBER OF BOILERS: 1
TYPE: LOCO. for steam auxliaries
BOW THRUSTER: Nil
STERN THRUSTER: Nil
SECTION F: CARGO HANDLING CAPACITY AND FEATURES
HATCHES PER HOLD: 24 C to C