Category: Lake Huron

Asia

 

The steamer ASIA sank in a storm off Byng Inlet on Georgian Bay September 14, 1882. Over 100 people lost their lives with only two people, a man and a woman, rescued. ASIA was built in St. Catharines, Ontario, in 1873, and was bound from Collingwood, Ontario, to the French River and Canadian Sault.

LOST ON THE LAKES
A DREADFUL DISASTER.
Special Telegram To The Inter Ocean.
Collingwood, Ont., Sept. 17. — The following report has just reached here by the hand of Captain John Davis, of the tug MINNEHAHA, sent from Parry Sound by Mr. J.C. Miller, which gives the details of the loss of the steamer ASIA, of the Great Northern Transit Line, which left here Wednesday evening last for the French River and Sault Ste. Marie:
” Parry Sound, Sept. 17. — Captain A. McGregor reached here yesteday by tug from Owen Sound, and reports passing the wreck of a steamer off the Limestone Island, he picked up and brought with him a trunk, a door, and a pillow-slip marked ‘Steamer ASIA.’ About 10 o’clock this afternoon an Indian boat reached here from Point Au Barrie, about thirty miles distant, bringing Mr. D.A. Tinkiss, of Manitowaning, and Miss Christy Morrison, from near Owen Sound, supposed to be the only twp survivors of the il-fated steamer. Mr. Tinkiss made the following statement:
THE SURVIVOR’S STORY.
” I went aboard the ASIA at Owen Sound about midnight on Wednesday, in company with J.H. Tinkiss and H.B. Gallagher, both of Manitowaning. The steamer was crowded, all the state rooms being full and many passengers lying on the sofas and cabin floors. All went well until about 11 o’clock Thursday morning, when a storm struck the steamer. I was in my berth at the time. My Uncle, J.H. Tinkiss, jumped up and said the boat was doomed. Dishes and chairs were flying in every direction. We left the cabin and found difficulty in getting on deck, the boat was rolling so heavily. I got a life-preserver and put it on. The boat went into the trough of the sea and would not obey her helm. She rolled heavily for about twenty minutes, when she was struck by a heavy sea and foundered.
SHE WENT DOWN
with her engines working, about 11:30 o’clock. The ASIA was making for French River, and had men, horses, and lumberman’s supplies for the shanties there. I saw three boats lowered. I was in the first boat. About eight were with me at first, but more got in, till the boat was overloaded, and turned over twice. Parties were hanging on to my life-preserver, which got displaced. I threw it off, then left the boat and swam to the captain’s boat, which was near by, and asked Mr. John McDougall, the purser, to help me in. He said it was but little use, but gave me his hand. When I got in there were
EIGHTEEN PERSONS
in the captain’s boat, and by that time there was a large number in and clinging to the boat I had left. I know nothing of the third boat. Our boat rolled over, and I remember missing poor John McDougall a few minutes after he helped me in. Pepole were hanging on to the spars and other parts of the wreckage. Our boat was full of water and the sea was constantly breaking over us. One of the first to die was the cabin-boy. he was dying and being supported by one of the men when a wave washed him overboard. Next to go was a boat-hand. He was near the gunwale and jumped out. I could see him
PADDLING AROUND IN THE WATER
for nearly a hundred yards. Our numbers were now reduced to seven, five of whom died before reaching the beach. Captain savage was the last to die in my arms about midnight. On Thursday Mr. John Little, of Sault Ste. Marie, the mate McDonald, and two others, names unknown, died. The boat finally stranded near Point au Barrie about daylight Friday, with Miss Morrison and myself the only two survivors. I put the bodies out on the beach and pried the boat off with an oar, but did not bail it out. Miss Morrison and I went down the beach to a derrick, about one and a half miles distant, and laid on the beach all the night. About 8 o’clock Saturday morning an Indian came along, and I engaged him to
BRING US TO PARRY SOUND.
He would not bring the bodies.’
“The steamer NORTHERN BELLE, of the same line, which reached here this morning, has been furnished with ice, etc., and has left for the bodies. Miss Morrison and Mr. Tinkiss are being well cared for here, and Dr. Potts thinks neither will suffer materially from their long exposure. There were probably about 100 on board the ASIA.”
The J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, September, 1882
. . . . .

SHE SAILED WITHOUT A LICENSE
Partial List Of Passengers.
A Collingwood dispatch gives the following list of those known to have been on board the ill-fared propeller ASIA, which foundered on Georgian Bay Thursday forenoon:
Wm. Christie and wife, just married, Collingwood.
A.M. Clinton. B. Morey. Mr. & Mrs. W.H. Wood, Cincinatti.
A. Browse. Mr. Shipp. Mr. Duncan and son, Hamilton.
J. Martin, Collingwood.
A man named Kerr and family, Linne House, Ontario.
W.R. Gallagher, Manitomanny.
J.H. Tinkiss, Manitowomanny.
Mr. McNabb and Mrs Hanbury, of Owen Sound.
Mrs. Sproudt, of Cookstown.
There were also about 30 lumbermen on board bound for the lumber camps up the French River and at other points.
A Toronto dispatch says: The Government Inspector here states that the ill-fated Steamer ASIA was running without a license, having been refused one on account of carrying an insufficient number of life boats and life preserver.
The J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, September, 1882

THE DEATH ROLL.
[ part missing] These he took from the raft at Port Hope, and were named A.D. McDonnell, foreman, Orillia; D. Chisholm, Parry Sound; Isaac Lecarte, Stayner; Joseph Despatries, Coteau; Wm. Heavenor, Orillia; Hugh Mcneil Scott and Joseph Quinn, of England, both just out a few weeks; Dan and Rory McDonald, rama; Betham, Rama; Robert Marshall, of Port Hope; and Murphy, of Orillia. Most of these men were old hands, and several married. A.D. Macdonnell and Isaac Lecarte were widowers. As the propeller ASIA was about moving off Joseph Despatries handed Mr. Macdougall $160, and asked him to place it to his credit. The amount will probably be handed over to deseased’s friends Besides these men, there arrived from the vicinity of Arthabaska, Que., a number of Frenchmen. Mr. Macdougall had only time to transfer them from the express train to the boat. Their names which have not been previously published, are as follows:
Jacques and Andrew Terry; Julian Janan; James and Felix Jondreau; Octave Valise; Peter Dumo; Peter Roberge, Sr.; Peter Roberge, Jr.; Joseph Lascelle, and Robert Borrelle. There are others unknown. It has been reported that Frank Jordan, of Rosseau, N. Y., was on the ill-fated boat, but Mr. Macdougall says this is not so. There were about thirty men for the French River, eight horses, outfits, and a large amount of supplies. His actual loss has been $6,000. Mr. Macdougall had four boats on the ASIA. The schooner REDNOUGHT, which the ASIA towed, belonged to him. Whether she cut loose from the propeller or broke loose it is hard to say. She was capable of carrying 40 persons. The new canoe found at Byng Inlet belonged to Mr. Macdougall. Mr. Macdougall intended to go to French River himself, but the weather prevented him. During the spring he sent a quantity of lumber from French River to Port Hope, where it was rafted and made ready for a trip down the river. At Collingwood the weather looked rough, and he decided to come to Kingston and see if the lumber had arrived safely. It was well he did. He said he understood that the ASIA was a very fair craft. When she went out everything about her looked well.
The J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, September, 1882
. . . . .

The steamer ASIA is lost on Georgian Bay in the storm of september 14. Over 100 lives are supposed to have been lost. The spot where she foundered is about 35 miles northwest of parry Sound.
Port Huron daily Times
Monday, September 18, 1882

. . . . .

It is now known that at least 56 were drowned from the ASIA.
Port Huron daily Times
Tuesday, September 19, 1882

. . . . .

It now appears the ASIA had 122 on board when she was lost last Tuursday. Of this number 97 were passengers, though the craft was overloded and only allowed by inspectors to carry 49.
Port Huron daily Times
Thursday, September 21, 1882

. . . . .

ASIA, propeller of 364 tons reg. of St. Catharines and 9 years old, on a voyage from Presque Isle to French River, foundered of Byng Inlet owing to stress of weather, with the loss of 92 lives on Sept. 14th. 1882. She was valued at $25,000, but the value of her cargo is unknown…
Dept. of Marine & Fisheries
Statement of Wreck & Casualty for 1882.

. . . . .

The statement of Mr. Shipp of Toronto, who left the ASIA at this port, which we published last week, as to a conversation he overheard between the Captain and a person whom he took to be the Inspector, has since been corroborated by Mr. A. Bowes, who left the boat with him. As we stated last week, the statement about an Inspector could not be true, as there was no inspector here, and if there was, such a discussion with the Captain was not a probable one. An explanation is now given which throws some light on the incident. It appears that Captain Campbell, one of the managers of the Line, had just arrived from Toronto and went on the dock, when seeing the fishing boat in tow of the ASIA some conversation took place about the danger that she would not reach French River as there was an appearance of rough weather — Captain Campbell at last saying to the captain of the ASIA, ” You tow her and I’ll risk her.” The conversation being heard by Mr. Bowes was taken to refer to the steamer instead of the fishing boat, and hence the misunderstanding, — a misunderstanding however, which saved the lives of Messrs. Shipp and Bowes. —-Times.
Meaford Monitor
Friday, October 6, 1882

. . . . .

The wooden propeller “ASIA,” of St. Catharines, 364 tons register, foundered off Byng Inlet in the Georgian Bay, on the l4th. of Sept. while on a voyage from Collingwood to French River with a general cargo. The vessel encountered an unusually severe storm, and suddenly listed over to starboard shortly after 11 o’clock in the fore-noon and gradually sank. A number of people got into one of the lifeboats but it turned over several times, each time losing some of the people who were in it, so that at sun-down, when the gale subsided, only seven were left. Of these five died from exposure, leaving only two survivors, a Miss Morrison and a Mr. Tinkiss, who reached land in a very exhausted condition by drifting ashore on the beach, and were subsequently rescued by an Indian, who took them in his boat to Parry Sound on the 17th. of September.
An investigation into the loss of this vessel was held by Capt. P.A. Scott R. N., Chairman of the Board of Examiners of Masters & Mates, who reported, that as far as could be ascertained, the vessel was not in good ballast trim, and that she was of that class of vessels known as”Old Canal Propellers.” The vessel appears to have been too light forward, and therefore unable to luff when the gale struck her, but had to bear it’s whole force on her broadside. It also appears that she had not sufficient cargo in her hold to enable a vessel of her description, with lofty upper works, to stand up against the gale.
It is estimated that 100 people lost their lives by this casualty. The vessel was nine years old, and was valued at 25,000 dollars. She was owned by the North-West Transportation Co. of Sarnia, and was classed A 2 in Inland Lloyds.
The Superintendent of the Meteorological Office at Toronto, reports as follows, with reference to the storm in which the ASIA was lost.
An examination of the synoptical weather chart for 10+50 p.m. Toronto time of the 13th. September, shows a comparatively unimportant depression situated over Manitoba. The gradients were not excessive nor was there anything to lead one to anticipate that within
twelve hours the wind would blow with the force of a hurricane on the northern part of Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay. On the morning of the 14th, at 6+50 A. M., Toronto time, the next chart was prepared; this shows that the depression, which on the previous night lay over Manitoba, had now moved to the north shore of Lake Huron, the gradients having steepened and the curves closed up in the center; this depression had thus travelled upwards of five hundred miles in eight hours, its rapidity of translation and intensity of development being exceptionally great.
The”ASIA” is reported to have left Collingwood at 5 P. M. on Wednesday, l3th, and making the usual stoppages at Meaford and Owen Sound; she left the latter place early on the morning of the 14th. for Sault Ste. Marie. This course would take her directly in the track of the storm, which by nine o’clock in the morning is reported from Manitoulin Island to have reached the velocity of a hurricane. In this storm however, the area of greatest intensity seem to have been confined to a comparatively limited region, as from the southern part of Lake Huron, from Lake Erie and Lake Ontario the force is reported as a fresh to strong gale, and this is what was to be anticipated from the appearance of the weather charts, as the Isobars widen out over the southern part of the lake region, thus showing a gradient for a less heavy gale there, than in the northern portion. The unfortunate ASIA would most probably have been about 11 A. M. in the center of this depression, and the squall which is reported to have struck her at this hour would probably be the gust accompanying the change of wind after the passage of the center. In almost all storms, this first squall is the heaviest experienced during the gale, and its appearance may be looked for when the sky begins to cloud up again after the brief clearing interval found in the center of these storms, especially in those where, as in this case, the gradient was steeper towards the center.
The question is frequently asked, was this gale such a one that even a well found and well handled ship must necessarily have foundered ? To this I can only answer that, I have no reports of instrumental measures, of the velocity of the wind at Manitoulin Island, as we have no anemometer there; but from the general damage done, and some of the particular cases quoted. I believe that the force of the wind must have been almost that of a hurricane for a short time and over a limited area, and as such gales, although, fortunately rare, do occasionally pass over the Great Lakes, all vessels navigating them should be so constructed and equipped as to be prepared to meet them.
Steamboat Inspection Boards
Chairmans report for 1882

. . . . .

STORY OF THE ” ASIA ”
That Awul Night In Georgian Boy Ten Years Ago.
(Toronto News.)
“D.A.Tinkis, Little Current.” This name and address appeared on the register at the Walker House early this week. The name is one which ten years ago was familiar to every person in Ontario as that of the sole male survivor of the ASIA.
The ASIA, it will be remembered, was a propeller that went down in the Georgian Bay ten years ago last month, carrying with her, with the exception of Mr. Tinkis and Miss Morrison, the 200 unfortunates who formed her passenger list and crew.
In conversation with the News, Mr. Tinkis yesterday told again the story of that terrible disaster. “I went aboard at Owen Sound, in company with my Uncle, on the night of September I882 ” he said. “It was blowing heavily from the southeast at the time, but we were anxious to reach our home on the Manitoulin, and beside we did not anticipate any special danger.
“The steamer was billed to call at French River, on the east shore of the Georgian Bay on the way up. We went to bed soon after going on board, and, although a gale was raging all night, we did not feel it very much until morning, as we were still under shelter of the Bruce Peninsula.
“About seven o’clock, as we changed our course to run straight across the bay for French River, the sea, now quartering aft, began to shake us up pretty well. Very few had breakfast on this account, but still no great alarm was felt. At nine the sea was raging and from that until ten the crew was busied in throwing over freight.
“Between ten and eleven the excitement was terrible. Men and Women, crazed with fear, were rushing around tearing the hair from their heads in handfuls. Rev. Mr. James, who had been a missionary at the Island, was one of the few passengers who kept cool, and he went about among the others administering the consolations of religion, and urging all to be calm.
“But it was of no use. The wind suddenly chopped from the south west to the northwest, and with a crash the vessel rolled over on her beam ends. The sea was now a mountainous whirlpool and the ship was helpless. The aft gangway leading from the promenade to the main deck, was jammed with men, women and children who could get neither up nor down. At every pitch this mass would writhe and twist like a serpent while the waves broke over then from above. The horses in the meantime-there were about ten or then aboard — had broken loose and at every roll they were thrown from one side of the main deck to the other.
“About this time my uncle and I, with a number of the passenger moved up to the promenade deck forward of the cabin. W.D. Henry, of king Township, was there too. In a little while we were joined by purser MacDougall, carrying the books belonging to his office. As soon as I saw that I knew that whatever hope there night have been before was all gone. The cabin was already broken in at several points, but still the old craft floated. At last about 11:30 she pitched up at the head and went down stern first, the cabin breaking off, and the boats, crowded with people, floated as she did so. At the very first sea however, the cabin went to smash and the mass of people hanging on to it were thrown into the sea, which was now running steadily from the northwest and in mountainous waves. I was in one of the wooden boats. It was crammed with people and scores hung on to the sides and others further out in the water clung to them again. But this could not last long. The sea soon broke the hold of those in the water and filled our boat at the same time.
“As soon as she was about to sink I sprang over and swam for the metallic lifeboat. There were great combs on every wave, and these, loaded with debris, broke over my head every time I came up on a crest. My hands and head were both cut and bleeding, but I reached the lifeboat and managed to clamber in.
“Notwithstanding the horror of the scene, it was incomparably grand and awe-inspiring. Every time we went down in the hollow we seemed in a valley of endless length with towering mountains on both sides. Some were still hanging to pieces of floating wreck, but we were driving fast before the sea and soon lost sight of wreckage and the other boats as well.
“Behind was the gulf into which two hundred had just sunk out of sight, all about was a mountainous sea and no land was visible from any quarter. There were about thirty people in the boat when I first got in, but as we only had one oar and could not direct her she upset in passing over almost every wave, and at each upset some were lost.
“There were two brothers — Sparks, of Ottawa — aboard. They were splendid fellows. At one upset a woman grasped him around the neck and pulled him down. The other seized the life line and held on to the side for two hours. We each had all we could do to take care of ourselves and none could give him a hand. He was too weak to pull himself in, but for two hours he held fast to the line and floated. It was the finest exhibition of nerve and endurance I ever saw in my life. But at last he had to let go and was drowned.
“About 7:30 in the evening we came in sight of Byng Inlet Light. The wind had gone down, but the see was still high. Of the thirty with whom are started but six were now left: Captain Savage. Mate McDonald, and a man named Little from Manitoulin, a Montrealer, Miss Morrison and myself.
“I thought — we all thought — these would all live to reach the shore, although two hours before a French deck-hand had gone crazy and jumped overboard. As the light gleamed over the billows we all led by the Mate, began singing “Pull for The Shore.” But the song ceased, and one by one the singers fell into that sleep that knows no waking. The Montreal man died at eight o’clock; Little went next and the Mate — who had been singing so joyfully, a little over three hours before – succumbed at eleven. I felt the premonitory symptom myself; an intense cold followed by numbness in the finger tips, and than the warm glow and drowsiness accompanied with an almost overpowering desire to dose. But I knew that 15 minutes of that meant the beginning of the eternal sleep and I resisted. Three time I aroused the Captain from his lethargy and told him he was dying, but it was of no use, and he too, crossed the bar about midnight.
“Our boat was still full of water and as each one died I placed the body under the seat to prevent it from being washed out. There was no sleep for Miss Morrison or myself that night. At daybreak we found ourselves about ten miles below Byng Inlet and drifting toward the islands that dot the shore.
“Between ten and eleven we struck land at Point aux Barrie, where the tugs take the inside channel for Parry Sound. This was on Friday. But even yet death stared us in the face. We were far from help and could not navigate our boat. All day and all night we stayed there with starvation staring us in the face until it seemed as if we had escaped the fierce billows to die of hunger. During the night I fell asleep, but not to rest. In my dreams I saw again the horrors of the day previous and starting up suddenly I fell into the water. I struck out, but in the darkness and confusion I took the wrong direction and soon found myself heading out into the open lake. I turned back and in a few minutes reached the shore, but at another point. Then I called for Miss Morrison but she was too weak to answer, and it was not until after considerable time had elapsed that I found her.
“At last, on Sunday morning about 9, we saw a sail. We were both almost delirious and thought it a large vessel, although it was only an Indian mackinaw. I hoisted my coat on the oar and the Indian came over.
“We had practically been without food since the previous Wednesday evening and this was near noon on Sunday. But the Indian had fat pork and “chock dog,” and from that I obtained the best meal I ever had in my life.
“I tried to get the Indian to take us to Manitoulin, but that was eighty niles off and too far for the Indian. Instead he agreed to run us to Parry Sound and we reached Sunday morning (?). The first man I met was ‘Josh’ Belcher, then of the ‘BELLE’, but purser on the ATLANTIC. You may be sure I never was so glad to see anyone in my life.
“J.C. Miller — he is dead now, poor fellow — took charge of me. Never shall I forget his kindness or that of his family. They could not have done more for me had I been their son.
Mr. Tinkis was a youth of about eighteen when the disaster occurred. He is now a prosperous business man at Little Current and shows no ill effects of the horrible experience of ten years ego. But his eyes moistens and his voice shakes even yet when that awful time is recalled to memory…
Meaford ‘Monitor’
Friday, October 21, 1892

 

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EXPLORER

On 11 September 1883, EXPLORER (2-mast wooden schooner, 48 foot, 33 gross tons, built in 1866, at Chatham, Ontario) struck rocks and went down on Stokes Bay on the outside of the Bruce Peninsula. Her crew was visible from shore clinging to the wreck until the vessel broke up. All five were lost.

MARINE ITEMS. – The yacht EXPLORER was wrecked at Cove Island, in Georgian
Bay on the 11th ult. Two lives were lost.
Erie Daily Dispatch
Saturday, November 30, 1867

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LOSS OF THE ” EXPLORER.” TWO LIVES LOST
The Schooner EXPLORER, owned by Mr. Hert (sp?), of Chatham, was capsized on Middle Rock, near Yeo Island, Lake Huron, and sad to say two men, named respectively Wm. Starnes and Jack —-, single men, both lost their lives, the Master, Waddel, alone reaching the shore after the accident. The vessel was about half laden with supplies for a saw mill on Georgian Bay, and merchandise for a trading adventure, sailed from St. Clair Rapids on the 8th inst., steering for the Detour Passage to Bruce Mines where it was intended to call. A violent gale blew without intermission from that time till the morning of the 11th, during which the fore-boom had been carried away and the vessel repeatedly “hove
to.” On the 11th, she was headed for the channel leading to Georgian Bay, but before reaching Owen Sound Channel, several snow squalls had whitened all the shore and darkness setting in before the passage could be made, the vessel was hauled up for the ship channel, where she got into a patch of that shoal water and the sea broke so heavily she was thrown on her beam ends, and the cargo shifted to port, causing her to drag along, with her lee rail under water in a dangerous position. The bulkhead between the cabin and hold was at once chopped out to admit a man going through. One hand went in with a lantern and reported load shifted under fore-hatch and other places, but that it could be re-trimmed
without much trouble if the vessel could be kept steady fifteen minutes. Both hands then went into the hold taking a hand spike, and leaving another hand with the master at the wheel, to signal on the deck in case of danger. One or two signals on fancied dangers were made, and the men finally went below, saying “five minutes would complete the job”. Almost immediately the proximity of shoal water was apparent from the roar of heavy breakers. One huge sea was making up to windward when the vessel was kept away and received it under the stern, which it lifted almost perpendicularly up, breaking about
amidships, filling all the decks up with water, rushing the vessel forward and driving her against the rocks, which she struck with such force with her forefoot or Bowsprit, that her whole cargo fell forward with a crash into her bow, doubtless crushing the two men below, to death instantly. Her sails gibed at the same time, the main-boom tearing away from the blocks, and going adrift. The next sea was preparing to break astern, the master abandoned the wheel and sprang into the main rigging – the sea broke over the vessel eight or ten feet
deep, capsizing her clear over, mastheads under water, tearing off cabin doors, and throwing her stern around, head to sea; successive breakers dashing against her, washed her off the rocks into deep water, where her bow sank down to an angle of about 60 degrees, leaving her stern floating about five or six feet out of the water. The breakers had thrown the yawl boat on top of the cabin upside down, and when the vessel began to drift stern foremost, the waves washed her off again. The master clung to the stern of the vessel from the time she
capsized (about 7 or 6 p.m.) till noon the next day; during which interval her succeeded in clearing the boat off the davits, and in bailing her out with the ships bucket, which, with an oar and pike pole, were lashed to the same rigging he had sought safety in.
The wind having changed to N.W. and blowing towards Cabot’s Head, the master left the vessel and succeeded in reaching the shore. From Cabot’s Head the master worked his way around, with the yawl boat and an oar all round the coast in a famished condition, having only a few fish to exist on, to Colpoy’s Bay, which he reached on Monday last, the 25th. inst., in such an exhausted state that assistance was required to enable him to be removed from the boat to the Tavern. Two men were sent from Colpoy’s Bay to look for the vessel, which it was supposed, might have drifted ashore near Lion’s Head in Dwyer Bay. — Toronto Globe n. d.
Owen Sound Comet
Friday, December 6, 1867
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A MYSTERY CLEARED UP.
About fifteen years ago Captain Waddell, of Chatham was sailing a small two masted schooner, EXPLORER, in to Tobermorey Bay, with a cargo of whiskey, pork, and mill castings. The crew consisted of the captain and two sailors. The EXPLORER never reached her destination, and was supposed to be lost with all hands. Subsequently the Captain turned up and reported that the vessel had been lost on the reef near Bear and Flower Pot Islands, and that the two sailors had both gone down with her, while he alone escaped. The vessel was insured and the Captain got the insurance money.
The next season Captain Waddell was drowned on a trip in a small boat to Flower Pot Island, where he went, it is alleged, for the purpose of taking away the cargo of the EXPLORER, the theory being that he had landed the cargo and afterwards scuttled the ship.
Suspicions of foul play were rife at the time, but the vessel could not be found, and the interest in the matter died away. Five or Six years ago the EXPLORER was discovered by Chas. Earle, of Tobermorey in the bay, in about seventeen fathoms of water, several miles from the reef alluded to, but nothing was done to raise her until recently, when the Port Huron, Wrecking Company sent a wrecking tug, and raised her and towed her into Tobermorey Bay, where she now floats.
A diver who descended into the vessel where she lay before she was moved states that she lay on her bean ends and he could not get into the cabin, but after she was righted, he went down a second time and found the cabin door had opened and he saw a corpse of a
man upright in the cabin. After the schooner was towed to shallow water the body could not be found, and it is supposed that the motion of towing had caused it to float away from the wreck.
The suspicions of the cause of the loss of the ship were fully confirmed by the discovery that there are thirteen two-inch auger holes in her bottom, and from eight to ten tons of stones, but not a particle of cargo.
The wrecking tug proceeds next to the Western Islands, where it is intended to raise the ‘FOREST KING’ which sank in a snow storm in the month of November about eight years ago. She was a three master, and loaded with coal.
Meaford Monitor
Friday, June 30, 1882

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LOSS OF THE EXPLORER
Other Side Of The Sensational Narrative
Ever since the raising of the wreck of the lost EXPLORER, a story has being going the rounds of the press, in some cases receiving fresh additions from the recording scribes, reflecting most severely on the memory of the late Captain Waddell, and causing his family no little personal anguish. From competent authority we gather the following as the true history of the vessel and its wreck:–
The schooner was built by the late John Waddell in 1866 for a yacht, and was capable of carrying some 2,500 bushels of grain in her hold; she cost about $5,000. In the Fall of 1869 he loaded her for the Georgian Bay, not with “Whiskey” or “goods valued at “$18,000 ” or capable of being insured at such a figure, but with goods for Collins’ lnlet, where he had a large mill, then and now known as “Waddell’s Mills. The goods were valued at $2,000, and vouched for by respectable firms, some of whom are now in existence and were insured for the sum of $1,500 and the hull for $2,000.
There was nothing in the condition or position of the vessel at the time of her raising that would contradict the affidavit of Mr. Waddell, as filed with the company who had the insurance on the hull.
Mr. Waddell’s statement was that, feeling the vessel getting lower in the water, he called to the men who were below, but getting no response he jumped into the yawl boat and cut her adrift. When last he saw the schooner she was drifting in the direction where found. He was delayed by storm for five or six days before reaching Owen Sound, the nearest inhabited place, and as of course he left the schooner without anything, he was in a pitiable state he. he reached the Sound, being in bed delirious for two weeks after his arrival,
We have ourselves examined the bottom of the vessel for auger holes or signs where some had been plugged up, but could find none. There were no skeletons found in the vessel when raised, as reported. The door of the cabin was pulled off by a vessel grappling for the wreck, together with part of the cabin, that ten men could not move with brute force,
The exact position of the vessel was not found for seven or eight years after the disaster, but the tale regarding the same (at first originated From wholecloth) has been repeated and retold so often that it has at least begun to be believed as true, and thus given to the papers as bona fide. There being no cargo of any great value in her at the time, the insurance on it was not claimed, and no more than ordinary precautions were taken before the hull insurance was paid.
Why a vessel-owner would make away with a craft that cost $5,000 the year before, for the sake of drawing an insurance of $2,5OO is beyond conjecture.
None of Mr. Waddell’s sons have since died, but all are successful business men at the present time. —Goderich Star
R. G. McCULLOUGH, SUBMARINE DIVER,
Says That He Found Twelve Auger Holes In The Bottom, And Also A Body And Several Tons Of Stone. — ( From the Port Huron Times ):–
The story recently published about the finding of the lost schooner EXPLORER, which was sunk about fifteen years ago in the Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, has revived a great deal of interest that was manifested at the time the vessel was sunk. The statement that Captain Waddell, who was in command, had planned to defraud the insurance companies and also caused the death of the sailors, is credited by some newspapers as being true, while others emphatically stamp it as slander upon a dead man. Captain Waddell was well known in Goderich, and a few years after the EXPLORER was lost, he was drowned. The Goderich Star published a long article denying the story printed in several local papers, and stating that the editor had examined the bottom of the boat and could not find any auger holes, and further that no bodies were found in the hold or cabin by divers. The article in the Star is replied to by R.G. McCulloch, a submarine diver of this city, who examined the boat and claims to have found the auger holes and some of the wooden plugs in the hold, and also the perfect body of a man and the bones and putrid flesh of another; but he does not pretend to say who scuttled the schooner. He writes as follows.
To the Editor of the Port Huron Times.
Sir,- I see by your valuable paper that the Goderich Star denies the fact that the schooner EXPLORER was scuttled and sunk, as published in the local papers. I was one of the divers that worked on the EXPLORER and gave the report to the press concerning the scuttling of that craft, and from personal knowledge know that the EXPLORER was scuttled.
It the Editor of the Star will get the Harbor Master of Goderich, and go on board the EXPLORER and lift up the ‘limber’ boards, the Harbor Master (who thoroughly knows his business) will show the editor of that paper where he can find twelve inch and-a-half holes; eight on the starboard side and four on the port side.
I will further state that the schooner was stripped of all her sails, blocks, rigging, and booms, and the sheet blocks were cut with a cold chisel, and part of the links left on the traveller; and the lamp and compass were taken out of the binnacle box.
The schooner was weighed with ( as near as I can judge without weighing ) fifteen ton of stones, and thirteen lockers in the cabin were also filled with stone. There was one perfect body found on board with a shirt and pair of pants on, and the bones and putrid flesh of another was found on deck, having evidently floated out by the surging of the water while we were working at the wreck. The hatches were spiked down, and the hatch bars on and securely fastened. I also found seven of the plugs in the hold of the vessel that had been used to stop the holes until all was ready. The small door leading from the cabin to the hold of the vessel was also out. The cabin door had been locked and the key left in the lock, but the door was lying on the deck, having been torn off by an anchor or grapnel. I have no hesitation in saying that the schooner was scuttled and then sunk.
Mr. Lewis who claimed to own the schooner, asked me to say nothing about it in Goderich, as, he said, ‘The schooner had been under water for several years; but the name was perfect on the quarter and stern, as follows;
‘ EXPLORER, of CHATHAM,’
Who scuttled the schooner, I do not know, but the facts I have stated can be proved by a dozen witnesses.
Hoping you will publish this, I remain Yours Truly,
R. G. McCulloch, Submarine Diver
Port Huron, August 3rd. 1882

THE ‘TRIBUNE’ ON THE EXPLORER.
The Port Huron Tribune says: — D. S. Gooding is the name of a Chicago Attorney who thinks he has a clear case of libel against the Tribune because we published the Waddell — Explorer affair.
He is cordially invited to wade in and try it. We have the best authority for every statement made in that article and are prepared to back it up at any time. We do not state it as a fact that Waddell scuttled the EXPLORER, but gave the story told by himself and the condition in which the vessel was found. People can draw their own inferences! Another item in the same paper reads thus: Every word of that article about the schooner EXPLORER, recently published in the Saturday ‘Tribune’, is true and can be verified under oath if necessary. Among the witnesses would be found, Capt. H. N. Jex, of this city, Capt. Matthew Watts., R. G. McCulloch and D. Fectau, all of whom were present at the raising of the vessel. Capt. Jex personally assisted in plugging up the twelve auger holes that had been bored in the bottom of the vessel, and his crew spent nearly half a day removing the stone with which she had been filled.
Meaford Monitor
Friday, August 25, 1882

. . . . .

NOTE : — The EXPLORER, raised in 1882 was lost the following year, Sept. 4, 1883 on Greenough Bank, near Stokes Bay, Bruce Peninsula

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CITY OF PORT HURON

On September 4, 1876, CITY OF PORT HURON, a wooden steam barge, sank a few miles off shore near Lexington, Michigan, at about noon. She was heavily loaded with iron ore and sprang a leak at about 11 o’clock. Most of the crew managed to get on top of the cabin while two were in the forward rigging as she went down in 6 fathoms of water. The heavy seas washed over those on the cabin. Captain George Davis and two others floated ashore on wreckage while a fish boat picked up the five others. No lives were lost.

  • Vessel Name: CITY OF PORT HURON
  • Nationality: U.S.
  • Official Number: 5392
  • Rig: Propeller

Dimensions and Tonnage

  • Length: 169.00
  • Width: 30.42
  • Depth: 10.16
  • Masts: 0
  • Gross Tonnage: 411.02
  • Net Tonnage: 0.00
  • Hull Material: Wood
  • Hull Number:

Vessel History

  • Rebuilds:
  • History: First enrollment issued at Port Huron, MI, on July 8, 1876.
  • Disposition: Sprung leak, broached, and sank about four miles off Lexington, MI, Lake Huron, on September 4, 1876, when downbound with iron ore; no lives lost. Final enrollment surrendered at Buffalo, NY, on 9/9/1876. In summer, 2001, divers located wreck in 35 ft. of water, about 15 mi. north of Sarnia, Ont.

Build Information

  • Builder: Arnold, Joseph P.
  • Place Built: Port Huron, MI
  • Year Built: 1867

An associated Press dispatch from Detroit last night announced that the stmb. CITY OF PORT HURON, bound from Marquette to Buffalo with a cargo of iron ore, sunk yesterday morning, in Lake Huron, in 50 ft. of water. No lives were lost.
The vessel was owned in this city by Capt. M.M. Drake and others, and was valued at $15,000.
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
September 3, 1876 3-1

A special dispatch to the Free Press from Port Huron, September 4, Says: The steambarge CITY OF PORT HURON foundered in Lake Huron at noon today. She was bound from Lake Superior to Erie with a cargo of iron ore. She had the barge DICTATOR in tow. The DICTATOR was cast adrift about an hour before the CITY OF PORT HURON foundered. The barge was heavily laden down by the head, having burned her fuel out aft. She was seen to broach to and sink. The crew took to the rigging and the top of the cabin. She sunk in about 6 fathoms of water nearly a mile from shore, near Lakeport. her cabin floated off with 8 persons on it, who were rescued by fishermen from shore. Two remaining were taken off by the tug Wm. A. MOORE. The DICTATOR arrivd here safe.
Detroit Free press
September 5, 1876

The steam barge CITY OF PORT HURON foundered yesterday abreast of Birchville about a mile from shore there she broached to and immediately sunk. She was heavily loaded with iron ore and had burned her fuel out aft and was so far down by the head that the syphon pump could not keep her free from water, The crew managed to get on top of the cabin which was out of the water and 2 persons were in the rigging forward. The heavy see which was running, washed the cabin off, and the unfortunate sailors were soon adrift and at the mercy of the waves, Captain George Davis, who was in command of the ill-fated craft, together with his son and 6 others, were picked up from the pieces of the floating wreck and brought safely to shore by a boat launched by people on shore. A tug picked up one other survivor and a scow two others. The CITY OF PORT HURON was owned by M.M. Drake and others of Buffalo and was considered a safe boat if not too deeply loaded. That she was in this condition was very evident. The fortunate circumstance of her going down near shore and while the water in the lake is warn had probably a great deal to do with the saving of the lives of the crew.
Port Huron Daily Times
Tuesday, September 5, 1876

Steam Barge CITY OF PORT HURON, sunk in Lake Huron in six fathoms of water, one mile from shore near Lakeport.
Detroit Free Press
September 5, 1876

Captain George Davis, commander of the sunken propeller, CITY OF PORT HURON, desires us to state that it was about 11 in the forenoon, when the steamer sprung a leak; that the pumps worked all right and kept her clear until 12 o’clock, after which the water gained on them at the rate of a foot an hour until she went down. He says the boat was not overloaded, drawing 11′ 1 inch forward. She is of peculiar build and so shallow in the hold as not to show much side out when loaded. She was 3 or 4 miles out when she went down, and Captain Davis and 2 others floated ashore on wreckage while a fish boat picked up five or the crew.
Port Huron Daily Times
Wednesday, September 6, 1876

A dispatch in yesterday’s paper announced the sinking of the stmb. CITY OF PORT HURON on Lake Huron Monday afternoon, 3 miles north of Lakeport, in 50 ft. of water, and also conveyed the welcome intelligence that the crew were all saved. The boat was bound down with a cargo of iron ore, and had the barge DICTATOR in tow. The latter was cast adrift about an hour before the propeller went down. Capt. Davis reported that the steam barge consumed all her coal aft, and thus became low down by the head, which caused her machinery to work badly. While in this situation she shipped heavy seas, and was put about toward shore, but before reaching it was overcome by the seas and sunk, nearly a mile from land. The captain, his sone and 8 men took refuge in the cabin which brole loose from the hull, and were picked up by a fish boat which went to their assistance from Lakeport. The remaining 2 of the crew were up in the rigging, and were rescued by the tug WM. A. MOORE. The owners of the vessel are Messrs. Drake, Bartow, Robinson & Drake, of this city, who place her value at about $20,000. She is insured for $18,000 in companies represented by Messrs. Smith, Davis & Clark, and Messrs. Fish & Armstrong – $5,000 with the former and $13,000 with the latter. The cargo is said to be fully insured.
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
September 6, 1876 3-5

Capt. Jack McKenna, Marine Inspector, has been sent to examine into the condition of the stmb. CITY OF PORT HURON, with the view of raising her. Our latest advices from the scene of the disaster are to the effect that a large quantity of broken portions of her upper works and her furniture are floating about, which tends to show that she is so badly broken or injured as to be worthless, and that no effort will be made to raise her except it be to save her engine and boilers. The tops of her spars were yesterday visible above the surface of the lake, and a part of her sails, which were set were also apparent.
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
September 7, 1876 3-6

Capt. John McKenna has returned from the wreck of the prop. CITY OF PORT HURON, and confirms the report which was published by us on Thursday. He says she is rapidly going to pieces, and that it will be a waste of time to attempt to raise her. The hull is evidently broken to pieces and doubled up.
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
September 9, 1876 3-6

The wrecker MONITOR has returned to Detroit with the boiler and 100 tons of iron ore recovered from the wreck of the steam barge CITY OF PORT HURON, some time since sunk in Lake Huron, and with chains and fixtures belonging to the wreck of the schooner C. L. WALKER. Further work is to be done towards the recovery of property from both wrecks.
Cleveland Herald
August 4, 1877

The MONITOR, propeller barge, which has been engaged in taking the cargo from the steam barge CITY OF PORT HURON, which was sunk in the lake a few miles below here, and the schooner C. L. WALKER near Lakeport, has returned to Port Huron, having been most successful in her expedition. The CITY OF PORT HURON was found about four miles below Lexington lying in thirty-four feet of water, a total wreck, being broken in two. From her were taken the large boiler and about 200 tons of iron ore. From the WALKER, which was found off Lakeport, in forty feet of water, two anchors, a lot of chain, and about 10 tons of ore were taken. Later in the season she is to return after the engines of the CITY OF PORT HURON, and the remainder of the cargoes.
Cleveland Herald
August 22, 1977

The U. S. Marshall Matthews sold the boiler and macinery of the old steamer PORT HURON at Detroit yesterday morning at auction. Darius Cole was the purchaser, his bid being $1,000.
Port Huron Daily Times
Thursday, December 13, 1877

The date was Sept. 4, 1876, and the steam barge CITY OF PORT HURON was losing a battle against a gale at the southern end of Lake Huron. The ore laden boat, with the tow barge DICTATOR in tow, was trying to make her way into the St. Clair River and the port whose name it bore, when she began to founder.
After hours of battling the storm, the steamer had burned more fuel than usual. In fact, the ship’s aft coal hunkers were empty. Because the steamer was weighted down with iron ore in her bow, she became unbalanced and began taking on water with every sea that rolled over her how. The ship was soon dropping lower and lower by the head.
The steamer was unmanageable. Down by the head and with her stern riding high, she was not in any condition to fight the storm. The rudder was too high to work properly. the propeller was not deep enough in the water to work effectively and the ship’s siphon pump wasn’t working. The CITY OF PORT HURON was sinking.
Capt. George Davis did all he could to save the boat. He cut the DICTATOR adrift and then headed the steamer toward Lakeport, which was the nearest Michigan port. Davis acted too late. About a mile off shore, the PORT HURON suddenly broached to, took a large wave over her deck, and sank in 40 feet of water.
The crew scrambled to the roof of the cabin and into the rigging on the fore mast, which were the only parts of the boat still rising out of the water. Alas, the seas swept away the cabin and the sailors who chose to sit on its roof found themselves adrift on the wreckage. Residents of Lakeport saw the steamer founder and mounted a rescue. They loaded a fishing boat on a wagon and hauled it about three miles out of town, close to where the hapless sailors, still struggled in the storm. The boat soon had them picked up and delivered safely to dry land.
A telegraph message to Port Huron brought the tug WILLIAM A. MOORE out to assist in the rescue. That evening the Moore took the rest of the crew off the wreck.
‘The City of Port Huron was never salvaged, Capt. Davis said he thought the 169-foot-long ship broke in half when it sank. The boat was built only seven years earlier at Port Huron.
Port Huron Daily Tribune
Article by James Donahue

Steam screw CITY OF PORT HURON. U. S. No. 5392. Of 411.02 tons. Home port, Port Huron, Mich.
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1871.

CAVALIER

On 31 August 1906, CAVALIER (3-mast wooden schooner, 134 foot 268 gross tons, built in 1867, at Quebec City as a bark) was carrying cedar lumber when she struck a reef off Chantry Island in Lake Huron and sank. Her crew was rescued by the Chantry Island lightkeeper. She was bound from Tobermory for Sarnia, Ontario.

Other names : none
Official no. : C ?
Type at loss : schooner, wood, 3-mast
Build info : 1867, McKay & Warner, Quebec City as a bark
Specs : 134x26x12 268gc
Date of loss : 1906, Aug 31
Place of loss : off Chantry Isl.
Lake : Huron
Type of loss : storm
Loss of life : none
Carrying : cedar lumber
Detail : She filled and sank after striking a reef. Her crew was rescued by the Chantry Island Lightkeeper. She had been bound Tobermorey for Sarnia.
Out of Quebec City

August 31st. 19O6 the CAVALIER of Quebec 268 tons net. Foundered at Chantry Island, Southampton, Lake Huron.
Dept. of Transport
Casualty for 1906
. . . . .

CAVALIER A WRECK.
STRUCK ON A REEF OUTSIDE OF SOUTHAMPTON: POUNDING TO PIECES
Southampton Sept 1 — About 9 o’clock last night the schooner CAVALIER loaded with lumber from Tobermory for Sarnia, arrived off this port in a waterlogged condition,the vessel struck on the north reef of Chantry Island trying to make the harbor, she will be a total loss, the heavy seas having pounded in the stern during the night, Capt. Glass and the rest of the crew were rescued at daybreak by Capt. Lambert, lightkeeper on Chantry Island, with fine weather most of the cargo will be saved.
from Toronto Globe
September 3rd. 1906 p. 12

. . . . .

Bark CAVALIER. Official Canadian No. 55892. Built at Quebec in 1867. Home port, Quebec. Of 299 tons Reg. 137.0 x 26.2 x 11.7 Owned by Mrs. Annie Glass, of Sarnia, Ontario.
List of Vessels on the Registery Books of the
Dominion of Canada, on December 31, 1902

. . . . .

Disaster continued into the century. the schooner Cavalier, 366 tons waterlogged in a wild sea, tried to make the harbor of refuge and fetched up on the nort reef at 9 o’clock in the evening of Aug. 3lst. 1906. Capt. Joseph Glass and crew clung to the wreck all night, and as she began to break up next morning were taken off by keeper Lambert . the CAVALIER was launched at Quebec City in 1867, was laden with lumber from Tobermory to Sarnia, she went to pieces in a few days.
from Shipwrecks of the Saugeen
by Patric Folkes

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Categories: Lake Huron Still Missing

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WILLIAMS, COLONEL A.B.

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.
Build Year
1856
Official Number
AMERICAN
Construction
Build City
Sodus
Build State
NY
Vessel Type
Schooner
Number of Decks
1
Hull Materials
Wood
Builder Name
D. Rogers
Ownership
Original Owner
D. Rogers
Original Owner Location
Sodus, New York
Ownership Notes
Granger, Rogers, Bates & Morley
Dimensions
Length
110
Beam
24
Depth
10
Tonnage Old Style
342
Final Disposition
Final Location
3 miles below Port Sanilac, Michigan, Lake Huron
Final Date Month
6
Final Date Day
5
Final Date Year
1864
Final How
Sank
Final Notes
Sank in collision with bark TWILIGHT; crew rescued by small boat from the bark
History and Notes
History
1856 Enrolled Oswego, New York
1863 Owned Morley & Brothers, Sodus, New York; 242 tons
1864, June 5 Sank, Lake Huron

CORSICAN

Vessel Type: Wooden Two-Masted Schooner
Location: Thunder Bay, MI
Vessel Build Info: 1862, Rogers, Olcott, NY
Shipwreck Specs: 112x25x10 210g 200n
Official Number: 4922
Names Other: None

Sinking Detail
On the foggy morning of June 2nd the steel steam barge Corsica collided with the schooner Corsican off Thunder Bay. The schooner was nearly cut in two and went to the bottom instantly with its entire crew.
Loss Date: 6/2/1893
Loss Place: off Thunder Bay Island
Loss Life: 6 (all)
Loss Reason: Collision
Vessel Cargo: Coal

Shipwreck Description
The cabin and stern of the wreck are badly damaged with large sections missing and piles of jumbled wreckage above the deck. The wheel with steering box is wrenched upwards and no longer attached to the rudder. Deck hatches are still intact revealing a coal cargo, though the entire deck has collapsed into the hull. The bow windlass, still wrapped with anchor chain, and a capstan remain upright. Rigged spars rest atop the wreckage and in adjacent sediments.

Dive Type: Entry level technical
Depth Deck(ft): 155 ft
Depth Bottom(ft): 160 ft
Depth Deck(m): 47 m
Depth Bottom(m): 49 m

Vessel Name
CORSICAN
Also Known As
(AKA) CIRCASSIAN,
Build Year
1862
Official Number
US4922
Construction
Build City
Olcott
Build State
NY
Vessel Type
Schooner
Hull Materials
Wood
Builder Name
H. Rogers
Ownership
Original Owner
Albert F. Smith and John Post
Original Owner Location
Oswego, NY
Dimensions
Length
112.4
Beam
25.4
Depth
10
Tonnage Old Style
281
Capacity
14,000 bushels
Final Disposition
Final Location
Off Thunder Bay Island near Alpena, MI.
Lake Huron.
Final Date Month
6
Final Date Day
2
Final Date Year
1893
Final How
Sunk.
Final Notes
Sunk in collision with steamer CORSICA, all 6 hands lost.
History and Notes
History
1862, Sep 17 Enrolled Oswego, NY; 210.43 gross tons.
1865 219 gross tons.
1868 210.43 gross tons.
1872, Nov 7 Collision with HERCUES, a damaged vessel by collision of MEDBURY two days previous.
1872, Nov 23 Wrecked 21 miles W. Pt. Maitland, Lake Erie with iron ore; stripped and lightened Nov 26.
1873 Large repairs.
1876 Owned Griffin and Moon, Youngstown, NY.
1883 Ashore Pt. Pelee.
1884 Collision with iron carferry GREAT WESTERN in Detroit River.
1887 Partially rebuilt.
1888, May 3 Owned Kate McLean, Detroit, MI.
1891, Apr 22 Owned Luther J. Lindsay, Detroit, MI.
1893, Jun 2 Sunk in collision with CORSICA; owned Stephen B. Grummond, Detroit, MI.

The Corsica-Corsican Collision

Fog was an enemy to the lake boats when they were competing against the clock. To keep their schedules lake masters often broke navigation roles and kept their vessels operating at good steam even when the gloom was so thick they couldn’t see more than 100 feet off the bow.

The steamer Corsica, with Capt. William Cumming at the helm, was moving across fog shrouded Lake Huron at an estimated 11 miles an hour when it ran down and sank an unidentified schooner off Thunder Bay on the morning of June 2, 1893.

It was later learned that the lost schooner was the Corsican, a vessel with an almost identical name as the steamer that struck it. The Corsican, under the command of Capt. Edward Burner of Detroit, was sailing from Cleveland to St. Ignace with a load of coal. It sank with its crew of five men.

The steamer’s mate, who was at the helm when the accident happened, said there was no forewarning. He said the schooner appeared in front of the steamer so suddenly that neither he nor the other officers had time to react. The 300-foot-long steel steamship hit the smaller wooden vessel amidships, cutting it in two.

The Corsican sank so fast, Cumming said, that nobody on the Corsica had time to get the boat’s name or even a good description of it. He said it was cut into two parts and disappeared within moments, leaving no survivors. In the wreckage was found a man’s coat, which had a letter in a pocket. The letter, which did not have an envelope, was sent from Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was addressed simply to “Dear brother.”

The hull of the ore laden Corsica was so badly damage the steamer also was sinking. Lifeboats were raised on the davits, but before they were launched, Cumming made a dash for nearby Alpena.

The steamer didn’t make it to Alpena but it got to shallow water. Cumming saved his boat by grounding it on the nearest beach.

The Corsica was salvaged and remained on the lakes until 1926, when it was scrapped.

LUCINDA VAN VALKENBURG

GPS Location: N45° 03.380’ W83° 10.180’
Depth: 60 Feet
Wreck Length: 128 Feet Beam: 26 Feet
Gross Tonnage: 301 Cargo: Coal
Launched: 1862 by Albert Little at Tonawanda, New York
Wrecked: May 31, 1887
Description: The Lucinda Van Valkenburg was built in 1862. 25 years later it was lost on Lake Huron. Bound for Chicago with a load of coal, it was struck by the iron propeller Lehigh about 2 miles northeast of Thunder Bay Island. The crew was picked up by the Lehigh and taken to Port Huron. The sunken Van Valkenburg presented a dangerous obstruction to other vessels, as the masts remained standing high out of the water from just below the crosstrees.
On 1 June 1887, LUCINDA VAN VALKENBURG (wooden schooner, 129 foot, 302 gross tons, built in 1862, at Tonawanda, New York) collided with the iron steamer LEHIGH in fog and sank near Thunder Bay Island on Lake Huron. The crew was safely taken aboard the LEHIGH and brought to Port Huron.

Schooner L.VAN VALKENBURG of 280 tons, built 1862. Owned by T. Hood. Home port, Chicago. On June 1, 1887, vessel sunk on Lake Huron, with a cargo of coal, and became a total loss. Classed as B 1. Property loss on hull $5,000 and on cargo $2,000
Casualty List for 1887 (total losses)
Marine Record, December 15, 1887
The propeller LEHIGH arrived here at 6 o’clock last evening and reports the sinking of the schooner VAN VALKENBURG 3 miles above Thunder bay island. The propeller struck the schooner on the port side forward of the fore-rigging, and she sank inside four minutes. The crew were safely taken aboard the LEHIGH and brought to this city. The weather was thick and very dark when the collision occurred.
Port Huron Daily Times
Thursday, June 2, 1887
Port Huron.-The revenue cutter FESSENDEN was up to Thunder Bay the early part of the week and removed the masts of the sunken schooner VAN VALKENBURG that foundered about a mile off the island several weeks ago. The spars of the sunken schooner were a dangerous obstruction to navigation, being right in the course of vessels bound up or down the lake.
The Marine Record
Thurs., Sept. 22, 1887 p.5
Schooner LUCINDA VAN VALKENBURG. U. S. No. 14614. Of 301.66 tons gross; 286.58 tons net. Built at Tonawanda, N.Y. in 1862. Home port, Chicago, Ill. 128.5 x 26.3 x 12.6
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1885

W.H. GILBERT

GPS Location : N44°50.195′ W82°58.722′
Depth: 255 Feet
Wreck Length: 328 Feet Beam: 42 Feet
Gross Tonnage: 2820 Cargo: Unknown
Launched: 1892 by Wheeler, F.W. & Company in West Bay City, Michigan
Wrecked: May 22, 1914
1914: W.H. GILBERT sank in Lake Huron, about 15 miles off Thunder Bay Island following a collision with CALDERA. There was no loss of life. The hull was located in 1982 and rests at a depth of about 200 feet. CALDERA later became b) A.T. KINNEY and c) HILLSDALE.

The people of Port Huron and Sarnia, Ont., cities facing one another across the St. Clair River, endured the putrid smell of fermenting grain for weeks in 1911 after the grain freighter CITY OF GENOA was sunk in a collision.
Fog was blamed for the crash that sent the wooden hulled steamer to the bottom in 50 feet of water at about 5 a.m. on Aug. 26.
The CITY OF GENOA was downbound that morning with 125,000 bushels of’ wheat and corn in its holds when it encountered a blanket of fog on the river at about 4 a.m. Capt. George T. Inman dropped a bow anchor in mid stream, about 100 feet off the Sarnia waterfront, with plans to wait until the morning sun burned away the haze. The ship swung around in the current so its bow was turned upstream.
An hour later, the downbound ore freighter W.H. GILBERT, commanded by Capt. C.C. Hanley rammed the ill-fated grain ship bow-on. The steel hulled GILBERT tore open the bow section of the 19-year-old CITY OF GENOA. The steamer sank so quickly that crew members sleeping below deck barely escaped with their lives.
Luckily, the GENOA only sank to its decks and remained upright. Crew members waited in the pilot house until the Gilbert turned around and picked them up.
The GILBERT, which had Barge No. 127 in tow, was damaged in the crash but the ship did not sink.
The CITY OF GENOA remained on the bottom for several weeks, with only its pilot house and stack showing, until Sarnia salvager Tom Reid built a cofferdam around the hull and raised the wreck. The ship was so badly damaged it was declared a total loss. Its water soaked grain cargo was already fermenting but an effort was made to salvage it anyway. The wreck was towed downstream to the Reid Wrecking Company dock where the grain was unloaded and spread out to dry.
The smell of the fermented wheat and corn was strong and the stench caused a general fervor among residents on both sides of the river, The newspapers remarked almost daily about the terrible odors coming from Tom Reid’s dock.
The engines and boilers of the GENOA were removed and the wooden ship was burned at Sarnia on Oct. 9, 1915. The blackened hull was one of the many abandoned wrecks from Reid’s business that were towed out on Lake Huron and sunk. The ship lies with other wrecks of the Sarnia “Ghost Fleet” in about 80 feet of water at the southern end of the lake.
Port Huron Daily Tribune
(James Donahue’s shipwreck column)
Steam screw W.H. GILBERT. U. S. No. 81382. Of 2,820 tons gross; 2,002 tons net. Built West Bay City, 1892. Home port, Detroit, Mich. 328.0 x 42.5 x 20.5.
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1899

EDWARD U. DEMMER

On 20 May, 1923, the American steel cargo , built in 1899 by Detroit Shipbuilding Co. and owned at the time of her loss by American Steam Ship Co., sank after a collision with steamer SATURN, May 20, 1923, in dense fog about forty miles southeast of Thunder Bay Island, Lake Huron. No lives were lost; crew rescued by steamer R.L.AGASSIZ and JAMES B.EADS; vessel upbound with 7000 tons of coal.

The freighter EDWARD U. DEMMER sailed but a brief 24 years before a collision sent it to the bottom of fog shrouded Lake Huron. on May 20, 1923.
The steel ship foundered about 40 miles off Thunder Bay after tangling with the steamer SATURN in the early morning hours. Crew members said the ship was gone in about 10 minutes. The sinking occurred so fast they said they barely had time to get away in the two life boats.
Capt. Joseph E. Burke of St. Clair, Mich., and 26 other sailors were rescued. by the passing freighters R.L. AGASSIZ and JAMES B. EADS.
The DEMMER, owned by the Milwaukee Western Fuel Co., was upbound on a trip to, Milwaukee with 7,000 tons of coal. Out of the fog came the ore carrier SATURN, under command of Capt. Z.H. Utley of Marine City, Mich. The SATURN rammed the ill-fated DEMMER on the starboard side. DEMMER crew members said the SATURN backed away then disappeared just as it had appeared out of the gloom. The SATURN’s bow was badly crushed and the vessel was leaking.
The crippled steamer stopped at, Port Huron to have part of its load of iron ore removed before going on to a dry dock in Detroit.
Utley denied any responsibility for the crash. A statement he made to a U.S. marine inspection officer was never made public. DEMMER crew members said they barely had to time to get life boats away. Three of the sailors were asleep in the forecastle when the boats came, together. They escaped wearing only their underwear.
The captain of the AGASSIZ searched for lifeboats for three hours in the fog. He said he could hear the cries of the sailors but the fog was so thick he could not find them. A lone survivor, deck hand Niels Kruger of Buffalo, N.Y., was found by the steamer EADS in a lifeboat half filled with water. Kruger was surprised to find his shipmates also survived the accident. He said he thought the rest of the crew went down with the ship.
The survivors also included Fred O’Neil of Marine City, Jess Landridge, Elles Landridge, Richard Jackson and Lynn Folkerts, all of Algonac.
The DEMMER had two other names during its career. It was first called the ADMIRAL and later the J.K. DIMMICK. (Author James Donahue’s shipwreck columns appears each week in the Huron Daily Tribune)
Port Huron Daily Tribune
By James Donahue

ADMIRAL * Built Nov. 18, 1899 Bulk Propeller – Steel
U. S. No. 107523 4651 gt – 3547 at 423.9′ x 51.9′ x 28′
* Renamed, (b) J.K. DIMMICK – US – 1913
(c) EDWARD U. DEMMER – US – 1920
Sunk in collision with stmr. SATURN, May 20, 1923, 40 miles south- east of Thunder Bay Island, Lake huron.
Detroit/Wyandotte Shipbuilding Master List
Institute for Great Lakes research
Perrysburg, Ohio.

Steam screw EDWARD U. DEMMER.* U. S. No. 107523. Of 4,651 tons gross; 3,547 tons net. Built at Wyandotte, Mich., in 1899. Home port, Cleveland, Ohio. 423.9 x 51.9 x 28.0 Freight service. Of 1,150 indicated horse power. Crew of 27. Steel built.
* formerly Steam screw [a] ADMIRAL, [b] J.K. DIMMICK.
Merchant Vessel List, U.S., 1923

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Categories: Lake Huron Still Missing

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NIAGARA II ex RIDEAUL LITE, IMPERIAL LACHINE, NIAGARA, W.M. EDINGTON

 

The former sandsucker NIAGARA II was scuttled at N45 15.052 W081 36.030 as an attraction to divers off Tobermory, ON. Name: Niagara II – Steel sand sucker
Rating: Experienced open water to advanced divers
Built: 1930
Length: 182ft
Sunk: 1999 sunk as a dive site
Depth: 100ft

In 1998 the Tobermory Maritime Association was formed with the objective of obtaining and sinking a new wreck to enhance the diving opportunities in Tobermory. After an extensive search the perfect ship was found – The Niagara II. This exciting wreck was sunk in May 1999, and offers a wonderful diving experience for all levels of certification. The Niagara II lies perfectly upright in approximately 100 ft. of Georgian Bay’s crystal clear water, just east of Little Cove. The top of her wheelhouse is at a depth of 45 ft. and both the bow and stern decks lie in the 65 ft. range.

The Niagara II was originally a Steel Sand Sucker built in England, 1930. Its original name was the Rideaulite and worked for Imperial Oil running back and forth between Montreal and Ottawa. It was then renamed to the Imperial Lachine. In 1954, Toronto Dry Dock Ltd. converted it to a sand sucker and this is when it obtained the name Niagara. 30 years later, in 1984, it was renamed to the Niagara II and its engines were converted to Diesel in 1990. The owners decided to sell the Niagara II for scrap in 1997

Steam screw RIDEAULITE.* Official canada No. 155286. Of 723 gross tons. Built at Haverton Hill, Emgland, in 1930.
175.0 x 35.2 x 13.0.
* Renamed IMPERIAL LACHINE – Canada – 1947
Herman Runge List
RIDEAULITE (47) (b) IMPERIAL LACHINE (I) (54), (c) NIAGARA (69), (d) W.M.EDINGTON (155286). Ottawa River tanker. 1930 Furness Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Haverton Hill-on-Tees. 175 x 35.2 x 12.9. Gross 723, net 343. Rebuilt as sandsucker at Toronto 1954. Gross 769, net 382. Owners: l) Imperial Oil (1930-54). 2) Holden Sand & Gravel Ltd., Toronto (1954-68). 3) McNamara Marine Ltd. (1968-69). 4) Federal Equipment Quebec Ltd. Chomedy (1969). 5) Ontario-Lake Erie Sand Ltd., Oakville.