Tag: Kingston

Wolfe Islander II

So not the first artificial reef in Ontario, but joining the likes of the Neilson and Papa’s Paycheque the Wolfe was certainly the largest project taken on by the now-defunct Comet Foundation.

Ship Type: Converted Car Ferry
Lifespan: Built 1947, Scuttled 1985
Length: 200ft
Depths: 80ft
Location: Wolfe Island, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
GPS N44.13.5580 W76.24.9860

Originally the Ottawa Maybrook, built in 1946 as a gift for China, but due to changing political views, she was converted into a 16-car ferry and renamed the Wolfe Islander II. She was sunk intentionally on September 21, 1985, as an artificial reef in 80 ft (24.6m) of water

Dropping down the line and reaching the bow davit, it is only another dozen feet to the open door of the wheelhouse. Just abaft the wheelhouse is a set of steel stairs that lead to benches lining the curved bulkhead and large square windows provide exit points with large doorways also convenient. The depth is 60 feet (18.5m) and the air pocket above divers’ heads is exhaust from previous diver visits and is not for breathing

Exiting the salon on the port side, divers follow the stairs to the main deck where vehicles were parked and recently a motorcycle was placed to demonstrate past cargo

A nearby doorway leads into the depths of the engine room and only the diver with experience, skills, and training should proceed here. Through catwalks and piping, one may proceed to the engine mounts at 75 feet (23m) depth and you encounter the “elevator” shaft leading to the top deck. Near the port rail, you will find the portholes (of which several were liberated by some divers that need them more than others) with logos and names of support organizations. Just around the corner is the ship’s name and registry port.

Some Videos

Slideshow of the sinking

A Fall Dive to the Wolfe Islander II


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.


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

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

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

Vessel Name


Build Year


Official Number



Ship Yards / Dry Docks




Build City

Garden Island

Build State


Vessel Type

Bulk Freighter

Hull Materials


Builder Name

Calvin Company








Tonnage Gross


Tonnage Net


Final Disposition

Final Location

Portsmouth, Ontario

Final Date Year


Final How


Final Notes

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


Ship Type: Side Wheeler
Lifespan: Built 1854, Scuttled 1931
Length: 176 ft (54m)
Depths: 70 ft (21.5m)
Location: Amherst Island, Lake Ontario, Canada
GPS: W76.37.15 N44.08.18

Launched as the “Kingston” at Montreal in 1854, she was one of the finest Canadian steamboats of her day on the Upper St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario. Indeed, when the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) toured Canada in 1860, she was chosen to be his ‘floating palace’. In 1872, she was gutted by fire while off Grenadier Island in the St. Lawrence River. Rebuilt as the Bavarian, she again burned in the fall of 1873. The iron hull, rebuilt yet again, in Power’s shipyard at Kingston, was this time christened “Algerian.” In 1905, she was renamed “Cornwall”. Near the end of 1911, she was purchased by the Calvin Company of Garden Island, opposite Kingston. She was converted to a well-equipped rescue vessel and used until around 1925.

In the early 1930’s, during a snowstorm, the stripped Cornwall was scuttled near Amherst Island close to the graveyard where she remained until being discovered by Rick Neilson in 1989.

There is still much to see on this wreck. The boilers and some steam pipes are still present; wooden barrels are scattered about; the windlass is still attached to the bow section; and there is even a bed still there. Most importantly, both feathering paddle wheels are intact, a complete history of this wreck and ship can be purchased here.

KGH (unknown wreck)

During the labour day weekend in 2008 local Charter boat Captain Adam Rushton ran a line from an unknown hull to shore with the aid of the local Base dive club.

Located at is Kingston local’s favourite shore dive (44 13.163 76 29.458 for the boat people)

Not much is known about the wreck other than it was towed there for a beginnings of a breakwater. Sitting in 40 feet of water off the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) parking lot. The wreck is lined from the base of the Martello tower horizontally to shore leading to the vertical line leading to the wreck. Just off the wreck line about midpoint there is an old lifeguard station base. Other then that the wreck is the star candidate for this dive.


Dive site map by Cory Phillips

dredge MUNSON

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
Length: 250ft
Depths: 115ft
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 

      . . . . . 
      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
NAME: George T. Davie
OFFICAL NO.: 107233
TYPE: B1 (St. Lawrence grain barge)
BUILDER: G.T. Davie & Sons
LBP: 177.42
BEAM: 35
FROM: 1921
TO: 1923
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.
SHIPYARD: G.T. Davie & Sons
HULL: Composite, steel framed, wood planked below W.L. steel plated
top sides and deck and hatch coamings.
HULL CONSTRUCTION: Rivetted and Bolted.
TURBINES: Not Applicable
TYPE: LOCO. for steam auxliaries

HMS ST LAWRENCE (1814 – 1832)

St Lawrence had her keel laid on 12 April 1814, and was launched on 10 September 1814. British naval commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo commissioned her as his flagship, with Captain Frederick Hickey as Flag Captain, in the Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard in Kingston, Upper Canada. The ship cost Britain £500,000 or over CA$120 million in today’s dollars.
At the time, Lake Ontario was effectively landlocked for any but the smallest vessels, due to shallow water and rapids on the St. Lawrence River downstream and Niagara Falls upstream. As a result, warships operating on Lake Ontario had to be built on site, either in Kingston or in the American naval dockyards at Sackets Harbor, or converted from merchant ships already operating in the lake.
Control of the lake, which was the most important supply route for the British for military operations to the west, had passed back and forth between the Americans and the British over the course of the war. The construction of a first rate ship of the line, in a campaign that had been dominated by sloops and frigates, gave the British uncontested control of the lake during the final months of the war. HMS St Lawrence never saw action, because her presence on the lake deterred the U.S. fleet from setting sail.
After the war ended in 1815, the ship was decommissioned. In January 1832, the hull was sold to Robert Drummond for £25. Between May and August, the hull was towed out of Navy Bay. It later formed the end of a pier attached to Morton’s Brewery in Kingston and was used as a storage facility by the brewery, for cordwood among other materials. Later, it was sunk in 30 feet (9.1 m) of water close to shore at 44°13′14″N 76°30′18″W and is now a popular diving attraction.


Located off the Nine Mile Graveyard  N44 06 966 W76 33 652  Here are some tidbits I have found over the years.

Propeller SARNOR.* Official Canadian Number 133824. Built at West Bay City, Mich., U.S.A. in 1888, rebuilt at Marine City, Mich., U.S.A in 1896. Of 1319 gross tons; 1152 tons reg. Home port, Montreal, Que. Owned by Frederick R. Johnson, of Port Colborne, Ont. 227.6 x 43.1 x 16.6 and 95 horse power.
* Foreign name, BRITANNIC, a recovered wreck.
List of Vessels on Registry Books of the Dominion
of Canada on the 31st. Day of December, 1920

Steam screw BRITANNIC. U. S. No. 3400. Of 1,121.90 tons gross; 904.34 tons net. Built West Bay City, Mich., 1888. Home port, Cleveland, Ohio. 219.2 x 36.2 x 17.0
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1895
Most of the ships which we have featured in these pages over the past few years have been ships which were particularly famous for one reason or another. They may have been of an unusual design, or have participated in some history-making event, or perhaps even have done nothing more remarkable than to serve one particular route for such a long period of time that they became institutions to local observers. But this month’s feature ship did nothing such as that. In fact, she was a particularly nondescript wooden bulk carrier and probably only the most avid and exacting Great Lakes marine historians have ever heard of her. But SARNOR, even if not famous in her own right, was involved in one of the most interesting and unbelievable legal hassles ever to occur on the lakes. Read on and you’ll see what we mean.


SARNOR began life back in 1888 when she was built at West Bay City, Michigan, by the well-known shipbuilder James Davidson. Christened BRITANNIC and given official number U.S. 3400, she measured 219.2 feet in length, 36.2 feet in the beam and 17.0 feet in depth. Her Gross Tonnage was recorded as 1,121. For the first few years of her career, BRITANNIC was operated by Captain Davidson in his own fleet, an operation which was, over the years, to include some of the largest and most famous wooden freight steamers ever built on the lakes.This part of BRITANNIC’s career was, however, to come to an end after only six years. According to the History of the Great Lakes published in 1899 by J. H. Beers and Company, Chicago, BRITANNIC was wrecked in 1894 on Lake Michigan. This was not the end of the steamer, however, for she was salvaged and in 1896 was rebuilt at Marine City, Michigan, the vessel having been acquired by Henry McMorran of Port Huron. The reconstruction finished, she emerged with a length of 227.6 feet, a beam of 36.0 feet and a depth of 21.3 feet. Her new tonnage was registered as 1,319 Gross and 1,152 Net.

McMorran operated BRITANNIC for a good few years, primarily in the lumber trade, but in 1912 she was acquired by H. M. Morris of Cleveland and Montreal. Officially owned by the Lake Erie and Quebec Transportation Company, Ltd., Montreal, she was transferred to Canadian registry (C.133828) and was renamed (b) SARNOR. Not much is known about the Lake Erie and Quebec operations but it seems reasonable to assume that SARNOR was used mainly in the lower lakes and St. Lawrence River coal trade. The service, however, does not seem to have been successful and by 1916 SARNOR was out of service and up for sale. Her story for the next decade is one of the strangest we have ever heard and we base our narrative on details as reported in a 1926 issue of Canadian Engineering and Marine World.

SARNOR was bought at auction by A. B. MacKay of Hamilton on April 1, 1916 for the princely sum of $6,700 and was placed in service under the command of Captain F. R. Johnson. While MacKay actually owned SARNOR, he had her registered in Capt. Johnson’s name, an agreement having been drawn up as to how the vessel’s earnings were to be divided. Percy Bonham, who was connected with Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., was also a party to this agreement.

Although Capt. Johnson was SARNOR’s first master under MacKay’s ownership, he was later replaced by Capt. J. P. McLeod who was in command of the ship when she went into drydock at Ogdensburg for repairs in August 1917. At that time Capt. Johnson and Percy Bonham claimed to be equitable owners of 60% of the value of the ship. Johnson and Bonham had certain negotiations with Capt. J. W. Norcross who was Vice-President and Managing Director of Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., and a short time thereafter Norcross managed to obtain a duplicate register for SARNOR. He proceeded to take possession of the vessel on October 23, 1917. A. B. MacKay then obtained an injunction to hold up this somewhat strange transaction and it was served at Cornwall on October 27, 1917.

Meanwhile Norcross, who, strangely enough, was also director of wartime ship construction for the Canadian government, managed to obtain the release of SARNOR on the grounds that there was a shortage of coal at Montreal and that SARNOR’s coal cargo was badly needed. The vessel sailed for Montreal and when she arrived there, Canada Steamship Lines arranged to have certain repairs done. The MacKay – Johnson – Bonham litigation continued but meanwhile C.S.L. succeeded in having the vessel requisitioned by the Canadian government under wartime legislation. C.S.L. then chartered the ship back for a period of ten years! The two hats of Capt. Norcross were indeed coming in very handy as far as Canada Steamship Lines was concerned and it seems that those who might have been in a position to do something about this most irregular situation were willing to turn a blind eye on what was obviously a case of conflict of interest.

It should also be borne in mind that during this period Capt. Frederick R. Johnson of Port Colborne was still shown as the registered owner of the ship and the actual owner, A. B. MacKay, could do nothing but sit back and watch all the hanky-panky taking place while his legal action had still not been heard in court.

SARNOR continued to run for Canada Steamship Lines until the early twenties. During 1923 and 1924, lake shipping was in a rather severe slump and many of the older wooden vessels were laid up, their places being taken anyway by new steel canallers being built in Canadian and British yards. SARNOR was one of the steamers which was no longer needed by C.S.L. and as such she was laid up at Kingston where she proceeded to settle to the bottom of the harbour.

The most amazing part of the whole story is that in 1924, when SARNOR was lying in a sunken condition at Kingston, Canada Steamship Lines had the colossal nerve to tender her back to MacKay. The latter gentleman, of course, was not impressed with this magnanimous action on the part of the shipping giant as he still considered himself to be the rightful owner of the vessel during the time that C.S.L. had usurped her services.

MacKay continued with his litigation and in February 1926 it was reported that Mr. Justice Latchford of the Ontario Supreme Court ruled to the effect that MacKay was the actual owner of the ship. The judgment given MacKay included an award of $15,000 in damages. This may have been a great moral victory for MacKay, but meanwhile the poor old SARNOR, in her lay-up below the LaSalle Causeway in Kingston, was in a sorry state. To make matters worse, she was badly damaged by fire on March 15th, 1926.

The damaged hull was towed around to Portsmouth Bay and was laid to rest in the boneyard along with several other worn-out wooden hulls. And there she was to lie for ten long and quiet years. In 1936, the Portsmouth boneyard, by then a notable Kingston eyesore, was cleaned up and the various hulls were cofferdammed and raised, the majority of them having lost their upperworks to a combination of rot and fire. SARNOR was dug up out of the mud and, once raised, the tired old hull was towed out into Lake Ontario where it was scuttled in deep water.

Perhaps SARNOR should have been restored as a monument to the effort expended by her rightful owner in his battle to protect his investment in the ship from those who converted her to their own purposes.

Run Down In The Detroit River Yesterday By The RUSSIA — One Man Drowned.


Detroit, Aug. 10 – The lake steamer BRITANNIC collided with the steamer RUSSIA about 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon opposite Wyandotte in the Detroit River and sank in a few minutes in 30 feet of water. All the crew escaped with the exception of one foreman, who was known as Charley and who shipped from Cleveland. He was asleep in his bunk at the time the boats struck and had not time to escape.

Capt. Benham of the BRITANNIC stated last night that he had sighted the RUSSIA in good season and that the proper passing signals had been given and answered for each boat to go to port. Just as the two boats were about to pass, the wheel chains on the BRITANNIC fouled, and, taking a sudden sheer, she ran directly across the bows of the RUSSIA. A collision was unavoidable, and with a fearful crash the two boats met. The BRITANNIC was struck amidships on the starboard side.

The BRITANNIC was bound down, loaded with iron ore, while the RUSSIA was bound up light. The BRITANNIC was owned by W.J. White, the Cleveland Chewing gum manufacturer, and measured 1121 gross tons, was 219 feet long and 36 feet beam. She was built in 1888. The RUSSIA is owned by the Lackawanna Transportation Company. She had a bad hole punched in her bow, and is leaking some. She will be docked here for repairs. Vessels should take the American side of the channel while passing this spot to get the best water. The BRITANNIC is insured, but the amount is not known by Capt. Benham. She had a load of iron ore for Erie, Pa. The crew of the steamer will leave for Cleveland today.

Buffalo Evening News

Saturday, August 10, 1895

. . . . .


Propeller MONTANA Strikes The Detroit River Wreck — Hold Full Of Water.

Amherstburg, Ont. Aug. 17. – The big propeller MONTANA, owned by the Western Transportation Company, and bound down with a cargo of flour for Buffalo, ran afoul of the sunken steamer BRITANNIC, lying in the Detroit River near Ballard’s Reef, early this morning.

The MONTANA was injured so badly she was run aground on the Island, where she lies with her hold full of water.

It is claimed that there were no lights on the BRITANNIC wreck.

Buffalo Sunday Morning News

Sunday, August 18, 1895

. . . . .


Wrecker McMorran of Port Huron has, after three months work, raised the wooden steamer BRITANNIC, which was sunk near Ballard’s reef, Detroit river, by the steamer RUSSIA The BRITANNIC is now in Detroit and will be rebuilt there during the winter. The value of the wreck has not as yet been determined.

Marine Review

December 5, 1895


. . . . .

Work on the steamer BRITANNIC sunk last season in the Detroit River, is being rapidly pushed at Marine City by M.P, Lester. She has been entirely rebuilt and has no semblance of the dilapidated old hulk that was towed up the river last spring.

Milwaukee Wisconsin

May 26, 1896

Steam screw BRITANNIC. U. S. No. 3400. Of 1,121.90 tons gross; 904.34 tons net. Built West Bay City, Mich., 1888. Home port, Cleveland, Ohio. 219.2 x 36.2 x 17.0

Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1895

Propeller SARNOR.* Official Canadian Number 133824. Built at West Bay City, Mich., U.S.A. in 1888, rebuilt at Marine City, Mich., U.S.A in 1896. Of 1319 gross tons; 1152 tons reg. Home port, Montreal, Que. Owned by Frederick R. Johnson, of Port Colborne, Ont. 227.6 x 43.1 x 16.6 and 95 horse power.

* Foreign name, BRITANNIC, a recovered wreck.

List of Vessels on Registry Books of the Dominion

of Canada on the 31st. Day of December, 1920



1888, Jun 9 Temporory enrollment Port Huron.

1888 Towed barge MARY WOOLSON in Ashland ore trade.

1889, Mar 21 Permanent enrollment Cleveland; towed barges GALATEA, HATTIE WELLS, & H.P. BALDWIN.

1895, Aug 9 Collided with steamer RUSSIA in Detroit River, sank with loss of one life.

1896 Rebuilt Marine City; 227 x 36 x 21′, 1319 gross / 1152 net tons. Towed barge ALEX ANDERSON.

1899 Owned Alvin Neal, et al Port Huron; towed barge RACINE.

1912, Oct 15 Owned Lake Erie & Quebec Trans. Co., Montreal. Renamed SARNOR, #C133824.

1916, Apr 1 Sold at auction to A.P. McKay.

1917, Oct 23 Owned Canada Steamship Lines.

1919 Apr 4 Sunk Sorel, QUE, raised.

1924 Abandoned Kingston Harbor.

1926, Mar 15 Burned.


On 17 July 1856, chris and tinto (wooden propeller, 135 foot, built in 1855-56, at Sorel, Quebec) caught fire and burned to a total loss only 2 miles from shore. She was between Snake Island and Nine Mile Point on Lake Ontario. 18 lives were lost. The survivors jumped into the water and were picked up by a boat from shore. A newspaper article stated that she had no lifeboat aboard. Her machinery was later recovered and installed in the AVON.

The Propeller TINTO owned by Gibb & Ross of Quebec, built at Sorel in the fall of 1855 by McCarthy, has a 4 bladed prop. of 10 feet and 18 feet pitch.
Toronto Globe
May 28, 1856

NOTE:– The engine & boiler of the TINTO, were put into the prop. AVON. which was launched June, 1857.
Toronto Globe
June 17, 1857

p.2 Life Saved – Wm. McMillan, one of the crew of the steamboat Tinto, burnt near Kingston, who was reported amongst the killed, has been picked up near the scene of disaster, by the schooner Independence. The vessel came into port yesterday morning. He managed to get clear of the burning wreck, and by clinging to a piece of the furniture drifted from the vessel, kept afloat until found by the schooner.

Tinto (1855)
Year of Build:
Built at:
Sorel, Quebec
Final Location:
Near Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Approx. 135×23. Owned by Gibb & Ross, Montreal. Built by D. & J. McCarthy, Sorel and launched 19/11/55. Engines (2) 22½x30 working at right angles on same shaft (i. e. “V-2”) by Miln & Miln (Dock Engine Works), Montreal, to “Avon”. Used Montreal-Lake Erie. Destroyed by fire 11/06/56 near Kingston, 8 killed. Nothing official on this one.

Propeller TINTO, (C), burned off Kingston, C.W.
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
January 31, 1857 (1856 casualty list)

. . . . .

The Propeller TINTO owned by Gibb & Ross of Quebec, built at Sorel in the fall of 1855 by McCarthy, has a 4 bladed prop. of 10 feet and 18 feet pitch.
Toronto Globe
May 28, 1856

. . . . .

KINGSTON, C. W. July 18. – The propeller “TINTO,” was burned last night off Nine Mile Point, and is a total wreck. About twelve persons are lost, among them Capt. Campbell and a Mr. Henderson. The purser and twelve of the crew were saved.
Buffalo Daily Republic
Friday, July 18, 1856

. . . . .

The new Propeller TINTO, Capt. Campbell, caught fire off Nineteen Mile Point and burned to the waters edge, bound from Kingston to Toronto and Hamilton. 18 persons missing.
Toronto Globe
July 19, 1856

. . . . .

A Propeller Burnt. – We learn from Capt. Ledyard, of the BAY STATE, that the new Prop. PINTO [sic Tinto] was burnt to the water’s edge on Thursday night. She took fire about nine miles above Kingston, and floated down the river, and lodged against an island a few miles below Kingston, where she lay burning when the BAY STATE came up yesterday morning.
Two steamers went to her assistance, after she was discovered, but no person was found on board and the small boat was gone. It was supposed the crew deserted her in the boat and went to one of the Islands. Capt. Ledyard states that she was burning briskly as he passed her, and was quite down to the water’s edge. The cause of the fire was unknown.
The telegraph states that twelve passengers are lost by the casualty of the PINTO. Among them Capt. Beel, and a Mr. Henderson. The purser and 12 of the crew were saved.
Oswego Palladium
Saturday, July 19, 1856
. . . . .

The Propeller TINTO drifted ashore on Cedar Island, and burned to the waters edge.
Toronto Globe
July 21, 1856


1925 – The wooden freighter MAPLEGLEN (i), is scuttled in Lake Ontario, west of Kingston, near Amherst Island. It had been idle since 1921 and was originally the WYOMING of 1881.

Identified by her boilers this scuttled wreck lays at N44 08 70 W76 37 09

Propeller MAPLEGLEN.* Official Canadian Number 141589. Built at Buffalo, N.Y., U.S.A. in 1887. Of 1492 gross tons; 911 tons reg. Home port, Montreal, Que. Owned by the Canada Steamship Lines, Montreal, Que. 250.4 x 40.1 x 14.6 and 100 horse power.
* Foreign name WYOMING.
List of Vessels on Registry Books of the Dominion
of Canada on the 31st. Day of December, 1920
mapleglen Steam screw WYOMING. U. S. No. 81150. Of 1,952.80 tons gross; 1,739.75 tons net. Built Buffalo, N.Y., 1887. Home port, Buffalo, N.Y. 241.0 x 39.9 x 14.9
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1891
mm prop mapleglen

MARINE NOTES. — Dispatches from Manitowoc indicate that the steamer WYOMING, aground near there, will be a total loss.

Buffalo Evening News

October 19, 1909


Propeller MAPLEGLEN.* Official Canadian Number 141589. Built at Buffalo, N.Y., U.S.A. in 1887. Of 1492 gross tons; 911 tons reg. Home port, Montreal, Que. Owned by the Canada Steamship Lines, Montreal, Que. 250.4 x 40.1 x 14.6 and 100 horse power.

* Foreign name WYOMING.

List of Vessels on Registry Books of the Dominion

of Canada on the 31st. Day of December, 1920

boilers mapleglen

Freighter MAPLEGLEN. Official Canada No. 141589. Of 1,492 gross tons. Built Buffalo, N.Y., 1887. 250 x 40 x 15 Ex U. S., WYOMING till 1920. DISPOSITION:– abandoned 1925
Preliminary List of Canadian Merchant Steamships
Inland & Coasta, 1809 to 1930. Worls Ship Society

Marine Notes:– The steamer WYOMING, bound for Chicago with steel, is on a reef near Manitou, Wis., and leaking. Her cargo will be lightered.

Buffalo Evening News

October 16, 1909