The St. Lawrence and Chicago Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., was a Toronto-based company formed in 1888 by three prominent Torontonians, John H.G. Hagarty, Capt. Samuel Crangle and wharfinger W. A. Geddes, for the principal purpose of transporting grain down the Great Lakes. Its first two vessels were the British-built bulk carriers ALGONQUIN and ROSEDALE. These two steamers were built generally on salt water lines, having their bridges aft of the forecastle. They were originally operated by the Marks interests of the Canadian Lakehead, but soon passed into the ownership of St. Lawrence and Chicago.
The CARRUTHERS was a new ship, having been completed in the early autumn of 1913. She cleared Port William on her last trip late on the evening of November 6, 1913, and passed down the Soo Locks during the evening of November 8th, having been delayed by fog. She proceeded down the St. Mary's River, taking on bunker coal at the Pickands Mather dock at DeTour. She then entered Lake Huron. On the afternoon of the following day, the 9th, as the ship was somewhere southeast of the area of Pointe aux Barques, the storm of hurricane intensity which had been hovering to the northwest for several days, unleashed its full fury on the lakes and particularly on Lake Huron. The CARRUTHERS, along with seven other vessels in the same general area at the time, never made port again. She took all 24 of her crew to a watery grave presumed to be somewhere off Harbor Beach, Michigan. JAMES CARRUTHERS was the largest ship destroyed by the storm.
The only other major accident occurred in 1897 when ROSEDALE, always known as a difficult ship to handle because despite her size she was equipped only with steering gear of the "armstrong" variety, ran on Charity Island in Georgian Bay. She was severely damaged but was eventually salvaged. Her steering problems killed at least one wheelsman over the years, a blow on the head from a wheel spinning out of control causing a fatal injury.
The company continued operations until 1916. On April 20th, the firm was purchased for the sum of $1,787,840.00 by Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal. The acquisition was approved by C.S.L. shareholders on July 27, 1916.
ALGONQUIN - Br. & Can. 95051. Steel bulk carrier built 1888 at Yoker, Scotland (Glasgow), by Napier Shanks & Bell Ltd. 245'0 x 40'1 x 20'6. Gross 1806, Net 1172. Originally owned by the Canadian Northwest Steamship Co. Ltd. (Thos. Marks & Co.), Port Arthur, but soon sold to St. Lawrence & Chicago. Sold c. 1912 to Port Colborne & St. Lawrence Navigation Co. Ltd. (Maple Leaf Mills Ltd), Toronto. Sold December 20, 1915 to A. B. McKay, Hamilton, Requisitioned for war service in 1916, and taken to salt water. Apparently sold to U.S. owners 1917. U. S. 214637. Lost by enemy action off Scilly Isles, March 12, 1917, the first American ship so lost in the Great War.
JAMES CARRUTHERS - Can. 131090. Steel bulk carrier built for the company 1913 by the Collingwood Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. 536'0 x 58'4 x 27'3. Gross 7390, Net 5635. Launched May 22,1913. Lost with all hands on Lake Huron, Nov. 9, 1913.
G. R. CROWE - Br. & Can. 123324. Steel bulk carrier built for the company 1907 at Dundee, Scotland, by the Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. 252'0 x 43'4 x 22'9. Lengthened to 331'0 at Collingwood 1910. Gross 2940, Net 2347. Sold Dec. 18, 1915 to A. B. McKay, Hamilton. Resold Apr. 11, 1916, to Warner-Quinlan Asphalt Co. and converted to a tanker at Midland. Owned 1918 by the Montezuma Transportation Co. Ltd., Toronto. Taken to salt water about this time. Severely damaged by fire at Brooklyn, N. Y., 1921.
J. H. G. HAGARTY (26), (b) HAGARTY - Can. 134250. Steel bulk carrier built for the company 1914 by the Collingwood Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Hull 42. 536'0 x 58'4 x 27'3. Gross 7462, Net 5704. Sold to Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. 1916. Last operated 1967. Sold 1968 to Steel Factors Ltd., and resold to Spanish breakers. Arrived at Santander, Spain, in tow on October 28, 1968.
(THE) IROQUOIS (20), (a) TADENAC (02), (c) COLORADO (22), (d) DORNOCH (22),(e)BROOKTON (40), (f) GEORGE HINDMAN (I) (52), (g) BROOKDALE - Can. 111855. Steel bulk carrier built on speculation 1902 by the Bertram Engineering Works Ltd., Toronto Hull 36. 252'5 x 43'2 x 22'3. Gross 2359, Net 1452. Sold on completion to St. Lawrence & Chicago. Sold to Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. 1916. Taken to salt water for war service 1916 and sold to foreign interests 1920. Sold 1923 to Mathews Steamship Co. Ltd., Toronto, and returned to lakes. Laid up 1931 and did not operate through 1940 although acquired 1933 by Colonial Steamships Ltd. Sold 1940 to the Diamond Steamship Co. Ltd. (Hindman), Owen Sound. Sold 1952 to the Reoch Steamship Co. Ltd. Retired 1965, laid up at Toronto. Sold 1966 to United Steel & Metals Ltd., and scrapped at Hamilton.
W. D. MATTHEWS (26), (b) BRENTWOOD - Can. 116264. Steel bulk carrier built 1903 for the company by the Collingwood Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. 366'5 x 48'0 x 28'0. Gross 3965, Net 2450. Sold to Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., 1916. Laid up at Midland 1932 due to poor business conditions. Scrapped 1937.
E. B. OSLER (26), (b) OSLER (54), (c) R.O. PETMAN - Can. 125977. Steel bulk carrier built for the company 1908 at Bridgeburg, Ontario, by the Canadian Shipbuilding Co. 491'3 x 56'0 x 26'5. Gross 6787, Net 4361. Sold to Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., 1916. Converted to a conveyor-type self-unloader 1940-41 at Collingwood. Gross 7051, Net 4784. Retired 1967 and sold to Marine Salvage Ltd. Resold to Italian breakers and arrived in tow at La Spezia, Italy, June 17, 1968.
ROSEDALE - Br. & Can. 95265. Steel bulk carrier built 1888 at Sunderland, England, by the Sunderland Shipbuilding Co., for the Canadian Northwest Steamship Co. Ltd. (Thos. Marks & Co.), Port Arthur. 180'0 x 35'0 x 21'1. Gross 1040. This was the first vessel ever to take a cargo through from Montreal to Chicago without transshipment. Sold after a short period to St. Lawrence & Chicago. Lengthened 1891 at Kingston to 246'1 by inserting a new section between the bridge and engineroom, both of which were amidships. Gross 1507, Net 977. Sold c. 1910 to Rosedale Ltd., Hamilton, a subsidiary of Inland Lines Ltd. Absorbed into Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., 1913. Requisitioned for war service on salt water 1916. Sunk in collision with steamer LUELLA on North Atlantic, April 8, 1919.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.