Bob Ireland of London, Ontario, has written with a few questions, the answers to which we felt might be of interest to other members. He enquired about the steam barge O.O. CARPENTER and the passenger steamers WIARTON BELLE, LILY (or LILLIE) and PICKUP. We are pleased to oblige, as usual, as we appreciate the opportunity to be of service to our members.
O.O. CARPENTER (U.S. 155198) was a wooden freighter built as Hull 1 of the Jenks Shipbuilding Company at Port Huron, Michigan. Her keel was laid on January 19, 1891, and she was launched on May 13. She was 127.6 x 30.6 x 9.5, 364.07 Gross and 268.28 Net. Her engine was built by the Phoenix Iron Works of Port Huron, another Jenks enterprise. The CARPENTER was originally operated by Angus Carpenter and the Jenks Steamship Company, and she was in the news on Monday, October 12, 1891, when she became the first vessel ever to use the then-new Hay Lake Channel of the St. Mary's River. (This channel, including the section known as Little Rapids Cut, was dredged out to provide a shortcut to the west of Sugar Island, thus avoiding the long route down Lake George on the east side of the island.) O.O. CARPENTER later passed to the ownership of H.E. Runnels and Capt. Sinclair of Port Huron.
In 1908, CARPENTER was sold to the Maine Coast Steamship Company (later the Maine Coast and Canada Steamship Company) of Boston, Massachusetts, for service between Machias and Eastport, Maine. She was rebuilt with 'tween deck and passenger cabins (no change in tonnage, strangely enough) and was renamed (b) MASSASOIT in 1908. After a few seasons of service, she was laid up, but was later placed back in operation. She was finally abandoned on the east coast in 1931.
WIARTON BELLE (C. 71188) began her life as (a) CHICAGO BELLE (U.S. 125339). She was a wooden-hulled passenger and freight propellor, 100.7 x 17.2 x 5.8, 87 Gross, 57 Net, and although some records indicate that she was built at Buffalo, she was actually built in 1871 at Chicago by F.W. and E.H. Meyer. She was registered at Buffalo, and was still registered there in 1875, but her registry was changed to Owen Sound, Ontario, in 1879, for she had been purchased by James Anderson of Waubaushene and he took her to Georgian Bay, giving her the more appropriate name of WIARTON BELLE. Later on, she was sold to Charles Duffy, Sr., who apparently was an associate of Anderson.
Some reports indicate that Anderson and Duffy also brought to the Bay another steamer, SAM LEWIS, and that both she and WIARTON BELLE ran out of Morrisburg, on the St. Lawrence River, before going to the Bay. In any event, Duffy ran WIARTON BELLE, with Capt. E. Dunn as master and Isaac Dunham as chief engineer, between Owen Sound and Wiarton, with additional service to Lions Head and Tobermory. She ran in opposition to JANE MILLER, a vessel which foundered on Colpoy's Bay on November 25, 1881. The competition with MILLER was too much for WIARTON BELLE and she was withdrawn from her route in 1880. Duffy dismantled her at Owen Sound and intended to place her engine and boiler in his new steamer TELEGRAM, which was built at Waubaushene in 1884. Nevertheless, the machinery did not go to TELEGRAM and we have no idea what may have become of it.
Bob has referred to LILY or LILLIE as a boat which, according to his grandfather, helped out during periods of peak passenger travel on CANADA's route between Owen Sound and the Royal Hotel which was located some five miles out of Owen Sound on the west side of the bay, all this probably occurring during the 1910-1915 period. He has stated that CANADA was operated by "the McLaughlins of Owen Sound" but we can find no mention of such people in our records. We do know that CANADA (C. 71101), (a) J. W. STEINH0FF (95). (b) QUEEN CITY (98), was latterly operated by the Georgian Bay Park and Summer Resort Company, the boat having been partially dismantled in 1909. This company may have been operated by these McLaughlins.
We believe that the vessel to which Bob has referred was LILLY (note spelling) , which was built in 1890 at Oakville, Ontario, as C. 94985. She was 51.3 x 14.2 x 5.5, 22 Gross, 15 Net. Oakville, once the home of Melancthon Simpson et al., was the birthplace of many small passenger steamers. According to the 1914 Dominion List of Shipping, she was then owned by the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company of Toronto and had been rebuilt in 1909 at Victoria Harbour, Ontario, probably as a tug or supply boat. She was still listed in the 1918 Dominion register but we have no record of her subsequently. It seems entirely possible that LILLY may have run from Owen Sound to the Royal Hotel but, as she was rebuilt in 1909 and CANADA was withdrawn the same year, it seems evident that any such service occurred prior to 1909.
PICKUP was described as "a cute little passenger steamer" and, having seen a photo of her, we would agree with his assessment of the aesthetics of the design of this small two-decker. We have, however, had considerable difficulty finding out anything about her. We do know that a steamer named LUCILE, (a) PICKUP (U.S.150304) , was placed on a run between Petoskey and Charlevoix, Michigan, in 1890 by Capt. Philo Chrysler. Built in 1883 at Marine City, she was 80.2 x 19.1 x 6.7, 136.74 Gross, 106.75 Net. In 1896, she was registered at Marquette, Michigan, so we assume that she operated on Lake Superior under the ownership of an Upper Peninsula owner. More than that we cannot tell you, but we would be happy to hear from any member who might have additional information.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.