There is no doubt that our March Ship of the Month, the steamer MARINA (12), (b) GEORGE A. GRAHAM, has so far elicited far more comment than any other vessel that we have ever featured in these pages. We hoped that our story would generate interest and some helpful comments, but we never dreamed that so much additional information would become available. We extend sincere thanks to all who responded.
Member George Ayoub wrote from Ottawa to advise some of the details of the changes in the GRAHAM's registry. She was enrolled at Port Arthur, Ontario, on June 28, 1912, and her owner at that time was shown as James Whalen, Port Arthur. She was renamed (b) GEORGE A. GRAHAM on September 16, 1912. A bill of sale, dated June 29, 1912, indicated that she was sold to Franklin Samuel Wiley, Port Arthur, and another bill of sale dated January 14, 1913, documented a sale to the Canadian North West Steamship Company Ltd., Port Arthur. The GRAHAM was sold on April 13, 1917. to the Montreal Transportation Company Ltd., Montreal. These details not only confirm the date of the transfer to Montreal Transportation, but also verify our suspicion that James Whalen was somehow involved with the Canadian North West interests.
Lloyd's Register for 1913 shows the GRAHAM'S operator to be Franklin Samuel Wiley, while the 1914 and 1915 registers indicate that she was operated by T. Marks & Company. The 1916 and 1917 registers show her manager as W.L. Reed. (Remember that Lloyd's data usually refer to the preceding year's records.)
George also found a copy of the August 1900 issue of "The Railway and Shipping World", an issue that had not previously come to our attention. Contained in it was the obituary for Thomas Marks, and we are pleased to reproduce the item here as it contains much information about Marks' enterprises.
"Thos. Marks, of Port Arthur, who died in Toronto General Hospital, July 9. 1900, after suffering from a malignant tumor and Bright's disease, was born in Glenashene, Ireland, in 1834. He came to Canada in 1839, and with the family settled in the County of Carleton, near Ottawa. He spent some years sailing on the lakes, and in 1850 settled on St. Joseph's Island as a farmer. In 1857, he started a general store at Bruce Mines, on the north shore. The business grew and was extended to Port Arthur in 1869 and to Sault Ste. Marie in 1871. This was continued in various parts of Algoma until 1897. He entered Port Arthur when nothing but the Government buildings existed, and besides erecting his own structures, built the prominent business and private establishments in that town.
"His first railway enterprise was a line of seven miles from Prince Arthur's Landing (now Port Arthur) to West Fort William, which was afterwards acquired for the C.P.R. He next promoted and saw built the Port Arthur, Duluth & Western Railway, running to the Minnesota boundary from Thunder Bay, which is now part of the Canadian Northern system. In 1877, he successfully tendered for the construction of Section A of the C.P.R., at a cost of about $2.5 million. During the construction period, he did an enormous supply business on the north shore, besides maintaining a fleet of three steamers. Subsequently, he brought to Canada the big steamer ALGONQUIN. He was a type of the shrewd and pushing pioneer, whose efforts did much for the good of the country. Before the C.P.R. was built, he was known often to cross on foot the ice of Georgian Bay in the winter from Bruce Mines to Penetanguishene, and on the ice of Lake Superior from Port Arthur to Duluth in connection with his business duties. He is survived by his widow, who was Miss Buchanan, and by one daughter."
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.