Our February Ship of the Month featured the Q & O sistership canallers CHICAGO TRIBUNE (I) and NEW YORK NEWS (I). We mentioned that the latter was at Shelter Bay, Quebec, on October 26, 1926, when she was struck by a severe storm that parted her lines and drove her ashore, and we also commented that the same storm put the Hall steamer A. D. MacTIER ashore on the Gaspe coast. We referred to the MacTIER as having been owned by the George Hall Coal and Shipping Company Ltd., but had we stopped to think before typing, we certainly would not have done so. We thank member Bob Graham of Massena, N.Y., for giving Ye Ed. a necessary slap on the wrist. The MacTIER was built in the U.S. (Detroit Shipbuilding Company) in 1913, and was registered at Ogdensburg for her entire life, and thus was owned by the U.S. side of the Hall group. She was built for the George Hall Coal Company, which in 1918 became the George Hall Coal and Transportation Company, and in 1922 the George Hall Corporation.
We also thank Bob for mentioning that, although the October 26, 1926, storm caused the abandonment of the MacTIER, it did not put her ashore. She was already aground when the storm hit, having earlier stranded 800 feet off Cap d'Espoir on the east coast of the Gaspe. The MacTIER was nearing Chandler, P.Q., in fine weather and at full speed, when she unwisely attempted to pass between Cap d'Espoir and Leander Shoal, the latter about a mile offshore. This misguided move put her in extreme danger and she found bottom in the shoal water. Although she might eventually have been refloated, early efforts to free the steamer were unsuccessful, and she was lying helplessly on the shoal when the big storm hit and pounded her into a total loss.
Capt. L. A. Demers, Dominion Wreck Commissioner, wrote a typically scathing report concerning the wreck, and its contents indicate that a sort of "Alphonse and Gaston" routine had been played out on the MacTIER's bridge. Demers blamed the stranding on a "paralysis of command"; the master, Capt. Andersen, was not certified to sail vessels east of Montreal, and the sailing master (pilot), Capt. Norcott, although licenced for the area, was a Canadian, and thus could not function in authority on the MacTIER, which was registered in the U.S. The situation was bad enough before the original stranding, but got worse later. Had there been proper command from the bridge, the MacTIER might have survived, and perhaps even lived as long a life as that of ADRIAN ISELIN, one of her sisterships.
In the same issue, our photopage showed three photos of the pulpwood twins at various stages of their careers. The third photo, from the camera of the late James M. Kidd, showed THOROLD (II), the former CHICAGO TRIBUNE (I), in the Welland Canal, downbound above Lock 7. We supposed that the view was taken shortly before the outbreak of World War Two, in which the steamer was lost. For those who may be interested, we have now determined that Jim took the photo on Sunday, August 5th, 1934.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.