SMP Logo
SM Publications
Silver Salon Forums - The premier site for discussing Silver.
SMP | Silver Salon Forums | SSF - Guidelines | SSF - FAQ | Silver Sales

The Silver Salon Forums
Since 1993
Over 11,793 threads & 64,769 posts !!
Continental / International Silver Forum
How to Post Photos REGISTER (click here)

customtitle open  SMP Silver Salon Forums
tlineopen  Continental / International Silver
tline3open  Athabasca - Preston 1901

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

ForumFriend SSFFriend: Email This Page to Someone! next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Athabasca - Preston 1901
Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 08-25-2015 11:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We saw this at the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show. The dealer let us take a photo.

Here is the story:

Correspondence of The Journal.
Port Arthur, Ontario, Can., Aug. 30.

Seldom if ever has so thrilling a scene been enacted upon the great lakes as that which marked the rescue of the crew from the ship Preston in the midst of one of the worst storms which has swept over Lake Superior in recent years. I presume the mere statement of the rescue of the crew has already been noted in The Journal, but, so far as I know, no American newspaper has contained any adequate account of one of the most heroic rescues ever recorded.

It was three in the morning and the crew of the ship Preston of Toledo, lumber laden, bound for Port Arthur, from Manistee, Mich., discovered in the midst of a heavy sea that the ship had sprung a leak and the water was rapidly seeking the fires and the coal bunkers. The boat was heavily laden and was making slow headway in the midst of the tremendous sea that was running. All efforts to stay the flood were unavailing, and it soon became apparent that the ship must be abandoned if she could not find a tow. She was then in the middle of the lake to the east of Isle Royal.

The storm increased and at last when the fires were out and the waves were washing over her decks, a signal of distress was hoisted. At six in the morning Captain McDougall of the steamer Athabasca sighted the distressed boat off Passage Island. Comparatively few boats, as regards the through traffic from Duluth to Buffalo, pass to the. north, and, had not Captain. McDougall sighted the ship, she might easily have gone days without help, or what was far more likely in such a storm, be driven in shore and stove to pieces on the rocks.

He came alongside the boat but the sea was so heavy he could not bring the two together so that the crew of the Preston could be brought on board. Five or six times he got a line to the ship to tow her but every time, so heavy was the sea, the hawser parted.

Finally he decided that the only way to save their lives was to ram the side of the wooden boat with his big steel prow. Drawing off in the sea, he went at a slanting angle upon the derelict, striking her a slanting blow with the hope of fixing the nose of his ship long enough in her side to enable him to haul on board the crew. One or two did get on, but the waves instantly parted the ships. Again he tried the same tactics from another angle saving one or two more. Time after time he did this and all the time he was taking risks for his own ship, laden with cargo and passengers.

But, once upon a time, Captain George McDougall was sailing a small freighter himself, was wrecked, and the captain another craft stood by in a storm and saved the lives of himself and crew, and the years had not blunted his memory.

Once,as the big ship swung around, one of the crew, the wheel man, William Eckert of Algonac, Mich., attempted to board the Athabasca at an unfortunate moment, and as the two boats came together by the tremendous power of the sea, those who were on deck saw half of the poor wheel man go one way and half the other. The coming together had cut him squarely in two.

One by one, as the hours went by, the crew was brought away until but a few were left. Two women were on board, but they utterly refused to jump for the deck of the Athabasca as she would swing up to the side. The men coaxed and threatened and pleaded, but they would not take what to them seemed a risk with death for the prize.

So, at last, the men seized the women, put lines around their bodies, tied on life preservers and threw them over the sides of, the vessel into the sea. It was heroic treatment and might easily have been the death of both, but it was sure death to leave them. By great good fortune they were hauled aboard the Athabasca in safety. On the Athabasca were two physicians. One of them was on his wedding tour and his wife was the only woman on board the ship, who was not overcome by sea sickness. He told later with great pride of the help his new wife was to him in caring for the women. In order to get them quickly into a warm bed it was necessary to take a sharp knife and cut the shoes from their feet, so water soaked were their shoes and so swollen their limbs from the long exposure.

It took nearly ten hours for the Athabasca to effect the rescue of the crew.

One of Captain Harlow's pets was a bright little Scotch terrier and another was a canary bird. He tried hard to hold the dog in his arms as he left the ship, but he did not dare to make the leap without both hands free, so he left the little friend on board. Away the big steamer went in the late afternoon, leaving the dog and the canary sole occupants of the abandoned derelict, fast beating up toward the rock-bound, treacherous north shore. But truth came in again, but to prove that it is stranger than fiction, and two or three days later when a tug master at Port Caldwell, a fishing point on the north shore, saw the derelict in the offing and steamed out with a thrifty eye to future salvage and got a line to her, he found both dog and canary alive and full ready for a square meal.

Strangely enough, the fact that they were alive may have a distinct bearing on a suit now in progress. The captain of the Preston put out for Port Arthur on the tug Inez as soon as possible in search of his ship. He found her a few hours after, the Port Caldwell man did, though the latter had already gotten a line on her, establishing priority of occupation.

But the claim of the Port Caldwell man, so it seems, is to be contested on the ground that, there being life on the ship, and life which could not under such circumstances maintain itself, was proof that the ship was capable of sustaining life and, therefore, was not in the strict sense an abandoned derelict subject to seizure and salvage.

IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 08-26-2015 12:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 22 May 1902

Many Companies At Work
Honors For A Captain And Crew

It will be remembered that on June 29th last Capt. George S. McDougall, and the crew of the C.P.R. S.S. Athabasca saved eleven men and two women from the rapidly sinking American barge Preston during a wind gale on Lake Superior. The passengers presented the Captain with a handsome, illuminated address, the Royal Canadian humane association awarded him their parchment certificate for distinguished bravery, and the president of the United States presented the captain with a handsome gold watch, chain and pendant, with a suitable inscription, commending him on his humanity and bravery. Now the dominion government, through the minister of marine, the Hon. Jas. Sutherland, are to present Capt. McDougall with a handsome piece of silver, the first mate, Mr. McPhee, with a binocular glass; the chief engineer, William Lockerby, with a gold medal, and the crew with silver medals suitably inscribed, commemorative of the date of the rescue. The presentation will be made in public at a future date.


The Globe, March 19, 1898

Capt. George McDougall

Captain George McDougall is another able navigator whose ability has found him high promotion. He is also in the employ of the C.P.R. Company's line of steamboats and commands the Athabasca. He was born in Owen Sound, Ontario in June of 1849. His career afloat began in earnest when he was fifteen years of age. He shipped as first porter on the steamer Clifton, in the passenger and freight business between Collingwood and Owen Sound. During 1865 and 1866 he was aboard the steamer Waubuno, the ill-fated vessel at whose foundering later so many lives were lost.

The Captain's next position was that of steward on the steamer Frances Smith, where he remained for two years, 1867 and 1868. In 1869 he shipped before the mast as a sailor, some of the vessels which he served in during that season being the schooner Clyde, the schooner Mary Taylor and the schooner Northumberland.

In 1870 he became first mate on the schooner Mountaineer. Throughout 1871 and 1872 he occupied a similar post on the schooner Belle McPhee and in 1873 he secured the position as master on the schooner Mountaineer, which previously he had sailed in as mate. In 1876 he had charge of the steamer Vanderbilt. Then for three years he was master of the schooner Phoebe Catharine, and for three years more commanded the schooner Otonabee.

In the year 1883 he again took charge of a steam vessel, going as master into the Scotia. Then he had command of the steamer Wolseley, subsequently the schooner Garibaldi, then the steamer Kincardine, the steamer Ontario, the steamer United Empire, and finally the C.P.R. steamer Athabasca. Before he went into the employ of the C.P.R., in 1892, Captain McDougall had been with the Sarnia Line for four years.


IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 08-26-2015 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
two more photos --- I haven't found any for thePreston.

IP: Logged


Posts: 1939
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 08-26-2015 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very cool!

IP: Logged

Sgt Silver

Posts: 41
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 08-28-2015 06:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sgt Silver     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A wonderful story, and the ending makes you smile.

IP: Logged

All times are ET

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.46a

1. Public Silver Forums (open Free membership) - anyone with a valid e-mail address may register. Once you have received your Silver Salon Forum password, and then if you abide by the Silver Salon Forum Guidelines, you may start a thread or post a reply in the New Members' Forum. New Members who show a continued willingness to participate, to completely read and abide by the Guidelines will be allowed to post to the Member Public Forums.
Click here to Register for a Free password

2. Private Silver Salon Forums (invitational or $ donation membership) - The Private Silver Salon Forums require registration and special authorization to view, search, start a thread or to post a reply. Special authorization can be obtained in one of several ways: by Invitation; Annual $ Donation; or via Special Limited Membership. For more details click here (under development).

3. Administrative/Special Private Forums (special membership required) - These forums are reserved for special subjects or administrative discussion. These forums are not open to the public and require special authorization to view or post.

| Home | Order | The Guide to Evaluating Gold & Silver Objects | The Book of Silver
| Update BOS Registration | Silver Library | For Sale | Our Wants List | Silver Dealers | Speakers Bureau |
| Silversmiths | How to set a table | Shows | SMP | Silver News |
copyright © 1993 - 2020 SM Publications
All Rights Reserved.
Legal & Privacy Notices