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The Jane Miller
   The Jane Miller foundered in Colpoys Bay Nov 25 1881. The boat left Meaford on the afternoon of this date for Wiarton heavily loaded with freight, and the last positive intelligence of her was that she arrived at Big Bay about 8:30 p.m. that same evening. After taking on a small quantity of wood, she cast off her lines with the intention of calling at Spencer’s Landing to wood up. It was reported that while at Big Bay, Captain Port ordered the boat to start immediately as they would require to blow the water out of her, and she was rolling heavily.

   There was a heavy gale that night from the south west accompanied by a blinding snow storm, in fact it was one of the wildest nights ever known on the Georgian Bay. What happened the boat is only a matter of conjecture because all on board, to the number of twenty-eight, were lost.

   It is surmised, however, that with so much freight the steamer became top heavy and having no ballast she rolled over without a moments warning. It is probable that on account of the snow storm every gang way was closed, and the crew were completely penned in. It is thought that the disaster occurred about half a mile from Spencer’s wharf.

   On that evening Roderick Cameron and wife expected their son from Owen Sound by the Wiarton Belle, and were looking for her. They saw the lights of the steamer pass their place about 9 o’clock. They watched her until she appeared to be nearly at Spencer’s dock, then she seemed to be stationary, and suddenly the lights went out. The water at this point is about 200 feet deep.

   Capt. Port, of the ill fated steamer, was a highly esteemed citizen of Wiarton, and had come to Wiarton in 1878. Others of the crew were, A. Port owner, F. Port purser, both of Wiarton; J. Christian, Red Bay; Alex Seales, Keppel; Gilbert Corbett, Owen Sound; four deck hands, names unknown; J. Jespin, Port Elgin; J. Hallock, S. Thompson, J. Walker, L. Voder, Meaford; L. Butchart and wife, Tobermory; R. Gillespie, James Hope, Sydenham; Capt. M. McLeod, Goderich; Mr. Hill, Collingwood Township. Besides these there were a number of mill hands engaged to work at Watt’s mill, Lions Head, and McLanders’ shanty, Tobermory.

Source: newspaper unknown - article found in a scrapbook. Possibly either the Owen Sound Sun-Times or Wiarton Echo.

Submitted by: G Thompson

Transcribed by: Gerald Dunnill

Contact gthompson54 at

Transcribed newspaper articles from years gone by as they relate to Grey County, whether from the 1800s or early 1900s, are welcome for posting. Scanned images are not necessary as the emailed text is stylized on the web page as a reasonable approximation of the original article. Please include source references wherever possible.

Please send them in an email to Gerald Dunnill at: at
Would appreciate "GreyGenWeb History" in the subject line.