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The Steamer Jones Wrecked
   The Saddest Calamity that Has Ever Befallen Wiarton - Went down off Cape Croker and All Hands were Lost - About Nineteen Passengers and Twelve of a Crew - The Latter Belonged to Wiarton.

   Last Thursday morning the steamer Jones, of the Crawford Tug Co., left Owen Sound at 10 o’clock on her regular trip intending to call at Lions Head and Tobermory. About 1:30 that same day, Capt. Chapman saw the boat pass the Cape Croker light, and watched her until she was near the Cove of Corke, and that was the last ever seen of her. When he looked again the Jones disappeared. Although the weather was not propitious last Thursday Capt. Crawford, who was an old mariner, felt that he could perhaps make Lions Head, and so left Owen Sound. Nothing was heard of her then for some time and as she had not reported at either Lions Head or Tobermory, everyone in town became very anxious about her safety. On Sunday this anxiety became very intense, and on Monday and Tuesday, up till the worst fears were confirmed, it was the one topic of conversation.

   The Crawford Tug Co. did all in their power to obtain some trace of the boat. They fondly hoped that it was safely at anchor Cockburn Island or Providence Bay, and they did their best to obtain information but the wires were down on the Manitoulin and this was difficult. On Tuesday, however, the central at Penetang called up John McAuley, of the Dominion Fish Co, and informed him that the Indians from Christian Island had reported the finding of life boats on the shore with the name J.H. Jones on them, beside some freight consigned to Lions Head, a barrel of coal oil and parts of the pilot house, caps and life preservers.

   This was enough. Everyone then knew that the Jones had foundered and all on board were lost. After she had passed Cape Croker she no doubt encountered a heavy sea, but how the accident occurred is a mere matter of conjecture. It may have been that the captain tried to head her towards land for shelter, the cargo may have shifted, and in a moment the boat went down without, perhaps, one of the passengers or crew having time to put on a life preserver. According to the way the wind was blowing the wreckage would naturally drift to the Christian Islands.

   The following were the crew: Capt. J. Crawford; Edward Lennox, 1st mate; George Smith, 2nd mate; Charles Shaw, 1st engineer; Wesley Sadler, 2nd engineer; George McEwen, wheelman; Willie Ross, wheelsman; ----- McVittie, fireman; Thomas Simmons, fireman; James Tilley, deck hand; Frank Jackson, cook; Mervin Clark, cook; ----- Spears, deck hand, (Colpoys).

   So far as can be learned the passengers were: J.T. Donaldson, Manager of the Wolverine Fish Co., Owen Sound; James Fox, Lions Head; Alex. Lyons and mother, Owen Sound; Daniel McIvor, Providence Bay; Marmaduke Vail and son, Frank and George Fellon, Tobermory; and three men being sent by Capt. Graham to Silverwater; Mr. and Mrs. Burley and three children, Shallow Lake; T.M. Wagg, Manitoulin Island; (??) Allen, Owen Sound.
   Capt. Crawford was one of Wiarton’s most popular and best known citizens. He had just reached the 31st milestone in his life on the 20th, and he leaves a widow and six children.
   William Ross, the wheelsman, leaves a widow and three small children. George McEwen, the other wheelsman, was a popular young man aged 21 years, and was a son of Dr. McEwen and wife.
   James Tilley, the deckhand, was as white a man as one could wish to find. He leaves a widow and five children.
   Charles Shaw, the first engineer, was a thoroughly respected citizen, whom everybody liked. He leaves a widow and two young girls.
   Frank Jackson, Cook, leaves a widow. Mervin Clark, son of J.J. Clark was on the boat for the first time.
   Edward Lennox was the son of Jonathan Sadler, and Thomas Simmons of M. Simmons.
   George Smith was the son of Hamilton Smith, who has lost three sons within a short time by accident. Percy came in contact with a live wire in Toronto. Myles had his spinal cord injured on a boat near dyers Bay, and now the third has been drowned.
   The steamer Jones was the most important boat of the Crawford Tug Co.’s fleet and was valued at $12,000. She was built in 1893 at Goderich for the Dominion Fish Co. in 1900. She was thoroughly seaworthy and had passed an inspection last spring, while her hull was inspected last week. The loss is a very heavy one to the company, who are the principal lake carriers at this port.

   The crew were all old mariners, thoroughly competent, the boat was equipped with fuel, and the wreck was not due to any want of competency upon the part of any of those on board.

   The tug Sandford with a search party left on Tuesday evening for Christian Island. J. Crawford was in charge.

   The weather these last few weeks has been so disastrous to shipping, and this with the anxiety felt about the safety of the Jones, led to the discussion of the wreck of the Asia and the Jane Miller, two of the saddest disasters on the Upper Lakes.

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.

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