Canadian Ship Registration #

Name of Ship: ARIADNE Year of Registration: 1867

Type of Ship: Schooner

Port of Registry: Newcastle, Ontario

Where Built: Port Burwell, Ontario

Gross Tonnage: 158


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ARIADNE (1867, Schooner) IDENTIFICATION Year of Build: 1867 CONSTRUCTION AND OWNERSHIP Built at: Port Burwell, ONT Vessel Type: Schooner Hull Materials: Wood Number of Decks: 1 Builder Name: Foster DIMENSIONS Length: 97′ Beam: 22′ Depth: 8′ Tonnage (gross): 140 Capacity: 10,000 bushels FINAL DISPOSITION Final Location: Oswego, NY, Mexico Bay. Lake Ontario. Date: 30 Nov 1886 How: Wrecked. Final Cargo: 10,000 bushels barley. Notes: Went ashore Big Sandy Creek near Mexico Bay, Lake Ontario. Captain & 3 crew lost. Went to pieces few miles east of Sandy Creek Life Saving Station. HISTORY1871 Robinson, Newcastle, ONT. 1873, Nov 4 Ashore New Castle, Lake Ontario. 1873 Robinson, New Castle. 1876 158 tons. 1878 97 x 26.6 x 8.2; 158 tons; F. Gibson. 1879 Owned Gibson et. al., Port Burwell, ONT. 1886, Dec Ashore Mexico Bay, Lake Ontario; wrecked. 1886, Dec 6 & 8 Bodies recovered from wreck.

Daily Palladium (Oswego, NY), Mon., Dec. 6, 1886 #

Taken From the Wreck

The bodies of Southerland McKay and Charles Dean were recovered from the wreck of the schooner Ariadne yesterday afternoon. A justice of the peace of Woodville issued burial certificates and the bodies will leave for Toronto tomorrow. The remains of the Captain have not yet been found. In connection with the death of young Hugh McKay, Captain of the ill fasted schr. Ariadne there remains a sad story that has never been given to the public. it was related to a reporter today. During the past season, the Ariadne has traded more or less between Toronto and Waupau Island on the north shore. During one of these trips, young McKay became acquainted with a young lady school teacher there and he made such good use of his time that it was given out a few weeks ago that during the coming holidays their marriage was to be consummated and preparations were being made for the event. The young lady did not receive the news of her lover’s death until Saturday.

Watertown Herald (Watertown, NY), Saturday, Dec. 11,1886 #

The End a Sad One

Woodville, Dec. 10. There was a romance in the life and death of a young Hugh McKay, captain of the ill-fated Ariadne, which went ashore near hear last week, Wednesday. During the season the Ariadne has traded more or less between Toronto and Waupaw island on the north shore. During one of these trips, young McKay became acquainted with a young lady school teacher there. The acquaintance ripened into love, and it was given out a short time ago that the young couple would be married at Christmas time. Preparations being made for the happy event when McKay’s affianced received the sad news that he had met his death in the icy waters of Lake Ontario. The young lady is said to be almost crazy with grief over the loss of her intended husband.

Daily Palladium (Oswego, NY), Sat., Dec. 4, 1886 #

The Ariadne – An Attempt to be Made to Get the Bodies.

Woodville, Dec.. 4. – Owing to the heavy seas no attempt was made yesterday to get the dead bodies of the schooner Ariadne off the wreck. The life-saving crew will make an attempt to get the bodies today The survivors are still near the scene of the wreck and will gather up what wreckage they can that will sell. They will hold the bodies of the dead men until they hear from their friends in Canada.

Hallowe’en Off Point Traverse Schooner Days CCXI (211) #

“Come, friends and relations and neighbors, I pray. Please give your attention to the words I now say, Of poor Moses Dulmage, I wish to relate How adrift on the waters he met his sad fate.”

DIAL backward fifty-six years. It is the last night in October — Hallowe’en — and all the witches and warlocks of the lake are out. You can see them, if you have the fancy, in the flying scud racking across the sky eternally from the westward. You can hear them in the howl of the wind through the rigging, and the rap-rap-rap of the halliards against the mast. A schooner fleet is sheltering under Point Traverse — “South Bay Point” as it is called in the barley trade. Their cabin lamps and anchor lights prick the early darkness with the likeness of a floating village. This southeasterly prong of Prince Edward County is a favorite halt for schooners waiting for weather. The False Ducks, Timber Island, and Point Traverse, at the entrance to the Upper Gap into the Bay of Quinte, give a safe lee, with no port dues. Windbound vessels sometimes lie here weeks on end. When their provisions run out, the farmer’s team bags of flour and drive cattle down and slaughter on the beach for them—a “strand-hewing,” as the ancient Vikings called it.

To-night, Thursday, Oct. 31st, 1879, ten schooners coal-laden for up the lake or grain-filled from the Bay. waiting for milder -weather for the slant across to Oswego, have dug their hooks into the clay, and gravel off the point. Twenty-two more are lying further up at McDonald’s Cove and Indian Point, at the upper end of the Gap. Among the ten under Timber Island are the Julia, of Kingston, smart and new; the Olivia, of Toronto, ancient and twice rebuilt; the Fleet Wing of Windsor; the Ariadne, of Port Burwell.

Young Moses Dulmage, South Bay lad of sound Prince Edward stock, is one of Julia’s crew. These waters are as familiar to him as the schoolyard in Babylon across the point, where Miss Annie Wright used to teach him before she married his brother Tom. He has played in them, fished in them, sailed in them since ever he can remember. His father, Phil Dulmage, and his fathers before him. have farmed in South Bay since the Loyalists came. When the Julia anchored here it was like coming home, for Moses Dulmage. He knows Olivia, too, her next-door neighbor. It was his uncle, David Dulmage, who rowed out to the blazing Ocean Wave twenty-six years before when the Olivia rescued some of the perishing passengers. Though she was built in Bronte and hails from Toronto now she is owned by another South Marysburg farmer, Nelson Hudgins, and manned with South Bay boys like himself. They are pretty sure to have a bag full of hickory nuts in her forecastle, and apples from the home orchard.

So, after supper, he braces Julia’s Old Man for the use of the yawl boat. “All right,” says Capt. Tim Hartney, the skipper. “But be sure to be back early. I’m going to get out of here before daylight, if the wind shifts or lulls.” The Julia is bound for Trenton, up the Bay. It is only a short jog down this street of anchored vessels. The sixteen-foot yawl boat, floating high with Moses alone in it, blows along across the two hundred yards of black water like a cask. The boy scarcely needs the single oar, which, schooner style, he plies with a rotary motion in the sculling-notch in the stern board. He rounds to in the shine of Olivia’s anchor light, so as not to drift by before he can make his painter fast. The boys onboard catch the rope and drop the yawl boat astern. He goes down with them into the forecastle, where the red-bellied stove is blistering the paint on the chain lockers. Yes, there are hickory nuts. And Prince Edward snows. And russets. And Murney Ackerman has his young brother, Jake, along for a trip. A merry time they have, ducking for them in a draw-bucket, with the hazards of swallowing the pail enhanced by the probability of backing into the red hot stove in the crowded quarters. They sing the “Gipsy’s Warning” and “Sweet Lily Vail,” and tell ghost stories of Zack Palmateer’s dog, and the Proctor light, and jokes of life in great cities like Kingston, Oswego, Toronto and Buffalo; and they pass around all the home news of Black Creek and Soup Harbor and Babylon and Petticoat Point. Overhead, unheard, the rigging hums and the halliards rap, and the wild wester goes on with its endless task of blowing itself out. It is great to be young and strong, with a keen zest for hard work and home news and hickory nuts.

Somebody pokes ahead into their happy inferno and exclaims: “B-r-r-r! Blowing harder ever! Better stay the night, Mose. There’s a spare bunk for you any time, you know.” It is Olivia’s hospitable skipper. “No,” says Moses. “I promised our Old Man I’d be back in time for an early morning start, and I’d better be going now.” “Want someone to go along to help you get back? This wind’s coming away powerful strong?” “Oh, ‘taint far. I can manage, thanks.” “Well, mind you keep well up to windward when you’re sculling. Your boat’s bound to drift a lot.” “I’ll mind,” says Moses, slapping his young muscles. Unless you have been through the mill you cannot savor the pride of the young sailor in his strength and skill. To have doubted himself “man enough” for the yawl boat, single-handed, would have disgraced South Bay and Babylon and broken Moses Dulmage’s heart. “Good-night, fellows,” he called, slipping over the rail into the tossing yawl boat, “see you in Oswego, perhaps, next trip.”

They hear the heavy creak of the sculling oar in its notch, and the scuffle of the yawl boat breasting the short snapping seas. “Keep her up! Keep her up!” they cry, waving a lantern for encouragement, for they can see she is drifting. With his back to the bow young Dulmage flings his whole weight on the sculling oar, and sways his strong young shoulders mightily against the gale. The heavy yawl boat leaps to windward. After fifteen minutes’ battling, with the sweat pouring from him, he is alongside the Julia, riding light and high-sided. He runs forward in his boat to toss the painter up over the schooner’s rail. The wind blows it back on him. “Heave me a line, quick!” he pants. Aboard the Olivia they can hear; the wind-borne splash of the rope in the water as his shipmates heave a coil, but before Damage can catch it the yawl has drifted away beyond its reach. He runs back to the sternsheets and gets the oar into the notch again, but before he can bring the boat around she has whirled past the Olivia, and past the lines, her crew try to throw. “Catch the Ariadne and hang on!” they shout down the wind to him. He is almost exhausted with his heavy sculling, and the gale, blowing harder than ever, tosses him past that schooner, too.

By this time he is panicked, and cries in a terrible voice, “Ariadne! Ariadne! Help, help, Ariadne!” The Ariadne crew have turned in. The captain in the cabin thinks someone is warning that the schooner has broken adrift. He rushes out and pounds on the forecastle. “Rouse out, rouse out, she’s dragging!” But a glance at the bearings of the other anchor-lights shows this cannot be. The chain is grinding steadily in the hawsepipe and she is exactly where she was. But astern is still heard the terrible cry: “Ariadne! Ariadne! Help, help, Ariadne!” “It’s someone adrift!” says the mate.” “Get the boat down, quick!” calls the skipper.

The Ariadne’s yawl boat hangs on davits across the stern, hoisted up on tackles. In the dark, they make a bad job of lowering it. They forget the plug is not in. One tackle fall jams and the other end of the boat drops. The man who jumped in when they first began to lower is almost drowned. Three men follow him down the tackles and find the boat half full of water. “Come back!” commands the captain, “or I’ll lose you all. There are half a dozen vessels astern of us, and he’s sure to catch one of them.” He adds this uncomfortably, for still the wild cries for help come, fainter and fainter against the beating wings of the wind. At last, they cease. Yet again, and ever afterward, while the Ariadne lives, in the whine of the blocks and the grind of the anchor chain and the sobbing of the water alongside, men will hear that agonized hail.

Moses Dulmage did not catch any one of the six schooners lying astern, although his boat bumped the quarter of the outermost, as the gale whirled it along. On Sunday morning Smith, the lighthouse keeper on Stony Point, on the south side of the lake, thirty miles across from Point Traverse, saw a schooner’s yawl boat on the beach south of the light. She was covered with ice. Face downward on the thwarts, with his legs lashed to the seat by the boat’s painter, was the bruised and frozen body of a young man. His hands were cut and bloodstained, as though he had pounded them to keep them from freezing. Five rods away, in the ice-fringed surf, washed his steering oar, glazed and icicled. Moses Dulmage had steered all the way across Lake Ontario that wild night, only to perish under the rays of the lighthouse which was his last hope. He had been on the beach since Friday morning, the keeper judged but had not been seen because concealed by ice and a pile of rocks. Smith was a humane man. He did not know who this stranger was, or whence he came. He thought he might be the sole evidence of a wreck in this long series of westerly gales. He drove with the body to Henderson Harbor, old Hungry Bay, and there saw that it had Christian burial.

The square-nosed schooner Sea Bird, three-hundred tons burden and scow built, came pushing into Oswego with lumber from Trenton for J. K. Post and Co., as soon as gales let up. Her master was John Walters, of South Bay — “Captain John Walters, a kind-hearted friend” as the ballad says. The Sea Bird had been lying in McDonald’s Cove during the gales, and Capt. Walters had spoken the Julia, and knew her yawlboat was missing. He had also heard from the Olivia, of Moses Dulmage being blown out of the anchorage. When in Oswego, he was told of the find at Stony Point. He drove there, saw the lightkeeper, and felt sure he knew the victim. He drove to Henderson Harbor and the newly made grave opened; and so friendly hands from South Bay brought Moses Dulmage’s body back to the Sea Bird.

Sixty or seventy sail of vessels accumulated in Oswego in the prolonged westerlies. Now that the gales had ended they put forth in one great armada, close-hauled on the port tack. The wind was still down the lake, but mild. The Sea Bird led the procession, her colors at half mast, Moses Dulmage’s body in its coffin on her deck. Behind her, their burgees and ensigns also half-masted, whether Red Dusters or Stars and Stripes, marched the whole windbound fleet. The long port tack brought them all up to Point Traverse. Solemnly, slowly, the Sea Bird passed the little lighthouse where a red lantern watched over the anchorage by night. On she steered into South Bay, for the wharf at Black Creek. Schooner after schooner parted company with her there. Those bound up the lake came in stays and stood out again on the starboard tack; those bound for the Bay of Quinte eased sheets for the Gap. Every vessel, as she parted company, dipped her ensign and burgee in silent salute, then hoisted them masthead high, honoring the homecoming of the young sailor who would never sail more.

“Ariadne! Ariadne! Help, help, Ariadne!” That cry, Moses Dulmage’s last, echoed through the Ariadne’s rigging of dark nights for seven years; until, as though magnetized, she too drove in on Stony Point, on the night of Nov, 29th, 1886, and beat into staves, drowning her captain and mate and half her crew.

Moses Dulmage rests well in the little cemetery at South Bay. His fate is still recalled in Prince Edward County by the ballad of which the opening verse is quoted at the beginning of this story. It has many stanzas. They were composed by Mrs. Thomas Dulmage, his sister-in-law. M. P. Rose, druggist, of 653 Dupont street, mentioned to The Telegram recently that his mother, Mrs. E. C. Rose, used to sing the’ ballad to him, forty years ago. He hummed the sweet old tune. Mrs. Rose is now living in Toronto, at 41 Herbert avenue. She was a school-mate of Moses Dulmage in the little school in Babylon, when he was one of the “big boys” and she wore pigtails. Mrs. Rose, now seventy-one, still writes the clear neat hand taught in old Prince Edward County sixty years ago.



Thousand Islands life Vol 15 Issue 4 Apr 2020 #

The ARIADNE built in Newcastle, Ont., in 1871, was transporting 10,000 bushels of barley from South Bay, Ont. to a grain elevator in Oswego. Unable to make port due to a storm, it veered off and headed for Stony Point for protection until it subsided. But it became unmanageable and ran ashore north of what is now Southwick Beach and broke up, becoming a total loss, went to pieces and the cargo was uninsured.

Among those lost were Captain Hugh McKay, who was washed overboard and drowned, and two crewmen who froze to death.Their bodies had to be chopped out of six feet of ice. The remains of the captain were never recovered.

Three other crewmen, Maurice Young, Edward Mulligan, and Thomas Cox,took to the rigging and were rescued by the crew of the nearby Big Sandy Lifesaving station. They were taken in by a local farmer and after a few days of recovery returned to their homes in Canada.

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