Wooden steam barge (C 80600). 1868-1870. As of 1877: 359 tons gross, 236.18 tons register, 136.08’. Capacity 16,000 bushels or 525,000 board feet. After her 1880 rebuilding: 475 tons gross, 300 net. Built by Bruno Loignon “below Brewaster’s [sic] Bridge” on the Lachine Canal in Montreal, she was launched on 7 May 1863. Her machinery and cabins were already in place. One mast. Square stern. Her original engine was a single-cylinder. Her second engine (1881) was 60 rated horsepower. 1866 rated A1 and valued at $20,000. 1866 rated A1 and valued at $20,000. 1869 rated A2 and valued at $15,000. 1871 rated A2 and valued at $11,000. 1873 rated B1 and valued at $17,500. 1882 rated A11⁄2.
In 1863-67 BRUNO’s owners were R. & J. Allan of Montreal, an ocean shipping firm always looking for lake cargoes that could connect to their ships to and from the UK, and there may have also been an Ogilvie Flour connection (see below). In 1864, she was managed by Rudston & Son. Chaffey and Black formed a line in 1864, including BRUNO, to run Montreal – Chicago. She was laid up in 1865 and was stranded on 10 November that year while under tow. She was rebuilt in 1866. She was in a collision at Chicago in 1867 and her cabins were damaged. In 1868-70, she was owned by Hugh McLennan and John Gaskin.
John Gaskin (1840-1908) was the master and joint owner of the BRUNO in 1871-73 and then “outside manager” of Montreal Transportation Co. in Kingston until 1901. This meant that not only was the day-to-day business of the firm in his hands, but also the construction and maintenance of vessels. He was the owner of the 97-ton schooner MORNING STAR in 1878. Prominent in the Orange Lodge that supported John A. Macdonald at the polls, he served as an alderman in Kingston and was mayor in 1883.
She was repaired on the Kingston Marine Railway in July 1868. In December 1868, she was hauled out there again because she had broken her “wheel” (propeller) due to low water in the Matilda Canal below Prescott Ontario the previous month. She spent that winter in Kingston and did not leave the shipyard until late April 1869. She was back again for one day that June to replace her propeller again. She grounded in the St. Clair River flats in 1869 while running Kingston -Chicago. She was on the Kingston Marine Railway again in September 1869 for repairs to her shaft. She sank in the Welland Canal in June 1870 due to a leak while loaded with grain and salt. Repairs were made in Buffalo. She sprang another leak during a storm on Lake Huron while on passage Kincardine Ontario – Montreal in October 1870. She was beached on Chantry Island near Southampton Ontario on Lake Huron, where she had been loading grain, on 31 November 1870. Reported as a constructive total loss, she was insured for $10,000 at that point but she was salvaged and rebuilt at St. Catharines Ontario. McLennan and Gaskin then sold her to C.E. Jaques.
She holed her bottom in the Welland Canal on 14 June 1871, smashed the lower gates of Lock 15 in the Cornwall Canal on 7 August, and was in collision with the Canadian mail steamer CORSICAN (1,203 tons gross) that year. She struck bottom in the Galops Rapids on 28 October 1872. She sank and was raised with the help of the Kingston tug LADY FRANKLIN (C 61183, 32 tons gross). BRUNO had been carrying a cargo of flour to Montreal at the time. She was on the Marine Railway at Portsmouth Ontario for extensive repairs from December 1872 – April 1873. Her owners then were Roberts & Williams of Chatham Ontario (also reported as Prentice Roberts & Co. of Montreal).
BRUNO was under charter to the Dominion Government for lighthouse supply in 1873. She went ashore on Grosse Isle in the Detroit River in July that year but was pulled off. During 1874-75, she ran in the “Western Express” Line from Montreal to Chicago and got herself aground in the Detroit River again. She was repaired in 1875. She was for sale at Chatham in November 1875 and was damaged by a fire in her hold there on 4/5 May 1876. In 1877, she was owned by Sylvester Hadley, a lumberman, of Chatham. She was partly burned in a second fire at Chatham in May 1878 and was laid up until rebuilt as a steam barge and re-engined by Simpson at St. Catharines for $20,000 in 1880-81.
In 1880-81, she was owned by J. & J.T. Matthews and was one of the first ships of what later became the large Matthews Steamship Co. line. She took a load of explosives upbound through the Welland Canal in September 1881. Her next owner is sometimes listed as G.P. Magann in 1886 or earlier but 1888 newspaper reports of the loss of a consort (see below) continued to attribute ownership of BRUNO and both her consorts to Matthews. On 8 July 1887, she was reported to be in dock at Port Dalhousie for repairs. BRUNO was on the rocks of Thunder Bay Island in November 1887. She got off by jettisoning 1,000 bushels of her cargo.
At that time she had two consorts MAGGIE McRAE (C 90697, 329.32 tons gross as barge) and LAURA (348 tons gross as schooner) that she usually towed on her voyages. She lost MAGGIE McRAE when the barge’s bows were stove in by thick ice 10 miles down the lake after leaving Port Arthur Ontario in 1888. The barge took an hour to sink so that her crew of seven were all saved. BRUNO was sold to Capt. Peters of Toronto in 1889. She was wrecked on Magnetic Reef between Cockburn and Manitoulin Islands on 6 November 1890. All on board were saved. Her consort LAURA was also lost. They had been carrying coal from Cleveland to Algoma Mills Ontario.
Mrs. John Ogilvie (Ogilvie Flour) did the honours at this vessel’s launch. The firm’s mills were at Montreal and they bought large quantities of western grain that needed transportation. Note that Montreal Transportation Co. also had a barge of this name at the same time as they owned this steamer.
Alpena Public Library Great Lakes Maritime Database; Association of Canadian Lake Underwriters Lake Vessel Register 1866, 1869 and 1873 (title varies); Bowling Green Great Lakes Vessels Online Index; Canada List of Shipping 1877; Canada Report of Steamboat Inspection 1871; Canadian Heritage Ship Information Database; Directory of the Marine Interests of the Great Lakes 1884; Inland Lloyd’s Vessel Register 1890; Marine Museum of the Great Lakes Canadian Ship Registers on line; Mercantile Navy List 1882; Milwaukee Public Library Great Lakes Marine Collection; New Mills List; British Whig 6 November 1868, 10 and 26 September 1881, 9 June 1882, 8 July and 2 November1887, 2 June 1888, 16 April 1889 and 10 November 1890; Buffalo Commercial Advertiser 7 April 1864; Cleveland Herald 25 April 1881; Detroit Free Press 20 December 1867, 9 December 1873 and 11 November 1890; Kingston Daily News 8 May 1863, 11 June 1864, 28 July, 16 April, 8 May, 6 November and 16 December 1868, 21 and 24 April, 23 June, 11 September, 6 November and 11 December 1869, 2 October, 2 and 12 November 1870, 8 August 1871, 29 October 1872 and 4, 26 and 30 April and 9 June 1873 and 5 May 1876; Toronto Globe 6 November 1875; Toronto Mail 28 October 1872.