DAVID G. THOMSON wooden lake tug (C 85306). 1883-1921. 205 “new” tons, 182 tons gross, 75 tons net, 103.2’ (register). Launched at Kingston by R. Robertson on 25 June 1883. Round stern. Her original 2 single-cylinder engines = 200 rated horsepower (two funnels abreast) came from Montreal Transportation Co.’s tug CHAMPION. New fore & aft compound engine and boiler installed in 1892 = 400 indicated horsepower, 200 rated horsepower. 1883 rated A1. 1890 rated A11⁄2 and valued at $13,000. 1897 rated A2 and valued at $16,000. 1903 value $8,000. 1906 value $7,500. 1908-1913 value $7,000. 1914 value $6,500. 1915 value $6,000. 1916 value $5,000. 1917 value $18,000. 1918 value $15,750. 1919 value $13,500. 1920 value $12,150.
THOMSON ran aground in 1884; both her captain and mate were asleep at the time. She was on the ways at Kingston that winter for repairs. At the beginning of 1885, THOMSON took the place of the tug ACTIVE for an Ogilvie Flour charter to and from the Lakehead [see definitions]. She was badly damaged in 1886 by going ashore on Yorkshire Island near Kingston and was only partly insured. Repairs at Portsmouth Ontario included attaching an iron plate along her waterline. She was seized by the Americans in 1887 because she had been towing on the Saginaw River in Michigan. What happened next could not be found, but she was soon back in business under Canadian registry and Montreal Transportation Co. ownership. She went ashore in Brighton Bay, Lake Ontario, in 1901. She was wrecked on Tecumseh Reef SE of Port Maitland in Lake Erie on 20 March 1907 but was salved. She was rebuilt at Kingston in 1917, presumably after she ran aground on Snake Island in the lake near Kingston during fog on 26 September. On 30 May 1918, she ran aground in fog near Morrisburg Ontario on the St. Lawrence but was hauled off in a few hours and repaired in dry dock. She helped salve Montreal Transportation Co.’s ARABIAN and SIMLA in July 1918. THOMSON was involved in towing parts of THUNDER BAY, ATIKOKAN, PAIPOONGE and NORTH LAND across Lake Ontario in 1918 and 1919.
THOMSON was transferred to Canada Steamship Lines in 1921 as part of the final winding up of the Montreal Transportation Co. fleet and was sold to J.E. Russell Construction of Toronto in 1924. Her 1925-27 owner was Kilmer & Barber Construction, a Toronto road builder. She was lost on Tecumseh Reef in Lake Erie on 26 March 1927, the same reef she had been wrecked on twenty years earlier. This time she was not salvaged. Her registry was closed on 11 August 1927.
When she was built, it was said she would take over towing the Montreal Transportation Co. barges JOHN GASKIN and GLENORA on the Lakehead [see definitions] to Kingston route but she spent much of her Montreal Transportation Co. working life towing coal and grain barges on Lake Ontario.
Mr. David G. Thomson was an official of Montreal Transportation Co.
J. Gaskin letterbook 1884-86; Montreal Transportation Co. Annual Directors’ Reports 1903, 1906, 1908, 1910 and 1913-20; Montreal Transportation Co. Charter (1917) Schedule A; Montreal Transportation Co. Directors Minutes 11 November 1921; Montreal Transportation Co. Engineer’s Log R.G.A. Weaver 1 May-14 Oct 1917; Montreal Transportation Co. Fleet List 1921; Montreal Transportation Co. Ships’ Logs D.G. Thomson 30 Aug-14 Dec 1919 and Glide 2 May-15 Dec 1919; Bascom and Gillham Early Ships of Canada Steamship Lines; Canada List of Shipping 1895, 1910, 1912, 1918, 1924 and 1925; Canadian Heritage Ship Information Database; Inland Lloyd’s Vessel Register 1890 and 1897; Lewis and Neilson The River Palace; Marine Museum of the Great Lakes Canadian Ship Registers on line; Mercantile Navy List 1923, 1925, 1926 and 1927; New Mills List; British Whig 25 July 1883, 23 April 1884, 20 March 1885, 1 and 24 September 1886 and 28 June 1887; Buffalo Daily Courier 12 August 1901; Detroit Marine Historian January 1953; Whig Standard 3 May 1973.