Fred Mercur

Dimensions: 232′ x 35′ x 18′ 1224 GT 966 NT
Type of Wreck: Bulk Freighter
Location of Wreck: N 45º 02′ 03″ W 74º 37′ 18
Place and Builder: Buffalo NY – Union Dry Dock Co    
Year Built: 1882
Mooring Yes

Original Owner Lehigh Valley Transportation Co.
Original Owner Location Buffalo Ownership
Notes Enrolled Buffalo
Propulsion Type Screw
Sail Number Masts 3
Power (Mechanical) Engine Type For-and-Aft Compound
Engine Number Cylinders 2
Engine Number Boilers 2
Dimensions Length 232 Beam 35.6 Depth 20
Tonnage Gross 1224 Tonnage Net 996
Final Location Near Stanley Island above Cornwall St. Lawrence River. Final Date 3 7 1925
Final How Burned to water’s edge.
1883 – Nov 16 Ashore & scuttled near Erie, PA; released Nov 19 & repaired Nov 20.
1887 – Sep 30 In drydock at Buffalo, to examine her bottom, was ashore in the rivers.
1899 – Owned Iroquis Furnance Co., Buffalo, NY.
1899 – Owned Frank Baird, Buffalo, NY.
1902 – Owned George Hall Coal Co.
1918 – Jan Owned George Hall Coal & Transportation Co., Ogdensburg, NY; later Montreal, QUE.
1921 – Owned W.E. Lawlar Hawkesbury, ONT.
1925, Jul 3 Burned, St. Lawrence River.

The following is the decision of the U.S. Local Inspectors in the recent prop. MERCUR investigation. It will be seen that the old and experienced navigator, Capt. Fred Pope is exonerated from all blame:       #

Office of U.S. Local Inspector of steam Vessels Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 20, 1884.       We the undersigned, U.S. Local Inspectors of steam vessels, Buffalo N.Y., find in investigating the cause of the stranding of the stm. FRED MERCUR on Erie Peninsula, while endeavoring to make the harbor of Erie, on the afternoon of Nov. 15th, 1883, during heavy wind and snowstorm. In carefully considering the testimony taken, we find the cause of said stranding was owing to the neglect of Mate Peter McKinnon and 2d mate Wm. McCullom in not reporting soundings to Capt. Pope who was at his post directing the movements of the steamer previous to turning around for Erie harbor, and from that time up to the time of stranding, and we exonerate him from blame.

We, therefore, revoke the license of Wm. McCullom, second class pilot, for gross neglect of duty as a pilot in not reporting the soundings to Capt. Pope of the steamship FRED MERCUR, while attempting to enter the harbor of Erie, on the noon of November 15th, 1883.      
George B. Dickson,      
Robert Learmonth,      
Local Inspectors Steam Vessels.

The steamship freighter FRED MERCUR was originally built for the Lehigh Valley Transportation Company. She was outfitted with an engine so massive – 800 tons and capable of delivering 99 horsepower – that she was constructed with an 18-inch triple-thick hull in order to withstand the engine’s oscillatory vibrations.      

Having been acquired by W. E. Lawlor of Hawkesbury, Ontario the ship was being operated by the George Hall Coal Company of Montreal when she embarked on her final voyage. She was carrying a 1200-ton cargo of soft coal from Ashtabula, Ohio bound for the Canada Cement Company of Montreal.      

Site description by Bill McNeil #

On the morning of July 3, 1925, the FRED MERCUR’S Captain, J. W. Scarrow of Hamilton and the first mate, Charles McDonald of Port Dover were on the bridge when McDonald noticed smoke wafting from the chain box. He investigated and found a fire in the coal bunkers. It was so serious he raced through the ship awakening the crew of 13 men and two women.       Scarrow sounded the ship-in-distress signal on the whistle however there was no answer. He changed course and beached his ship on a rush bed just west of Stanley Island.

A few minutes later the fire burst through the deck. Scarrow continued to blow the distress signal hoping to attract the attention of people on shore.       Rene Cargrain vacationing at a nearby summer cottage heard the distress signal. He rowed out to the burning ship to rescue the crew. He made six trips before he had everyone safely on shore.      

The entire superstructure of the ship was burning when a boiler exploded, probably blowing out the stern of the ship. She sank with her stern in 45 feet of water and six feet below the surface. Over the years ice carried away the charred remains of the superstructure until today nothing appears above the surface of the water.      

The FRED MERCUR wreck is marked on the Canadian Chart 1413 at coordinates- N 45º 02′ 03″ W 74º 37′ 18″ and lies about half a mile west of Stonehouse Point on the north side of the main shipping channel.      

Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1885 #

Steam screw FRED MERCUR. U. S. No. 120513. Of 1224.37 tons gross; 966.24 tons net. Built Buffalo, N.Y., 1882. Home port, Buffalo, N.Y. 232.0 x 35.0 x 18.0.      

Historical Collections of the Great Lakes Great Lakes Vessels Index #

Registry & Rig Information Item: 04835
Vessel Name: MERCUR, FRED
Nationality U.S.
Official Number: 120513
Rig: Propeller      
Dimensions & Tonnage Vessel Length: 232.00 Vessel Width: 35.42 Vessel Height 18.16 Gross Tonnage 1224 Net Tonnage 966.24
Hull Material: Wood      
Builder Information Place of Build: Buffalo, NY
Builder: Union Dry Dock Co.
Date of Build 1882      
Name Changes MERCUR, FRED 1919 – 1925 CANADA 141374      
1919 – Rebuild 237.33 x 35.5 x 17.33; 1293 gross – 781 registered   
Disposition  Burned to a total loss near Cornwall, Ontario, off Stanley Island, St. Lawrence River, on July 3, 1925.      
First enrollment issued at Buffalo, NY, October 19, 1882.

Institute for Great Lakes Research Perrysburg, Ohio #

FRED MERCUR Built 1882 Bulk Propeller -Wood U. S. No. 120513 1224 gt -966 nt 232′ x 35′ x 18′       (b) FRED MERCUR – Can – 1919 (C 141374) Burned July 3, 1925, near Cornwall, Ont Union Dry-Dock, Buffalo. Shipbuilding Master List      

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