- Point Traverse
Post on Facebook by William Lafferty #
I ask again, is “Tugboat Tuesday” really a thing here? Anyway, I posted this elsewhere, and it apparently is perhaps the only actual photograph (rather than one reproduced in a newspaper) of the tug Florence.
This is an amateur real photo posted 22 May 1908 from Coteau Landing at the southwest end of the Soulanges Canal to Ms, Clara Chesbrough of Dickinson, New York, from her cousin, T. F. Webb, one of the men standing on the tug’s deck.
La Compagnie Maritime et Industrielle de Lévis launched the magnificent Florence on 3 May 1885 at Lévis, Québec, christened by Mrs. A. J. Learmonth of Montréal, to the order of Messrs. Henry Jewell and W. F. Lemesurier of Québec City. Its original dimensions were 91 x 19.8 x 9; 113 gt, 77 nt; powered by a compound surface condensing steam engine, 18-36 x 24, supplied by a steel boiler using Cox patented corrugated furnaces with a working pressure of up tp 123 psi. All its machinery was built by the tug’s builder. Florence entered service in September 1885 and was used primarily towing ocean going barques and schooners between Montréal and Québec City. Sold at auction 26 February 1898 to Sincennes-McNaughton Line Ltd., its machinery was overhauled and it was placed in service at Montréal as a (very large) harbor tug. In March 1902 Captain F. B. Hackett of Amherstburg bought the Florence for use as a companion salvage tug to his tug Home Rule at that place. On 5 May 1902 the Florence passed Prescott on its delivery trip from Sorel to Amherstburg. Almost immediately Hackett chartered the tug for towing log rafts on Georgian Bay. It returned the next season and for the next several years engaged in a spirited war with the Great Lakes Towing Company and other American salvors in securing salvage jobs between Lakes Erie and Huron to the point it was rumored the vessel had been sold to Great Lakes Towing to remove it from competition. That didn’t occur, but on 5 April 1906 the Quebec Transportation and Forwarding Co., Ltd., was formed, ironically, by another Hackett family and J. S. Thom of Québec City, intended to carry primarily coal eastward from Lake Ontario, and it quickly purchased from the other Hackett the Florence to do this, as well as a handful of American schooner barges. QT&FCoLtd morphed into the Quebec Transportation Co., Ltd., in 1908 and the Florence migrated to the George Hall Coal Co., Ltd., of Montréal in 1921 in essentially the same service. The Hall interests sold it in 1923 to the St. John Drydock & Shipuilding Co., Ltd., for use at St. John and in 1927 it became the property of the Essex Transit Company, Ltd., of Windsor, to tow its barge, the former rail ferry Great Western of 1886. When Essex failed in 1932 Dominion Tankers, Ltd., of Toronto, bought the old lady and refurbished it to tow Dominion’s new, state-of-the-art, British-built welded tank barge Peter G. Campbell. On the pair’s last trip of that first season, the tow on 14 November 1933 encountered high seas and snow westbound on east Lake Ontario and the tug began to ship water. The order was given to abandon, the crew taking its boat to the barge, and the aged Florence sank off Point Traverse, Ontario