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Remembering the past
Historical Perspective
Featured Lake Boat:


Sir Isaac Lothian Bell 1897 - 1936
Blanche H. 1936 - 1949
Black River 1949 - 1979
Tuxpancliffe 1979 - 1983

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Built by as a steel barge by F.W. Wheeler & Co. of West Bay City, MI as hull # 118. Launched on October 7, 1896 as the SIR ISAAC LOTHIAN BELL for the Bessemer Steamship Co. of Duluth, MN. Dimensions: 366’ lbp x 45’ beam x 26’ depth; 3418 GRT, 3158 NRT. The barge was generally towed by the steamer MARIPOSA.

Ownership changed in 1901 to Pittsburgh Steamship Co. of Cleveland, OH. The barge was rebuilt in 1925 at Conneaut, OH with new tonnage listed as 3040 GRT, 2958 NRT.

She was sold to Pigeon Timber Co. Ltd. of Port Arthur, Ont. in 1936 and renamed BLANCHE H.; tonnage changed to 3395 GRT, 3003 NRT.

In 1938 the BLANCHE H. was sold to Lakehead Transportation Co. Ltd. of Fort William, Ont. Ownership changed again in 1942 when she was sold to Great Lakes Lumber & Shipping Ltd. of Fort William, Ont. to haul pulp wood from Lake Superior forests to Lake Erie paper plants.

In 1949 she was purchased by Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. Ltd. of Montreal, Que. and renamed BLACK RIVER. In 1952 the barge was motorized at Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. of Port Weller, Ont. with 1,650 bhp reconditioned Burmeister & Wain 6-cylinder, 4-stroke, single-acting diesel engine originally built in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1931 that was salvaged from the WWII torpedoed Danish passenger ship ENGLAND. (The ENGLAND originally had two diesel engines; the other salvaged engine went to the almost identical sister ship PIC RIVER in 1953.) Cabins were added and her stern was modified to a cruiser style design. New dimensions: 383, loa x 45’ beam x 26’ depth; 3587 GRT, 2484 NRT. Capacity 6,000 tons. The BLACK RIVER sailed on her maiden voyage as a self-propelled ship on October 20, 1952 from Port Weller, Ont.

The BLACK RIVER was sold for scrap in 1979 to Marine Salvage Ltd. of Port Colborne, Ont. and arrived at Ramey’s Bend under her own power on October 22, 1979. Before scrapping began later that year the ship was sold to Carib Sud Corporation of Panama and was renamed TUXPANCLIFFE and cleared the Port Weller piers on November 23, 1979.

She was scrapped at Corpus Christi, TX in 1983 to settle wage and dockage claims.

 

Sir Isaac Lothian Bell 1897 - 1936
(Bessemer Steamship Co.)

Barge Sir Isaac Lothian Bell alongside the whaleback John Ericsson at Lorain, OH 1898.
(From the Ron Beaupre collection)

     
Blanche H. 1936 - 1949
(Pigeon Timber Co., Lakehead Transportation Co., Great Lakes Lumber & Shipping)

Barge Blanch H. is escorted by tug Rocky River in the Welland Canal.
(From the Ron Beaupre collection)

     
Black River 1949 - 1979
(Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co.)

Black River (as a barge before 1952 motorization conversion) is loaded with pulp wood by way of floating jack ladder.
(From the Ron Beaupre collection)

As a barge.
(From the Terry McCullough collection)

Tug R Couture pulls on the bow of the Black River.
(From the Ron Beaupre collection)

St. Marys River in the 1960s.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Downbound at Mission Point with a load of pulpwood. Early 1960's.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Above Lock 1 in the Welland canal.
(From the Terry McCullough collection)

Unloading pulp wood.
(Photo by Alfred Sagon-King from the Russ Plumb collection)

Downbound at Mission Point. Early 1960's.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

At Ludington. MI, Summer 1963.
(Photo by Fred Bultman IV from the Fred Bultman V collection)

At Ludington. MI, Summer 1963.
(Photo by Fred Bultman IV from the Fred Bultman V collection)

Bow detail at Ludington. MI, Summer 1963.
(Photo by Fred Bultman IV from the Fred Bultman V collection)

At unknown port. (Huron, OH?)
(From the Rich Weiss collection)

Departing Lock 1 upbound, June 1, 1968.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

In the Seaway (Snell or Eisenhower Lock) July 1967.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

At an elevator in Toronto, July 7, 1965.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

At Goderich, Ont. August 1969.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Upbound in the St. Clair River, 1973.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Below Lock 1 in the Welland Canal.
(Photo by Terry McCullough)

As seen from Allanburg bridge in the Welland Canal.
(Photo by Terry McCullough)

Upbound on Lake Huron. 1973.
(Photo by Terry McCullough)

St. Marys River August 1974.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Laid up at Toronto in 1975. Shelter Bay at left.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Upbound in the St. Marys River. June 1976 (Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Stern view upbound in the St. Marys River. June 1976.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

In the St. Clair River, late 1970's. New
(Photo by Don Dube)

July 11, 1979 Duluth, MN.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

July 11, 1979 Duluth, MN.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

View looking out of pilot house windows. Location unknown July 12, 1979.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Forward name below pilot house July 12, 1979.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Forward name below pilot house July 12, 1979.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Original ship's bell from Sir Isaac Lothian Bell. July 12, 1979.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

On deck looking aft. Note wood plank hatch covers July 12, 1979.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

St. Marys River July 17, 1979.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

St. Marys River July 17, 1979.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Alongside hull looking aft St. Marys River July 17, 1979.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Captain John Leonard looking over the side St. Marys River July 17, 1979.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

July 23, 1979.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Unloading at the Budweiser Elevator in Manitowoc WI. September, 1979.
(Photo by Lou Gerard Sr.)

Upbound in Port Huron with a full load, September 22, 1979.
(Matt Miner collection)

St. Marys River, near the end of her career. (Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Tied up in Rameys Bend scrapyard, November 13, 1979.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Black River trip summaries for 1952.
(Compiled by Skip Gillham)

Black River trip summaries for 1959.
(Compiled by Skip Gillham)

Black River trip summaries for 1979.
(Compiled by Skip Gillham)

Tuxpancliffe 1979 - 1983
(Carib Sud Corporation)

Tied up next to the Robin Hood Elevator in Port Colborne, November 17, 1979.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

     

 

Masters and Chief Engineers of the Sir Isaac Lothain Bell
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
Frank M. Rice 1898
H. A. Burns 1899
E. L. Sawyer 1900 - 01
John Y. Sprowell 1902
Arnold N. Nordahl 1903
Willard Damon 1904
Charles Mulholland 1905 - 07
Unknown 1908
Charles Mulholland 1909 - 10
James H. Denner 1911 - 12
Unknown 1913
James H. Denner 1914 - 19
Iver Larson 1920 - 21
Unknown 1922
Iver Larson 1923
Charles Ferguson 1924 - 25
Michael McGory 1926 - 30
W. E. Vogt 1901
Unknown 1902 - 05
Alex Graham 1906
Unknown 1907 - 30
 
Masters and Chief Engineers of the Blanche H.
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
A. Lavigne 1940 - 43
William Garvie 1944 - 45
R. McGregor 1946 - 47
R. Shaw 1940 - 42
H. Twigger 1943 - 45
A. McColeman 1946
L. Elliot 1947
Masters and Chief Engineers of the Black River
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
J. Agnew 1951
George Ferguson 1952 - 59
J. R. Lemay 1960 - 62
G. G. Moffat 1963 - 67
F. Bingham 1968 - 72 Unknown 1973 - 74
L. B. Fulford 1975
D. Billard 1976
L. B. Fulford 1977 - 78
R. H. Peatman 1952 - 64
M. D. Corbin 1965
A. J. Williams 1966 - 78
Don Boone 1978

 


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Last updated: May 13, 2013.

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