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Thomas Wilson 1943 - 1987

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Built by American Ship Building Co. of Lorain, OH as hull # 826. Launched on November 14, 1942 as the L6-S-A1 class THOMAS WILSON for the U.S. Maritime Commission and charted to Wilson Transit Co. of Cleveland, OH. Dimensions: 621’ loa x 60’ beam x 35’ depth; 8758 GRT, 6472 NRT. Powered by a 2,500 ihp Lentz-Poppet four cylinder steam engine. The THOMAS WILSON was the first "Maritimer" class vessel completed and the first of six L6-S-A1 class ore carriers constructed as a part of a government program to increase the capacity of the U.S. fleet during World War II. Delivered on May 13, 1943 and sailed on maiden voyage from Lorain to Duluth, MN to load iron ore. In the winter of 1965-66 an 800hp bow thruster was installed.

In January of 1967 the THOMAS WILSON was sold to Ingalls Ship Building Corp. of Pascagoula, AL (a division of Litton Industries) with Wilson Marine Transit continuing to manage the vessel. In July 1968 the WILSON was transferred to Litton Systems Inc. of Baltimore, MD with Wilson retaining management. During the winter of 1971-72 the THOMAS WILSON received deck straps to increase her load depth by 6 inches at Erie, PA.

American Ship Building Co., under Steinbrenner, bought the THOMAS WILSON (along with the entire Litton/Wilson fleet) on August 15, 1972 and she was assigned to the Kinsman Marine Transit Co. of Cleveland, OH. The ship was sold again in June of 1974 to Oglebay Norton of Cleveland, OH. Ship was laid up in Toledo, OH and did not sail in 1975. Over the winter of 1976-77 her boilers were converted to oil-fired burners. The THOMAS WILSON was laid up in the Toledo, OH “Frog Pond” from December 16, 1979 to 1987.

In September 1987 the ship was sold for scrap to Corostel Trading Co. of Montreal, Que. Tugs TUSKER and THUNDER CAPE towed the WILSON from Toledo to Lauzon, Que. on October 4 thru 8, 1987; towed to Quebec City, Que. on December 15, 1987. Left the Lakes under tow of Liberian tugs OSA RAVENSTRUM and REMBERTITURM along with fleetmate ASHLAND on December 21, 1987 bound for Taiwan. On December 30, 1987 the tow encountered heavy weather on the Atlantic and the THOMAS WILSON parted her towline and sank approximately 250 miles northeast of Bermuda.

 

Thomas Wilson 1943 - 1972
(Wilson Transit Co.)

November 1942 issue of Great Lakes News.
(Brian Ferguson Collection)

Passing under the Bluewater Bridge in 1943.
(From the Ron Beaupre collection)

Photo taken in the 1940's.
(From the Tom Manse collection)

Downbound in the Detroit River.
(From the Tom Manse collection)

Thomas Wilson and Augustus B. Wolvin at the Huletts at Ashtabula, OH. Late 1950's.
(From the Russ Plumb collection)

In the St. Clair River. Early 1960's.
(Photo by Emory Massman from the John Belliveau collection)

Passing Marine City, MI June 1960.
(From the Russ Plumb collection)

At the Soo.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Sailing loaded.
(From the Russ Plumb collection)

In the St. Marys River.
(From the Terry McCullough )

Upbound St. Marys River.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Passing Marine City, MI. 1960's.
(From the Rich Weiss collection)

Location unknown.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Looking aft on deck with the bow of the Thomas F. Patton.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Downbound at Port Huron 1963.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Deckhand's day off on the Thomas Wilson, Elroy Noreen, Dennis Heffernan and Dick Metz, 1963.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Departing Silver Bay MN. April 1964.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Storm on Lake Superior 1964.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Looking forward from stack. Lake Superior 1964.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Looking aft. Lake Superior 1964.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Forward end crew of the Thomas Wilson, St. Clair River 1964.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Fire & life boat drill on the Thomas Wilson 1964.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Approaching Cleveland break wall 1964.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Going up the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland OH. 1964.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

View of coal fuel bunker and stack 1964.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Looking aft underway with the sun setting.
(Photo by Captain D.G. Metz)

Passing the Joseph Wood off the Keweenaw. Wheelman Dick Metz 1964.
(Photo by Captain R. Metz)

Downbound St. Marys River 1966.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Upbound St. Marys River 1966.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Upbound St. Marys River 1966.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Tied up for the winter in Superior, December 1968. New
(Photo by Jim Johnson)

Unknown port and date. New
(Photo by Jim Johnson)

Upbound at Mission Point. August 1970.
(Photo by Father Peter Van der Linden from the Paul C. LaMarre Jr. collection)

Downbound St. Marys River 1971.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

In the St. Marys River 1971.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Passing under one of the bridges on the Welland Canal.
(Photo by Robert Walton, Skip Gillham collection)

1974 trip summaries.
(Photo by Don Dube, Skip Gillham collection)

Downbound in the St. Marys River August 1972.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

1943 trip summaries.
(Compiled by Mark Shumaker & Skip Gillham)

1955 trip summaries.
(Compiled by Mark Shumaker & Skip Gillham)

Thomas Wilson 1972 - 1974
(Kinsman Marine Transit)

Upbound opposite Sarnia, ON. July 1973.
(Photo by Terry McCullough)

September 1973.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Upbound at Point Edward. November 1973.
(Photo by Terry McCullough)

Upbound in theSt. Marys River.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Downbound Soo Locks 1974.
(Photo by Tom Manse)

Detail view of the stack.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Upbound at Port Huron.
(Photo by Paul Michaels, Skip Gillham collection)

From left, unidentified tug and barge, Thomas Wilson, tanker Rocket and the package freighter Fort William. Mid 1970s.
(photo by Roger LeLievre)

1974 trip summaries.
(Compiled by Mark Shumaker & Skip Gillham)

     
Thomas Wilson 1974 - 1987
(Oglebay Norton Co.)

At Hans Hanson Dock in Toledo, OH. The Columbia Fleet had just purchased her from Kinsman Marine Transit Co. and they are beginning to paint the vessel in their color scheme.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Inbound Maumee Bay with a load of ore pellets bound for the C&O Ore Docks. Toledo, OH.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Sailing loaded.
(Photo by Gene Onchulenko)

Downbound in the St. Marys River.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Waiting to load off Silver Bay, 1970's. New
(Photo by Jim Johnson)

In the St. Clair River.
(Photo by Robert Henkel)

Downbound on Lake Huron.
(Photo by Terry McCullough)

Upbound St. Marys River July, 1976.
(Photo by Roger LeLievre)

Upbound St. Marys River.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Downbound Detroit River. August 1978.
(Photo by Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Stern view downbound Detroit River. August 1978.
(Photo by Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

On the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, OH with Tug Connecticut. October 1978.
(Photo by Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Inbound River Rouge. December 1978.
(Photo by Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Outbound River Rouge. December 1978.
(Photo by Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

Stern view outbound River Rouge. December 1978.
(Photo by Paul C. LaMarre Jr.)

June 25, 1979.
(From the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Upbound in the St. Clair River 1979.
(Photo by Father Peter Van der Linden courtesy of MHSD)

Upbound at Port Huron in September 1979.
(Photo by Lou Gerard Sr.)

Laid up in Toledo, OH, March 1, 1980.
(Photo by Tom Salvner)

In the "Frog Pond", Toledo, OH along with fleet mates W C Richardson, W W Holloway and Ashland. April 18, 1986. Possibly McKee Sons in back.
(Photo by John McCreery)

The Champlain took the place of the Richardson and Hollaway the next year, 1987.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

In the Welland Canal under tow from Toledo to Quebec City by tugs Tusker and Thunder Cape on October 1, 1987.
(Photo by Jim Sprunt from the Marc Vander Meulen collection)

Tied up in Port Colborne with the Thunder Cape, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Stern view with the Tusker, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Nameboard on the pilothouse, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Captain's room, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Second Mate's room, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Lounge, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Another view, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Looking down the deck aft, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Looking down the deck forward, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Chief Engineer's room, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Crewman's room, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Dining room, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Galley stove, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Electical panel in the engineroom, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Engine controls, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Engineeroom, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Another view, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Engineroom gauges, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Windlass, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Close up of the stack, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Stern upper deck, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Emergency steering, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Lifeboat, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

The tow approaching Lock 7 in Thorold, October 3, 1987.
(Photo by Jimmy Sprunt, Skip Gillham collection)

   

 

Masters and Chief Engineers of the Thomas Wilson
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
Carl Henry Borgen 1943 - 57
Unknown - 1958
Carl Henry Borgen 1959
Murdock D. McQueen 1960
Unknown 1961
Murdock D. McQueen 1962
Peter J. Peterson 1963 - 64
John P. Quick 1965
William M. Birdsall 1966 - 67
John P. Quick 1968 - 70
John J. Furgal 1971 - 74
Thomas Foris 1976 - 77
Elmer Kutie 1978
William “Bill” Mckenzie 1943 - 53
Henry J. Brocher 1954
Raymond Chayne 1955 - 57
Unknown 1958
Raymond Chayne 1959
Kenzie B. Morrison 1960
Unknown 1961
Kenzie B. Morrison 1962
William J. Morrow 1963 - 64
William M. Davis 1965
Stephen W. Frye 1966 - 69
James Leslie Hall 1970
Elmer H. Tessler 1971 - 72
Kenzie B. Morrison 1973 - 74
Joseph F. Polczyk 1976 - 77
Arthur Harvey 1978

 

Three earlier vessels also bore Wilson's name, a tug, a whaleback steamer and a laker.
Tug Thomas Wilson 1888 - 1915

"G" tug Thomas Wilson built 1888 at Buffalo by O'Grady & Meagher. Bought from Maytham Wrecking & Towing Co. by Great Lakes Towing in 1901. Engine to TOLEDO in 1915 and hull dismantled.
(Photo from the Duff Brace collection courtesy of Ron Beaupre)

H. P. Bope under tow of tug Thomas Wilson departing Ashtabula, 1911.
(John Lee Photo, Paul LaMarre Jr. collection)

The smoke clears.
(John Lee Photo, Paul LaMarre III collection)

 

 

Whaleback Steamer Thomas Wilson

Whaleback Thomas Wilson with barge 115 at Duluth in 1897.
(From the Ron Beaupre collection)

Postcard view of the whaleback Thomas Wilson with other whalebacks in the Soo Locks.
(From the Paul C. LaMarre III collection)

   

 

Captain Thomas Wilson 1900 - 1946
Built in 1900, The Captain Thomas Wilson's name was changed to Kickapoo in 1943, to free up the name for the newer, larger vessel. It was scrapped in 1946.

Captain Thomas Wilson.
(From the Tom Manse collection)

Kickapoo.
(From the Ron Beaupre collection)

   

 

Masters and Chief Engineers of the Captain Thomas Wilson
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
Joseph S. Wood 1900 - 07
Daniel Buie 1908 - 11
Edward R. Morton 1912
Daniel Buie 1912 - 21
Olaf H. Skuggen 1922 - 30
Unknown 1931 - 33
Roy F. Woodford 1934 - 35
Unknown 1936
Joseph E. Konkel 1937
Unknown 1938
Arthur J. Mausolf 1939 - 43
Unknown 1900 - 01
Fred M. Harmon 1902 - 05
William E. Donovan 1906 - 07
Charles A. McConachie 1907
William E. Donovan 1908
Michael J. Kelley 1909 - 12
John V. Haldin 1913 - 14
John McCaffrey1914 - 15
Unkown 1916
John V. Haldin 1917 - 23
Edmund Landry 1924
Francis J. Heagerty 1925 - 30
Unknown 1931 - 33
Francis J. Heagerty 1934 - 35
Unknown 1936
Bernie Williams 1937
Unknown 1938
Charles Schaack 1939
Philip E. Johnson 1940
Harold R. Morse 1941 - 43

 


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Last updated: July 10, 2014.

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