Detroit Free Press
Nov. 4, 1937
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(photo of the schooner J. T. Wing)



Seizure by the Canadian Government of the 140-foot, three-masted full-rigged schooner J. T. Wing, for alleged violation of the Canadian Coastwise Law, was announced Wednesday by the Collector of Customs at Amherstburg.

Whether the officials will confiscate the only full-rigged commercial craft seen in these waters in many years depends upon a report expected from Ottawa Thursday.

If the alleged violation is proved, the craft can be confiscated or a fine levied against the owner, Grant H. Piggott, of Windsor.

Bought Ship in 1935

Piggott bought the schooner in 1935 to be used as a training ship for boys seeking adventure sailing under canvas and for commercial use, he said Wednesday night.

According to Canadian customs officials, alleged violation occurred last Saturday when the schooner stopped in Detroit and unloaded some cedar posts for a local lumber concern. Because the ship's billing disclosed that the cargo was consigned from Manitoulin Island, in Georgian Bay, to Amherstburg and Kingsville, the law was violated, officials pointed out.

Under the Canadian law a cargo cannot be unloaded at an American port when it is billed from one Canadian port to another, officials said. Or cargo cannot be billed between two Canadian ports on ships of American registry. The schooner Wing is of American registry, it was claimed.

Unintentional Violation

"We unintentionally violated the coastal laws," Piggot explained. "We unloaded some of the 25,000 cedar posts at the foot of Rivard St., and then proceeded to Amherstburg. We hope we can straighten up the matter when we get together with customs officials.

"It was ignorance of the law, as the Wing has been engaged in hauling pulpwood and posts all summer between Georgian Bay and Green Bay, Wis., and from Drummond's Island, Mich., to Goderich, Ont."

Piggott said that the skipper of the ship, Capt. George A. Fisher, would confer with him in his offices Thursday morning and give him a complete report on the ship's activity. Besides Fisher, the schooner carries a crew of three men and five boys who are undergoing training.

Launched in 1921

The schooner, originally named J. O. Webster, was launched in Nova Scotia in 1921. She was engaged in the rum-running trade in the prohibition era, carried mahogany logs from East Africa to the New England States, and once was wrecked on the Florida coast.

Note - J. T. WING had a long and interesting history, eventually ending up set in gravel at Belle Isle, Mi, Detroit River, in 1948, where she was used as a museum ship. She was burned in 1956 to make way for the Dossin Great Lakes Museum (unbelievably, I'd say). As a boy, I visited her a few times in the early 50's.