Pine River Boat Club Storm 1913

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1960 3 Rivers Storm 1913 Storm 1913-2 Erie Belle

Great Storm - By (Unknown)

Last November marked the 50th anniversary of the greatest and most tragic storm to sweep Lake Huron. Those who saw the lake on that Sunday afternoon, November 9, 1913 best described it as boiling with forty foot waves. What a wild terrifying sight -the charging waves, the howling winds and the swirling snow. Inland here, Sunday has always been a favorite day for visiting friends. In 1913 there were only two cars in Ripley according to the late Dr. MacLennan of Windsor who owned one of them, so the method of Transportation was horse and buggy. Hence, many have memories of having a terrible time returning home facing the hurricane winds and snow blocked roads, many being forced to stay overnight. But on Lake Huron it was sheer havoc. Eight ships went down with four of them in the stretch of lake from just north of Kincardine to south of Goderich. Except for Goderich, residents along the lake were unaware of the plight of the boats. At Goderich all Sunday afternoon from two o'clock on they could hear the whistle of the Wexford blowing. Grave anxiety was felt as Goderich men were aboard this boat. It was loaded with 98,000 bushels of wheat at Fort William just a few days before. Ed MacDonald of Goderich, a brother of Mrs. John Wyld of Ripley had been a member of the crew up to September of that year. Mrs. Wyld recalls that boat, often having been aboard. It had two bins or "holds" for carrying wheat. Previously it had been an ocean boat and its sailors had great faith in it even though it was getting old. It was built in 1883 in England. She also recalls the name of several Goderich men lost that day with the Wexford. Farther to the north, off Point Clark, the large newly built James Carruthers, loaded with 340,000 bushels of wheat at the same place and time went down. A few days later bodies washed ashore and were brought into Ripley. They were laid out in the funeral parlor operated by Ripley undertaker, the late John B. Martyn. It was located just east of the Golden Glow, in the building now owned by Harold and Elmer Courtney. There were either 10 or 11 bodies in all. Mr. Martyn had the parlour open and people could view them. Among these were the Captain, the chief engineer and the cook. The cook was a lady, attractive. Her long black hair which had come down in the water reached her waist. Still on her wrist was her watch. A man who viewed the bodies stated all had rosy complexions, possibly due to exposure to the cold water. The bodies were loaded in a tall delivery wagon and driven to Goderich by the late John Fowler (father of Mrs. George Ferris) and Billy Ferris. Still not known to the writer are the details of finding these bodies or who brought them to Ripley. North of Kincardine two boats went down, the Hydrus and the Argus. Art Dunlop of Kincardine recall members of their family finding a life jacket from the Argus. Pieces of it are at the farm of Clarence Dunlop on the 4th concession. He also recalls officials coming to the "Poplar Beach" school at the foot of the 10th concession of Huron with printed leaflets offering a$10 reward for each body found. It is reported that this was later increased to $25. One body of a sailor was found north of Poplar Beach by John Emmerton, father of Bruce county's warden.