Toronto Telegram, 25 November 1933
Schooner Days CXV (115)
By C.H.J. Snider

Those Stonehookers

The Great Gale of 1913 interrupted our yarn about the stonehookers of Port Credit last week, as it did the career of many a proud steamer twenty years ago; but here we attempt to fulfill the promise to give a list of the "mosquito fleet" whose labors produced the foundations of many of Toronto's wharves, harbor works, pavements and public buildings. If you know of other hookers, or more about these mentioned, your information will have an attentive hearing. This alphabetical list of the vessels whose names range between the "A's" and the "I's" is fairly complete, as a record of all such small craft engaged in stonehooking although the trade was invaded, at irregular intervals, by some of the larger lake schooners, such as the Snowbird, Eliza White, Katie Eccles, Garibaldi, British Queen, Fleetwing, S. J. Collier, Annie Minnes, Kate and even three-masters like the Clara Youell, Dundee, and Sir C. T. Van Straubenzee. These however, were but occasional interlopers, not built for the trade and not patronizing Port Credit. They were carriers rather than gatherers of stone cargoes.

Stonehookers owned in or frequenting Port Credit included the following. As ownership frequently changed from year to year a complete statement of it is not attempted:

  • Acacia, schooner scow of 1885.
  • James Abbs, ex Catharine Hays, owned by Mrs. Emily Blowers, and sailed by various members of the Blowers family.
  • Allandale operating in 1885.
  • Arthur Hanna built at Port Rowan, owned in Port Credit by Capt. Al. Hare. She was the latest recruit for the trade, joining in 1900, the year she was built.
  • Ann Brown, Capt. Abram Block and sons.
  • Ariadne, an ex-yacht, built by Cuthbert; sailed by Capt. T. Blowers and his wife.


  • E. Bailey, built in Pelee Island and brought to Lake Ontario by Capt. Richard Smith of Oakville.
  • Wm. Bookstaven, owned by Robt. Pollock, 1873.
  • Brothers, built in Bronte and owned at various times by the Henderson brothers, the Williams family, Robert Osborne and others.
  • Anne Bellchambers of Frenchman's Bay; wrecked at Toronto, 1875.
  • Blackbird a small black scow able only to carry one toise of stone; stranded inside Goose Point in Port Credit harbor in a spring freshet and left to decay.
  • Belle of Oakville, owned by Wm Pizer, Port Credit, 1856.
  • H.M. Ballou, clipper-built schooner sailed at one time by Capt. John Goldring and later by Capt. Alfred Thomas.
  • Betsy, extant in 1885.
  • Belle of Dumbarton, built in Duffin's Creek mouth.
  • Bismark, sunk in Bronte
  • Black Cloud sailed by Capt. N.H. Corson.
  • Billow, built in Chatham, 1848; owned by Wm. Sparks, 1856.
  • Belvidere, a scow owned and sailed by Capt. I Burnside; she was built at Oakville.


  • Clipper, a scow built in Toronto bay Capt. John McSherry.
  • Coronet, Capt. John Miller.
  • Coral, Capt. George Blowers; last among the last scow stonehookers in service on Lake Ontario, having been resurrected by Capt. Abram Blowers, nephew of her former owner, and put into commission during the Great War. Rivaling her in late existence was the scow Olympia long sailed by Capt. Robert Crosby. She was afloat as late as 1917, carrying stone from Frenchman's Bay.
  • F.F. Cole, built in Picton and later owned in Oakville by Capt. Albert Quinn.
  • Consecon, an eastern-built scow in service in 1885.


  • Defiance, built at the mouth of the Etobicoke Creek by the famous "Boss" Harris, of Port Credit, in defiance of claims of riparian rights of farmers, in 1845; owned by R. Moodie, Toronto, and later by Charles McCraney, Oakville. Lost off the Highlands, 1917
  • Dove, owned by Capt W. D. Pollock, of Port Nelson.
  • George Dow, built at Port Rowan, Lake Erie; rebuilt in Port Credit by Capt. J. McCully
  • Minnie Dunn, a scow broken up in Port Credit in 1894, after many years service.


  • Elizabeth Ann, one of the few standing-keels, owned by George Johnson, Port Credit, 1874, and then registered in Montreal as with "date and place of building unknown, length about 50 ft." She was very old vessel, and in the stone trade up to 1894, when she went ashore above Bronte.
  • Elizabeth of Dunnville, very shoal owned by Capt. Marks, Frenchman's Bay.
  • Eliza Ann, built in Frenchman's Bay and owned by P. Gullichel, 1856.
  • Enterprise, owned by Capt. Al Hare, Port Credit, and by him rebuilt, 1900, after which she had several owners. She came to Port Credit from Lake Erie, and was bought as a wreck on the beach by Capt. John Miller. It is possible that she did not originate on Lake Erie (where she is registered as built at Port Rowan, 1864) but that she was rebuilt there after having first kissed the waves at Port Whitby harbor, where a schooner Enterprise of 35 tons, her dimensions, was launched in 1832.
  • Eugenie, a small fruit schooner from Bay of Quinte, occasionally entering Port Credit. She was too small for the stone trade.
  • Mary Ellis, built in Bronte, 1855; schooner model, sharp and fast. She carried lumber as far as Oswego and brought salt back to Hamilton, but ended her days by being blown up at the Toronto Exhibition in 1898, to represent the Maine. For thirty years before that she had been in the Port Credit stone trade, sailed by Capt. Charles Giles, of Bronte, and other mariners.
  • Ellen, Port Whitby lumber carrier of 1847 which joined the stone fleet. L. Moffatt owned and sailed her.
  • Edward Thomas, hooker of 45 tons, built in Toronto, 1855.
  • Echo, hooker of about 100 tons carrying capacity, built at Port Nelson by Capt. John McSherry, 1855. Sank in Toronto, 1915.


  • Mary E. Ferguson, schooner scow, and the clipper of the Port Credit fleet. Built at Cotton's Creek, east of the port, 1868, and named after a daughter of Wm. E. Ferguson, Port Credit merchant. She was the first vessel upon which Capt. Abram Block hoisted the colors, and the last whose flag he lowered. He owned her when she was sold to be sunk as a wharf crib in 1904.
  • Flora, schooner rebuilt from the Flying Scud of Kingston; wrecked at Oakville, in 1894. Capt. Alfred Thomas then sailed her.
  • Falcon, large scow owned by Rowell family of Oakville, built 1852.


  • Good News, V-bowed scow brought from Detroit River by Albert Maud, 1900; sunk at Humber bridge, Lakeshore, 1910.


  • Hope, scow built at Port Nelson, sailed by Abram Block, J.P. Al. Hare, Matthew Thomas and others. Became a boathouse, 1910. Another Hope in the stone trade was a topsail schooner of 62 tons register from the Bay of Quinte. This was in 1856.
  • Helen, originally the scow John Pugsley; rebuilt by Capt. John Goldring of Etobicoke, and sailed by him single-handed at time although she was, as rebuilt, a schooner of 120 tons burden. She was lost at Oshawa in 1922, when Capt. Goldring was sailing her alone.
  • Highland Chief, built in Port Credit, 1841; wrecked at Toronto, 1873.
  • Highland Beauty, schooner of 125 tons burden, owned in turn by Quins, of Oakville and Williamses of Toronto, a beautiful model, seldom in Port Credit, although engaged in the stone trade.
  • Harriet, little schooner of 15 tons, owned by C. Peeler in 1856.
  • Hunter, topsail schooner sailed by Capt. Charles Hare, Port Credit, rebuilt and christened Lone Star. She was built in Oakville, 1849 and had a life of over fifty years.


  • Industry, schooner built in Oakville, 1840,and owned by W. Hutchinson
  • Island Queen, Port Rowan, scow of flat-iron model, brought to Lake Ontario, 1898. Rebuilt in Port Credit by Capt. Isaac Rains, 1902.

See next issue for the continuation.

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