Green Bay Weekly Gazette, November 6, 1879
Capt. John Gregory, of Chicago, is in town engaged in draughting the model for the S. B. L. Co.’s new tug. Capt. G. built the tug Leathem.
Green Bay Advocate, November 6, 1879
New Tug.—A. W. Lawrence & Co. have made arrangements for building a new first-class tug this winter at Sturgeon Bay.
Chicago Tribune, March 16, 1880
STURGEON BAY MATTERS
STURGEON BAY, March 14.—Three new tugs are on the stocks at this point. One, to be named the A. W. Lawrence, is being built by John Gregory, of Chicago. She will unquestionably be one of the finest tugs on the lakes. The machinery of the old tug Reindeer, owned by the Prestigo Company, is to be placed in her. The others being built for G. O. Spear by Thomas Spear, and will be used for towing upon and about the bay and lake. One of them is to be named A. S. Piper (US No. 105898) and the other Thomas Spear (US No. 145216). The Piper is nearly ready for launching. The Thomas Spear and large tug John Gregory are intended to perform towing service between Sturgeon Bay, Manitowoc, and Chicago.
Chicago Tribune, March 31, 1880
STURGEON BAY MATTERS
Sturgeon Bay, Wis., March 29.—Capt. H. H. Campbell, of Green Bay, is to command the new tug A. W. Lawrence, now building for the Sturgeon Lumber Company. Mr. John Gregory, the builder of the Sturgeon Bay Lumber Company’s new tugs, is hurrying up matters.
Chicago Tribune, April 7, 1880
STURGEON BAY MATTERS
Sturgeon Bay, Wis., April 5.—While cruising about the bay on Thursday the tug W. C. Tillson ran on middle-ground. She got off in a couple of hours with a broken wheel.
A. M. Spear started for Buffalo, N.Y., on Thursday on urgent business connected with the tug John Gregory, recently purchased by George O. Spear.
The ferry scow Ark commenced running across the Bay on Friday.
Our people are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Goodrich boats, as it si now next to impossible to get any freight to this place, on account of the horrible condition of the roads.
Some people entertain queer ideas as to who furnished the money to build the Sturgeon Bay Canal. Your correspondent recently overheard a lake Captain remark that he “understood that Ayer, the pill man, had spent a pile of money on that canal.” “Ayer, the pill man,” probably never heard of this short cut.
Sturgeon Bay will certainly have a fine fleet of tugs stationed here. The following-named craft will comprise the fleet:
- Alert, John Leatham, W. C. Tillson, John Gregory, A. S. Piper, A. W. Lawrence, and Thomas Spear.
The repairs on the schooner America, laid up here, are finished, and she commenced loading lumber this morning.
The proposed vessel-loaders’ union, spoken of in a former letter, has resulted in a fizzle, the chief mover in the affair having cleared for parts unknown.
Schofield & Co. think they made a very good purchase when they bought the tug W. C. Tillson for $2,500, as they have been offered $1,000 for their bargain since.
Navigation opened several weeks earlier this season than usual. This is caused by the canal cut being open.
It is probable that Capt. Gaylord, of Green Bay, will have command of the tug John Gregory the coming season.
The mouth of the bay is full of rotten ice yet, but the probability is that it will move out soon. Parties from Little Sturgeon report no ice visible on Green Bay off that place.
Here is a question for discussion among tugmen:
The Captain and owner are on board a tug. The owner tells the Captain to run over a certain tract of water. The Captain remonstrates, telling the owner that the water is very shoal, and that it is not safe. The owner says, Go ahead. The officer obeys, and the tug gets aground. Who is to blame? The owner says the Captain had no business to listen to any one in regard to run the tug. Of course the commander disagrees with him. This occurred on the tug W. C. Tillson, spoken of above.
Capt. C. B. Packard, of Sheboygan, arrived here yesterday to take command of the tug John Leatham, owned by Schofield & Co.
Green Bay Advocate, May 20, 1880
Mr. John Gregory, builder, informs us that the Sturgeon Bay Limber Co.’s tug will be launched in about two weeks. The boiler, cylinder, and other main machinery have been placed in position. The house is being pushed forward with rapidity.
Green Bay Advocate, May 27, 1880
Most of the new tugs owned on Sturgeon Bay contain old machinery. The John Leathem, built by Scofield & Co., two years ago, has the engine of the G. W. Tifft, formerly of Milwaukee. A. S. Piper, that of the D. F. Edwards, formerly of Chicago; the Thomas Spear, that of the tug Home, formerly of Detroit; and the A. W. Lawrence, now on the stocks, will be run by the motive power of the tug Reindeer, formerly owned by the Preshtigo company.
Chicago Tribune, May 30, 1880
Special Dispatch to The Chicago Tribune.
STURGEON BAY, Wis., May 29.—While launching the new tug A. W. Lawrence at Sturgeon Bay, Saturday evening, the stern blocks on which the boat was resting held fast, and the craft swung around at the bow, the ways broke and she tipped over on her side, in which condition, she now lies. Capt. John Gregory, the builder, was standing on one of the ways at the time she fell off as it broke, and injured his back, though not seriously.
Green Bay Press-Gazette, May 31, 1880
The tug A. W. Lawrence was launched on Saturday at Sturgeon Bay.
Chicago Tribune, June 22, 1880
Special Dispatch to The Chicago Tribune.
STURGEON BAY, Wis., June 21.—The new tug A. W. Lawrence went to Ahnapee yesterday and brought down a scow-load of brick.
The A. W. Lawrence was a 50 ton tug built by Captain John Gregory of Chicago at Sturgeon Bay, WI, for Sturgeon Bay Lumber Co. While attempting to launch her on 29 May 1880, the stern blocks on which the boat was resting held fast, and the craft swung around at the bow. Capt. Gregory was standing on one of the ways at the time she fell off as it broke and injured his back, though not seriously. Successfully launched on 3 June 1880.
On Nov 30, 1882, the tug John Gregory took tug Lawrence and new tug launched to Sturgeon Bay.
Inter Ocean, December 8, 1882
The rigorous cold weather of Wednesday night (which continued yesterday and last night) caused the greatest anxiety for the fate of vessels caught outside.
Made The Harbor.
During the day yesterday several craft made the harbor as follows:
- Schooner F. H. Williams, Sturgeon Bay, Christmas trees.
Propeller Lawrence, Cheboygan, sundries.
Schooner Coaster, Sturgeon Bay, Christmas trees.
Propeller Lady Washington, Escanaba, sundries.
There were no sailings yesterday that the Custom House officials or the tugmen learned of. The wind was west.
The Williams and Coaster were at anchor under the breakwater from 6 o’clock Wednesday evening until brought in the harbor by tugs yesterday. They are completely covered with ice, which reaches up their masts. Their decks have solid blue ice upon them. The crews suffered untold hardship, and when they arrived in the harbor were worn out and nearly perished. The captain of the Williams had his face badly frozen, and the crews of both craft have frozen hands and feet and ears. When the Coaster towed past Wells street her colors were at half-mast, and the general conclusion was that one or more of her crew had been washed off the slippery deck and drowned, or had died aboard from freezing. This, fortunately, was not the case. The signal of distress had been hoisted while outside so that a tug would come to her, and was not taken down when towing the harbor because it could not be. It was frozen in position.
The propeller Lawrence and the small propeller Lady Washington are also iced up and report terrible passages.
The tug received a new engine and boiler from the Ben Drake (US No 2143) in March of 1883. She was to be used to tow logs to and from Sturgeon Bay Lumber Co.’s sawmill.
On October 30, 1888 she was about 3 miles off North Point awaiting sailing vessels in need of a tow when she exploded her boiler, killing four of six occupants. Those who died were Capt. Sullivan, Engineer John Sullivan, Fireman Edward Sullivan, and Lineman Thomas Handley. The tug J. B. Merrill (US No. 75363) rescued the survivors, Frank McGowran the Cook and a visitor, Thomas Dooley, but the Lawrence sank to the bottom. The tug was valued at $4,500 and the owners were John McCoy and James Bannan, both of Milwaukee.
Chicago Tribune October 31, 1888
A TUGBOAT BLOWN TO PIECES
Fatal Accident Near Milwaukee—Four Lives Lost.
MILWAUKEE, Wis., Oct.30—The boiler of the tug Lawrence exploded off North point about 8 o’clock this morning, instantly killing killing Capt. John Sullivan, the engineer, the fireman, and the lineman. The tug was so effectually destroyed that nothing was left larger than pieces big enough for firewood. Those killed were:
- Capt. Sullivan
John Sullivan, engineer.
Edward Sullivan, fireman.
Thomas Handley, lineman.
Frank McGowan, the cook, and a young man named Thomas Dorley, who were taking a ride on the tug, were saved by the tug Merril (US No. 75363), though badly cut up.
At the time of the accident, the Lawrence and Merril were steaming down the lake. The Merril was in the lead, and Capt. Driscoll says he heard a report like a pistol-shot. Then some one called out that the Lawrence was gone. The Merril was put about and picked up McGowan and Dorley, but could find no trace of the other members of the crew nor of the tug, beyond some small bits of wreckage.
Capt. Sullivan was one of the best known tugmen on the river. He was about 40 years of age, and married a sister of Ald. McCoy two years ago. His wife and a young child survive him. He was in the employ of the Milwaukee Tug Company for the last five years. This season he took command of the Lawrence when she was brought here by John McCoy and James Bannan. The Lawrence was purchased to tow a sand-scow owned by the parties named. Besides this she did some towing in the river. The Lawrence was counted one of the stanchest tugs on the lakes. She was built but a few years ago for the Sturgeon Bay Lumber Company, and bought this spring by McCoy & Bannan. The boiler was but two years old and was thoroughly inspected on the arrival of the boat here. The craft was valued at $4,500.
Tugs were out this morning cruising at the scene of the incident in hopes of discovering some of the bodies, but the search was unsuccessful.
Duncan C. Reed, the Government Boiler Inspector, says he inspected the boiler of the Lawrence in May last. It was in good condition and stood the cold-water pressure up to the required test. In speaking of the cause of the expolsion he said: “There is little doubt that the Lawrence and Merril were racing. I have often warned tug captains against the habit of racing, and have though there might be an accident of this kind. The engineer must have had the feed cut off, and when he turned it on with a big head of steam the boiler exploded at once.
Approximate location of where the A. W. Lawrence sank.
Captains of the A. W. Lawrence were John Gregory, Joseph Harrington, Sullivan, John Driscoll & Frank F Bannen.
Diver Jerry Guyer believes he may have found her remains in 1999.
Mike Driscoll says
John Driscoll of JB Merrill was my great grandfather. For years I have tried to retrieve a picture of the JB Merrill. No picture so far to be found.