Return to Ships of John Gregory
Green Bay Weekly Gazette, February 9, 1878
Capt. Denis and Joseph Briquelet owners of the Botsford are completing their arrangements for building their new tug. The timber for it is now being cut by Weed & Co., at their own mill, in this city. They have some as fine looking logs as can be found, and a hull built from such material as they are getting together, ought to be substantial. Capt. John Gregory, of Chicago, arrived on Thursday to take charge of the work. He is one of the most
of vessels of this class that could be secured. This tug will be built from moulds originally drawn for the tug Protection, of Chicago, built by Capt. Gregory, and one of the best of her class. She will be 82 feet long, over all, with 70 feet keel, 16 feet beam and 9 feet depth of hold. Her engine 24×24, will turn an eight foot wheel. She will be supplied with a first-class steam pump, and all of the
for wrecking or assisting vessels in distress, The owners will also retain the Botsford in these waters, so that in case of necessity, the two may be employed together, or should the wrecker be employed outside when wanted by vessels in distress, the Botsford can relieve her.
It is proposed to have the boat ready for business by the opening of navigation. Green Bay will be well sup[plied with tugs another season and its is hoped there will be business enough for all.
The tug John Gregory in 1878
Green Bay Gazette, February 9, 1878
As work on the tug John Gregory, being built for Briquelet & Denis, nears completion, visitors are able to get a full view of her beautiful proportions, and jusge of her ability to perform the services required of her. Through the courtesy of the builder, John Gregory, we have enabled to give particular=s of her construction. Her dimensions are, length of keel, 72 feet, over all 84 feet, breadth of n=beam at load line 16 feet, depth of hold at lowest transverse section 9 feet. Her keel is molded and sided nine inches, the keelson jogs over the frames to meet the keel; the frames are of four inch timber doubled, with no joints on keel, the whole bolted through and through with three ¾ inch bolts in each frame; the dead woods of stem, stern and apron are fastened with 3/4- inch iron. The planking is strictly first class; the garboard strake 4×12 inches, square fastened, bolted through each frame, and edge bolted to keel; the outside and bilge strakes are 3×8 and the topside planking 3×5-6½ and 7 inches. Inside she looks like a solid piece of oak, the bilge strakes and clamps are 4 inches thick, thoroughly fastened and edge bolted; the balance of the inside planking in 2 and 3 inches thick. The deck frames, except near the boiler and machinery, are of white oak, grooved and salted, the plank-shear and deck plank are of 3 inch stuff. The shelf-piece is 4×12, gained into the deck beams, and fastened through and clinched; the rail is 4×12, with long hooked scarfs with stringers inside and outside and bolted to stringers. The hull appears to be of the very best and her builder considers it the best of work he has ever seen done on a boat of her size.
The motive power will be furnished by an engine, with 24½ in. bore, and 24 in. stroke, receiving steam from a boiler 7×15 feet, the wheel is 8 feet, set on a wrought shaft, 7 inches in diameter, with double cranks; this is in place, and works so smoothly that one man can easily turn the tons of iron used in its construction. The engine rests on a floor of solid oak built into the hull, and is held in position by 16 1¾ in. bolts, that pass through the vessel’s timbers.
The machinery is in perfect order, and will push her fast enough to get away from anything in these waters.
The bow is plated with boiler iron riveted through the solid iron stem, which is grooved to receive it. Forty barrels of salt have been used in her hull.
The rudder will be held in position by two new devices planned Capt. Denis. The weight of it is supported by iron plates fastened to the rudder stock by means of set screws, and then fastened to the main deck, the foot is attached to the shoe by a device that allows the rudder to be unshipped or placed in position without docking, but keeps the rudder in place except when it is desired to unship it.
Between decks, forward and aft of the machinery, are two roomy cabins. The forward one will contain the cooking apparatus, and the after one will be fitted up with berths for the crew.
The builders hope to be able to launch by Saturday, when she will be towed to the Wisconsin Central docks to received her new boilers and have her upper works completed, when she will be ready for business. Green Bay will then have one of the best tugs ever built on the lakes.
The Inter Ocean, April 8, 1878
The new tug on the stocks at Green Bay for Joe Briguelet and Catain Denis is to be named John Gregory, as a compliment to her designer and builder.
Chicago Tribune, September 18, 1878
Captain Gorman says the new John Gregory is one of the smoothest running tugs he ever has handled.
Green Bay Weekly Gazette, June 14, 1879
Captain G. A. Gaylord is in command of the tug John Gregory and that means that she is in good hands. We understand this powerful and serviceable tug is to be at once supplied with a pump and necessary hawsers and chains for wrecking purposes. She is admirably calculated for this sort of work, and we have always maintained that such a craft ought to be in readiness in this vicinity. A great many disasters occur on the bay and a portion of Lake Michigan where assistance could be procured with the most dispatch at this point. We believe the enterprise of keeping the tug in readiness for such emergencies will prove a remunerative and a conventional one.
The Inter Ocean, October 5, 1878
The new tug John Gregory is proving herself one of thew most handy boats in the creek, notwithstanding the fact that she is considerably longer than any of the others, and many critics have pronounced her too long for work in our harbor. She has an excellent model, is well and smoothly built, and possesses excellent new machinery and great power. Mr. John Gregory, who designed and built the new craft, is to be congratulated on his great success, and the owners ought certainly to appreciate the fact that they have one of the most powerful tugs afloat on feesh water.
Buffalo Morning Express, October 17, 1879
Since the arrival of the tug John Gregory at this port there have existed among our tugmen some doubt as to whether she or the Wm. R. Crowell was the most powerful. The owners of both vessels have decided to test the strength of their boats to-day at two o’clock, by hitching them together. Although the Gregory is a little larger tan the Crowell, the owner of the latter has every confidence of out-pulling the other.
Buffalo Morning Express, October 18, 1879
The grand pulling match which was to have taken place yesterday between the tug John Gregory and W. R. Crowell was a second Hanlan and Courtney fizzle. The failure, however, was owing to either boat being cut in two, but because of a misunderstanding on the part of the owners. It is claimed by Capt. Perew, owner of the Crowell, that the agreement was that each boat was to carry whatever amount of steam theb inspectors would allow; therefore with that understanding his tug was re-inspected and credited with 20 pounds more steam than she ever before had on, and about 23 pounds more than the Gregory was allowed. Thus making the odds all in favor of the Crowell, which did not seem to set well with the opposition party, who declined to proceed further on these grounds, but offered to stake most any sum if the steam was limited to within the reach of their tug.
The tug was sold to G.O. Spear on 10 Jan 1880 at a cost of $7,500. It was the new owner’s intention to use the John Gregory to tow lumber barges between Sturgeon Bay and Chicago.
Chicago Tribune, April 7, 1880
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.
Chicago Tribune, Movember 1, 1880
RESCUE OF THE TUG LEATHEM.
Special Dispatch to The Chicago Tribune
STURGEON BAY, Wis., Oct. 31.—The tug John Leathem, which went ashore last Sunday at Whitefish Bay while working at the stranded schooner City of Woodstock, was finally released last night by the powerful tug John Gregory and towed to this port. Part of the Leathem’s upper works were carried away, her steering-gear demolished, and her engine and boiler shifted out of place. The damages is estimated at $1,000. The insurance agents having intimated their unwillingness to pay damages if the Leathem was wrecking at the time of the mishap, the owners will employ marine counsel in case the companies refuse to foot the bills. The policy does not prohibit wrecking, and a higher per cent is paid on the Leathem policy than is paid on the tug Gregory with wrecking privileges, both being insured with the same agents and company.
ALSO THE CITY OF WOODSTOCK.
The tugs Tornado, Tillson, John Leathem, and John Gregory have been working at the stranded schooner City of Woodstock during the past week. The tug Leathem grounded and was thus disabled. The Tillson dredged a channel to the schooner about 300 feet long and nine feet deep, and got fast within ten feet of the vessel’s bows, and it took the efforts of two tugs to release the Tillson. The Tornado, Gregory, and Tillson have been working at the Woodstock to-day, and she was pulled off this afternoon. The Woodstock has the Sturgeon Bay stem-pump on board. She will be towed to Manitowoc tomorrow.
In the spring of 1881, the John Gregory was the first ship to break the ice in the Sturgeon Bay for the season. The ship succeeded in breaking ice that was 15 to 20 inches thick between Seibold & Co.’s wharf to the canal cut.
April 1882 – The schooners Bertha Barnes (US No. 2935), Oliver Culver (US No. 18891) and Mary E. Perew (US No. 16325) passed through Door County in tow of John Gregory.
A highly publicized six mile race took place on 17 June 1882 between two tugs – the John Gregory and the O. B. Green. According to the Milwaukee Journal, both tugs strained themselves and they ran so evenly that neither craft could claim a victory. Except John Gregory, who built both of them. The race was the principal subject of conversation for weeks.
In June of 1882, the John Gregory was fitted with a new Sherrifs wheel. This equipment upgrade enabled her to travel as fast as sixteen miles per hour and made her one of the finest and most powerful tugs on the Great Lakes.1
The John Gregory in Rand & Burger’s Dry Dock
George O. Spears sold the John Gregory for $6,000 to Manitowoc shipbuilders Rand & Burger (today known as Burger Boats). They used the John Gregory to bring in profitable repair vessels. The boat was delivered to Manitowoc on 15 August 1883.
Captain John Stubbs, formerly of the tug Brockaway took command of the John Gregory on 13 September 1884.
Tug John Gregory, of Frankfort, was sold to George Anderson and others of Cleveland for $9,000 in May of 1887. She received a new wheel, repairs to boiler, and painted white with green bottom instead of black, her former color. She was a powerful puller having the engine of the old propeller Union (US No. 25048), a well known boat, wrecked off Marquette, Lake Superior, many years ago.
The $100,000 steamer ship D. C. Whitney (US No. 157075) on her way from Ashland to Cleveland in August of 1887, lost course during a storm and crashed along the rocks of Hardwood Point about one mile from Port Hope. The life saving crew aboard the tug John Gregory saved the crew and was able to tow the Ashland (US No. 106412) back which was being towed by the Whitney.
In the spring of 1888 Captain Adelbert J. Moffett, one of the best known and most capable tug men on the Great Lakes, was made master of the John Gregory, which he sailed for three seasons. That following September, during a competition between a rival tug line in rescuing a vessel, the John Gregory collided with the Forest City (US No. 9914) and a hole was knocked in the latter’s hull. Her crew boarded the John Gregory and the ship Forest City sank six miles from shore in nine fathoms of water.
A close-up of an Enrollment Certificate issued for the John Gregory
In March, 1899, the Sheriffs Manufacturing company Milwaukee, Wis., received an order for an 8 foot Sheriff wheel to be fitted into the tug John Gregory.
The John Gregory capsized during a storm on the night of 13 November 1904 at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, about one-quarter of a mile NW of the Cleveland Station. Winds reached as high as 60 miles per hour. The master, Captain Dell Minney, drowned. She had a crew of six, of the three were on board, two were rescued by the life saving crew after a hard battle with the waves.
GOES DOWN WITH HIS TUG.
Cleveland, Nov. 14. — The large tug John Gregory was caught in a heavy wind near the mouth of the Chyahoga River in this city and sunk. Captain DELL MINNEY was drowned, and three members of the crew were rescued by the life-saving crew.
Logansport Pharos Indiana 1904-11-14
Masters of the John Gregory
1878 – John Gorman
1880 – George O. Spear
1883 – M. M. Anderson
1883 – Henry Johnson
1884 – John Broderick
1884 – James Stubbs
1885 – William G. Fell
1887 – W. A. Creech
1887 – Joseph Gorman
1887 – George L. Stephens
1887 – Josh Gorman
1888 – Adelbert J. Moffett
1889 – Adelbert J. Moffett
1890 – Adelbert J. Moffett
1893 – William J. Dwyer
1893 – L. P. Smith
1894 – L. P. Smith
1895 – William Cotter
1896 – Cos. A. Giroux
1904 – Dell Minney
1 The Sheriffs propeller wheel for steam vessels of every class, which had become widely known, was used very extensively on the lakes, in New Orleans and on the Pacific coast. They made shipments to almost every part of the world. Vessels equipped with this wheel are conceded to be superior to all others for speed and other desirable attainments, and their popularity has been acquired by the universal success which has attended their use.