Green Bay Advocate, February 7, 1878
New Tug.—Parties in this city are about to commence the construction of a powerful steam tug, on Mrs. Robb’s property, foot of Pine street. Capt. P. F. Thall is the managing partner, and Mr. John Gregory, of Chicago the builder. She will be 80 ft. over all, about 70 ft. keel, 16 ft. beam and 9 feet depth of hold. She will be provided with an engine of 24 inch bore and 30 inch stroke, and boiler 7½ ft. diameter and 14 feet long, thus being the largest and most powerful tug on these waters, and capable of aiding vessels in distress.
The tug John Gregory in 1878
Inter Ocean, February 8, 1878
Special Telegram to The Inter Ocean.
Green Bay. Wis. Feb. 7.—A new tug is to be built at this port this winter, intended to be used in assisting vessels in distress and to supply wrecking outfit, Captain John Gregory arrived from Chicago to-day, to take charge of the building of the tug. He built the molds originally drawn for the tug Protection, The new tug will be 82 feet over all, 70 feet keel, 16 feet beam, and 9 feet depth of hold. Captain Gregory also has the contract to build another tug here, of large dimensions. Work on the new steamer for the bay-shore trade, to take the place of the burned Northwest (US No. 18750), is progressing. Ceiling and planking is now going forward.
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 reliable builders 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 necessary apparatus 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 supplied with tugs another season and its is hoped there will be business enough for all.
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.
Green Bay Daily State Gazette, June 5, 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 judge of her ability to perform the services required of her. Through the courtesy of the builder, John Gregory, we have enabled to give particulars of her construction. Her dimensions are, length of keel, 72 feet, over all 84 feet, breadth of 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.
Chicago Tribune, June 11, 1878
Reprint of Green Bay Daily State Gazette, June 5, 1878
The Gregory is to come here (Chicago) when completed, and join the Independent Line.
Green Bay Daily State Gazette, June 12, 1878
A Heavy Boller.
The workmen engaged in putting the boiler in the John Gregory, came near having an accident this morning. The boiler weighs 15 tons, and was unloaded from the cars on the Wis. Centl. R. R. dock, and from there placed on board the tug. To do this it was necessary to block it up several feet from the dock; and then by using rollers, move it over to its proper position and lower to place by means of jackscrews. The boiler was placed on board yesterday, all ready to lower, and this morning the men attempted to remove the heavy timbers that lay across the rail, to allow it to be lowered into the hold. As the timbers were being removed from the forward end of the boiler,the weight was unevenly distributed, and the tug lurched coward the port side. As the tug careened, the boiler slipped from the blocking, striking the edge of the dock where it was held. If the boat had been a few inches farther from the dock at! a that point, the boiler would have slid overboard and probably have upset the boat. At noon the boiler was replaced on the dock, and will probably be safely loaded at the next attempt. Mr. Gregory was using a long lever trying to keep the boiler in place, but his weight was not sufficient, and he was thrown about fifteen feet, slightly injuring his wrist.
Green Bay Daily State Gazette, June 18, 1878
Mechanics are rushing the work on the tug John Gregory. It is expected that she will be ready by the 4th of July.
Green Bay Daily State Gazette, June 27, 1878
The new tug John Gregory will take the barge M. R. Hunt in tow, which will be comfortably fitted up for excursionists for Sturgeon Bay, leaving Depere at 7 o’clock a.m. and Green Bay at 8.
Green Bay Daily State Gazette, September 14, 1878
The tug John Gregory is now at Chicago, and will run in the towing business this fall. Chicago will find the Gregory quite an acquisition to her tug fleet.
Chicago Tribune, September 18, 1878
Captain Gorman says the new John Gregory is one of the smoothest running tugs he ever has handled.
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.
Green Bay Advocate, October 10, 1878
The staunch and splendid tug John Gregory, built here last Winter, is, as we have stated before, in Chicago. She has the reputation of being the best tug there and will go out into any sea when other tugs dare not venture outside the river. By the way, her engine and machinery had lain for several years in the bottom of lake Erie, and were rebuilt at the East River foundry, in this city.1
Inter Ocean, November 28, 1878
The schooner Evelyn Bates, in tow of the tug John Gregory, ran into Wells street bridge about 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon. Damage to the schooner, $25; to bridge, nominal. It is claimed that the bridge tender signaled the tug to stop, as the lock of the bridge was out of repair, but that no attention was paid to the signal.
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.
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.
Chicago Tribune, January 11, 1880
Joseph Briquelet of Green Bay, has sold the tug to G.O. Spear on January 10, 1880 at a cost of $7,500. The tug was built in 1878 and has been in commission for about a year and a half. When first ready for service she had cost some $15,000, and further items of expense were put upon her. Mr. Spear already has two good tugs and it is his intention to use the John Gregory and one other in towing lumber barges between Sturgeon Bay and Chicago.
Chicago Tribune, January 25, 1880
The sale of the tug John Gregory was officially recorded in Milwaukee, Wis. to George O. Spear of Sturgeon Bay.
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:
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.
Milwaukee Sentinal, September 15, 1880
Between 6 and 7 o’clock last evening a telephonic message was received at the tug office from the Industrial School on North Point stating that a tug was on fire off there, and asking that assistance be sent at once. The tugs Holton, Merrill, and Maxon were at once ordered out, and arriving off the eater works found the tug John Gregory is disabled condition, having blown out her cylinder head, the escaping steam giving her the appearance of being on fire. The Holton brought the Gregory into harbor for repairs, followed by the Merrill with the two scows.
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.
Green Bay Daily State Gazette, June 19, 1882
A telegram from Sturgeon Bay informs The Gazette that a race had been arranged between the tugs John Gregory and O. B. Green, which came off on Saturday. The distance was five miles. The Gregory won by one and one-half lengths.
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.2
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 August 15, 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.
Chicago Tribune, September 3, 1888
Sinking of a Cleveland Tug.
Cleveland, O., Sept 2.—Competition between the rival tug lines resulted in an accident today. The Forest City (US No. 9914) and John Gregory put out together for a couple of schooners, and in trying to get one of the vessel’s lines a collision occurred. A hole was knocked in the Forest City’s hull. Her crew boarded the Gregory, and an effort was made to tow her in, but she sunk six miles from shore in nine fathoms of water. She was not insured.
A close-up of an Enrollment Certificate issued for the John Gregory
Marine Review, March 2, 1899
The Sheriffs Manufacturing company Milwaukee, Wis., has an order for a 8 foot Sheriff wheel to be fitted into the tug John Gregory of Cleveland.
Inter Ocean, November 14, 1904
Tug Lost at Cleveland.
Cleveland, Ohio, Nov. 13.—While attempting to enter the harbor here, at 6 o’clock this evening, the tug John Gregory was capsized by the heavy seas and sent to the bottom joust outside the breakwater, carrying with her Captain Del Minnie. The other three members of the crew were rescued by the life saving crew after a hard battle with the waves.
The Gregory, with a lighter, had been lying outside the west breakwater since Saturday afternoon. When the gale reached a velocity of sixty miles an hour early this evening the position of the craft was made extremely dangerous and an attempt was made to get onside the breakwater.
In making the turn at the entrance, the tug got into the trough of the sea and was overwhelmed in an instant. The Gregory was valued at $20,000 and was insured. It was owned by L. P. & J. A. Smith.
Chicago Tribune, November 14, 1904
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.
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
Mouth of the Cuyahoga River
1 The Union (US No. 25048) tug was blown into shallows by westerly gale, later pounded to pieces. 1874 Engine recovered and installed into John Gregory. 1875, Sep Boiler recovered.
2 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.