Sunday 8 December 2013


Actually, they were here at Fort St. Joseph near Jocelyn, Ontario and left a long time ago. Back when fur trading was still flourishing, the British initially established a fort and trading post on Mackinac Island (pronounced, Mackinaw) which is located where lakes Huron & Michigan meet. At the fort, various native tribes and trappers would gather or 'rendezvous' as they use to call it, to sell their stash of beaver pelts and other furs to British merchants who would have them transported to Montreal and Quebec where the furs would then be sent to European markets by sailing ships on the St. Lawrence.
Business was good for many years but soon after the Americans received their independence in 1776, the British had to abandon the fort at Mackinac Island (which then became a US territory), and established Fort St. Joseph situated between the St. Mary's River and Lake Huron. It was business as usual once again until the Commander of British Forces in Upper Canada, Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, ordered the fort's commander, Captain Charles Roberts, to retake the fort on Mackinac Island, because the US had declared war on Britain (and Canada) in June 1812. Apparently news of the declaration hadn't yet been communicated to the northern US outpost, because British, Canadian, and native forces captured Fort Michilimackinac without a fight. In fact, the taking of the fort and outpost was the first military land action of the War of 1812. The Americans attempted but failed to recapture the fort in 1814, but did succeed in burning Fort St. Joseph to the ground where it has laid in ruins and virtually forgotten until the mid 1960's when the University of Toronto started archeological digs at the site. Parks Canada took control of the National Historical Site in 1974. There are many interesting displays at the visitor centre or you may roam amongst the ruins like Janice and Tanner were doing when I snapped them below. Where's Tanner's body? Oops, guess I screwed up on the panoramic photo settings. c);-b

Meanwhile, back at the BOAT blog, we were getting pretty close to the St. Mary's River during our 'Whirlwind Boat Hunting Tour to The Soo & Back' and we hoping catch a glimpse of a thousand footer or anything along the narrow upbound channel on the east-side of Neebish Island. But what did we see? - 'Zippo, Not A Thing!' However, over at the downbound channel on the other side of the island, CSL LAURENTIEN ( was making her way to Lake Huron, so off we went along the narrow paved and dirt roads of St. Joseph Island to catch a glimpse of the LAURENTIEN after she passed Winter Point on Neebish Island. But what did we see? - 'Nothing but tall grass and trees' until we got to Fort St. Joseph. There we got to see the remains of the forgotten fort and in the distance, CSL LAURENTIEN about to pass the self unloader MICHIPICOTEN as she discharged her cargo at Drummond Island, over yonder. 'Close but No Cigar'. Our boat hunt was a BUST, until my binocs picked of something on the other side of the channel. Hidden amongst the trees, was the all but forgotten Interlake ore carrier JOHN SHERWIN experiencing a long term lay-up along a slip near DeTour Village, Michigan. The 806' SHERWIN was built in 1958 in Lorain, OH and was lengthened by an additional 96' to her current length in 1973. In 2008, she was scheduled to be re-powered with new engines and converted into a self unloader at Bay Shipyards in Sturgeon Bay, WI but those modifications were cancelled pending an improvement in the economy. The following year, the JOHN SHERWIN was moved to DeTour and there she's been laying and waiting ever since across from the once lost and forgotten Fort St. Joseph. With great delight, we found them both on that afternoon last September. c):-))

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