Schooner C. Gearing
C. Gearing, a two-masted schooner, registered number 4 in Picton on 13 September 1869, of 106 tons, 90.4 x 20.3 x 7.9, built 1869 at Cooper's Wharf, Port Milford by John Tait for Colin Gearing and George Hicks; Capt Frank Duetta was first Master, Capt Beaupre later. Later owned by Capt William Egerton Lobb (1843-1931). She carried 9000 bushels and had a reputation for being fast; she is remembered for carrying grain from Port Milford, Wellington and other ports to Oswego.
Ran aground Aug. 14, 1888 on Poplar Point with a freight of plaster and stone; got off.
The GEARING Ashore. Tuesday August 14, 1888 (Kingston, special) The schooner C. GEARING is ashore at Poplar Point at the entrance to South Bay. Her condition has not been learned. The GEARING is owned by D. Campbell of Wellington, and is sailed by Captain Bongard. She left Oswego Friday afternoon with a load of plaster stone bound for Wellington. The cargo was shipped by Farwell & Co., and is insured. It is not known whether or not there is any insurance on the vessel.
Schooner C. GEARING, Port of Picton Vessel Register No. 32; vessel burned whilst lying at Central Ontario Railway dock at the port of Trenton on July 10, 1891. Total loss.
Richard and Janet Lunn, in The County, write (pages 323-325):
But even at the best of times, life aboard a schooner was far from easy. They worked hard these little schooners and their crews, and the season was long. In 1881 the schooner C. Gearing cleared Black River where she had wintered to open the season on April 2. Her first cargo was barley to Oswego and her last cargo of the year was barley to Oswego December 2. She carried a little bit of everything that season:
Wheat (she could hold 6,500 bushels of grain), potatoes, peas, lumber, coal, sand. One entry in the log for June 6 is "Stove boalts Kingston Oswego" and on September 5, 525 rail road ties from Kingston to Oswego along with an assorted cargo of lumber. From October 11, the cargo was barley: Barley Kingston to Oswego, Barley Wellington to Kingston; Barley Wolfe Island to Oswego; Barley Wellington to Oswego; Barley Belleville to Oswego; Barley Wellington to Oswego.
The skipper paid out $151.50 for tug fees that season, $101.80 for men to trim cargoes and load ballast, $218.72 for groceries and stores - groceries consisted chiefly of potatoes, fish, apples (fresh and dried), pork, eggs, beans, "beaf", and bread. The Gearing crew didn't do too badly that summer, for they got (according to the entries) almost as much "beaf" as pork. During the season, eight men (at different times) plus the skipper worked the Gearing and they collected a total of $1,205.91 in wages. Two were given a share of the vessel's earnings - D. Campbell got $100.72 in addition to $321.66 in wages. John LObb, who shipped as cook, ended the season with $242.49, including $93.50 owed him from the 1880 season. After all expenses were paid, the Gearing showed a profit on the season of $210.49. It isn't clear from the account book, but it is likely the Gearing was a co-operative enterprise of the skipper, the owner, and some of the crew. In any event, Campbell and Lobb shared equally $201.58 in profits. Other crew members shipped at rates varying from $20 to $25 a month.
Like many other county vessels, the C. Gearing was built by John Tait, an Amherst Islander, who became oue of the best-known shipbuilders on the Great Lakes and in Prince Edward County - his name was synonymous with schooner.