You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Hugh ODonnell’ tag.

That’s a letter I, not a number 1, by the way.

Tugboat Syracuse is still in service, pushing 90 years of service next year, although I believe she did not work this past season.  I can’t place the location of this shot (maybe the Oswego Canal or somewhere between Brewerton and Three Rivers come to mind), but there are details to comment on.  Note that Syracuse is tied to a tree.  She has what appear to be two propane tanks along port side, reflecting more onboard meals.  The photo was taken from onboard the barge.  Who might the photographer have been?  Also, note the barge itself made of wood.  And that lantern middle of the photo on the barge . . .  that is an old-school kerosene burning light!  Clues to the identification of the tug are the livery and the covered tender carried rightside up atop the cabin.

When might be the last time on the Barge Canal a string of SEVEN barges was towed on gatelines behind a tug like this, behind Cherokee?  Let’s imagine 6 to 8 crew on the tug, but how many crew would there have been on the seven barges?  Also, note the snow on the banks, possibly a late fall run.  Location has me stumped again also.

Gramercy was a Blue Line tug.  Note that the photo was taken from another tugboat.

Lt. Chas. S. McHugh shows up in George Matteson’s Tugboats of New York, [page 202] which identifies it as a “sixty-two-foot diesel tug, part of the four-boat fleet operated by John J. Mulqueen of 15 North Moore Street.”  The photo in Matteson’s book shows great detail. Moore Street (Manhattan)  is between Soho and Tribeca inland from Pier 25.  I’ll hazard a guess that this is at the top of E-20.

And finally, a fantastic image of Hugh O’Donnell towing a string of five wooden barges.  This tug has appeared on this blog once before here, in black/white.  I’d love to know if the tugboat was named for the labor leader of the 1890s and involved in the Homestead strike.   Here‘s a court case involving an insurance claim that references Hugh O’Donnell.

More to come.  I’m not sure who the photographer here was.  Thanks to the Canal Society of New York for use of these photos.


Never did I think a report from a federal judge of United States District Court, Northern District, New York dated January 31, 1955, would make such an interesting read.  It  emerges from two separate but related incidents that occurred in the port of Albany in late September 1953.  One of the companies involved still works in the region with a different boat by the same name, Ellen S. Bouchard, the 1951 boat.  I’m sure an image could be found of that boat, since it was scrapped under a different name as late as 1953.

What emerges from the report and fascinates me is an image of the past when a different type of vessel (see image below) plied the waterways and trade patterns were quite unlike today.  Frank A. Lowery, the vessel below, is described in different places here as a steamer, a motor vessel, and a canal propeller.  It’s a wooden barge built in Brooklyn in 1918 for a company called Ore Carrying Corp and –I assume–called OCCO 101.  In 1929 it was made a self-propelled barge, presumably looking like the photo below taken in 1950 in Lyons, NY.  Lowery at the time of the incident in Albany was loaded and had six barges in tow.  Note in the photo below you see the bow of one barge.

Below you see the particulars on Lowery throughout its lives.

The other thing that intrigues me about the legal report embedded in the first sentence of this post is the trade route alluded to. Lowery, her barges, and no doubt many like them transported wheat from Buffalo to Albany and scrap from Albany to Buffalo, via the relatively newly opened Barge Canal.  Folks working on the barge Canal would have no idea what to make of traffic on the canal in 2018 such as this, this, or  this.

Yesterday’s post featured a black/white photo of the image below.  Posting it, generated the helpful background info contained in the comment by William Lafferty.  It also generated the image below.

Many thanks to Dave Lauster and Edson Ennis, who generated the initial questions and these images, and to Bob Stopper for the tireless relaying and much more.  Somewhat related to today’s post is this set from Bob in 2014.

One of the goals I’ve had for this blog for some years now has been an effort to bring into the public domain images of years past exactly like these when –to repeat the points above– vessels and trade patterns were different.  I look forward to continuing this effort.  With your assistance, more “far-flung” posts are just around the next bend.

An organization with some overlapping goals is the Canal Society of New York State.  Click here to see the list of presentations at the winter symposium planned for March 2 in Rochester NY.  I plan to be there.  They also have a FB presence where they frequently post photos similar to the ones in today’s and yesterday’s posts.  Consider joining in one or more of these.

This seems like it could be a useful line of posts . . . research-prompting photos.

Thanks to Bob Stopper, this is a generations-old set taken in Lyons at lock E-27.  The photos are sharp, the names are very clear, and we’re looking to confirm the identity

of the deckhand on F. W. G. Winn Jr.  Hugh O’Donnell shows up in the 1953-54 Merchant Vessels of the United States.   Also, in 1925, the tug was involved in a court case, some records are here, involving the loss of cargo from two barges  . . .

I’m looking for any info on the tug that might confirm the identity of the deckhand.

And next . . .  Paul Strubeck sent me this photo yesterday and mentioned that it’d been on tugster before.  Hurricane Irma and said destruction happened a year and a half ago.  I’d actually not noticed this story a year and a half ago.

but the photo I put up was here from four years ago.  I mentioned then that she was built in 1930 in Philly and before carrying the name constant was called Van Dyke 4, Big Shot, and James McAllister.

Does anyone know what happened to her after the hurricane?  Likely she was scrapped, and I did find a photo of an overturned hull . . .  But anything else?

Many thanks to Bob and Paul for sharing these photos.

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June 2023