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Spacer Tree In Old Marine

"Tales of the Sea"

By Jim Ticknor
(Reprinted from an undetermined St. Clair County
newspaper, circa. 1964)

The night was dark and moonless, the wind that filled the sails of the scow schooner "St. Joseph" was just barely more than a gentle whisper. The ship, fondly called the "St. Joe," was making her way leisurely across Thunder Bay en route from Cheboygan, Michigan, to Sandusky, Ohio, with a cargo of lumber stored in the hold and piled on deck. It was Monday evening, August 18, 1890, and the five-man crew under the command of Captain Tim Paquette of Marine City, were either asleep or standing watch. At 11:55 p.m. a sudden squall struck the vessel causing all hands to "turn to" in order to secure the ship against the surging wind. Mate Edward Paquette Sr., also of Marine City, was busily engaged on the deck checking cargo and lines when, with a sound like a pistol shot, the throat halyard parted allowing the big boom to swing free. Mate Paquette, unable to avoid the whipping boom, was struck violently and tossed overboard. As suddenly as the squall had arisen, it subsided. After a thorough search of the area in hopes of locating the mate the vessel proceeded under sale towards its destination.

The "St. Joe" a wooden, spoon bowed ship of 150 tons had Marine City as its home port and was the first boat owned by Matt Sicken, prominent pioneer ship owner of our town. At the time of the mishap the vessel was carrying about 300 tons of cargo valued at $3,000, the ship itself had an assessed valuation of $2,500. Not very much by our standards but a great deal of money in those days.

Other members of the crew besides the captain and mate were Jerry Paquette, 'fore the mast; Paul Marcero, cook; and one member whom we cannot identify. Edward E. Paquette, retired builder of Marine City, is the son of Mate Ed Paquette, who was lost. In case any of our present residents wonder about the Mr. Paquette we mean, it is Edmund (he informed us that Edward is his correct first name). Mr. and Mrs. Edward Paquette will celebrate 56 years of wedded bliss on Dec. 28 this year. Our congratulations are a little early, folks, but we mean them very sincerely.

We have heard oceangoing men call our lakes men "rowboat sailors," well we know of quite a few of these same ocean men who are pretty darn scared when they encounter one of our lakes storms. Guess they can't get used to the big waves hitting the ships so rapidly.

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