COMMEMORATION

100 YEARS OF THE SINKING OF

THE STEAMER “MAYFLOWER”

IN LAKE KAMANISKEG

 

 

Original painting by Frank Ritza

 

 

NOVEMBER 12, 1912 – NOVEMBER 12, 2012

 

OFFICIAL PROGRAM

 

November 12, 2012

 

BARRY’S BAY AND COMBERMERE, ON

 

EVERYONE WELCOME

A DEAD MAN SAVES THREE LIVES

This story was written by the 3 survivors:

 

         Yes, that’s exactly what happened about nine p.m. on the night of November 12, 1912 in Lake Kamaniskeg on the Madawaska River, between Barry’s Bay and Combermere, when the good ship Mayflower went down.

         It was one of those wild nights, pitch dark and a high wind filled with blinding snow. After thirty years, the horror of it all comes back vividly and it seems like a bad nightmare, but the picture is still too vivid for the survivors even to forget it.

     When the Mayflower went down, it carried with it all but four of it’s passengers, G.C. Peverley, Joseph Harper, J.S. Imlach and P. O’Brien clung to a coffin containing the body of H. Brown which was brought from Yorkton, Sask. for burial in Combermere. After three hours in the water, they reached a small island in the centre of the lake on which there was no shelter. Now, however, there were only three survivors as P. O’Brien died as he was being helped from the water. The next morning the three survivors found another body on the shore, that of R. Pachal, who had come from Yorkton in charge of the corpse.

         Very many people who read this will remember this disaster, as in all, nine persons were drowned, as the Mayflower sank so fast, they did not have time to get out of the cabins and engine room. One of the ironies of fate was A. Parcher, the pilot, attempted to swim to shore and, near his own home, he was found in shallow water, practically with his feet on the bottom, dead, but it was through this that those on the island were rescued. The body of George Bothwell was not recovered until the following April, so altogether many homes in the district were left without sons or fathers.

         Troubles never come singly. When they landed, they attempted to light a fire with the aid of a gasoline lighter. It slipped from numbed fingers and was lost in the snow, and no amount of digging around with half frozen hands could find it until noon the next day, when they managed to get a small fire lighted, but the memory of that bitter cold, fireless night will live in the memory of the survivors. The only fuel was some boxes and driftwood which came ashore from the boat.

         Search parties combed the neighbourhood, but on account of the snowstorm, they passed the island several times at only a short distance, without seeing the signals which, were made and eventually when word of the finding of Parcher’s body reached Combermere, the small steamer Ruby set out again and brought the survivors to the Hudson Hotel in Combermere after a terrifying night of horror that had burned itself deeply into the minds of those who lived to tell the story.

 

         The victims of this disaster were:

J.C. Hudson, Combermere, Ont., owner and engineer            P. O’Brien, Combermere, passenger

A. Parcher, Combermere, Ont., pilot                                    Wm. Boehme, Combermere, passenger

J. Delaney, Barry’s Bay, fireman                                         Mrs. McWhirter, Fort Stewart, passenger

George Bothwell, Ottawa, passenger                                   Wm. Murphy, Rockingham, passenger

R. Pachal, Yorkton, Sask, passenger


PROGRAM FOR

REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY OF 100 YEARS OF THE SINKING

OF THE STEAMER “MAYFLOWER”

MONDAY, NOV. 12, 2012

9:30 a.m. – Barry’s Bay wharf on Island Lane at corner of Lakeshore Rd.

*Railway baggage wagon arrives with casket and steamer trunks from train station

*Welcome by Dave Kelley

*Sing O Canada accompanied by Jim McPherson

*Plaque reading by Dave Kelley, plaque unveiling Betty Parcher (Parcher descendant), ribbon cutting by Joyce Coulas (John Brown descendant)

*Fr. Mervin Coulas from St. Lawrence O’Toole Church blesses the plaque

*Mayor of Township of Madawaska Valley, David Shulist

*Reading by Rev. Bob Hill with background music by Jim McPherson, Doug Hopkins, Pauline Ramsbottom, Florence Musclow

#Rowers and boats leave the wharf in a flotilla formation

#Rowers will place a wreath on water where Mayflower sank

#Rev Bob Hill says a few words of sorrow at the site

                            (# weather permitting)

                            

10:30 a.m. - Barry’s Bay Train Station on Opeongo Square

                                                    *Welcome by Carmel Rumleskie

                                                    *Complimentary refreshments

                                      *Background music by musicians from wharf with recording artist Brent Quade and Ivan Schutt

11:30 a.m - Train Station closes                      

 

12:00 p.m. – Combermere - George Vanier Catholic School Auditorium at 2782 Dafoe Rd.

*Complimentary Refreshments are available

12:30 p.m        *Welcome by Carmel Rumleskie

*Sing O Canada – led by MPP John Yakabuski

*Psalm 23 reading by Rev. Darlene Cunliffe from St. Paul’s Anglican Church

*Ringing of the bell 9 times by Bill Caldwell (McWhirter descendant) for those people who drowned

*Singing of “Abide With Me”, accompanied by Bev Kreiger

*GVCS choir sings “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” & “These Hands”

*Introduction of dignitaries and invitation for each to speak

2:00 - 2:15        *Intermission - Underwater video of Mayflower taken Oct 13th 2012

*Recording artist Eddie Francis presents his song, “The Mayflower Tragedy”

*Mayflower skit by MVDHS drama club

*Book reading by Peter Unwin, author of “Nine Bells for a Man”

*Ernie Peplinskie sings Ronnie Bellisle’s “The Story of the Mayflower” song

*Steve Weir, author of “Sinking of the Mayflower” talks about his book

*Re-enactment of the sinking of the Mayflower DVD

 

3:25 p.m. - Combermere dock & boat ramp at 39249 Combermere Road

*Welcome by David Kelley

*Launching of wreath by Don McFayden (O’Brien descendant)

*Plaque reading by Dave Kelley, plaque unveiling by Nancy Hill (Hudson descendant) & ribbon cutting by Jean Loney (McWhirter descendant)

*Blessing of plaque by Rev. Darlene Cunliffe

*Playing of Ian Pattison’s “The Mayflower” song on CD

*Closing comments by Carmel Rumleskie

 

4:15 p.m. – Combermere – Mission House Museum at 1050 Mill St.              

*Museum open to view the Mayflower artifacts, photos & stories

 


SUPPORTERS OF THIS REMEMBRANCE PROGRAM

 

Township of Madawaska Valley           Township of Brudenell, Lyndoch & Raglan                  Ann Bruder  

Corporation of the Municipality of Hastings Highlands                                                 Township of Carlow-Mayo  

Dr. Ray Dawes                                             Robert B. Howe                                                                            Metro Store             

The Eganville Leader                                  Dave & Heather Kelley                                    Home Hardware & Building

Carol & Peter McNamee                             Golden Years Club of Combermere                          Iwona & Marv Mooney        

Richard Robyn                                               St. Paul’s Anglican Cemetery                                              Pinewood Motel Inn Towne Restaurant                            Pilgrim Reader Book Store                                       Carmel Rumleskie                     J. & V. Manion Inc.                                       Williamson’s Variety Stores Ltd. (V&S)          Barry’s Bay This Week

Palmer Rapids & Area Lions Club          Yantha Backhoe & Trucking Ltd., (Marie Yantha and family)                    Greg & Linda Cochrane                              Rainbow Rafts                                                             M.V. Satellite Systems       Kam-Keg Marine & Sports                 Pastway Lumber                                                           McLean Electric                 

Ann McGuire                                                     Acrosstown Marine & Sports                                   Bob & Nancy Hill             

Bay Auto Service                                  Bayberry Lane Designs                      Barry’s Bay Auto (NAPA)

Combermere Cabin Gallery of Crafts        The Valley Gazette                           Ontario Adventure Rowing Assn. Barry’s Bay Heritage Society                                 Bob Moroni                                      Roy Dubue                   The Grape Vine                                              Ernie Coulas                                                      Mary & Clifford Blank         

Mayflower Laundry & Coffee Shop     Joey & Germaine St. Amand                          Bev Bozak

Valley Market General Store                        Neil Gonzalez                                                  Extreme Marine & Sports

                                                                                                                                                                        

COMBERMERE HERITAGE SOCIETY INC. WISHES TO THANK THE FOLLOWING

VOLUNTEERS WHO HELPED IN THIS EVENT

 

Bev Kreiger                                                        Marg Wajda                                                               Dorothy O’Neil                   

Anthony Rumleskie                             Terry Pitts                                                                 Nancy Hill                        

Rev. David Lethbridge                             Phyllis Lethbridge                                                         Doug Hopkins

Pauline Ramsbottom                          Florence Musclow                                                         Richard Vincent

Eddie Francis                                                    Ernie Peplinskie                                                         MVDHS Drama Club

Fr. Mervin Coulas                                  Anya Blake                                                                Brent Quade

Ivan Schutt                                                        OSWA Students                                   Ontario Adventure Rowing Ass’n.

Margaret Hayden-Pawlowski             Carol McNamee                                                         Clifford Blank

Linda Pecarski                                               Lois Cybulski                                                            Abby Buch

Maxine Smaglinski                                            Theresa Prince                                               Shirley Maika

Judy Beaulieu                                                David Beaulieu                                                            Cathy Pitts

 

THESE ORGANIZATIONS AND/OR PEOPLE PROVIDED VARIOUS SERVICES

 

Nigel Newing                                                     Peter Unwin                                                               Steve Weir                     

George Vanier Catholic School                 Bev Rose, catering                                               Michael Kelly                     

Nature of Design Signs                    Jane Rumleskie                                                         Ian Pattison

Bonnechere Bound Creations                Lorraine’s Pharmasave                               OPP Killaloe                  

Steve Mueller                                                     Ocean Tech Services (James Cormier)                                 TVCOGECO/Pembroke

Linda’s Flowers/Killaloe                                 Gerard Olcheskie                                                          Neil Gonzalez

Kristen Van Hoof

 

THIS MAYFLOWER REMEMBRANCE PROGRAM WAS ORGANIZED BY

THE COMBERMERE & BARRY’S BAY HERITAGE SOCIETIES

                                                    

Members include:          

 

Dave Kelley (Event Chair)                          Carmel Rumleskie                                                         Jim McPherson                            

Mecca Thueman                                            Rev. Bob Hill                                                             Shirley Davis                    

Iwona Mooney                                               Heather Kelley                                                               David Henstock

Rev. Darlene Cunliffe                                  Theresa Prince