Cask & Barrel

Rumrunners

Apr
12

South Marysburgh

Main Duck Island, twelve miles from the shore of Prince Edward, was a convenient staging point for rumrunners smuggling liquor into the United States during Prohibition. In the early years, possession of alcoholic beverages for personal use was still legal in Ontario, and although the island was occasionally raided, there was little federal agents could do to prevent stockpiling of whiskey, which was subsequently taken to the American shore at a convenient time.

However, a bizarre situation developed when the Ontario Government bowed to pressure from Temperance organizers and prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol in the province. Manufacture of liquor for export purposes was still legal. Boatload after boatload of export whiskey left the Ontario distilleries, only to be smuggled back into the province and boot-legged to local consumers. This was far safer than slipping past American law enforcement officers, and fortunes were made in the County from the rum-running business. Many small operators sold a few cases of whiskey here and there to eke out the family income, and an unbelievable number of local residents were involved on an occasional basis. Unfortunately for the smugglers, Ontario eventually cracked down on rumrunning, and one by one the amateurs dropped out, leaving the hazardous profession in the hands of a daring few.

 


Source: Kellough, Janet. The Legendary Guide to Prince Edward County. Picton, Ont.: Kellough Productions, 1994.

Buried Treasure

Apr
05

South Marysburgh

In 1760, two French ships ran into heavy seas near Main Duck Island and foundered. One of the ships attempted to sail into the harbour at Main Ducks, but the ship broke apart on the point. There were a few survivors, who salvaged some supplies and a chest of gold from their broken vessel. The gold was buried somewhere on the island. One by one, the marooned sailors died of cold and starvation and were buried, until there was but one left. This poor sailor’s skeleton was found many years later, far from the graves of his fellow crew members, and the point where the ship foundered has been known as Graveyard Point ever since. The chest of gold still waits on Main Duck Island.

 


Source: Kellough, Janet. The Legendary Guide to Prince Edward County. Picton, Ont.: Kellough Productions, 1994.

The Wreck of the Bavaria

Mar
22

South Marysburgh

The Bavaria was a three-masted timber drogher under tow by a steam barge, when it ran into mountainous seas near Point Petre. The Bavaria’s tow line parted and the ship, unable to gain any steerage way, quickly drifted off. She wasn’t found until two days later on Great Galloo Island, southwest of Main Ducks. The ship was intact, ropes in place and sails stowed. The Captain’s papers and freight money were in his desk; there was a batch of bread in the galley oven, and a pet canary was found chirping cheerfully in its cage. The disappearance of the crew of the Bavaria remains a mystery to this day.

 


Source: Kellough, Janet. The Legendary Guide to Prince Edward County. Picton, Ont.: Kellough Productions, 1994.

The Marysburgh Vortex

Mar
08

South Marysburgh

So many ships have gone down in the stretch of water around Main Duck Island and Point Traverse the area has become known as “The Graveyard of Lake Ontario”. In these waters compass readings are unreliable, shoals and sandbars lie treacherously waiting, and fierce storms blow up with no warning. The number of tragedies that have occurred rivals the infamous “Bermuda Triangle”. Local lore refers to the area as “The Marysburgh Vortex” and any strange events are automatically attributed to its effect.

Also, Prince Edward County sailors will never paint their boats blue. The colour is considered very unlucky. The only boats that are blue belong to yachters and that’s because “they don’t know any better” according to the sailors.

 


Source: Kellough, Janet. The Legendary Guide to Prince Edward County. Picton, Ont.: Kellough Productions, 1994.