W. L. Ewing

Return to Ships of John Gregory

W. L. Ewing US No. 26841
Built At
Chicago, IL

The tug W. L. Ewing (US No. 26841) was built during April of 1868 in Chicago by John Gregory. She was registered with a tonnage of 43.92 tons. Her original owners were C. T. Taylor and and Charles Pierce, both of Chicago.

She was involved in a collision with the the schooner Lizzie Throop (US No. 14678) on the Chicago River in an attempt to pass the State Street bridge on 26 June 1868. The schooner was laden with lumber and employed the tug Little Giant (US No. 15304) to tow her up the river to her dock. They proceeded through the Rush street bridge, and the tug intended to pass through the north draw of the State street bridge, when, seeing the propeller Mendota (US No. 16323) backing up through the north draw, just before reaching that point the tug, with her tow, crossed over to the south side, meaning to make that channel. At this point of time she collided with the W.L. Ewing, going down the river. The headway of the Little Giant, was stopped but, the schooner being in motion, she ran upon the Little Giant and became injured.

The Court found the Little Giant in fault and not holding herself under control, but in keeping up a speed of four or five miles an hour, when she ought to have seen the approaching vessels. It was also her duty, the north draw being obstructed, to have stopped, or to have taken immediate precautions to avoid a collision, especially as she had to pass to her wrong side. The Ewing was in fault in pursuing through the north draw, and in running at an improper rate in a river crowded with craft, and especially in a state of case, which could be seen, where the upmost caution was required to be used.

In the course of his opinion the Court gave notice that in all cases it would be treated as a fault on the part of a vessel in passing up and down the river, should it, without the accustomed permission being given by signal, pass from its proper side in going through the bridge, especially at State Street bridge. The Court … speed and the disregard of ordinary prudence so common on the part of tugs.

He considered it to be the duty of tugs to do something more than make its trips in the shortest possible time, and to best one another. In this case the Ewing was running at the rate of from eight to ten miles an hour.

The W. L. Ewing collided with the schooner Lincoln Dall (US No. 15577) about one or two miles north of the Water-Works Crib in the lake about 3 o’clock in the morning of 28 August 1881. A dense fog prevailed at the time preventing the Captain of the tug from properly judging the distance of the vessel. The W. L. Ewing towed the Lincoln Dall into port.

The W. L. Ewing was surrendered on 22 September 1904 at Chicago as “Abandoned, unfit for service.”

Owner History
1871 Owned William Dean, Chicago, IL.
1876 Owned VOT Co., Chicago.
1887 Owned Dunham Towing & Wrecking Co.
1899 Owned Dunham Towing & Wrecking Co.