-> 2008 -> The Tug Islay

Tuesday, 25/Nov/2008

The Tug Islay

Screenshot of a number of thumbnails of an old tug

Yesterday I wrote about Islay ferries away from Islay, today I'll continue with a maritime theme and write about a tug. Not just any tug, but a tug called Islay. It's also the story of a son of Islay, Alexander McDougall. But back to the ship:

Not entirely sure how I came across it, but a few days ago I noticed a Flickr set The Islay, An Historic, Endangered Tug. While initially I didn't pay too much attention to it after I while I started to get curious and decided to take a closer look. A wise decision!

Not only is the tug Islay a beautiful ship, she also has quite a history: She was built in 1892 (which makes her 116 years old!) and named after a her owner's daughter, Islay. She in turn had her name from her father's birthplace in 1845, which was obviously Islay. Since her launch the tug had quite an interesting but also challenging life.

Jim Munts, who is an amateur historian and writer working on a book about the tug Islay, was so kind to send me a short overview of her story:

When the Islay was launched in June, 1892, McDougall was running a very prosperous shipyard in Superior, Wisconsin where he turned out his unique vessels, dubbed ‘whalebacks.’ McDougall was financed by John D. Rockefeller through his Wall Street broker. When the Islay was launched all had great plans for Superior and the iron ore mines being discovered just to the north. Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt's father held the presidency of a local steel mill which supplied McDougall's needs.

Unfortunately, the great financial panic of 1893 uprooted all of these hopes and McDougall was left with very little once the financial tsunami passed over Superior. Sadly, one of the things the Captain lost during this struggle was his daughter Islay, who passed away at age 7 in November, 1893. The Islay went on to be owned by another Scotsman named Simon Clark, who came from the Isle of Lewis. A Duluth grocer, he was considered one of the most well-known Scotch-Americans of his day. A later owner's family came from Iona.

For more about the Islay you might want to visit the Northeastern Maritime Historical Foundation's page about the Islay. If you're interested in some other background and the impact of Captain Alexander McDougall you might want to read this essay about the mariner Alexander McDougall and study the book McDougall's Great Lakes Whalebacks.

Many thanks to Jim Munts for all the information and the pictures! Good luck with the book, I hope you manage to find the time to finish and publish it!

Other people say:



[Previous entry: "Islay Ferries in Other Places"] [Home] [Next entry: "Sound of Islay Tidal Power Research"]