Steamer Asia
Grey Roots

Sinking of the Steamer Asia

Grey Roots

We have images of Capt. Savage, who disregarded a weather warning, one of Miss Morrison after she survived and was photographed at Toronto, and another image of her. Miss Morrison eventually married Albert Fleming in 1892, and lived in the Kilsyth area, but newspaper articles show that the trauma of the sinking likely was something she felt hurt by for the rest of her life (d. 1937). Her cousin was a First Mate aboard the ship and perished. The other survivor, Duncan Tinkis, lost his uncle, who was travelling with him. Robert Higgins' book about the tragedy could provide more names of locals who were aboard this ill-fated vessel.

Christy Ann Morrison had intended to visit her sister by travelling aboard the vessel known as THE NORTHERN BELLE, but unfortunately, she missed this ship, and instead had to take the ASIA.  The S.S. ASIA was lost on Georgian Bay on Thursday, September 14, 1882, with approximately 125? persons aboard her.  Before the sinking, the ship personnel tried to lighten the vessel by throwing the horses and other livestock off, but this was not able to help save the passengers, as the ship was caught in a gale.  Miss Morrison and 17 other people (including Captain Savage and a Mate), took refuge in a life boat, but she and Mr. Duncan Tinkis were the only ones to survive the ordeal of 18 hours on open water, having the life boat overturn, having the few remaining men in the life boat die, and being marooned on shore for another two days. Luckily, they were seen by a First Nations man, who assisted them by taking them to Parry Sound in his craft when Mr. Tinkis gave him his pocket watch.  Miss Morrison (had an injured leg) and Mr. Tinkis were both eighteen years old at the time (another source says he was 17), and their youth likely helped in their survival of the ordeal. The word “teenager” didn’t come into usage until c. 1937. 

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