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Friday, September 7, 2018

112-Year-Old Shipwreck Found Near Cape Croker

Bruce Peninsula | by Matt Hermiz  

The J H Jones sank in 1906, killing all crew and passengers on board

(image supplied by Cris Kohl) 

A shipwreck lost for 112 years in Georgian Bay waters has been discovered near Cape Croker.

The wreckage of the J H Jones was found by a team of divers on Canada Day, shipwreck hunter Cris Kohl confirms.

The J H Jones sank in a storm on Nov. 22, 1906 while making a voyage from Owen Sound to Manitoulin Island, killing all 30 people on board.

Only one body has ever been found.

Kohl, a shipwreck historian and diver from Windsor, says he joined Minnesota shipwreck hunters Ken Merryman and Jerry Eliason on the search after years of compiling hints that pointed him to a small search area.

Merryman and Eliason were part of the crew that found the Jane Miller, sunk in 1881, in Colpoy's Bay last July.

Kohl says the team of divers found the J H Jones in less than two hours when they set out to search for it on July 1.

He says the shipwreck was found at a depth between 150-200 feet, and there were no traces of human remains in wreckage.

A person with a family connection to the long lost J H Jones was also along for the discovery.

"We had Bob Crawford with us, and his great grandfather had been the captain of that ship," Kohl says.

The story of the J H Jones as told by Kohl, was that it had loaded up in Owen Sound and took on some additional cargo just prior to departure, which he says may have left the vessel overweight and contributed to its sinking.

The ship was due to sail to Lion's Head and was then going to drop workers off in Tobermory, before arriving at Manitoulin Island.

It never made it as far as Lion's Head.

Kohl says the lighthouse keeper at Cape Croker watched the ship struggling in the storm until it started rounding the cape towards Lion's Head.

After turning away momentarily, the lighthouse keeper looked back towards the water and the ship had vanished.

The JH Jones was built in Goderich in 1888.

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