VESSELS IN THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN JAMES WALLACE MOCK

Schooner Nancy

The Schooner Nancy was built about 1850. The design of these freight carrying schooners built then were 79 feet long and 13 1/2 feet wide. This design allowed them to pass through the Champlain Canal at Whitehall which allowed passage to New York City and the Chambly Canal in Canada which provided passage to the St. Lawrence River. The stern section contained a small cabin for living space. Lighting was provided by kerosene lamps and meals were prepared on a wood or coal stove.

By 1850 these sailing schooners were being built at Essex, Willsboro and Ticonderoga in New York and at Burlington, Milton, Swanton, Isle La Motte, St. Albans and Vergennes in Vermont. The mining industry in the Adirondacks and the marble quarries of Vermont were some of the biggest users of canal boats and sailing schooners on the lake. Several mines along the lake at Split Rock Mountain included a granite quarry at Barn Rock Harbor, a graphite mine near the Split Rock Lighthouse, and iron mines at Ore bed Point and Grog Harbor. They also transported granite for buildings, breakwaters, and road edging. Pulp wood was collected all along the lake and transported to the pulp mills at Fort Edward. By the 1880's and 1890's, 400 canal boats, sailing schooners and steamers were involved in the lumber trade on the lake. Shipping on the lake declined in the early 1900's. They were unable to compete with the Delaware and Hudson rail lines.

Captain "Wally" owned and operated four sailing schooners. They were the Schooner Adirondack, Montgomery, Nancy and the Nelson W. Fisk which sank in a storm.

Nelson W. Fisk

 Steamer Chateaugay  JOb Offer

This letter dated April 28, 1909 is a job offer to Captain Wally Mock from D.A. Loomis of the Lake Champlain Transportation Company located in Burlington, Vermont to be second pilot on the Steamer Chateaugay. The pay to be $50 per month which included board and lodging.

When the steam ships came on the scene the sailing schooners could not compete with them so Captain "Wally" left the sailing schooners and moved up to the steam ships. He acquired his Coast Guard Engineer License and Coast Guard Pilot's License. He operated many ships on Lake Champlain. He was pilot aboard the side-wheel steamers the Chateaugay and the Ticonderoga of the champlain Transportation Company's line and was the man chosen to pilot the Steamer Vermont from the lake through the Champlain Canal and the Hudson River to New York City for repairs. He was pilot of the Roosevelt which plied between Cumberland Head and South Hero Island and captained the tugboat Triton, which plied between Whitehall and St. Johns,P.Q. He was also skipper of the Marquita and the Passtime of the Transportation Company. He also piloted the Steamer Eloise, a small pleasure craft that traveled between Port Douglas ,New York and Burlington, Vermont via Willsboro Point, New York.

Steamer
      Ticonderoga

The Sidewheel steamer Ticonderoga was 220 feet long, 57 1/2 feet wide and had a depth of 11 1/2 feet. She weighed 892 tons with a steel hull. The vertical-beam engine developed 1150 hp.This resulted in a speed of 20 mph.

Built for the Champlain Transportation Company, formed in 1826, she was employed as a ferry and excursion boat on Lake Champlain, in its heyday a major artery on the route between New York and Montreal, which were linked by a system of rivers and canals. The largest and last of the steamboats launched at Shelburne, the Ticonderoga was a three-decked day boat that catered especially to the denizens of the summer colonies sprinkled throughout the islands of Lake Champlain. She also carried livestock, apples, and other freight for local farmers. In 1909, her pilothouse was host to President William Howard Taft and the ambassadors of France and Great Britain during the tercentenary celebrations of Samuel de Champlain's first expedition to the lake named for him.

Business declined rapidly before World War II, and by 1938 Ti was the only boat running on the lake. By war's end, she operated chiefly as a showboat, and in 1950 plans were made to scrap her. At this point, Vermont historian Ralph Nading Hill began a campaign to put Ti back to work as an excursion boat. The lack of qualified engineers and inadequate revenues led to the boat's sale to Electra Havemeyer Webb (granddaughter of pioneer steamboat man Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt), who operated the boat for two more years. The ship's historical importance especially in the form of her W. A. Fletcher built engines could not be overlooked, and Webb added Ticonderoga to the Shelburne Museum, which she and her husband had founded. In 1954-55, Ticonderoga was hauled two miles inland via a temporary double-track railroad to a field, where she remains today. In 1964, she was designated a National Historic Landmark.

From SAILS AND STEAM IN THE MOUNTAINS by Russell P. Bellico pp281-289
The
     crew resting.

Today you can see the Steamer Ticonderoga at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont.

Ferry Plattsburg

This was the last commercial vessel that Captain Wally Mock operated before retiring. This was a wooden flat bottom square bow boat driven by twin 3 cyclinder diesel engines. The boat was built in Whitehall, New York in 1923. The boat first operated at the Grand Isle-Cumberland Head crossing. Captain Wally purchased the boat from the Lake Champlain Transportation Company and operated spring, summer and fall from Essex, New York to Charlotte, Vermont. This picture shows the boat approaching the Essex, New York landing in 1933.The ferry operated until 1947. At different times Capt Wally served as pilot or engineer. He had a Coast Guard License for each position. His son Harold James served as pilot until the war started and then left to work in Schenectady, New York at the Army Depot. His son-in-law Harold Tart also worked as a deckhand for awhile. In the summer of 1946 I (Harold Wallace) worked as a deckhand. It was a long summer working twelve hours seven days a week.


The
     crew resting.

This picture was probably taken around 1940.
Harold Tart is on the left and Captain
Wally is in the doorway.

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