Russel Brothers Limited   OWEN SOUND, ONTARIO   Steelcraft Boat Builders
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Mc Niel (McNeil)(MacNeill*)

13D 20628 is the number on the bow. The plaque gives several specs: 28 feet long, 8 feet wide, 7 g.t. Interestingly, the engine is quoted as 27 HP 3 cylinder Lister Dursley engine made in England, serial number 21FR3ME2. There are only 3 28' 7 g.t. Russels in the registry, Woceka II, Madeline M and Constance H. but none link up with Consolidated Bathurst.

SB notes about the plaque shown below: The c. 1930 build date in Owen Sound is incorrect. The hull #1006 would indicate 1953 as the build year. This was obviously NOT the last logging boat built in North America.

* Spelling of the boat name has been varied. On the info sheet from 2006 we have "Mc Niel". In 2006 the boat itself said "McNeil". Yves Cloutier's father Roger was the mechanic for these boats for the STMRD company and his toolbox has a tag labelled "MacNeill".


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YC notes (Aug. 2006): The boat is not in the "Parc des Loisirs" anymore... it's back in the river and still in use. It's probably owned by the municipality of St-Roch de Mekinac, just as Grandes Piles owns The Piles and The Nikauba.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION (loosely done by Steve Briggs)

This boat was built around 1930 in Owen Sound, Ont. by Russel-Hipwell.

Powered by a 3 cylinder engine developing 27 HP, the engine was made in England by Lister Dursly, serial number 21FR3ME2. 28 feet long by 8 feet wide and 10 feet tall, the steel boat weighs close to 7 Imperial tons.

Owned by Consolidated Bathurst, it was used in the Gatineau river log drive in the Ouatouais.

The St-Maurice River Drive (STMRD) Company purchased the McNeil from Ontario, for use in Grandes-Piles, QC.

The cabin was rebuilt in June 1987 to ease the work of the operaters and deck hands.

Between 1987 and 1991, before autumn ice-up, the boat towed barges loaded with logs and anchors. The boat was also used to open and close booms.
(YC clarifies: To understand what logging was in the 80's, one must know that the river was shared. Logging operations were conducted during the week and logs were confined in a "boom corridor' between St-Roch and Grand-Mère. The logs were enclosed in booms on weekends and released at the beginning of the week by opening the booms. Opening a boom meant releasing one end to let the logs free, closing meant blocking the path of the logs by installing a boom from one pillar to another or from one side of the river to the other. The company had to clean some parts of the river and the best way not to leave anything behind was to load stray logs in barges. The anchors were used to anchor the booms because it was not always possible to tie them to the shore.)

The STMRD donated the boat to the village of St. Roch de Mekinac in June 1998, prior to ceasing operations in Dec. 1998. The company was started in 1908.

Since its arrival in St. Roch, it has been displayed in the Parc Des Loisirs. The boat is probably one of the last logging boats to have been built in North America.

 :

McNeil August 4, 2017 along the St-Maurice River. McNeil seems to be Hull 1006.
Photos by Yves Cloutier. Click to enlarge. Yves comments: "While doing some research, I found that there are some members of a MacNeill family since the early 1900 present along the St-Maurice River... Dad's spelling might be the good one!"

 

For more Russel exhibits visit Owen Sound Marine & Rail Museum 1165 1st Ave West, Owen Sound, ON N4K 4K8
(519) 371-3333     http://marinerail.com