The St. Clair River (French: Rivière Sainte-Claire) is a 40.5-mile-long river (65,2 km) that flows from Lake Huron into Lake St. Clair, forming part of the international boundary between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Michigan. The river is an important component of the Great Lakes Waterway, the shipping channels of which allow cargo vessels to travel between the upper and lower Great Lakes. Freighter traffic is high most of the year, until winter settles in.
Captain Thomas W. Whiteley (1869-1933) lived in Sombra, about 1/2 hour south of where Lake Huron dumps into the St. Clair River. Captain Whiteley maintained a fleet of small grey and orange ferry boats (between Sombra, Ontario and Marine City, Michigan) for almost 40 years.
A violent rivalry between competing ferry operators disrupted river crossings between the Sombra and Marine City in 1923. The dispute ended when Captain Whiteley purchased a ferry service from Marine City and obtained the “Ira B” from Henry Brake.
Captain Thomas Whitely’s son, Captain Delos W. Whiteley (1892-1934), took over the ferry company, until his death from a tragic accident. The ferry company then passed to Morgan Dalgety and George Dean, and the service was run by the Dalgety family until it was shut down in January 2018.
For more info on The Sombra Ferry