The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Herald (Kingston, ON), Oct. 31, 1843

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p.1 The Welland Canal - description, details about work in progress. [N.Y. Com. Advertiser]

About eight o'clock A.M. on Friday the 20th inst., a small vessel belonging to H. Hermance of Hay Bay, loosed from Picton, (where she had discharged a cargo of wheat,) and with a quantity of salt and fifty dollars in cash on board, and a crew consisting of two men and one boy, sailed down the Bay. The day was stormy, and the swell, especially in exposed portions of the Bay, was sufficient to have appalled the stoutest hearts, yet the fearless sailors bent every "stitch" of their canvass and the little craft rode like a Petril on the surface of the foaming water. When off Thomsons' point, a tremendous squall struck and capsized her burying every soul on board beneath her sinking timbers. The two men, Ellsworth and Reed, were drowned instantly, but the boy Huyck by a wonder interposition of Providence was enabled to regain and hold on by the wreck; twice was he dashed from his perilous resting place, and as often with great exertion did he regain it. He had remained (he says) three hours in the water when the steamer Brockville bore in sight, and Capt. Bonter with a promptitude and intrepidity, which does him infinite credit, rescued him from a watery grave. It is worthy of notice, that when the Brockville "bore down" upon the wreck, it had drifted so close upon a "lee shore" and the strong current, occasioned by the violence of the storm, was running with such rapidity that the Captain found it would be very difficult to reach the little sufferer, who by this time was crying for help and waved his hand with all his might. After two fruitless atempts to run along side the sinking craft, he hit upon the happy expedient of running his boat a good distance ahead, and then stopping the engine, he let her drift slowly down upon it. A rope was now thrown to the boy, which he succeeded in fastening around his waist with one hand, while he held on by the wreck with the other. He was drawn on board, cold and exhausted, where every attention which humanity could suggest was paid him until the Brockville arrived in Picton, when he was conveyed to Mr. Brason's Tavern, and afterwards to his friends.

One of the unfortunate men has left a young wife to lament his untimely fate, the other we believe was unmarried.

It is also worthy of notice that the Brockville was the only steam boat which sailed on the Bay that day, the Prince of Wales having been "wind-bound" in Kingston, the night boat Frontenac excepted. [Prince Edward Sun]

Having observed several paragraphs in the newspapers attributing to different individuals the credit of having recently discovered a new deep water channel in the Cedar Rapids, we have taken some pains in making inquiries on the subject. This fortunate discovery is destined to be one of high importance to the trade of the country; and we consider it just that the public should know to whom it is really indebted for a benefit which must before long be appropriated as it ought to be.

Many persons had for a length of time felt convinced that there must be a deeper channel on the south side of the Cedar Rapids than the one in common use. The reasons for arriving at this conclusion were obvious from the impossibility of more than a small portion of the great body of the water of the St. Lawrence passing through the shallow and narrow channel on the north side. Previously to taking the Ontario (now the Lord Sydenham,) down to Montreal from Kingston, Capt. Hilliard examined the south channel for some part of the way; but though he supposed there was sufficient depth of water, he was of opinion that it was too tough to be navigated with safety; so the Ontario came down by the old path. These and other facts had long been known to D.L. Macpherson, Esq. of the Forwarding house of Macpherson, Crane & Co., and it is to the sagacity, perseverance, & public spirit of that gentleman that the country owes the knowledge of the existence of the new passage.

On Monday the 2nd instant, Mr. Macpherson despatched a barge from Montreal in charge of Mr. Hoadly, a clerk in the employ of Messrs. Macpherson, Crane & Co., with instructions to ascend to the Cedars, and attempt to pass down to the south of these islands. Mr. Hoadly performed the task imposed on him with a spirit of enterprise and boldness which entitles him to the highest praise. He reached the Cedars on Tuesday forenoon, and occupied himself during the remainder of that day and on Wednesday in examining the south channel from the islands. The result of this examination was a firm conviction that a safe passage existed; and he accordingly made every preparation to descend on the following morning. He was joined that evening by Capt. Marshall, also in the employ of Messrs. Macpherson, Crane & Co., and on Thursday the 5th, Mr. Hoadly, Capt. Marshall, 8 Canadians, and one Indian, descended by the new channel in a barge, sounding the whole of the way. At the entrance they found fourteen feet water, and a greater depth every where else. Thus these hearty adventurers performed a feat which had been hitherto deemed impossible, and which the residents in the neighborhood declared would never be attempted twice, as the first trial would certainly prove fatal. Persons unacquainted with the locality, indeed, can scarcely imagine the risk incurred by these brave men. On arriving at the foot of the Rapids, they immediately landed, and returned upwards to meet one of Messrs. Macpherson & Co.'s steamers, the Bytown, which they encountered about Coteau du Lac, and took in safety through the newly discovered channel. On Friday, Capt. Marshall piloted through it Messrs. Hooker, Henderson & Co.'s steam boat the Grenville; and on Saturday the Lily and some barges arrived at Coteau du Lac; but the old pilots worked upon the fears of the boatmen, and prevailed upon them to descend by the old channel. On Sunday Capt. Marshall piloted the the Adventurer through the new passage. On Monday a steamer and three barges belonging to Macpherson, Crane & Co. arrived at Coteau du Lac, and Mr. Hoadly caused them to descend by the south channel, thus fully demonstrating its safety as a barge channel. It has since, we believe, been used by all the forwarders. We may here mention that on the 5th inst., immediately after receiving advice of the passage having been successfully performed, Mr. Macpherson applied to the Montreal Assurance Company to learn if they would authorize goods and property insured by them to descend by the new channel, to which they at once consented.

These facts we have gathered from an undoubted source, and they may be implicitly relied on. By the discovery of the new Cedars channel a great benefit has been conferred on the trade of the country, especially on that of Montreal. Our canals once finished, we can now offer a route for the commerce of the Great West, unequalled on the whole continent. It is in truth a most valuable discovery; and we hope that the public will embrace an early opportunity of exhibiting their gratitude to the brave and adventurous men who ventured to descend for the first time by the south Cedars channel. With respect to Mr. Macpherson, to whom the chief merit is due, we would recommend that in commemoration of the great benefit he has been instrumental in conferring on the country, the new passage should be named the Macpherson Channel.

[Montreal Gazette, 20th]

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Oct. 31, 1843
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Kingston Herald (Kingston, ON), Oct. 31, 1843