Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Herald (Kingston, ON), Jan. 19, 1847
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To the Editor of the Cobourg Star

Grafton Steam Mills

Grafton Harbour, Saturday, Jan. 9th.

Sir, - A most singular phenomenon occurred at this place, yesterday afternoon, about 3 o'clock, which may be thought worth a place in your paper. The Lake was calm, and the wind in the North, when suddenly the Lake receded from the shore in one immense wave, upwards of 250 feet, leaving the beach perfectly dry for that distance; it seemed to gather itself into a vast cone, and immediately returned in one unbroken wave four feet higher than it usually is, burying the wharf completely, and overflowing its usual boundaries upwards of a hundred yards, sweeping everything before it, accompanied by a dreadful noise. This happened eight or nine different times, gradually decreasing in violence until the Lake resumed its usual appearance. You know the position of the wharf yourself, and you would hardly credit the fact, that at the end of the wharf, where there is generally 12 feet 6 inches of water, admitting the largest steamboat, there was only 2 feet of water left; and on its return the water stood a foot deep in the engine house, which is over 200 yards from the beach. Do you suppose this singular phenomenon was general, or do you suppose it might possibly be connected with some volcanic working its way to the surface at this particular place? The only sufferer here was Mr. Davis, whose boat lay, as he supposed, high and dry along side the Harbour Company's scow, which latter was lifted bodily, and went smash on top of the boat.

I remain, Sir,

Your very obedient servant,

Thomas Thompson

Miller, Grafton Mills.

Our readers will remember that in 1845 we chronicled an occurrence similar to the above, as having taken place in our own harbour. The same convulsion that affected the lake at Grafton Harbour on Friday, ran along the coast from that place to Port Hope. It was, however, unattended with the heavy thundering sound heard at Grafton.

We know the writer of the above letter, and place every confidence in his statement. We have also received a confirmatory letter from the proprietor of the Grafton Steam Mills, A.G. Allan, Esq.

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Jan. 19, 1847
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
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), Jan. 19, 1847