The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston News (Kingston, ON), Oct. 24, 1844

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Awful Destruction of Lives and Property!!!

(at Buffalo)

....The damage and losses in steamboats and shipping is also great. The steamboat

Robert Fulton will be a total loss; the steamboat G.W. Dole (a small boat) it is supposed is rendered unfit for service, being broken in two. The steamboats St. Louis, Great Western, Commodore Perry, Chantanque, and Indian Queen, are all more or less damaged. The spars, sails and rigging of a large number of vessels are also much injured. Upwards of eighty canal boats, have been driven high and dry out of the water, some of them a total loss, and others seriously injured.

The loss in buildings blown down, houses unroofed and otherwise injured is also very great. The bridges, sidewalks, etc. of the city have been greatly damaged, and the wharf along the entire length of the harbor is more or less damaged.

The sea wall and stone pier of the harbor have been also very seriously damaged - extensive breaches have been made in the breakwater extending from the light-house, and large stones, many tons in weight, have been carried from ten to twenty feet from their original positions....


Much anxiety was felt on Saturday for the fate of the steamboats St. Louis, Fulton, Indian Queen, and Julia Palmer, which had left the previous evening, and necessarily met the gale at it's heaviest point.

The steamboat St. Louis ran down to Black Rock, safe, with her shaft broken. She broke her shaft ten miles above Dunkirk, close on a lea shore, lost three men and a boy overboard who would not keep away from the gangways, in obedience to the orders of the Captain, names not known. By the superior management of the Captain and crew she was brought safely into Black Rock Harbor, under her jib. Mr. Wells, of Wells & Co. Express, was on board, and we are indebted to him for the above particulars. The passengers speak in the highest terms of the conduct of the officers and crew of this boat.

The Fulton, as has been stated, was driven ashore about twenty miles up the lake, and will be lost, crew and passengers saved, with the exception of three, whose names are unknown. The engine and cargo will probably be saved in a damaged condition.

The Indian Queen came in about half past 11, in safety. Goods on board, considerably injured.

The Julia Palmer made her appearance at the mouth of the Creek about six o'clock on Saturday morning, but such was the violence of the gale, that she was unable to make harbor; she then put about and finding it impossible to effect an entrance, stood up the lake into the Bay, where she anchored. Much anxiety was felt during the whole of the day for her, at one time it was thought impossible she could ride out the gale with safety - and many absurb rumors were afloat in regard to her - the boat however stood it manfully - and at sunset all fears were at an end. She came in on Sunday morning about 8 o'clock, with all hands safe. There were about 400 passengers on board, all of whom join in rendering the highest praise to Capt. Titus and his crew, for their coolness and courage through the whole trying time.

The Com. Perry came in about 12 o'clock on Friday night in a most shattered condition, her wheel-house being smashed in - and the boat almost a cripple - coming in she ran into the Great Western - after which she ran her bowsprit into the Wayne, where she remained fastened.

The steamboat Chantauque lies ashore on her beam ends, near Black Rock.

The brig Europe came in about one o'clock on Friday evening, when the storm was at its height, with the loss of her fore top mast, and her sails considerably damaged. She ran her bowsprit plumb into the warehouse of Joy & Webster.

The steamboat Emerald had her smoke pipe blown off and demolished. The iron U.S. steamer was driven upon the beach, high and dry near the old Stone House.

The brig Ashland, with a cargo of wheat from Chicago, was beached, just below the north pier......


By the Kent, arrived last night from Port Dover, Canada West, we learn that the piers at Port Ryerson and Port Dover are very much damaged. The stone pier and lighthouse at Gravelly Bay are both gone. The Schooner William Cayley, bound up from the lower lake, with a full cargo of merchandise, is ashore; it is supposed she would be got off. Off Dunkirk a wreck of a Schooner was seen, and also a small boat, bottom side upwards.

By the Missouri also arrived last evening from Chicago, which laid in Erie during the gale, we learn that the Schooners John Grant, Potomac, G.H. Walker, and Brandywine were ashore in the Bay at Erie, but would be got off. One vessel, name unknown, high and dry near the barracks. Schooner Henry Clay (scow built) aground 30 rods from the water. Schooner Lodi was towed into Erie by the Missouri, sails shattered and both anchors gone. Schooner Lumberman came into Erie over the head of the Peninsula. Schooner Whig, Rogers, parted her cables and ran down the lake and has not since been heard from. Schooner N. Biddle lay at anchor, lost her mast overboard. Spoke the Schooner Blue Bell yesterday above Dunkirk, who reports a Schooner capsized, supposed to be the Dayton. The Missouri spent some time seeking for the wreck, but in vain.

Both piers and both warehouses at Dunkirk have been carried away, with large quantities of goods.

We learn that the piers at Barcelona and Silver Creek have been seriously injured, and warehouses full of goods carried away. Sloop Helen Grant aground between Cattaragus and Silver Creek; three Schooners, high and dry at Cattaragus.

Steamer Fairport Burned - We learn from Mr. Watts, of the steamer Cleveland, that the steamer Fairport was burned on Saturday evening last, while laying at a small wood wharf, in the St. Clair River about three miles below Point Au Chien. We are happy to state that no lives were lost. She had no merchandise aboard, having been laying at the above wharf for some time past, for the purpose of rendering assistance to vessels by towing them over the flats. She was burned to the water's edge and the hull sank. We are informed that her policy of insurance expired five days before the incident occurred. She was about 300 tons burthen, and was principally owned by Capt. Edwards, who sailed her. [Buffalo Gazette]

Drowned - We regret to announce that the well known and much esteemed Captain Macaulay, of the Schooner Morning Star, of this port, was drowned in the Upper Gap, by falling overboard.

A fearful storm passed over this town on Friday night, exceeding in violence any we have had to record for years, but fortunately effecting comparatively little damage. The wind changed from east to south about midnight, from which quarter it blew for a couple of hours with considerable force; it then changed to the south west and west, and raged with great fury, on land, unroofing houses, levelling fences, tearing up trees etc., and on the water endangering every description of vessel. Some damage was done in and near Kingston, but nothing of a serious character. A number of small boats were either broken up or tom from their moorings by the sudden rise of water, which here increased it's height about four feet.

The large boats would have shared the same fate, but for the promptitude and activity of the shippers, in getting out additional fastenings. The steamer Kingston moored in Navy Bay, went ashore and remains "high and dry." The Schooner Lady Bagot came in during the gale, and went ashore on Point Frederick, near the bridge, sustaining, however, no damage. The three masted Schooner Invincible, which left this port in the evening of Friday, was forced back, with loss of fore top masts and rigging. The Lexington, an American Schooner, came in at the same time with nearly a total loss of sails, having also had the greater part of her deck load washed off. The schooner Primrose, it is feared, has gone down with all hands. We learn from the Picton Sun that some pieces of a vessel, supposed to have belonged to the Primrose, were picked up on the beach at Wellington. The steamers Sovereign and Chief Justice left this port on Friday evening, and the City of Toronto was on her passage from Toronto, thus encountering the fury of the gale. The Sovereign took shelter in South Bay, where she rode safely at anchor. The City came through, though in imminent danger, and the Chief Justice Robinson, having battled with the gale and sea for some time, was forced to return to Kingston. The Lady of the Lake, we regret to hear, was driven on the "Bar" at the entrance to Ogdensburgh, from which we fear it will be impossible to remove her without taking out her engines, etc. The steamer Telegraph has taken the place of the Lady of the Lake in the American Line, and passed downwards last evening. The Rochester, which was reported, in Toronto to have been lost, passed upwards on Tuesday evening, all right. We shall doubtless hear of many more disasters on this lake. (another paragraph but no further ship names)


Yesterday, the President of the Company, Henry Gildersleeve, Esq., presented, on behalf of the Board of Directors, a splendid silver Tea Service to John Counter, Esq., as an acknowledgement on their part of the services rendered to the Company by that gentleman. The service was recently purchased in London by William Wilson, Esq., at a cost of £100. It is of silver, richly embossed, and of beautiful workmanship. The selection is creditable in the highest degree to the taste of Mr. Wilson, and the liberality of the gift no less honorable to the Company than its presentation must have been gratifying to Mr. Counter. We subjoin the note of the President, with Mr. Counter's reply thereto.

Kingston, Oct. 23rd, 1844.

John Counter, Esquire.

Dear Sir: - I feel much pleasure in transmitting to you a copy of a Resolution unanimously adopted at a general meeting of the Stockholders of the Marine Railway Company, held on the first day of April last, namely:

"Resolved, - That this meeting, appreciating the valuable services of John Counter, Esq. in effecting a loan, and in otherwise furthering the interests of the Company in England, hereby authorize the Directors to present to Mr. Counter, a piece of plate, with a suitable inscription thereon."

In pursuance whereof the Directors have procured a Silver Tea Service, bearing the following Inscription; - "Presented to John Counter, Esq., by the Kingston Marine Railway Company, in consideration of his zealous and successful exertions in promoting their interests in London in 1843," and which, in the name of the Company, I have now the honor to present to you, and request your acceptance of.

I am, dear sir,

Yours very truly,

Henry Gildersleeve, President.



Mr. President and Gentlemen, - I can scarcely find words to express my thanks for the very handsome present you have just made me - a mark of your approbation and generosity not the less highly appreciated because quite unexpected by me, and far exceeding anything I could have anticipated, and which I accept with much pleasure, trusting that in all my transactions, whether public or private, I may ever be found ready to fulfil any duty that may devolve upon me with as much satisfaction to those interested as (judging from the handsome return you have made me in the present instance), I have afforded you.

With sincere wishes for the prosperity and advancement of the interests of the Company,

I am, Gentlemen,

Your most obedient servant,

John Counter.

p.3 The new Steamer built at Chippewa by the Niagara Dock Co. was launched last week in good style and was christened the London, Miss Fanny Smyth acting as sponsor. The new vessel is pronounced by competent judges, the most beautiful model on the western waters, and no doubt is entertained but she will prove a "crack boat." Her dimensions are 170 feet length on deck, 25 feet beam, 10 foot hold, and her engine is equal to 80 horse power. The State Rooms will be upon deck, and no expense will be spared in fitting and furnishing her.

No doubt is entertained that the commerce on the British side of Lake Erie is now large enough to furnish employment for a line of steamers, and there is no fear that the London - so called in compliment to the town of that name, where several of the stockholders reside - will be profitable. We hope there is public spirit enough in the Province, to complete the line so favorably commenced by the construction of the London, and in no long time we may be able to write something creditable about "our steam navy" on the upper lakes. [Niagara Chronicle]


The New Steamer


will be sold by Public Auction, on Wednesday the 6th November next, at Ives' Wharf, at one o'clock, P.M., if not previously disposed of by private Sale.

The Frontenac is neatly and substantially fitted up, and well adapted for Lake or River navigation. The Steamer may be viewed at any time at Ives' Wharf.

J. & G. Ives

Kingston, Oct. 21st, 1844

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Oct. 24, 1844
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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 News (Kingston, ON), Oct. 24, 1844