The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston News (Kingston, ON), Dec. 11, 1845

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p.2 There can no longer exist a doubt that the Schooner Thistle, of this Port, commanded by Captain Burns, joint owner with Messrs. McPherson & Crane, has gone down in the waters of Lake Ontario, with all on board. The Thistle left this port upwards of three weeks since, with a large quantity of iron on board, and has not been heard of since the gale of the 3rd evening succeeding her departure. In all probability the terrible squall experienced on that evening by the Thistle and other vessels in the vicinity of Toronto, struck her over, and filling with water, the iron freight took her down. Captain Burns was an able and popular seaman, and was much respected by all who knew him in Kingston and elsewhere.

Old Father Winter has again made his appearance, ushered in by the usual concomitants - intense cold, deep snow, and the merry tinkling of sleigh bells. The navigation is closed, the canals frozen, and the "mail line" composed of sleigh carriages. The steamer Highlander is hauled into the "basin" between the second and the third locks of the Canal - there to undergo repairs for the coming season. She understand she is to be shortened a few feet, to accommodate her to the locks on the Beauharnois Canal, which locks - upon trial - have proved too short for her. In addition to this, we have heard, that she is to be furnished with a splendid tier of state-rooms, constructed on the upper deck, which will leave her, in point of comfort and accommodation, inferior to no Boat on the River. With Captain Stearns for her commander, and the old hands for her crew, she will continue to be regarded the favorite. [Cornwall Observer]

St. Lawrence Canal - A singular statement has recently appeared in several of the public papers, credited to the St. Catharine's Journal. It is therein asserted to be the intention of the Government to place upon the River St. Lawrence a number of steam tug boats, for the purpose of facilitating forwarding operations on the River and Canal, and the prevention of any forwarding monopoly! Something to this effect was recently stated by the Pilot, but we were under the impression at the time of reading the article in that journal, that its industrious Editor had seized upon the fresh agitation of an old talked-of project, for the purpose of making an attack upon the Administration. But we have heard the matter mentioned in other quarters, as though there was a reality in it, and we now allude to it in the hope that some explicit denial of any such intention on the part of the Government may be elicited. We are unwilling to believe that such a project has been for a moment seriously entertained at head quarters. The putting it into execution would be an unjust and indefensible interference with the rights of individuals. If such boats are required, independent of established forwarding houses, they will soon be placed on the River by individual enterprize, and the public will enjoy the advantages arising from legitimate competition. The idea of preventing a monopoly on the River by adopting the course which has been alluded to, is simply absurd. There are no greater or more mischievous monopolies than those which have the santion of, and are maintained by Executive power.

Capt. McCormick, of Amherstburgh, has been in this Town and neighborhood during the past week for the purpose of receiving subscriptions for stock for building a steam Propeller, to ply between Montreal and the British ports on Lake Erie, and St. Clair. It is proposed to establish a line of Propellers, for carrying merchandize, passengers, etc., from Montreal westward, without transhipment - and taking downwards the shipments of produce, etc., from all our ports. As the vessels intended to constitute the line are to be of the first class, with comfortable quarters for passengers, and immense stowage for freight, wth an average speed of ten miles per hour, the enterprize would undoubtedly prove to be a great public accommodation and a profitable investment for the stockholders. Capt. McCormick will visit Hamilton and perhaps Toronto, in order to afford capitalists an opportunity of taking stock. [Long Point Advocate]

p.3 Melancholy Disasters - During the gale last week, we are sorry to hear that there have been serious losses on Lake Ontario. The Schooner Thistle, Captain Burns, with a full cargo of merchandise, from Kingston to this port, was seen during the gale in a very critical position, and the owners Messrs. Macpherson & Crane, have no doubt but she has gone down, with all hands. Capt. Burns was an old resident of the Country, and well and favorably known while commander of the Steamboat Union on this lake.

The Schooner Kent, owned by the Messrs. Browne of Hamilton, is on shore, and it is feared will prove a total wreck, at the Thirty Mile Creek. The Steamer Admiral, Capt. Gordon, went to her assistance from Niagara on Wednesday, and only succeeded in saving three kegs of powder and a cask of merchandise. We have not heard of any lives being lost.

The Schooner Nelson, Capt. Ross, from Kingston, with a cargo of merchandise, took shelter during the gale, in Windsor Harbor, with the loss of sails, where she now remains, frozen up.

The schooner A. Smith, Capt. Wilson, from Kingston, was obliged to throw a deck load of crockery overboard, which we understand belonged to Messrs. Norris of this city.

All the vessels that have arrived in port yesterday, from below, report the gale as the most severe they have experienced for many years, and each of them has suffered more or less damage.

Reports are rife of several vessels being on shore, on the opposite side of the Lake, but we have been unable to learn particulars. [Colonist, Dec. 5th]

Melancholy Accident - On Friday afternoon last while the Schooner Sydenham was on her way from Amherst Island to Kingston, a man named Thomas Shaw, a resident on the Island, accidentally lost his life in the following manner: It appears that on the boat nearing Kingston, he was in the act of changing the Boom from one side of the vessel to the other when it suddenly reversed, struck him on the side, and knocked him overboard. He appeared but once on the surface of the water, and it is thought that he was killed by the Boom striking him, before he entered the water. He was not employed on the boat, but merely took a passage to Kingston. The unfortunate man has left a wife and a family of ten children, wholly unprovided for. The body has not yet been found. [Chronicle]

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Dec. 11, 1845
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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), Dec. 11, 1845