The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), April 22, 1848

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Through the politeness of Mr. Searle (Scarle ?) we have been put in possession of the following particulars respecting the grounding of this vessel, taken from an Extra of the Oswego Daily Times of yesterday morning:-

By the Steamer Lady from Rochester this morning, we have additional particulars concerning the Niagara, her condition, the probable loss, etc.

We are sincerely happy in being able to state that this noble steamer is not a wreck - that her condition is not anything as bad as was stated last evening.

Mr. Faxon, of Utica, who came in the Lady this morning, states that the Niagara now lays in about five feet of water, on a sandy bottom, about forty rods from where she first struck. It is believed her hull is sound and uninjured. Her steam-pipe is broken and smoke-pipe gone; which with various injuries to joiner work, constitute the chief damage - in all perhaps to the amount of $6000 or $8000.

Captain Childs is using every effort to get her off and we may expect to see her here in a few days to go on to the Marine Railway. If she is not in a far worse condition than she now appears to be, the Niagara will very shortly take her regular place in the line, having had a little severer trial than most boats can pass thro' with so little injury.

Mr. Faxon speaks of Capt. Childs in terms of high praise, as do all who witnessed his conduct on the trying occasion. The catastrophe is not because of any mismanagement of his, but the happy deliverance of all on board and the comparative safety of his steamer may be set down to his skill, prudence and high qualities as a commander and a seaman.

We subjoin the particulars of the scene of the gale from the Rochester Democrat.

She lost her rudder about 3 o'clock P.M. Tuesday, when six miles from port. Capt. Childs then raised the jib and endeavored to steer by the small rudder, but the wind being very strong and the sea heavy, he could not make the piers. He then turned her again into the lake and again failed. This was three times repeated without success. One of the steam pipes at length gave way and the utmost confusion and consternation now prevailed among the passengers, about seventy in number, many supposing the boilers had burst. In the midst of the fearful scene, Capt. Childs proceeded to give proper directions for the management of the boat, with the utmost coolness and deliberation. All the fire on board was immediately quenched, and he succeeded in producing order and some degree of calmness among the passengers, by assuring them he would see them all safely ashore!

The vessel was now at the mercy of the waves. She floated toward the shore, rolling to and fro, and every few minutes shipping a heavy sea. She soon had two or three feet depth of water in the lower cabin. As soon as she came to water 6 or 8 fathoms deep, the anchors were thrown over. She rode the sea for about an hour, but the storm increasing in violence, she began to drag her anchors, and between eight and nine o'clock in the evening, she grounded within twenty or thirty rods of the shore. It was still impossible to get anyone to the shore. The waves were beating with terrific fury against the steamer, and the small boats could not be passed to the shore. The night was thus passed in the most dreadful suspense - escape or assistance until morning being impossible, and the boat liable at any moment to go to pieces. She was thrown about and constantly striking, which kept the passengers, many of them females, in a state of alarm and confusion.

At nine o'clock, Wednesday morning, the effort to send a boat to the shore was successful. A strong rope was then secured ashore, a small boat was fastened to it with a noose, and by this means all the passengers and their baggage, the latter in a wet and damaged condition, were conveyed safely from their perilous situation to the shore. The work was long and tedious, as only about four or five could be carried at a time, but the Captain and crew labored with an energy and coolness worthy of all praise. And well were they rewarded. They had saved the lives of seventy-five passengers, who testified their gratitude and obligations to Captain Childs in the most warm hearted and enthusiastic expressions of admiration of his conduct. The scene was one of deep feeling and interest, and will not soon be forgotten by those who witnessed it.

Melancholy Accident - Brockville, April 20th - This evening, about seven o'clock, as the steamer Dawn came into port, and was a few rods distant from the wharf, a man named Hamilton Watt, ship carpenter, unfortunately fell overboard, and was drowned. It appeared that he was precipitated off the forward gangway, and as the boat had headway, he was struck by the wheel, and immediately sunk and did not again rise to the surface, and his body up to this time has not been recovered. He left a wife and two children.

Wreck of the Steamer Niagara - This splendid new steamer belonging to the Ogdensburgh Line, was driven ashore at the mouth of the Genesee River during the gale yesterday afternoon. She is expected to be a total loss. [Rochester Daily Advertiser, April 19th]

Lake Erie Steamboats - A magnificent lake steamer, says the Scientific American, to be called the Empire State, is to be brought out next season, to run between Buffalo and Chicago, and is to accomplish the trip in 60 hours. She is to be 130 feet long, with a breadth of beam 37 feet, and 1650 tons burthen.

Merrick & Town, of Philadelphia, have the contract for the engine, which is to be of the style and finish of that on the Isaac Newton, with a 76 inch cylinder, and a stroke of 12 feet; wheels 40 feet in diameter, buckets 10 feet face. She will have ample accommodation for 400 cabin and 1000 steerage passengers. In addition to the magnificent saloons and cabins, she is to have some 100 family and state rooms - all furnished in a style of elegance and comfort. [American Railroad Journal]

A Ship for Boston - The idea of a ship receiving freight and passengers at Cincinnati for Boston would have been laughted at a year ago. The fine new brig Gilmore was advertised to sail yesterday for the Metropolis of the Bay State. There is doubtless a new commercial era about to dawn upon us, and the timber of the Ohio shores will, ere many years float upon every sea. Already a ship-yard for the exclusive construction of small vessels, have been established at Marietta (Mariella ?), and several have been built in this city. Timber here is more abundant than at the East, and, as we learn of a better quality, rendering it therefore, a matter of much interest, on the score of economy on the part of eastern merchants to seek the rivers of the West. The freight always to be obtained at the ports on the Ohio, will more than overbalance the expense of the distance from the sea-board. [Cin. Com., 23rd ult.]


Arrivals at Port of Kingston.

April 18th - Str. Lady of the Lake, Rochester, gen. cargo.

19th - Str. Lady of the Lake, Ogdensburgh, gen. cargo.

20th - Str. Queen Victoria, Belleville, gen. cargo.




Capt. Sutherland,

Will commence on Thursday the 20th instant, to run twice a week, between Hamilton and Kingston, calling at Toronto, and intermediate ports.

Will leave Hamilton every Monday and Thursday mornings, at 8 o'clock, and Kingston every Tuesday and Friday after the arrival of the River Mail Boats.

April 12th, 1848.



The undersigned is prepared to receive applications for Insurance on Merchandise, Steamboats and Sailing Vessels, on the Lakes and River St. Lawrence, either for the Season or by the Trip, at reasonable rates of premiums.


Office Princess Street, Kingston.

April 14th, 1848.

Notice - Beauharnois Canal is now open for navigation - Dept of Public Works, April 14th

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April 22, 1848
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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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British Whig (Kingston, ON), April 22, 1848