The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 10, 1849

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The following notice appears in the Daily Oswego Times. Mr. Killaly is more regardful of the safety of the American vessels that navigate the Welland Canal, than those of Canada; for no like notice have we yet observed in any Canadian newspaper. A large fleet of vessels belonging to the port of Kingston are daily passing and re-passing through the Welland Canal, but Mr. Killaly has not deemed their safety worth the price of an advertisement in any one of the Kingston papers:


Welland Canal Office,

St. Catharines, Nov. 2nd, 1849.

New Light House - Notice is hereby given, that on and after the 6th day of November instant, a light will be exhibited from sunset to sunrise, on Mohawk Island.

According to Bayfield's chart, this Island bears nearly west from Point Abino; N.E. 3/4 E. from Long Point, and S.E. by E. from the mouth of the Grand River, from which it is distant about 3 miles.

The light will stand about seventy feet above the level of the Lake, and will revolve equally, presenting a full and powerful light to the Lake every three minutes.

To vessels making for the Welland Canal, or down the Lake, generally, this will be found a most important light.


Sup't Welland Canal.


The steamer Comet left Kingston on Saturday morning the 3rd inst. at 10 o'clock a.m. with a heavy cargo of merchandize and a few passengers. The weather was fine but foggy, so much so that there was considerable difficulty in making Coburg, where she landed a considerable quantity of her cargo; also at Port Hope. The latter place she left at half-past one a.m., having waited for a considerable time for passengers and baggage; the remaining part of the voyage was proceeded with without anything worthy of observation, till the time of the unfortunate occurrence, only that the foggy state of the weather prevented the usual pressure of steam being kept up. From the enquiries we have made, great praise is due to Captain W.R. Taylor for his assiduous and unremitting attention, in remaining upon deck during the night, anxiously looking out, lest either a collision with another vessel or running on land might take place, he himself repeatedly heaving the lead, as the atmosphere was so densely thick that you could not see half the length of the vessel.

Approaching Gibralter Point, about ten miles from this city, the steam being slackened, about fifteen minutes afterwards the Engineer was startled at an unusual escape of steam from the starboard engine. Not being able to discover the cause there he rushed upon deck, where he was almost suffocated by the steam and ashes coming up the fire-hatch; after several attempts he scrambled to the hatch and hallooed out if any person was below to come up, when he got no answer but heard mournful moanings. The assistant engineer with the greatest difficulty, made his way down the ladder, when a scene presented itself to his view more easily conceived than described. One fireman, named Matthew Nolan, quite dead, who has left a widow and four children, a native of the County of Wexford in Ireland; another named Michael Ring, dreadfully burned, a native of the parish of Askeaton, County Limerick, unmarried, who has since died in the hospital; a third, Matthew Smith, from the County Antrim, slightly injured, now in hospital and out of danger. The bodies being removed on deck, and the alarm having spread through the ship, there being a medical gentleman on board, Dr. A. Dougherty, he with the greatest kindness attended to the sufferings of the unfortunate survivors till they arrived in the harbor, when an express was immediately despatched for Dr. Telfer, who gave an order for Smith and King to be removed to the hospital. It may here be remarked that the vessel was enabled to proceed steadily to harbor by the power of the larboard engine. The nature of the accident has now been ascertained, it consists of a rent in the back part of the return flue, which was supposed to be lately well repaired by a competent boiler maker, in extent it is about ten or twelve inches, in breadth not exceeding three-sixteenths, and is supposed to be drawn in rivetting.

In all we have said, we are fully borne out by the verdicts of two respectable juries on the bodies of the deceased, concerning the captain and crew in the management of the ship, as in each it was unanimously recorded the cause of the death to be accidental, and that no blame could be attached to Captain, Engineer or officers, as they all appeared to have conducted themselves upon the mournful occasion with the strictest propriety.

The above account was furnished us by one of the passengers, who was also examined at the inquest, by the coroner, in presence of the Jurors.

The verdicts rendered, were "accidental death." No blame was attached to the officers or the crew. [Colonist]

Port of Kingston.

Nov. 6th - Str. Genesee Chief, Ogdensburgh, passengers and baggage.

Str. Bay State, Lewiston, gen. cargo.

Str. Niagara, Ogdensburgh, gen. cargo.

Nov. 7th - Str. Bay State, Ogdensburgh, passengers and baggage.

Str. Ontario, Lewiston, gen. cargo.

Schr. Hannah, Port Hope, 303 bbls. flour, 2 bbls. potash, 1213 bush. oats, Quebec Forwarding Co.

Str. City of Toronto, Toronto, 236 bbls. flour, Quebec Forwarding Co.; 1 mill stone, A. Dickson.

Schr. W. Penn, Bear Creek, 4000 feet timber, Calvin, Cook & Co.

Brig Eberts, Chatham, 9048 bushels wheat, 61 bbls. potashes, Macpherson & Crane; 15 bbls. potash, Hooker & Henderson.

Nov. 8th - Schr. Ontario, Marysburgh, 40 cords firewood, 12 bbls. apples, 18 tubs butter, 7 bbls. flour.

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Nov. 10, 1849
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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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Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 10, 1849