The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Aug. 14, 1880

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p.3 Late Mrs. Sherwood - details of accident on str. Norseman.

Transhipping Facilities - There seems to be a mistaken idea in some quarters in regard to the facilities of the harbour for transhipping purposes. On but 2 occasions during the present season, now considerably advanced, has there been anything like a rush - once when the Lachine Canal break caused a stoppage for several days of almost the whole traffic between Kingston and Montreal, and recently when there was an immense movement of grain for Europe, the evident desire of the owners and consignees being to ship it with all possible haste to the foreign markets that it might not deteriote in value by coming in open competition with the European crops. But after all there has been no blockade; nor is there any occasion for the exhibition of bad temper in which certain western irresponsible parties have indulged, their grievances being more imaginery than real. The St. Catharines Journal has been the most extravagant in its suggestions and certainly the most violent in its abuse. It has been stated that the barge accommodation of the forwarding companies doing business here should be increased by at least 1,000,000 bushels, that a stationary elevator of huge proportions is an absolute necessity, and that if trade is not to be crippled and injured there must be such a deepening and enlargement of the St. Lawrence canals as will enable the largest craft, which will sail down Lake Ontario when the new Welland Canal is opened, to continue their journey , if need be, to Montreal, and there discharge into the ocean vessels and steamships. Now as regards the barge accommodation it is certainly equal to demands of the trade.

The amount of grain transhipped here annually is between 12,000,000 and 14,000,000 bushels. The Montreal Transportation Co. has capacity for 700,000 bushels; the Kingston and Montreal Company 300,000 bushels, and the St. Lawrence and Chicago Company about 400,000 bushels, a total of 1,400,000 bushels. The barges make an average of 14 trips per season, so that if they be kept in active service and suffer no detention, of an unreasonable character, they can annually carry to Montreal 19,600,000 bushels, or 5,600,000 bushels more than have entered the port during the most prosperous year. When such is the case how absurd and unprofitable it would be to add capacity for another 1,000,000 bushels! It should be understood that despatch is one of the chief features of the transhipping business here, and that the monotonous hum of the elevators (the best in the country) will convince interested persons, that there is no disposition to tarry so long as the business is urgent. Why, one company alone discharged 26 vessels in 5 days, the aggregate quantity of grain handled in that time being nearly 500,000 bushels. Quicker despatch could not be expected - even at smart St. Catharines. The Journal does not seem to know that there was once a stationary elevator in Kingston harbour, and that it failed to give the satisfaction which some theoretical gentlemen say such an institution should afford. It was situated (nearly any citizen will remember) on the wharf at the foot of Queen St. It had capacity for about 200,000 bushels of grain, and could elevate, on the 2 sides, at the rate of 10,000 bushels per hour. Mr. Edward Berry was the first proprietor and manager, who, being the owner of a number of barges, transhipped a good deal of grain. His experience with the elevator was not flattering, and hence his readiness to hand over it and the barges, on the payment of a fair consideration, to Messrs. Glassford, Jones & Co., then most actively engaged in the forwarding business. They abandoned the elevator after a short experiment and then it passed into the hands of Messrs. G. Chaffey & Co., who put the flouring mill in connection with it in operation; but they really did not find it advantageous. When there was a temporary rush it could be filled and vessel demurrage avoided, but its use meant an expense for storage and insurance that the owners of the grain seriously objected to pay. More than that, there was more delay by the storage than otherwise, and there was the mixing of grades which could not be prevented when different cargoes passed into the same bins. The insurance was a heavy tax, 1 cent a bushel being demanded for the first 15 days, 1/2 cent for the balance of the month, and 1/4 cent for as long afterwards as desirable. Occasionally the elevator was made use of, but not sufficiently to render it a paying investment. Of this there is ample investment in the fact that for 6 years it lay idle and depreciated in value from $75,000 to $6000, for which the Merchant's Bank sold it to Mr. Woodruff, who had, for several years, acted as foreman of Berry's planing mill. A few days afterwards it was burned. The institution never realized expectations. As to the expensive improvement of the St. Lawrence River and canals the Gov't will, no doubt, authorize the expenditure of millions in an experiment for which there is just over no pressing necessity. If the river and canals be freely navigated by steamers, barges and vessels as large as Noah's Ark there would still be no guarantee that at Montreal detentions would not occur. The fact seems to be overlooked that there (not at Kingston) exists about the only cause for complaint, the removal of which should be a fitting subject for vigorous treatment by the St. Catharines Journal.

The Portsmouth Row - assault trial, details.

Marine News.

The rate on grain from Chicago to Kingston is now quoted at 11 1/2 cents.

Capt. Davier of Tidd's Island, has purchased the steam yacht W.S. Turner.

The sch. A.G. Ryan is loading iron ore for Charlotte, and the sch. C. Gearing lumber for Oswego.

The prop California with 3700 bush wheat, for lighterage, from Toledo came in last night.

The str. Geneva carried 599 passengers on Thursday from Hamilton to Grimsby in 1 hour 10 minutes.

Called at Swifts Wharf - Corsican from Montreal; Passport from Hamilton; Acadia from Collingwood; D.C. West from Westport.

The str. Queen, which for the past 3 years has been lying near Mr. Brough's mill, Gananoque, has been sold to Capt. Allen, of Kingston.

Arrivals for the M.T. Co. - schrs. Mary Taylor, Port Dalhousie, 8800 bush corn; Magdala, Toledo, 10,910 bush corn; Herbert Dudley, Toledo, 14,976 bush wheat.

The regular pay for sailors is $1.25 on the lower lake and $1.50 for the canal and upper lake trade. Some of the smaller vessels, belonging to lesser ports, are paying less, their crews being chiefly made up of boys.

The schrs. Mary Battle, Toledo, 18,700 bush wheat; Great Western, Toledo, 10,500 bush wheat; Comanche, Chicago, 20,895 bush wheat, were the arrivals for the St. Lawrence & Chicago Forwarding Co. yesterday.

Vessels Passing Through the Canal for Kingston: Ganges, Chicago, wheat; J.R. Merritt, Toledo, wheat; St. Louis, Chicago, wheat; E.P. Dorr, Chicago, wheat; Niagara, Chicago, corn; J. Wade, Chicago, wheat; Lem Ellsworth, Chicago, wheat; J.G. Worts, Toledo, wheat; Hercules, Toledo, wheat.

The sch. Mary Merritt which was anchored at the St. Lawrence & Chicago Forwarding Company's wharf, Portsmouth, was driven by the gale of last evening partly upon the ways at the Marine Railway at that place. She is out of water about 2 feet. What damage she has sustained is not yet known. She will be lightened and then hauled out.

Capt. Crawford is commanding str. Norseman during absence of Capt. Sherwood.

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Aug. 14, 1880
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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), Aug. 14, 1880