The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), March 25, 1881

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Resuming his spring review yesterday the Whig representative first called at the Kingston and Montreal Forwarding Company's office. The wharf at which this company (which was formed in 1878 with a capital of $200,000) do their business is at the rear of the Kingston Foundry. The pier is in good condition, and an ample depth of water can be found for all vessels entering the harbor. The company possess two steam elevators, Sparrow and Samson, both of which are in excellent order. The former was built last year. Both have been so constructed that the deepest vessel hold can be reached. So far as barge accommodation is concerned it is sufficient for the present needs of the company, consisting of the following: Siren, Lark, Jet, Rapid, Annie, Snipe, Iroquois, Cherokee, London, Huron, Hawk, Princess, Virginia, Odessa, Moira, Frontenac, America, Alice Pacy, Beauport, William, Finch, Star, Ox, Elm, and Alabama. These twenty five barges have an entire

Capacity of 450,000 Bushels.

The towing is done by Messrs. Calvin & Sons' steamers, which are commanded thus: Chieftain, Captain J. Sughrue; Hiram A. Calvin, Captain Miller; Traveller, Capt. J. Sullivan; John A. Macdonald, Capt. A. Gagnac. These steamers are all very powerful. The company are at present actively engaged in preparing their barges for the coming season, giving them a thorough overhauling and repainting. The floating property will be increased by the addition of several barges, including the Huron, now on the ways at Garden Island. She has a capacity of 30,000 bushels, draws nine feet of water, is built of solid oak, and is fitted for trade on the lakes. No final arrangements have been made regarding the barge Minnie, which went ashore at Point Frederick last fall. The company purpose extending their wharf about 100 feet next winter. The officers of the company are: President, Mr. A. Gunn, M.P.; Vice-President, Mr. J.G. Ross, Quebec.

Kingston Foundry.

The steam barge Norman, Captain Goodearle, is at the Kingston Foundry wharf. She is being repainted. The Deseronto Navigation Company own her and will put her in the lumber trade next summer. Along side her is the schr. Jessie Scarth, of Toronto. No repairs have yet been upon her. Capt. Malcolmson will be in charge of her.

Power's Shipyard.

Quite a number of hands have been employed there. The iron steamer Gipsy, bought by Mr. Swift in Montreal last fall, has been planked from light water mark down, to save her hull while plying on the Rideau Canal. She is now receiving her new upper works; she will also have new cabins and an upper saloon. A new boiler and engine have been put in her by Messrs. Davidson, Doran & Co. Altogether she will be a neat and comfortable boat, running between Kingston and Ottawa, and making two trips per week. The officers are: Capt. W. Fleming; mate, Mr. John Ryan; purser, Mr. H. McNulty. Her repairs and outfit will cost about $10,000.

The tug Wren, owned in Montreal, has received general repairs. She will be launched as soon as the ice breaks up. She is used for towing scows during the deepening of the Galop Rapids.

The tug Lady Franklin, harbour boat, has been hauled out and well repaired, but will not be in commission next summer.

The tug H.M. Mixer, harbour boat, has received an entirely new frame. On the opening of navigation she will do the harbour service. Her outfit has cost about $600.

Repairs To Steamers.

The steamer Watertown's boiler are having new legs, crown pieces and tubes. This old steamer will come out in fine condition. Capt. Mr. M. Nolan; engineer, Mr. John Miller.

Extensive repairs and alterations are being made on Mr. Gildersleeve's steamer Hero and the present indications are that she will become a most popular passenger and pleasure boat. The old works have been torn down and new guards, new saloons, and new cabins have been put on. The lower saloon has been extended out to the guards. The alterations and improvements will cost $4,500. About twenty men are now engaged upon the work. The officers will be Captain Geo. Crawford; mate, Mr. Lawless; purser, Mr. T.J. Craig; steward, Mr. T. Elmer. The renovation of the Hastings has not yet been begun. Mr. Geo. Menary has the supervision of the carpenter work on both steamers.

The propeller Africa has been undergoing extensive repairs. Twelve new state rooms have been added, while the machinery has been considerably improved. Stairways leading to the upper deck have been placed on each side of the engine room. Capt. Patterson has arranged for an excellent promenade deck. The propeller will run between Montreal and Cleveland and according to a time table. The propeller accommodates 45 passengers. The repairs and alterations will cost $1,800. Metallic life-boats have been supplied the steamer.

The D.C. West will resume her old route, from Kingston to Westport. She is now being made ready for service. Mr. D. Noonan will be Captain and T. Simmons, engineer.

The Royal Mail steamers Algerian, Corsican, and Magnet are undergoing the usual overhauling. The old captains will be in command. The repainting is being done by Mr. Robinson.

The steam barge Indian, recently purchased by Captain S. Fraser, is receiving general repairs preparatory to entering the timber trade. She is now in A 1 order. Her consorts will be the barges R. Gaskin, Capt. Geegan, and Southampton, Capt. Spence. Capt. Fraser, the owner, will be Commodore of the fleet.

The officers of the St. Lawrence Steamboat Company's boats are: Steamer Maud, Capt. Hinckley; engineer, Mr. W. Derry; purser and steward, Mr. J. Hiscock; Pierrepont, Captain A. Millar; purser, Mr. G. Mackenzie; engineer, Mr. J. Gillies; Princess Louise, Captain H.C. Rothwell.

Montreal Transportation Company.

Of the three forwarding companies doing business at this port, the Montreal Transportation Company is the oldest and the strongest, as indicated by the trade returns and the necessity for an enlargement of its facilities. So largely dependent as this city is said to be upon the success and prosperity of its marine any evidence of its permanency and progress is hailed with genuine satisfaction. And in connection with this firm what do we find? A steady improvement; a solidity being apparent in whatever is established, and an expansion taking place which promises well for the future. Of the forty barges owned by the company the greater number were laid up here last fall, some at the wharf at the foot of Princess Street, and others below Cataraqui bridge. Last season having been a good one, and the prospects of the coming one being encouraging, the floating property has been, or is being, given a complete overhauling. No expense is being spared in order that the results may be the best that can be possibly attained. The work has been of an extensive character. Most important, however, has been the construction of the new barge, the largest built in Kingston so far as we know, the appearance of which is quite imposing.

Her Keel Was Laid

last December, at Place d'Armes, and she has been so well advanced that it is confidently believed she will be finished by the first of May, probably in time for service when the St. Lawrence canals are opened for navigation. She is 170 feet long, 30 feet beam, and ? feet depth of hold, and it is calculated that she will have a carrying capacity of 40,000 bushels of grain. Her lines have been much admired. Nothing but the best oak and rock elm have been used in her construction, heavy timbers, and fastened just as well as the best schooners and propellers afloat. Thus she will be adapted for service on the lake if necessary. When supplied with the most modern steering apparatus, vessel shaped cabin, anchors and chains - in fact well found in everything - the barge must be one of the staunchest and completest navigating the St. Lawrence. It is no reflection upon the professional shipbuilders that such work should be done under the direction of employees of the company. The work is more satisfactory because performed according to their own views; and it is not intended to compete with those who are engaged in the shipbuilding business, though if the present experiment turn out as anticipated

Another Barge of Like Size

and model will be commenced to be completed during the winter of 1881-82. Not only has a new barge been on the ways, but the barge Lancaster having been hauled out last fall has been almost entirely rebuilt from the keel to the covering board at a cost of about $5,000. All the tugs and elevators have been overhauled, one of the latter (No. 1) being altered in the leg and arm so as to be serviceable in discharging the deep draught vessels which are expected to reach this harbour when the new Welland Canal has been opened. The total outlay of the company will reach about $30,000 or $35,000. As many as 125 men have been employed in various ways, the wages account recently averaging $160 per day. The equipment of the company is certainly first class and quite

Equal To The Requirements

of the trade, the opinion of some western critics to the contrary notwithstanding. To meet the ideas of some millions of money would have to be invested without hope of remuneration, but such a policy is not likely to find favor with men of ordinary business intelligence. The barge accommodation of the M.T. Co. is about 800,000 bushels per trip, an increase of about 60,000 bushels by reason of the addition of the new barge, and the Lalonde purchased last fall. Both elevators can discharge grain at the rate of 12,000 bushels an hour, and, in operation, have enabled the managers to send off a tow daily when circumstances justified such a proceeding. In 1880, we are informed the company handled about 8,000,000 bushels of grain, 12,000 tons of coal, 3,500 tons of phosphate and a large quantity of timber and miscellaneous down freight. There were about 6,000 tons of up freight. The company has two gangs of shovellers, so that the elevators may be kept running night and day when occasion calls for continuous service. The tugs will be commanded as follows: Champion, (purchased last fall) Capt. J. Murray, late of the Bronson; Active, Capt. T. Gaskin; Bronson, Capt. Joseph Murray; Glide, Capt. McMurray. All will tow direct between Montreal and Kingston, excepting the Active, which will not run further down the river than Prescott, and which will continue to tow the coal barges between this port and Oswego.

Among The Schooners

The schr. Hyderabad holds about 9,000 bushels of corn belonging to Clark Hamilton. Capt. John Gormley commands the vessel.

The Forest Queen, Capt. S. Tyo, is getting new decks, new frames, and a general overhauling. She will engage in the ore trade.

The Eureka is having new rails, plank shear, stanchions, etc. She will carry ore from Kingston to Charlotte. Her master will be Capt. Saunders.

The White Oak is having new deck and deck beams. Capt. Dix, master.

The A. Falconer, Capt. T.J. Taylor, is having new beams, deck, windlass bits, stanchions, combings, rail, covering boards and bulwarks, to cost $1,300, and raising her rating. She will engage in the grain trade.

The vessel that has undergone the most extensive repairs is the Jessie H. Breck, owned by Capt. Booth (who will sail her), and Mr. L.W. Breck. She has had new decks, deck frames, stanchions, combings, hatches, and in fact a most thorough overhauling, and in this work not a foot of inferior timber has been used. To prevent water rot salt saturated with crude oil has been pounded into the interstices between the stanchions. The new beams, eleven in number, running across the vessel have also been grooved and filled with the compound aforesaid. The repairs will cost $1,800. The vessel is now better than she has ever been for either the grain or timber trade.

The following vessels are in the harbor, nothing having yet been done to them, in a great many cases nothing more than the ordinary outfit being necessary: Pride of America, Capt. Macdonald, who is improving, having suffered much since he fell down the hatch; Acacia, George Thurston, Florence, Undine, Dundee, E. Quinlan, Florence Howard (Capt.Garvant); Jamaica, (Capt. J. Flynn); Anna M. Foster, (Capt. Theo. Allen); Flora Carveth, Julia (Capt. Hartnett); Brooklyn, Annandale (Capt. McMaster); Twilight, A.G. Ryan, and Marquis of Lorne.

Capt. R. Crawford will command the str. Norseman, and Mr. F. Graves will act as mate.

The schr. Singapore, owned here, will be sailed by Capt. Wm. Patterson, and the schr. Bangalore by Capt. John McArthur.

Miscellaneous Notes.

Oswego harbor is pretty well clear of ice.

The ice is still solid off Port Stanley.

Captains crossing Lake Michigan report the ice twenty five miles wide.

Anson Leonard has been appointed lighthouse keeper at Alexandria Bay.

Mr. Wm. Skillen, of Picton, will command the steamer Deseronto the coming season.

Coal freights from Oswego up the lakes will start at from 75 cents to $1. The tugs are fitting out.

Rates are the best now that they have been since 1872. Timber vessels are sure to get good rates this season.

The Port Hope vessel men have agreed to demand 2 1/2 cents for the carriage of grain between Kingston and Port Hope.

The elevator bought by the St. Lawrence and Chicago Forwarding Company was from the Montreal Elevating Company, not the Transportation Company.

The Ogdensburg Coal Towing Company is getting ready its fleet of barges. The Alfred has, during the winter, been thoroughly rebuilt, and is almost ready to launch.

There are about thirty vessels ready loaded to sail at Chicago. Forty-six schooners light, five barges and seventeen propellers - a total capacity of about 2,380,000 bushels.

Among the appropriations of Congress is an item for enlargement and improvement of harbour facilities at Oswego, N.Y., including dredging entrance to harbour, $50,000.

At a meeting of the dry-dock owners, held at Cleveland, it was resolved to charge all vessels doing work at outside shipyards double rates for docking, and to dock Canadian vessels according to American tonnage.

The ice in Toronto bay is over two feet thick, and is not apparently disturbed by the recent wind storm. Sailors do not expect their boats to leave the docks before the second or third week in April unless a good warm rain falls and the ice becomes honeycombed.

Wind Wafts - The M.T. Co. have not used the shipyard at Portsmouth for some time. All the work upon their barges is now done in the city.

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March 25, 1881
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Rick Neilson
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), March 25, 1881