The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Aug. 2, 1882

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p.2 Steamboat Whistling - annoying, not allowed at Alexandria Bay.

p.3 To Be Sailed On Friday - 3rd class race.


The tug D. Wheeler and two barges have arrived from Oswego for leached ashes.

The steam barge Grimsby, from Toronto, with 22,700 bushels of wheat, has arrived.

The steamer Persia arrived from St. Catharines this morning, having a full passenger list.

The prop. Acadia lightened 4,000 bushels of wheat from Toledo and proceeded eastward.

The schr. Gearing brought from Oswego 175 tons of coal and 675 sacks of corn meal. On the latter there is a duty of 10 cents per sack.

Dan Rankin, formerly Captain of the Victoria, is now pilot on the propeller Argyle, plying between Kingston and Montreal.

The first cargo this year by way of the Midland R.R. and Port Hope arrived this morning on the schr. Lewis Ross. She carried 15,943 bushels of wheat.

Capt. Taylor has inspected the barges Toledo, Hawk and Finch, and re-classed them B 1. They have all been docked and put in thorough repair. They are grain barges trading between Kingston and Montreal.

The Customs authorities state that the allowances of shortage on vessel cargoes is one bushel in a thousand. When this order was issued few vessels of over 20,000 bushels came to Kingston, but now that big cargoes arrive the proportion will be as agreed upon. If the shortage is greater than one bushel in a thousand duty will be imposed on the total amount. The latest Order-in-Council may, however, change this arrangement.

The dry dock purchased by Messrs. Fraser & Lewis still lies unused below Cataraqui Bridge. Attempts have been made to secure the water lots near Knapp's boat house for a location for it, but they have been so far futile. The property cannot be secured, as a city Alderman has a lease of it. The dry dock would be a great convenience to Kingston as it is capable of lifting a vessel 180 feet in length. Many men would be employed in connection with it, and Kingston would receive the benefit. If a location cannot be secured for the dock in the city, it will be taken to Portsmouth, and that little hamlet will gain what Kingston will lose. It looks as though the big Dry Dock Company meant to kill the small one. If it is intended to put the Powers' dry dock in shape the sooner it is finished the better. Without a dock Kingston loses every day.


Two Non-Union Men Taken Off A Vessel.

Last night an outrage of a very serious character occurred in the harbour. The facts, as made public, have caused much indignation, and were the offenders known justice with a vengeance would be meted out to them. Yesterday the schr. L.M. Higgie, from Chicago, arrived here with a cargo of wheat. She carried a crew of non-union men. The vessel was consigned to the Kingston and Montreal Forwarding Company and anchored off the wharf awaiting her turn to be discharged. During the evening there were rumors of brewing mischief. About ten o'clock several "dingies" shot out from the wharf, containing some say sixteen, others say thirteen desperate men. They rowed for the schr. Higgie and boarded her.

Statement Of The Captain.

Captain W.A. Thompson states that his first intimation of the attack was when the gang appeared on the deck of the vessel. He was in the cabin and coming to the door asked what was wanted. He was informed by a hard looking fellow, who garnished his speech with foul oaths, that they intended to have a "matinee," (an American expression for a row.) The Captain said that it was a strange hour for such an affair. The gang then asked for the crew, saying they were prepared for consequences; they would take chances. The Captain, being unprovided with a weapon, could do nothing to prevent the lawless actions of the crowd, and pell-mell they rushed into the forecastle of the schooner, finding no one there. The clothing of the non-union men was gathered up and thrown into a "dingie." The two mates and two sailors were ashore, leaving only the Captain and two sailors on the vessel. The latter were the persons wanted. They had been in the forecastle, but hearing the rabble managed to escape to the cabin. Here they hid themselves in a store-room. The sailors' names were Albert Moore and James Ellis. The visitors were not inclined to leave the vessel without the men they were after. They were bound to be minute in their search, and so made a rush for the cabin. They met with resistance from the Captain, who held the door. They smashed it in, entered the cabin and ransacked it, knocking over every thing and leaving the place in a state of great disorder. They were determined to secure the sailors and even went so far as to peer beneath the Captain's bed. At last

The Two Fellows Were Found.

They were subjected to most brutal treatment. First they were jerked upon the deck and their hands tied behind their backs. They were then hoisted into a "dingie" and carried off towards shallow water, where the two unfortunates were thrown overboard, repeatedly punished under the water, and struck on the head. More dead than alive they were finally taken ashore, beaten black and blue, and deserted. Ellis and Moore, wounded and bleeding, found their way towards the city park, where they remained for a time, but were chased later in the night by the same cowardly crew who had committed the previous outrage. They ran about the city, followed by the "looters," and only after much trouble found shelter until the morning.

The Wounds Were Serious.

Both men have been badly injured, Ellis' nose being pounded out of shape. The wounds of one continued to bleed all night and late into today. The affair is one of the most disgraceful events that has ever occurred in the harbour, and every possible endeavor should be made to capture the offenders. For the sake of the city's good name $1,000 should be offered as a reward for the capture of them. The affair was undoubtedly carried out by Union men, as telegrams are said to have been sent here, asking that the Higgie's crew be "cleaned out." At this time the harbour is very full of American vessels, and it is believed that the assailants were from Toledo and Chicago vessels.

What President Crowley Says.

The President of the Seamen's Union was interviewed, and said that the Kingston Union was in no way responsible for the outrage. He was unaware of the occurrence until this morning. So far as the Kingston sailors are concerned they have been all at work, and have not been required "to pull any vessel." He had neither received nor heard of telegrams being sent from western ports, urging an attack on the Higgie's crew.

The fact that the men declared that they "wanted to have a matinee," goes to show that they were familar with such things. People may imagine we are attempting to condone Kingstonians, but we are not. If they were implicated in the affair we would be glad to see them punished. They richly deserve it, whoever they are.

Why The Police Were Absent.

Judge Price learned yesterday that an attack upon the non-union men was contemplated, and directed that two police officers be detailed for service on the arrival of the vessel at the dock. When she anchored out in the stream the police could not see what service they could render, and reported at the police station. They thought the schooner was safe, lying out in the stream, and so, it appears, did the captain, else he would not have let the mates and two of the crew go ashore, taking with them the vessel's boat. The attack appears to have been carefully planned and circumstances favoured those engaged in it.

Interviewing One Of The Men.

This afternoon our reporter saw one of the abused men, who, substantially, made the following statement: "Before we left Chicago we saw symptoms of trouble, several suspicious characters hanging about the docks and eyeing us angrily. On one occasion my chum and I were about to go ashore for provisions, but the Captain afterwards bade us remain on the vessel as he did not like the look of the loafers. The telegram must have been sent by these to men on vessels in the harbour requesting them to "pull the Higgie." The statement is correct that the roughs hauled us out of the store room of the vessel, tied our hands, carried us off in a small boat, and afterwards shamefully maltreated us. We were dragged in and then shoved under the water, and beaten with sticks. There were muttered threats to drown us, and they would probably have done this but for the near presence of a yacht on which were a number of persons. Ellis is seriously injured, more so than I am. His hands are terribly swollen and he is internally injured. When taken into the small boat he was crushed under the seat, and one of the assailants jumped upon him. He consulted a physician this afternoon. The assault and ill treatment of us occurred along the harbour front, west end. When we were put ashore we were chased, first to the Park, afterwards up town, securing lodgement and protection finally in a house, the location of which it would be well, for prudential reasons, to suppress for the present.

Officers Hinde and Nesbitt are now guarding the vessel.

Arrest Of The Ringleaders.

The assaulted sailors and the Captain today gave the names of the supposed leaders of the gang, and swore out a warrant against them. They are: John Cassidy, of Howe Island; David Griffith, a salt water sailor, only one season on the lake; and __ Roach, of St. Catharines.

Policeman Nesbitt spied out Roach on the schr. America in the forenoon, and soon after was given the warrant. In company with policeman Thompson he sallied out and found that Roach had taken to his heels in order to escape from the city. They caught him at Queen Street, heading for the Grand Trunk Depot. Soon after bringing him in they arrested Griffith at Saunders' Inn on Ontario Street, and found Cassidy at the Griffin House corner. The prisoners were fully identified at the Police Station by the Captain and the two injured men as those who tied the latter and threw them overboard.

One of the sailors maltreated was so injured as to be forced to seek hospital treatment today.

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Date of Original:
Aug. 2, 1882
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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. 2, 1882