The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Oct. 4, 1882

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[London Telegraph]

The unhappy steamer Asia, which foundered on Thursday last with one hundred souls, or thereabouts, on board, is but one of a long list of vessels which have met their fate in the same troubled waters. There are many in this country who remember the disaster which overtook the steamer Lady Elgin, when she came into collision with the schr. Augusta upon Lake Michigan in Sept. 1860, and sank in a few minutes. Three hundred and eighty-five persons were on board the Lady Elgin upon the fatal night, out of whom no less than 287 were lost, among them included Mr. Herbert Ingram, M.P., the founder of the Illustrated London News, and his son. In the hot nights of the American summer and early autumn nothing is more common than for Americans, and especially for the young of both sexes, to make a trip upon one of the lake steamers from Chicago or Milwaukee, or Sheboygan to Sault Ste. Marie, whence they return in another steamer to their homes. Upon the occasion of the loss of the Lady Elgin there had been dancing and merry making of all kinds on the evening before the disaster, which was little anticipated by the young and thoughless passengers on board. A heavy thunderstorm, unaccompanied by a strong wind, was raging when the two vessels came into violent contact with each other, and the Lady Elgin sank so quickly that there was only time to lower a couple of her boats. The land was not far distant, and those who were saved floated to the beach supported by planks or hencoops, or whatever they could catch hold of in the water.

When Mr. Ingram's body was washed ashore it was not yet cold. Many catastrophes of a like kind have occurred to teach American families what the perils of lake navigation are by reason of friends or relatives whom they have lost. Yet the recklessness with which many steamers and schooners, ill found in every respect, put forth from lake ports is characteristic of the American proneness to run risks without stopping to count the consequences. In point of fact there is not much which should tempt English travellers in the United States to make their way by the lakes when westward bound. The voyage is long and tedious, and the scenery of the edge of these vast sheets of water is uninteresting in the extreme. In hot weather some of the lake steamers are infested with insects which banish sleep, and the table is that of the inferior Western hotel type most unattractive to a refined European taste. For commercial purpose the value of the great lakes is absolutely incalculable. Strangers upon pleasure bent, however, should not trust their lives in the frail vessels which ply upon these magnificent but dangerous waters.

p.2 Temperance on Garden Island -

Recovery of Bodies - from Asia - Owen Sound, Oct. 4th - The str. Africa arrived here this morning from Sault Ste. Marie. She brought down the body of William Henry, lost off the str. Asia. The body was forwarded this a.m. in charge of Mr. Abrey of Manitowaning to his friends in Toronto. The body of the young boy Duncan, of Hamilton, was also found and buried at Manitowaning.


The freight from Toledo to Ogdensburg is 5 cents.

The tug Active and barges Gaskin and Glenora have gone into ordinary.

The schr. Wm. Elgin is loading 11,000 bush. barley at Eilbeck's elevator for Oswego.

The schr. Louise, from Port Huron, has arrived at Garden Island with 4,379 pipe and 5,519 West India staves.

The steamer Prince Arthur will lay up at A. Gunn & Co.'s wharf, and so probably will the steamer Rothesay.

The schr. Acacia, from Toronto, 12,000 bushels of wheat, is the only arrival for the Montreal Transportation Company.

The schr. Maggie Muir, now in the harbour, has been chartered to carry coal from Oswego to Chicago at $1.20 per ton - a fair rate.

The tug Conqueror left for Fairhaven last evening with two barges of the St. Lawrence and Chicago Forwarding Company. They load coal for Montreal.

The schr. Annie M. Foster is loading 5,800 bushels of barley at Richardson's wharf. This will be the second cargo shipped by the firm since the fire, and the third for the season. A fourth cargo was destroyed by the conflagration.

When a certain forwarding company is repainting its floating stock it is to be hoped the following notice will be covered and the evidence of bad spelling and poor grammar wiped out: "The party's working in connection with the elevator is not allowed to leave the Company's primises while the elevator is in service."

p.3 Work On The Shoal - The gang operating under direction of Capt. Paul, have already removed considerable stone off Point Frederick shoal, including flags seven, eight and nine inches thick, and several feet wide and long. Various propeller blades have also been picked up. Many has been the wheel broken during the past few years.

Whats The News? - Frenchmen, who were engaged in raising timber in the harbor, recovered a heavy anchor lost above bridge.

Deseronto Notes - The Ball Electric Light Co., of London, Ont., have removed the electric light to London. The agent left here last Monday by early morning train, under contract to have the same machine running in connection with the exhibition there that same evening. (the same type of electric generator that was found on sunken dredge Munson - note connection below - ed.)

The tug A.E. Munson has gone on the Marine Railway for repairs.

During the quarter ending Sept. 30th, 125 cargoes of lumber and other goods were shipped to American ports.

Police Court - Commotion On A Vessel - drunk sailor boards schooner Annie M. Foster.

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Oct. 4, 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.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), Oct. 4, 1882