The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), May 15, 1883

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p.2 ad - R. & O. Nav. Co. - Royal Mail Through Line - May 15th



A Kingston Raft Goes To Pieces - Narrow Escape Of The Crew.

Probably the most miraculous escape from death by drowning ever experienced by the hardiest voyageur, says the Montreal Star, took place Saturday morning at Lachine. It seems the tug boat John MacDonald had towed a valuable raft of timber from Chateauguay to the head of the Lachine Rapids with the intention of leaving it in the South channel. However, just as the raft had neared the channel in question the current, which here takes a sharp bend, swept it around with terrible velocity towards the more dangerous and rocky South Channel, whence escape is rarely made. The strain was so great that the hawser parted and the raft was dashed down the tortuous rapids at lightning speed. The men on board, 13 in number, assembled on the front of the raft perfectly powerless to save themselves from their imminent peril. They had not proceeded far, however, before a terrible shock was felt, the raft having struck a reef and parted in two pieces. The men still escaped unhurt and managed to raise a sail with the intention of steering the raft through the rocks, which arose on every side. The waves swept over the hardy raftsmen, threatening them with destruction every moment, and finally the whole number took refuge by climbing to the top of the mast. The raft struck a rock the second time, smashing it into fragments, and the men were precipitated into the water, but still held on to the mast for dear life. They had nearly reached the foot of the rapids by this time, and soon drifted out into still water. An Indian passing in a large boat, seeing their perilous condition, came to their assistance and rescued them in a half-drowned condition, several of the men having nearly succumbed from exposure to the icy water. The raft, which is of oak, is the property of Calvin & Son, of Garden Island, and is valued at $6,000.


The steam barge Indian and consorts left today for the upper lakes.

The steamers of the Royal Mail Line begin their tri-weekly trips tomorrow.

The steam yacht Lizzie was here this morning, being the first pleasure craft to arrive from Alexandria Bay.

The tug Jessie Hall clears this evening with seven barges, carrying 140,000 bushels of grain and 50 tons of sandstone.

The steamer John Harris, of Brockville, sank on Friday off Long Point. She was pumped out, repaired, and sent on her way to Bay City.

The cargoes discharged here yesterday were found to be very correct in quantity. If Chicago does the square thing there will be no grumbling here.

The Hamilton Times thinks that if Capt. Booth continues the season with the Jessie Breck as he has commenced it a long stocking will be required to contain his earnings.

The wind blowing up the lakes has kept back a fleet of vessels bound for Kingston. The M.T. Co. have a consignment of 250,000 bushels of grain somewhere on Lake Ontario.

The Ottawa Free Press speaks very highly of the steamer Gipsy, owned by James Swift. A fine piano was placed in the cabin while the steamer was at Ottawa.

Portsmouth Village Council - A letter was read from the Village Solicitor anent the lease which the St. Lawrence & Chicago Forwarding Company had of certain property. The Council instructed the Clerk to notify the Company that they (the Council) consider the lease null and void, the water privileges being open to any Company requiring them.

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May 15, 1883
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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), May 15, 1883