The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Sept. 1, 1883

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p.2 Division Court - Munson vs Cook, Jones and Innis - The defendants, contractors, engaged plaintiff to tow certain barges to Toronto. Plaintiff alleged that he kept his tug in readiness for 4 days, and that he eventually lost the job, the towing being done by the Montreal Transportation Company. Plaintiff got a verdict for $50 and costs.

Marine News - The tug McArthur has left for Lake Huron. She will tow down a raft to Collinsby.

The following vessels have arrived at the M.T. Co.'s wharf: schr. Ada Medora, Chicago, 20,113 bush. corn; schr. Kate Kelly, Chicago, 19,135 bush. wheat; schr. Bolivia, Chicago, 24,810 bush. corn; schr. Samana, Chicago, 19,202 bush. corn.



Since the accident to her pumping apparatus on Wednesday the wrecking steamer Watertown has been lying at Brockville. It seems that after the accident Capt. Tom Donnelly, in charge, was ready to again commence work, but Capt. McLeod, of the American Board of Underwriters, says the Recorder, did not care to have operations resumed without first knowing something of the cost of them. He proposed that the wrecking people name a certain sum for raising the vessel and placing her either on the Kingston or Ogdensburg drydock. Capt. Donnelly did not feel in a position to make such an offer without consulting his father, Capt. John Donnelly, at work on the lower coast. He was expected to arrive yesterday. The Prussia, Capt. McLeod says, has an insurance of $16,000 on her hull in the Boston Marine, while her cargo of 10,000 bush. of wheat is insured in the Chicago pool for its full value, $1.05 or $1.10 per bush.


Divers At Work On The Shoal.

Last night one of the divers at work on the shoals was encountered, and in reply to the question, "How are things progressing on the Shoals?" gave an idea of accomplishments so far. Some fourteen men are employed, and of these four are divers - Alex. Mackenzie, James Coulson, John Siddons and Chas. Oliver. They operate a pair at a time - two in the forenoon and two in the afternoon. Those on the scows look after those in the water. The divers can work about two and a half hours at a stretch. They are very heavily loaded down, but require this clothing to prevent them from "bobbing up serenely." Each man has about 150 lbs. weight to carry beneath the water. Each pair of shoes weighs 38 lbs.

"Do you find it hot work?" queried the reporter.

"Yes, it is sometimes very close, especially when it is hot on terra firma. The air comes to us in a heated state and makes us perspire quite freely."

Condition Of The Shoal.

"In what state do you find the shoal?"

"It is a limestone bottom. We have worked around it and are now crossing the western end. We first removed the loose stones (this was done last season), but we are now engaged in quarring. The layers are about a foot in thickness. We quarry with the usual crowbars. The stone is very fine and comes off in great blocks. Some weighing four tons have been taken to the surface. Owing to the buoyancy of the water we can lift these stones out of their beds as easily as many men together can lift them above. The big stones are drawn up by chains and a derrick. The stones of smaller weight, say from 20 to 150 lbs. each, are drawn up in a basket."

"Is the shoal much cut up?"

"Yes, a good deal. I often come across the marks made by schooners scraping over them. The vessels' keels usually leave deep ridges. Then we see where anchors have dragged, as they have torn up the stones considerably. We have taken out an immense quantity of rock, but we have done no blasting yet. When we do you may look out for fish."

Curiosities - Friendly Black Bass.

"Do you find many curiosities?"

"Occasionally. We often come across stones that have been beautifully polished. A few days ago Mr. Siddons found a gun that must have been in the water many years. Mr. Coulson found an axe as I have never seen. I guess it was made in the year one. We pick up now and then wrenches, iron from vessels, and articles of that kind."

"Are there any fish?"

"Yes, but the black bass are the most friendly. They swim round and about us all the while we are at work. Peering through our pier-glass (sic) windows we often see them pass quite close, and they look like little whales. When we lift a stone from its bed the bass make a dive underneath it and secure the crawfish and other smaller members of the finny tribe. I don't like the lizards, and there are hundreds of them over on the shoals. When one puts the chain under a stone and his hand comes in contact with the lizards he feels a peculiar sensation. They are as cold as ice."

The First Experience.

"Have you long been a diver?"

"Yes, and my early experiences are somewhat memorable. When I first went down the air from the pumps made a peculiar noise about my head, and I thought that knives were piercing my ears. The sensation differs with different people. Some are affected one way and some another. Some men put batting in their ears to dull this hissing sound, but the remedy is not very good. As divers become accustomed to their work they can stay beneath the water for very long periods. The business is unhealthy, however, and not as enjoyable as some imagine."


Stations At Wellington and Poplar Point.

Now that the season of stormy gales is at hand it is gratifying to know that sailors wrecked upon the coast of Prince Edward may be saved. Many precious lives have been lost there and the homes of Kingstonians bereaved, simply because there was no life-saving apparatus with which to reach them. The Government became cognizant of the necessity of well-equipped life stations at the dangerous points on this lake, and so two stations have been established - one at Wellington, another at Poplar Point. The site at Wellington has been selected, and a suitable boat house, launching and loading ways will be constructed at a cost of $500. At Poplar Point the necessary outfit can be had for $200. Recently

The Stations Were Visited

by the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and the Minister of Customs, when Capt. Hugh McCullough, head of the Wellington station, gave an exhibition. The Ministers were taken on board what is said by many to be the best life boat on the continent and rowed about while the sea ran high. The Minister of Marine asked that the life-boat be capsized and the crew pulled a quarter of a mile lakeward. The boat was overturned several times, and she righted almost instantly, cleared of water. It is hoped that when a shipwreck occurs the crews will be speedily rescued. P.D. Dobbins, of Buffalo, N.Y., Superintendent of the U.S. Life Saving District, has

Given The Men Instructions,

and in writing to the Department at Ottawa, he says:

"I heartily approve of Wellington for your life-boat station, as it is most central on the main road between Weller's Bay on the west, and Salmon Point on the east, two of the most dangerous points for shipping."

He approved of Poplar Point site, adding: "It will readily supply wrecks at and about the dangerous shoals off Poplar Point, South Bay Point, the Three Brothers' Islands, Timber Island, and False Ducks, on the east, and from Poplar Point to Salmon Point, on the west. With the remarkably good material you have at these two life-saving stations for making life-savers, aided by a liberal policy of compensation, and the necessary beach and mortar apparatus, you may look forward to the record of many saved and none lost."

Here & There - The Montreal Star calls for an investigation touching the sinking of the propeller Prussia. It implies that the piloting has been inefficient, but the pilot is pronounced a skilled and experienced man.

The yachts Iolanthe and Cygnet, of Belleville, have gone to Cobourg and will sail in the regatta next week. The Garfield is mentioned as a probable competitor, her leak having been stopped.

A Direct Challenge - Iolanthe of Belleville to Laura of Kingston.

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Sept. 1, 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), Sept. 1, 1883