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

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p.2 Auction Sale - of str. D.C. West on 20th inst.



The steamer Maud, as soon as the weather moderates, will proceed to Sackett's Harbor and tow the disabled schooner Wm. Home to the city.

It was the schr. G.C. Finney that ran ashore on Ford's Shoals, near Oswego. The life saving crew picked up all the sailors. The Finney had been at anchor off Charlotte on Monday, but owing to the gale had to ship her cables.

The steamer Athenian, sister ship to the Abyssinian, which used to run on this lake and which was bought out by the Richelieu Company seven years ago, during the gale on Monday morning broke from her moorings at Sorel, was carried down stream as far as the Chenal qu Moine, struck a rock, filled and sank in ten feet of water.

The schr. White Oak arrived from Ogdensburg this morning light. Capt. Dix says he was not ashore at Consecon, that his vessel touched a mud bank, but that with a fresh wind he sailed through it. The White Oak has been chartered by the Richardsons to carry barley from Adolphustown to Oswego.


A Coal Barge Breaks Loose and Disappears.

Is She And Her Crew Lost?

This morning the tug D.G. Thomson arrived and the Captain reported that the barge Milwaukee and crew were missing and probably lost. The tug left Charlotte on Saturday night about ten o'clock for Kingston, her tow being composed of the barges Senator and Milwaukee, laden with coal, shipped by A.G. Gates and destined for Montreal. The tow had only been out on the lake for a couple of hours when it was found that a sea was making and that a fresh wind was rising from the west. Capt. Murray (of the Thompson) decided to steam back to Charlotte and wait for finer weather. On Sunday morning another start was made for Kingston, the tug running along the south shore until off Oswego and then crossing the lake. Off Gallops Island a squall struck the tow. The Milwaukee, last in the line, had her steering gear disabled, and becoming unmanageable she swung around into the trough of the sea,

Which Rolled Mountains High.

Presently the hawser snapped and close to the tow post upon the Senator. The tug was helpless because had she let the Senator go it would have been wrecked beyond a doubt. The Milwaukee, when the line parted, drifted quickly off in the direction of Gallops Island, but Captain Murray is under the impression that she did not reach there. She disappeared about 10:30 o'clock, and the Captain of the Senator, above the sighing of the wind, thinks he heard the agonizing wail, "We are sinking." The Milwaukee was commanded by Capt. C. Langevin, French, from Valleyfield, who has a wife and six children, the youngest being but a few days old. One of the crew was Mr. Adelir Fortin, who was in command of the barge upon his last trip across the lake during the time the Captain was detained at home in consequence of his wife's illness.

Possibilities of the Case.

In conversation with one of the representatives of the Montreal Transportation Co., to whom the barge belonged, he said he did not know the names of three of the crew, but that they were French, and, like the Captain, hailed from Valleyfield. He said that as soon as the weather moderated a tug would be sent out in search of the Milwaukee. She might be found at the Gallops Light, perhaps at Stony Point, below Sackett's Harbour, but he was not hopeful, and was inclined to think the craft and her crew were lost. The barge is a good one, standard, and is built of oak. She had a carrying capacity of 22,000 bushels, and was worth about $8,000 ($3,000 ?). It was not known if she was insured. The coal was valued at about $5,000.

Captain Murray says that when the Milwaukee broke away, and while anchored off the Main Ducks, the wind was western, pointing to the north. Both the Senator and the Thompson threw out their big anchors, and still they dragged. The tug had to carry a full head of steam in order to keep from drifting. The violence of the blow may therefore be imagined.


The Steamer Athabaska's Arrival.

There are at present tied at Swift's wharf the divided parts of the steamship Athabasca. These parts reached here during the night from Montreal. The steamer is en route to Buffalo, where it will be put together, along with two others, now on their way from Montreal. The ships are owned by the Canada Pacific Railway Company, and will run between Sturgeon River and Fort William while the C.P.R.R. is being built between these points. The distance is 360 miles. The vessel while in port will be inspected by many. They are all the same size, and are fully 2,000 tons burthen. They measure 270 feet in length by 38 feet in breadth of beam and 22 feet in depth of hold. They are propelled by compound engines of about 1,700 horse power indicated, the steam being generated in a couple of large steel boilers, designed for a working of 125 lbs. per square inch. David Rowan, engineer, Glasgow, took the whole contract, undertaking himself to supply the machinery. The building of the hulls of the vessels were sublet to Messrs. Aitken and Mansel and Messieurs Charles Connell & Co., Dundee, the first named firm contracting to supply two of them. The contract for the whole work was closed about the beginning of February, and the intention was to have two of the vessels ready to leave the Clyde by the end of July, and the third by the middle of the following month - certainly a

Very Smart Piece of Work.

The vessels were constructed each with seven water-tight bulk heads and when they arrived in Montreal were cut in two, so that they could ascend the St. Lawrence canals to the lakes. The mid or odd bulkhead will serve a temporary purpose, it will be taken out when the two halves of the vessels are put together again at Buffalo. When they are finally reconstructed and ready for service on the lakes next spring the vessels will doubtless prove to be a very remarkable feature in connection with the inland means of conveyance in the Dominion. They will be the largest steamers in use on Canadian lakes. They will be fitted with state rooms for about 240 first class passengers, and accommodation will be provided on the main deck for some 500 or 600 emigrants. The traffic up the lakes from Algoma to Thunder Bay will be passengers and general cargo going west, and eastward the vessels will chiefly carry wheat and flour. There are four large cargo holds, in which wheat in bulk may be stowed to the extent of well nigh 2,000 tons. As the vessels are intended to steam at the rate of 13 knots, or 15 statute miles per hour, the whole distance of 360 miles will be covered in about 24 hours.

A Popular Route

With these fine steamers on the route there is every prospect of the passage on Lake Superior becoming a very popular one. It is the desire of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company to have a steam fleet capable of giving a steady service from each end of the lake route every day. Even after the railway is finished round Lake Superior many persons may prefer the lake route, and in that case the steamers may become a permanent "institution." The executive officers of the railway company made a happy choice in Henry Beatty, under whose personal supervision the vessels have been constructed. The fact that he was formerly manager of a line of steamers running in connection with the Grand Trunk Railway between Sarnia, at the southern extremity of Lake Huron and Thunder Bay, and Duluth, is a demonstration of this fact.

The Trip From Montreal.

The voyage from Montreal has been under the superintendence of Capt. John Donnelly, who has been most fortunate in his handling of the vessels. The passage through the canals required great care owing to the pontoons, which buoyed up the stern, being very frail. Much trouble was caused by the third pontoon of the Athabasca, which had to be removed at every lock to admit of the steamer being locked through. A great deal of time was thus lost in taking off and replacing this pontoon. The steamer Hastings, assisted by the tug Mixer, canalled the Athabasca. In the Edwardsburg Canal the Algoma's bow was taken through by the Bronson and the stern by the Hiram A. Calvin and Jessie Hall. When the river was reached the Jessie Hall, Bronson, Hastings and Hiram Calvin towed the parts of the Algoma and Athabasca to Prescott. The latter was then towed to Kingston by the steamers Hastings and Calvin and tug Edsall. Prescott was left yesterday at 11 o'clock, the wind

Blowing Strong From the West.

Kingston was reached at 5 o'clock this morning. From Dickenson's Landing to Matilda the crafts were assisted by the tug Ontario. Capt. Murphy, who, owing to his knowledge of the currents, rendered good service in steering. The trip through the islands was made without trouble as Capt. Donnelly was on the deck of the Hastings. The chief pilots in the rapids were Capts. Sughrue, McGlade, and Murray. Capt. Murphy steered the ships through the heavy currents.

Returning For the Alberta.

The tugs Jessie Hall and Bronson have gone back to assist the tugs Ontario, Traveller, Georgia and Maysmith in bringing the Alberta through the canal. The steamers Hastings, Edsall, Active and D.G. Thompson will, as soon as the weather permits, start with the Athabasca for Port Dalhousie. The steamers will then return and take the parts of the other steamers west.

A Very Handsome Craft

The craft now in port is the finest that has ever been seen here. She is built entirely of iron so that there is no danger from fire. After the vessels have been repaired at Buffalo they will go to a Canadian port, be fitted with cabins and otherwise made suitable for the trade in which they will be engaged. Capt. Donnelly has every hope of completing his contract this fall.

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Nov. 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), Nov. 15, 1883