The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Feb. 6, 1884

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Last Saturday we referred to the loss of the str. Ontario in 1780 as the first vessel known to have been wrecked on Lake Ontario. We have since learned that the schr. Ontario was built and equipped for war purposes, and carried 22 guns. She was, therefore, a vessel of considerable importance at that time, and was employed to carry troops and provisions from place to place along the lake to Carleton Island and Niagara. She was commanded by Commodore James Andrews, who was also the first Commissioner of the Navy Yard at Carleton Island. Some authorities assert that she was lost in 1783, but Col. John Clark, Mr. Sheehan (a descendent of Capt. Andrews) and others agree with Mr. Goring in giving 1780 as the date of the catastrophe. At the time the str. Ontario was proceeding from Niagara to Oswego with a detachment of the King's Own Regiment on board. The officer in command is said to have been Col. Burton. The storm arose in the night and the str. Ontario disappeared with all on board. This melancholy event produced a lasting effect upon the minds of the people of Canada, and was discussed with much interest for many years afterwards.

Soon after the settlement of Kingston by the Loyalists the Government established shipyards at Murney's Point and Navy Point. Among the first vessels built at these places was the schr. Speedy. She was originally intended for a gunboat, carrying about 12 guns, but after a short service in this capacity was converted into a Merchantman. On the 7th Oct., 1807, several distinguished persons, including Solicitor General Gray, Mr. Cochrane and Mr. Angus McLeod, embarked on the schr. Speedy at York for Newcastle to attend a session of the Assizes. On the evening of the 8th Oct., the vessel was seen near her destination. A storm arose and the Speedy with her living freight disappeared beneath the waves of Lake Ontario, and only a few pieces of the wreck were afterwards seen. Captain Paxton was in command of the vessel when lost, and upwards of 20 passengers were on board. Col. John Clark, of Dalhousie, writing some time ago, said: "I recollect the loss of the schr. Speedy. Solicitor General Gray was a noble character, noted for his sympathy for abolishing slavery."

p.3 West End Village - Peter Mitchell's shipyard is a lively spot. Two or three barges are undergoing repairs.

The Kingston & Montreal Forwarding Company employ a large number of men in the repairing and rebuilding of their barges. They occupy the property lately in the possession of the Montreal Transportation Company, and expect next season to do a large shipping business.

Here & There - Capt. Fraser is making extensive repairs to the steambarge Indian and consorts. He will expend about $3,000 on them.

The Ship Relic Demolished - Mr. Stearne of Sackett's Harbor is in the city. He reports that the warship of 1812-14, the Orleans, is now being demolished and removed. Part of the timber has been sold for fire purposes. The more valuable part of the cedar is preserved. It is worth $40 a cord. The iron will bring good figures. A Syracuse gentleman paid $400 for the vessel, and he will probably realize $4,000 by the transaction.

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Feb. 6, 1884
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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), Feb. 6, 1884