The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), July 24, 1884

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p.2 Foot Of The Island - Hallidays - American tourists boarding; Princess Louise unloading at Halliday's wharf.

Startling Phenomenon - The schr. Westchester, which reached Chicago on Sunday, reports that on Friday evening balls of fire appeared for two hours on the end of the jibboom and on the topmasts, rapidly changing position, and causing a hissing noise. They were accompanied by several hundred seagulls, which seemed dazed by the phenomenon. "On Friday night," says Capt. Clark, "a little after midnight, I was startled to see a great ball of fire suddenly appear on the end of the jibboom. I knew, of course, that the jibboom was not on fire, and that if it was the fire could not very well take the form of a sphere. The crew were puzzled and alarmed. Five minutes later a stiff squall swept down upon us, lasting for half an hour. The ugly visitor disappeared during the wind, but the moment it abated appeared again in its same perch and quick as a flash similar balls appeared on the topmasts. They would come and go and change position, one time coming down to the partners. There was hissing noise like from an electric light. Another strange thing was the presence about us of so many sea gulls. They must have been attracted by the great lights. At all events there must have been several hundred of them, and they seemed suddenly tamed or else helpless. They would flop lazily right into the fiery balls and then drop into the water or on deck. We could have caught dozens of them but you know all sailors are superstitious concerning these gulls, and not one touched them. All this continued for about two hours. The man at the wheel had lashed it, and it was a good thing he did, for we had our wits about us. Suddenly another squall passed over, the four balls blended into one as quick as a flash, and disappeared to leeward. The birds must have gone with the fire. For a few minutes after the great glare we could see nothing. When our sight did return not a gull was on or about the vessel. I suppose they were only stunned when they fell on deck." These luminous balls were "St. Elmo's fire," which is nothing more or less than electricity. On the Atlantic ocean vessels and steamers are often visited by them, but the phenomenon has never before been known on the lakes.

p.3 The Conqueror In Difficulty - Another attachment has been made on the str. Conqueror by the Sheriff, this time by Capt. Donnelly. It is said that Mr. Ross made a contract with the captain to have her raised and put on Powers' ways, but the man who represents Mr. Ross undertook the work himself. This proceeding Capt. Donnelly protested against, and he has had the Conqueror seized for non-fulfillment of his agreement with Mr. Ross.

No Redress For Grieving Fishermen - "...The lesee of the Pigeon Island fishery, it seems, sells his fish at Cape Vincent, because there he finds a better price and more ready sale than at Kingston."


The barge Trent went into Davis' dry dock for repairs.

The prop. Cuba took in as fuel 20 tons of coal at Swift's wharf this morning.

The schrs. G.M. Neelon and Wilson left Garden Island last evening, light, for Toledo.

The schr. Wm. Elgin is on Fraser's dry dock. She will be recaulked and receive a general overhauling.

Arrivals at Swift's wharf - The str. Passport, from Montreal; Algerian, from Toronto; prop. Cuba, from Montreal, and str. Crusoe, from Smith's Falls.

Capt. Donnelly is getting ready to accept wrecking contracts. He has ordered a new steam pump from Boston. It is on the way and will be here in a few days.

Two barges, owned by the Kingston & Montreal Transportation Co., Portsmouth, have arrived in tow of the tug Hiram A. Calvin with 3,000 bags of salt for A. Gunn & Co., and 14 tons of pipe for the Royal Military College.

The steamers plying between Alexandria Bay and Kingston, and between Cape Vincent and Alexandria Bay, are crowded every day. The islands and pleasure resorts are fast becoming crowded.

The prop. Oneida has reached Buffalo and been docked for repairs. About 60 or 80 feet of her bottom including the keel, keelson and upper deck were forced by the pounding on the rocks. The cost of repairing her will be about $8,000.

Clayton people report that the str. St. Lawrence is running as steadily as possible. She condenses 80 lbs. of steam and makes the full distance between Clayton and Cape Vincent in 1 hour and 2 minutes without any trouble. The distance is over 16 miles.

A yacht club has been formed in Gananoque with the following officers: C.F. Britton, Commodore; James Moore, Vice-Commodore; Wm. Funnel, Captain; T.R. Brough, Secretary; C.L. Parmenter, Treasurer. Arrangements are being perfected for a grand regatta.

For the M.T. Co., the arrivals have been: schr. J.A. Meade, Chicago, 28,055 bush. wheat; schr. J. Bigler, Chicago, 22,000 bush. wheat; prop. Alma Munro, lightened 8,000 bush. wheat. Departures: tug Active and three barges, light, for Oswego.

Improvements In Weller's Bay - The Central Ontario Railway Company, owning 120 acres of land at Weller's Bay, have built a dock 1552 feet long and 32 feet wide, and here the vessels are loaded with ore for Cleveland. Pockets are now being erected capable of holding 200 tons of ore each, so that vessels can be loaded with the greatest rapidity. The water at the dock is from 13 to 14 feet in depth. The dock is two and a half miles from the open lake. A tug will do the towing of vessels in and out. The company intend to ship 10,000 tons of ore during this month, and 20,000 tons more on a contract for 100,000 tons.

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July 24, 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), July 24, 1884