The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), April 1, 1887

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Though navigation is not expected to open on Lake Ontario for some time the crafts - steam, sail and tows - are being put into shape. The prospects for trade are good. Last year about 8,000,000 bushels of grain were transhipped at this port, and as much, if not more of it, will be handled this season, the government having, in regard to canal tolls, granted similar concessions to those of last year. It is expected that large quantities of timber will also come this way. Of freights there will be considerable to carry. The iron ore, coal and stone to be carried will induce many vessels to trade with Kingston. Sailors' wages, at the opening, will not be more than $1.25 per day. Captains will be paid from $65 to $100 per month, and mates from $45 to $75 per month.

Work Along The Harbour.

Breck & Booth's wharf - The schr. Jessie Breck, owned by Breck & Booth, has been repainted. She has received a new mizzen topmast, quarters, hatches and hatch-combings. Her improvements will cost in the neighborhood of $1,000. The Breck will be commanded by Capt. E.A. Booth.

Davidson & Doran's - The prop. Myles is being lifted, and when Calvin's powerful pump gets to work she will empty suddenly. Divers will patch the damaged sides, and when navigation opens she will proceed to Port Dalhousie for dockage. In the meantime R. Davis will do considerable joiner work upon her. More than $6,000 have been expended in raising her. In the foundry (Davidson & Doran's) three boilers have been built for western crafts; one for a Cornwall boat and a boiler and engine for a boat at R. Davis' ship yard. Lying at this wharf is the schooner Annandale, laden with coal for Toronto. Her captain has not yet been appointed.

Locomotive works wharf - The company is preparing to build a steam yacht, 60 ft. over all and 10 ft. beam. She will be propelled by a compound steam engine and probably make fourteen miles an hour.

Gunn's wharf - In one slip lies the steamers Khartoum and Princess Louise, so far this season untouched, and the sloop Cora W. Post, owned by Ira Folger, has been getting some internal repairs. The schr. Singapore, to be commanded by Capt. Simmons, will be taken to Portsmouth for overhauling as soon as the ice leaves. The schr. W.R. Taylor (officered by Capt. James Dix) is having a new ceiling and knees, and will be recaulked and painted. A new fore-boom will also be shipped.

Swift's wharf - The schr. Emma (Capt. Fox, of Port Hope); B.W. Folger (Capt. Dandy), and Annie Falconer are as they went into ordinary. The steamer McArthur is being raised twelve inches forward and eighteen inches aft. She will have new deck frames, covering boards, stanchions, rails, etc, and be used for wrecking purposes. Mr. Leslie, the owner, is getting for her one of the largest centrifugal pumps in America, one that will lift 6,000 to 8,000 tons of water per hour, and be driven by the steamer's engine. A steam windlass, capable of breaking a three inch chain, will also be placed on board. The repairs and additional outfit will cost $6,000. Capt. J.A. Macdonald will command, with Ozee Lantier as mate and Gilbert Johnson as first engineer.

K. & P. R.R. wharf - The schrs. Grantham (Capt. Thomas Donnelly) and Oliver Mowat (Capt. Saunders), are being put in first class condition.

Richardson's wharf - The schr. Herbert Dudley is being painted and generally repaired. Capt. Joseph Parsons will again walk the decks.

Eilbeck's wharf - The prop. Scotia (Commodore Fraser) is being repainted. Her consorts, the barges Gaskin, Southampton, and Oriental, are also being overhauled and put in first class shape. The schrs. Philo Bennett (Capt. Courson) and Craftsman (Capt. Daniel Bates), owned by Capt. W. Lewis, will be repainted and generally repaired. The schr. Annie Foster (Capt. James Kennedy) is now receiving careful attention as to repairs. The schr. Julia is untouched. Capt. Hartnett will, however, have her repainted. The schr. White Oak is being put in tip-top condition. If there is anything that Capt. Dix admires it is a gaudy boat. Her frames, uncovered to put on new planking, have been found as good as when they were placed in the boat twenty years ago.

In Cataraqui Bay - The schr. Elgin, formerly owned by Folger Bros., now held by a Brighton firm, has been overhauled. The schr. Pride of America has not yet been touched, but will be generally overhauled.

Anglin's yard - The tug Eleanor is on the stocks. Six men have been employed during the winter in rebuilding her. She has been widened two feet and given new cabin, decks and outsides. Her machinery has been thoroughly overhauled. The cost of her improvements will reach $1,000. She is owned by Capt. C. Williams, who will command her. She will be engaged in the lumber carrying trade between Ottawa and Oswego. The tug Lily has also received some general repairs. Her cabins have been enlarged, and she has got a new steel boiler, made for her by the locomotive works company. The steamer Rideau Belle, (Captain Noonan) has also been repaired. More room has been made on her bow deck, and she has been supplied with a new wheel house.

Work At Davis' Shipyard.

On the premises of Mr. Davis nineteen men have been employed under Foreman A. Turcott.

A steamboat is being built for Carrington Bros., Brockville. Her dimensions are: Length, 100 ft.; beam, 20 ft.; hold, 7 ft. She will be propelled by a forty horse-power engine, cylinder 14 x 14 inches, and her speed is calculated at 14 miles an hour. Her boiler and engine are now being built by Davidson & Doran. The steamer will be able to carry 348 passengers, and be employed in the excursion business between Brockville and St. Lawrence Park. Her wood above water is of white oak; under water it is of rock elm.

The keel of a steamer for A.E. Smith, of Lockport, N.Y., is being laid. Its dimensions are: Length, 55 ft.; beam, 10 ft.; depth of hold, 4 ft. The hull will be of white oak. The steamer will carry a steel boiler and have an engine whose cylinder will be 8 x 8 inches. She will run on Joseph Lake, Muskoka district, in connection with Mr. Fraser's hotel, situated at Port Cockburn. Her carrying capacity will be twenty-five passengers. She will have cabins forward and aft, cook, wash and other rooms, and be richly furnished. Her speed will be ten miles an hour. According to the contract she must be delivered at Gravenhurst ready for service on July 5th.

A yacht, to carry a coal oil engine, is under construction for a gentleman living at Cornwall. Her dimensions are: Length, 35 ft.; beam, 7 ft.; hold, 3 ft.; power, ten horse. She will be fitted up perfectly and have a speed of ten miles an hour. She promises to be a pretty craft.

The yacht St. Julian, of Gananoque, is ready for service. She has been lengthened fifteen feet and provided with a new cabin.

Another yacht (to be propelled by a coal oil engine) has been constructed for Dr. Alguire, of Cornwall. Her power will be four horse, and her speed nine miles an hour. Her dimensions are: Length, 30 ft.; beam, 6 ft.; hold, 2 ft. 6 in. She will be fully equipped with cushions, carpets, anchors, lines, flags, etc.

Kingston & Montreal Forwarding Company.

This company owns a large fleet of boats and expends every year a deal of money upon them. Paul Reid, a capable man, is superintendent of the ship-work. The following barges are being overhauled, replanked, repainted and generally repaired: Jett, Lark, Beauport, Syren, William, Huron, Dakota, Iroquois, Minnie, Alice Pacey, Virginia, Anna, Ox, Alabama, Elm and Bismarck. The barges Hyderabad and Bangalore are receiving general repairs. They will not be re-converted into schooners as report had it. Elevator Simpson has been hauled out and will be rebuilt. She will have new timbers, and her engine and boilers will be overhauled. The engine and machinery of the elevator Sparrow will also receive careful attention. On the stocks of the company is the steamer Marquis of Lorne which is receiving extensive repairs. Mr. Towers has charge of the painting of the boats, and the work is being well done.

Captain Buck, one of the employees of the company, while working in the hold of the barge Lark was struck on the head by a piece of timber on Friday and has not since been able to work.

The business will be under the management of Messrs. J. Stewart, agent, and E.G. Graves, book-keeper. Mr. Stewart spares no pains to see that everything is done systematically.

The steamer Conqueror, owned by Mr. Ross, of Quebec, is in one of the slips. Mr. Reid will be glad when she is removed, for she is at present in his way.

The M.T. Company's Outfit.

For the M.T. Co., a new and powerful tug, the James A. Walker, has been built at a cost of $3,000. Another barge, with a capacity for 40,000 bushels, is on the ways. Both the barge and tug have steel keelsons and steel braces. The barges Europa, Dorchester, Acadia, Dalhousie and Winona have undergone repairs, and the company is considering the advisability of building a steam vessel with a capacity for 60,000 bushels. In the lake service they have six boats, the towers being the Glengarry (steam barge), David G. Thomson and Active. Capt. James McMaugh will command the Glengarry, and Capt. James Murray the Thomson. For the river the tugs Bronson, Glide and Jessie Hall will again do duty. They will be commanded by Capts. James Murray, Charles Martin and James Martin, and tow a fleet of some twenty-seven barges.

The River Steamers.

Improvements upon the St. Lawrence River Steamboat company's property have been chiefly confined to the str. John Thorn, which by-the-way will be renamed. Her joiner work (the addition of a new pilot house and the remodelling of her cabin and main deck after the style of those of the steamer St. Lawrence) was made at Clayton as the Thorn is an American bottom. As soon as the river is navigable the steamer will be docked at Ogdensburg and receive a steel keelson, which is now on the way here from Belgium, and she will have her engine frames newly braced. Capt. Andrew Miller will again command her, and have John A. Udell, of Albany, as engineer. The fine steamers St. Lawrence and Maud will be renewed in colour and renovated internally. The officers of the str. St. Lawrence will be: Capt. M.D. Estes; engineer, John Dickson. The officers of the str. Maud will be: Capt. Hinckley; engineer, W. Derry. The str. Pierrepont will be commanded by Capt. James Allen, with James Gillies again as engineer. The str. Princess Louise will be in charge of Capt. Rothwell and engineer G. Heaslip.

At the Rathbun Company's Yard.

The steamer Resolute is having her cabin enlarged and improved, and, on her route, that from Deseronto to Oswego, she will be able to accommodate twenty-five passengers. The repairs to her will cost $3,000. She will be lighted by electricity. Capt. Gowan will command her, and Henry Thurston will act as first engineer. The steambarge Reliance is undergoing repairs, and a new cabin is being placed upon her. She will take the same route as the Resolute. Her officers are: Captain, John Bartley; engineer, G. Boyd. The steambarge Nile (Capt. Daly and Engineer J. Quigley) and her consorts, the Isis and Bedford, are being generally improved. The cost of the works upon these boats, outside of those on the Resolute, will be $2,000.

How Things Look At Portsmouth.

One of the liveliest places at present, in a marine sense, is Portsmouth. A visit to it was made yesterday afternoon by a Whig representative. He found at Mitchell's shipyard, and on the premises of the K. & M. F. Co., over 200 men busily employed. Nearly all of these reside in Portsmouth, and have been constantly in work during the winter.

Mitchell's shipyard has been rented by C.F. Gildersleeve and the M.T. Co., and three boats are on the stocks - the tug Bronson, the barge Acadia, and the steamer Hero. The barge and the tug belong to the M.T. Co. Twenty men, in charge of Geo. Menary, an efficient ship carpenter, have been operating upon the Hero, which has been thoroughly overhauled, and when finished will be as good as when she was first launched. More than half of the planks in her bottom have been replaced. She has also received new topsides, and the hurricane deck has been extended forward. On this deck the pilot house has been located, and a spacious awning will cover the open part of it. The engine and the boiler and machinery generally have been put in splendid order. The steamer will be a beauty after she is painted. The whole outfit will cost $2,000. She will be commanded by Nicholson and Bloomfield as first and second officers.

The steamers Bronson and the barge Acadia, are, for repairs, in the hands of twenty-five men, headed by Isaac Oliver, a skillful boat-builder. The barge is being completely rebuilt, and will be a very staunch craft. She is receiving new frames and side planking. She will not be ready for service before June 1st. Her improvements will cost $7,000. The tug Bronson will be as good as new when she is finished. She is getting a new bow and new cabin, and her machinery is being overhauled. Over $1,500 have been spent in improving her boiler. She will be ready for service at the opening of navigation. The improvements upon her will cost $3,000.

A Few Marine Notes.

Caulker's wages at this port range from $1.30 to $2.25 per day.

Capt. Saunders, Cape Vincent, who commands the schr. L.S. Hammond, is very sick.

The lake is clear of ice to Horseshoe Island.

Capt. S. Fraser's boats have been chartered to carry timber from Lake Superior to Collinsby.

The repairs to the Garden Island fleet have been of a general character. There are no vessels in ordinary at Collinsby.

R.H. Southgate, Alexandria Bay, has let Z.W. Bense a contract for a new steam yacht, to be forty-two feet long.

The dock labourers announce that they will not work for less than 25 cents per hour this summer. The rate last season was 20 cents.

The schr. Watertown, (Capt. E. Beaupre) is lying opposite the shipyard. She is receiving some slight repairs, and is in good condition.

The first vessel out of the Port Hope harbour this spring was the schr. Echo, Capt. Jack Breen, which, with a cargo of peas, sailed last night for Oswego.

The longshoremen have agreed to make a uniform rate of wages for the season. It will be 25 cents per hour. "This rate is made," said a worker, "so that dock owners and stevedores will know what wages they will have to pay and receive before making contracts. This will prevent ill-feeling between employer and employee in refusing to work for less than the figures quoted."

A Great Coal Depot - James Swift intends putting an automatic railway in his coal house. This railway will run to the side of the dock and with iron tubs coal vessels can be unloaded at the rate of 60 to 90 per hour. The warehouse has a capacity for 7,000 tons of coal.

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Date of Original:
April 1, 1887
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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), April 1, 1887