The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Jan. 29, 1889

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A Review Of Work At The Deseronto Shipyards.

Deseronto, Jan. 28th - What a host of vessels have been owned or built here. The first vessel owned and engaged in the lumber trade by the Rathbun company was the Cincinnati, commanded by Captain Thomas Beggs. She was rebuilt and launched on April 18th, 1865, the first act in the history of the present shipyard, then under the supervision of John Tait. Mr. Tait was a native of Amherst Island, where his father in the early days kept a shipyard and built a great many of the older craft. The schooner was called after the late H.B. Rathbun. In 1865 the schr. Champion was built. In July 1866, a keel was laid for a new schooner and in the following September she was launched and called the E.W. Rathbun. She was engaged in the lumber trade and commanded by Capt. John Bartley until sold to Clarkson & Hagerty, Toronto. In 1866 the schr. Union Jack was built and sold to S. Phippen, of Belleville, and the schr. Olivia was also rebuilt. In 1867 W. Yeomans was engaged as master shipbuilder. He was from Quebec. His first works were the modelling and drafting of the schr. E.G. Benedict, the laying of a small set of marine ways, and the wrecking of the schr. Mary Ann which went ashore opposite Telegraph Island. In 1867 the frame of the schr. Benedict was got out at Scantlin's shanty in Hinchinbrooke and drawn to the shipyard by teams. In 1868 the keel was laid, but she was not launched until August 1869.

Previous to this date the steamer Bay of Quinte ran into the steamer John Greeway cutting her almost in two. She was raised and repaired at the shipyard. In 1868 the present marine railway was built with the intention of docking larger crafts, and the first taken on was the barge Valorous belonging to Page & Co., Oswego, which was rebuilt. In 1869 the keel of the steamer Picton was laid and work proceeded through that winter and spring. In July, 1870, the barque George Thurston was taken off the beach at Nicholson's Island by the Rathbuns and taken to Deseronto, repaired and started to sea in the timber trade from Saginaw. Previous to this the schr. Babineau & Gaudry was rebuilt. She had been wrecked on the Island of Anticosti and bought by the Provincial Insurance company, who brought her to Deseronto where she was fitted up as a lake schooner and sold to Capt. W. Patterson, Wellington. She is yet afloat. In 1870 the schr. Caledonia, owned by Shaver & Bell, was rebuilt and launched, and the same fall also the steamer Picton. In October 1870, Mr. Yeoman's died. In November, 1870, W. Jamieson entered upon the duties of master shipbuilder. Among his first deeds were the rebuilding of the schr. Wm. Elgin, launched August, 1871, and the wrecking of the schr. Caledonia off the False Ducks. In 1872 the barge Tobias and Butler were built and launched. In 1873 the barge John Bentley was built for W. Hall, of Toronto. During 1872 the schr. Star was started and launched in 1873. Next came the schr. North Star, now known as the Flora Carveth, started in June and launched in September 1873. The tugs H.B. Sherwood, Bonar, and vessels J.G. Worts, Blanche and L.D. Bullock were started and launched in the summer of 1874; the Blanche and Bullock along with three other vessels that were being repaired were launched on the one day.

During 1875 the schrs. Ella Murton and Nellie Theresa were built. The keel of the steamer Empress of India was also laid for the late J. McCuaig and launched in June, 1876. The schr. Maggie Hunter was built to replace the schr. S. Clark. During 1877 the steamer Pilgrim was built, and also the schr. Katie Eccles. In 1878 the schr. W. Jamieson was built. She was the last new schooner built along the lakes, a depression in the carrying trade having taken place which has not ceased up to this date. In 1879 the steamer Deseronto was built. In May, 1880, Mr. Jamieson retired and Mr. W. Evans, the present energetic superintendent, took the position of ship-builder. He is a native of Kingston, and had served his apprenticeship under the former foreman, W. Yeomans. Among his first labors were the building of the tug Cherokee for the Georgian Bay lumbering company. In 1881 the steamer Reliance was built; in 1883 the steamer Resolute was built; in 1884 the steamer Ida. In 1885 the car works were added to the shipbuilding department, which necessitated more machinery and made a very material reduction in the cost of shipbuilding. From the above date various crafts have been rebuilt and repaired, and up to the present time a gang of shipwrights has been constantly kept working.

p.8 An Immense Dry Dock - Port Huron, Jan. 29th - The new dry dock of Dunford & Alverson is located a mile and a half below Port Huron on the St. Clair river, where the firm owns thirty-one acres. The dock will be 400 feet long and 80 ft. wide, with a depth over the mitre sill of 20 feet. It will easily accommodate the largest vessel on the lakes with a cargo on board.

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Jan. 29, 1889
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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), Jan. 29, 1889