The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), July 14, 1890

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p.1 Kingston Wants a Lift - Board of Trade request for elevator discussed. [Montreal Witness]


The yacht Ariadne, owned by Donnelly Bros., is being fitted out.

The schr. E. White cleared with lumber for Oswego, freight 85 cents.

The steam barge Tilley and tow arrived today from Chicago with corn.

The schr. Acacia, from Big Sodus, is discharging 400 tons of coal at the Kingston Penitentiary.

The str. Ocean, from St. Catharines, called at Swifts wharf yesterday on her way to Montreal. Her passenger list was extensive.

The str. Norseman arrived yesterday morning from Charlotte and took a large crowd down the river. This was the Norseman's first trip this season.

A palace steamer will be built next fall and placed on the route now run by the New Island Wanderer. The steamer will be a screw propeller 150 feet long, and her cost will be about $50,000. It was stated on the river that Folger Bros., Kingston, intend to build a twenty mile steamer before the opening of next season.

Shortly after the Armstrong was got in floating position, which is now some weeks past, attempts were made to raise the spiles by means of hydraulic jacks. All except four of the sixteen were successfully raised, and these were found to be in so solid that the jacks availed nothing and as a last resort dynamite came to the rescue and did the work.

General Paragraphs - The work of pumping water out of the str. Tioga, Chicago, is being continued today. One more body was rescued today, that of a colored laborer, making twenty-one so far known to have perished.

A Fine Racing Yacht - Yama for Oswego, 50 feet long; keel is single piece of lead weighing 19,000 pounds.



Another Explosion Settles The Vessel's Fate.

Chicago, July 12th - Tonight another terrific explosion occurred on the big freight steamer Tioga that was wrecked last evening by an unexplained concussion in the hold. Fire again broke out, and for a few minutes it seemed as if the huge vessel and a cargo worth $250,000 was doomed. The timely presence of fire engines, however, soon put a different face on matters, and the fire in a short interval, though still raging fiercely, was well under control. Unlike last evening's explosion, tonight's produced no loss of life, and only two persons were injured. The second disaster puts out of the question all attempts to learn to a certainty the number of victims in the first explosion.

Up to nightfall 13 burned and mangled corpses had been taken from the fatal hold and one of the wounded in the county hospital had died. Conservative estimates put the probable fatalities at a total of least 20. What caused the explosion so late tonight is still a disputed question. One theory was that a new supply of explosive vapor had gathered in the hold. Capt. Phelps, in command of the vessel, expressed the opinion, however, that something else besides oil or its gases was in the hold, but what he would not venture to say.

This afternoon a coroner's jury was impaneled, which, after viewing the wreck, adjourned until next Thursday. James Burke, chief engineer of the Home Insurance building, is foreman of the jury. The other members are mostly commercial travellers.

This was Capt. Phelps' first trip on the vessel, and there are rumors that all was not pleasant among his subordinates and crew. There is vague talk of spite work cutting a figure in the terrible affair, but such gossip seemed impossible of verification.

The two men injured tonight were two of the wrecking crew, Hans Christianson and Thomas Johnson. They went below with a lantern to look at a suction pipe which had become clogged. Both men were taken out alive, but seriously burned and bruised.

The List of Dead Growing.

Chicago, July 13th - During the fire on the wrecked steamer Tioga last night flames got into the forward part of the hold and before they were finally quenched the flood of water poured in from the engines had sunk the steamer to the bottom of the river. Friday night only the stern sank, but last night the entire length of the keel rested in the mud. Much of the cargo was removed before the second explosion, but it is feared the total loss from the series of mishaps will nevertheless reach $150,000. Six more bodies were recovered today from the wreck of the Tioga, making 19 so far, exclusive of the injured who died at the hospital. One of the corpses taken out today was that of a white man, the others those of negroes. Only two were identified, those of Louis and Henry Alexander, colored stevedores and brothers, who were recognized because of their great size. The body of John Neile, the head stevedore, was not found but a workman picked up his watch and time book in the fatal hold. The discovery of these articles leaves no doubt as to Neile's death. How many more men were killed is not known. Probably it would not be too much to assume 30 deaths are about the correct total. Half of the Tioga's hold is yet filled with wreckage from the two explosions. The bodies of six colored stevedores were taken to Columbia tonight.

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July 14, 1890
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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 14, 1890