The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Weekly Chronicle & News (Kingston, ON), Nov. 12, 1858

Full Text

p.1 The inquest held at Morrisburgh, before Doctor Worthington, Coroner, on the bodies of the unfortunate men who were killed by the bursting of the boiler of the Hercules, closed its investigation on the 22nd ult., after a patient and suitable inquiry, returning the following verdict: explosion decides it was from lack of water in boiler; no blame attached to owners.

"That the cause of the explosion of the said boiler was in the opinion of the Jurors aforesaid, for want of sufficient water in the said boilers, and that the cause of said deficiency of water in the said boilers is to the Jurors aforesaid unknown, and that no blame should be attached to the owners and officers of said boat, and that the engineer and officers were competent, and that due care was used by them and so the Jurors aforesaid do so (say?) that the said Tillock Keelon, Patrick Malone, John Kinsler, Daniel Doyle, and Dileno Dexter Calvin, Junr. in manner and by means aforesaid, came to their death."


Friday, Nov. 5th

The Court opened at 9 o'clock.

Walker et al. v. Western Insurance Company - This was an action to recover the value of 7692 bushels of wheat on board the propeller Cromwell, which was sunk in the Straits of Mackinac on the night of 12th of October last, by the schooner Jessie running into her. The defendants put in eight pleas - 1. that the policy was not made; 2 - that the property was not destroyed by the perils insured against; 3 - that the plaintiffs were not interested; 4 - insufficiency of notice; 5 - that 90 days had not elapsed between loss and suit; 6 - that proper proof of loss was not given within 40 days; 7 and 8 - that the loss was caused by negligence and mismanagement. But the only pleas which Mr. Campbell, who opened the case for the plaintiffs, supposed were to be tried were the two last pleas, viz: that the loss was caused by negligence and mismanagement.

The policy was admitted by defendants' counsel, although not issued, but with the usual conditions attached to a policy. The counsel's written admissions were also put in, admitting everything but as to the manner of the loss of the vessel, which it was agreed should form the subject of inquiry.

His Lordship decided that Mr. Campbell should proceed in the ordinary way to prove his case.

Alfred Finnemore called --- I was in Walker & Berry's employment at the time of the loss of the Cromwell; I informed the Kington agent (Mr. Doyle) of the loss, as soon as the loss was heard of; the first notice was verbal, and a second notice, a written one, was subsequently sent, accompanied by the necessary papers. [This notice was not given till after 40 days, and his lordship thought that the plaintiffs could not proceed with their case.]

Mr. Campbell contended that by the admission of defendants' counsel all technicalities were disclaimed, and that if such was not the case, the plaintiffs were completely deceived.

Mr. Morrison replied that they were willing to admit the policy, to save the plaintiffs the trouble of going into chancery for its production, but they admitted no more, and that the Company would stand on their legal rights.

His lordship, after some discussion, allowed the plaintiffs to proceed, and left the matter of the serving of notice a question for the court above to decide.

Mr. Finnemore --- At the time of hearing of the loss, had not the policy; was not in the habit of getting a policy; believes plaintiffs never had a policy from the Western Company; were continually insuring with the Company.

Cross-examined by Mr. Morrison --- An application for insurance is produced, dated 12th October, 1857, which witness says is the application for the insurance of the property destroyed; received notice of the loss of the Cromwell by telegraph; but do not know the day; the telegram stated the loss to be by collision, and came, I think, from Detroit; the agent of the Western Company saw the telegram; the next we received was the protest, which was soon after the information of the loss, but I cannot say when; the colliding vessel was unknown at the time; I believe the plaintiffs wrote to Chicago to find the name of the vessel, and I think Mr. Wilkins was the person written to; a reply was received, but I never saw it; either by that letter or another the colliding vessel was found to be the schooner Jessie; plaintiffs found out that the owners of the vessel were worth nothing.

Re-examined by Mr. Campbell --- The telegram was the first intimation we had of the loss; the protest was shown to Mr. Doyle soon after it was received; it was brought by Captain Patterson, or came by mail; plaintiffs had an interest in half of the hull as well as the cargo, which was uninsured.

To the Court --- The cargo at the time of loss belonged to plaintiffs.

Robert Patterson --- I was master of the propeller Oliver Cromwell at the time of the loss; the vessel was partly laden with wheat belonging to plaintiffs; I cleared Milwaukie on the 10th October 1857 for Kingston; the vessel was lost on the 12th following, the morning of the 11th or 12th; another vessel ran into her on the larboard side, about 10 or 12 fathoms (sic) from the stern, taking her stern out; the vessel sunk in about 15 minutes; I was in bed at the time; the collision awoke me; I did not know the vessel that struck us, for she was gone before I got out of bed; there was a moderate breeze blowing at the time, and there was nothing to prevent her stopping by to assist us; it was in the Straits of Mackinac, where there was anchorage; it was not very dark; my watch ended at 12 o'clock, it was then clear; the collision occurred about 2 o'clock; I did not try the depth of water, but I supposed it to be about 16 fathoms; we saved ourselves by getting into the small boats and into another schooner that assisted us; we had no time to save anything; I lost the cash box and part of my clothing; it was not more than ten minutes after we left that the Cromwell had sunk; the vessel that picked us up lay to till morning, and we then went ashore in our own boats to Mackinac; we had to remain 3 or 4 days for a conveyance, when we went to Detroit; I think I mailed a letter to Walker & Berry from Mackinac; but if I did the letter could not leave the island before I did; the next intimation to Walker & Berry was by telegraph from Windsor on the 16th; this was the earliest intimation of the loss; I had the protest of loss drawn up at Mackinac by a notary, immediately after going ashore, which was about 8 or 9 in the morning; the protest produced is the original protest, which I was sworn to, as were also other names attached thereto. I arrived in Kingston on the 18th, and had the protest with me; the 18th was Sunday, and on Monday the 19th I handed it to Walker & Berry.

Cross-examined by Mr. Smith --- I have commanded several vessels. I commanded the Comodore Barrie: she was lost by collision. I was on board the Canada as pilot, when an accident occurred; she was run on a shoal. I have had collisions with the Oliver Cromwell. At the time of the collision in October, the Cromwell was in American waters; we were running about 8 miles an hour, going down; the schooner was going up at about the same speed; lights could be seen at 3 or 4 miles distance; the channel was about 2 miles wide; the Cromwell was 142 feet in length; the engine was not stopped; in a previous case the engine was stopped before the collision; the steam was all put on to get past the schooner; there is no difference between American and British practice in steamers and schooners meeting; from the best information I can get there is no difference; the vessel that struck us could have come to our assistance if not disabled; a schooner can be checked more easily than a steamer; soon after the accident I learned that Mr. Renny of St. Catherines was the owner of the Jessie; he failed just about that time; I first discovered by a letter to Walker & Berry the name of the vessel collided with.

Joseph Doyle was agent of the Western Insurance Co. in Oct., 1857; recollected seeing the protest of the loss of the vessel, thinks it was on the 19th or 20th October; communicated the fact to the Company at Toronto, and got permission from Mr. Stanton, the secretary, that the protest might remain with plaintiffs till they could collect all the evidence in reference to the loss; on 15th November I went with Mr. Finnemore to the office of the Company and permission was given by Mr. Stanton to retain the protest for the purpose named; the telegraph first received I saw and communicated the loss to the head office; the day I saw the protest I told Captain Patterson he could retain it; the Company ceased to do business that fall.

To Mr. Morrison --- The Company I understood were negotiating with plaintiff to prosecute the Jessie; the protest stated that the colliding vessel was unknown; on the 21st I sent notice.

This closed the plaintiff's case.

Mr. Smith, for the defendants, submitted that the proofs of loss not having been submitted within forty days, and not until 3rd December, the plaintiffs must be non-suited on that ground. Also that this was not one of the ordinary losses insured by defendants; before plaintiffs are entitled to recover they must show that they took proper care by skilfulness and the exhibition of lights to avoid accidents by collision, contending that plaintiffs had given no evidence to show that due care had been exercised. Again that the declaration stated that the accident occurred by the perils of navigation; and no evidence was given to show how the loss occurred. Further, that there was no evidence as to the value of the cargo insured; that no original invoice was produced, as required by the policy.

His Lordship thought it better to let it go to the jury, and the legal points could be brought up before the judges.

Capt. Patterson was recalled to prove the value of the wheat; the price named in the policy, 78 cents, he thought was a low price.

Ezra D. Priest --- Wheat was worth in Kingston last October from 80 to 85 cents; had bought it at 80.

No witnesses were called for the defence. Mr. Campbell therefore addressed the jury, summing up the evidence, and Mr. Smith replied for the defts.

The jury, after hearing his lordship's address, retired, and came into Court in about twenty minutes, with a verdict for plaintiffs of 1563 pounds. The jury found a verdict for plaintiffs on all the issues.

Mr. Campbell for plaintiffs; Messrs. Morrison & Smith for defendants.

Saturday, Nov. 6th

The Court was opened at 9 o'clock. The case next in order on the civil docket to be tried was ---

Patterson vs Continental Insurance Co. - This was an action connected with that of Walker vs the Western Company, disposed of yesterday, to recover value of the plaintiff's interest in the steamer Oliver Cromwell, which was lost by collision in October last. Mr. Campbell opened the case for the plaintiff by addressing the jury and then calling his witnesses. The pleas put in by defendant were the same as those in the case of the Western Company.

Mr. Campbell put in the policy of insurance, and the defendants agreed to waive all issues as to service of papers, and try the case on its merits.

Fraser Smith was then called and sworn. - Examined by Mr. Campbell --- I was first mate of the Cromwell at the time of the loss; the second mate was Wm. Howes; I had been mate a month previous; I had been a mate of other vessels for nine years, and a seaman altogether 23 years, principally on the lakes; I was master of the propeller Forest City for three months, till she was laid up; I remember the Cromwell leaving Milwaukie, it was on the 10th of October, 1857; Captain Patterson was the master; there were two mates, two engineers and about 18 hands altogther; the Cromwell was in good order when leaving Milwaukie; we reached the Straits of Mackinac on the night of the 11th; I went on deck at 12, the beginning of my watch, relieving Capt. Patterson; during my watch McCambridge was at the wheel, and continued till the collision; he was killed by the explosion of the Hercules; the Cromwell's wheelhouse was forward; the lights up were a red light on the larboard and a green light on the starboard bow, and a bright light amidships, high up above the wheelhouse, which were up during the whole of my watch and to the time of the collision; about an hour and a half or two hours after I went on deck I first saw the lights of the vessel that collided with us; at this time we were coming round old Mackinac point, the extreme northern point of the State of Michigan; I was standing at the bell-pull abaft the wheelhouse, having a full view of everything; I had been standing there some time, for we were in danger of collision a little previous, in consequence of a large steamer which took the wrong side; I was, therefore, more particularly on the alert; there was no one that I know of on the upper deck besides the wheelsman and myself; it is not usual on steamers to have any others; the man in charge of the watch keeps the lookout; it is very usual to meet vessels in the Straits, and we have to keep a sharp lookout when passing; I saw the lights of the colliding vessel off the larboard bow, about, I should think, four miles distant; I never lost sight of those lights till the collision; they were always on the larboard side; at this time we were running between eight and nine miles an hour, with steam only; the wind was about S.S.E.; I should suppose it to be a fair wind for the vessel where I saw her; her bright light indicated that she had a free wind; I would suppose her course to be W.N.W., as that is the course up the strait; I suppose the vessel to have been going six or seven miles an hour; a vessel running free has the same facility for getting out of the way as a steamer, as she answers her helm equally as well; had she ported her helm she would have had a freer wind; seamen consider a steamer and schooner on the same terms when the latter has the wind free; perhaps 20 or 30 minutes elapsed between my first seeing the lights and the collision; when I first saw the lights I ordered the wheelsman to port a point, which was done; the effect was to turn the bow more towards the mainland of Michigan, or the right side; we held probably ten minutes on this course, and the lights on the vessel still appeared to be coming directly toward us on the larboard side, as if the vessel had hauled her wind; I then gave the order to port another point, which brought the schooner's bright light directly on our broadside, so that it gave the vessel a full view of our red light and hid it from the green; it might be ten minutes after the second order that we were struck; I kept the Cromwell under full way to get out of the way as soon as possible; I did not check the vessel because it required all the speed to get out of danger; I could not have done more than I did to avoid the danger; we were within 1 1/2 miles of the mainland on the one side, and probably 7 miles from Mackinac island on the other; the slightest change of the schooner's head would have avoided the collision; she struck us on the larboard quarter, about 8 or 10 feet from the stern; she came upon us in a slanting manner; the Cromwell sank in about twenty minutes, and the captain, myself and crew escaped in the two small boats.

Cross-examined by Mr. Smith --- During the time I have been mate I never had a collision; the steamer the same night passed us on the wrong side, the starboard side; I rang the bell to stop and reversed; the bell-pull was afterwards broken, but I remedied it; the wire attached to one of the cranks broke; I did not ring the bell from this time till the collision; I had no occasion to stop the engine; it was agreed between me and the engineer that the whistle should be used; I saw more than one light; I saw five vessels in the space of six or seven miles; there were two vessels close together, one of which struck us; I could see them side by side not more than half a mile off; the one nearest came in contact with us; there were probably fifty yards between them; the vessel had the Cromwell on one side and another vessel on the other; if the first had ported far enough she might have come in contact with the second; I saw the engineer on deck some fifteen minutes before the collision and spoke to him about the lights; it is not customary for engineers to put on steam without orders; on this night he did; by giving more steam I don't think the collision was more violent from the course the schooner was running; the increased speed from putting on full steam might be two or three miles an hour for two or three minutes; the vessel on the outside of the Jessie shot ahead and came round, but did not stay; the Jessie did not stop; if she lost her head gear she might be unmanageable.

Re-examined --- The injury to the Jessie's headsails would not prevent her coming up in the wind; when the bell-wire was broken I made an arrangement with the engineer to work the boat by the whistle; the vessels were sufficiently far apart for the Jessie to have cleared the Cromwell without coming in contact with the other to her right; there were two more vessels inside of us within half a mile, and I had also to guard against them.

Michael Madden, examined by Mr. Campbell --- I was the chief engineer of the Cromwell at the time of the accident, and had been so two years; I had previously been engineer of several other steamers for nine years; the second engineer was James Galvin; I was at the engine on the night of the collision, and obeyed the orders given by signal; the bell wire was afterwards discovered to be broken and the mate sent me word while in the act of reversing; the messenger told me that all was right, and to go ahead in the usual way; there was afterwards an understanding between the mate and myself that the orders should be given by the whistle, if required, as I could not spare time from the engine just then to repair it; some 15 minutes after I went up and spoke to the mate again, about the whistle; I then saw two vessels' lights on our starboard bow, two on our larboard, and one directly ahead; previous to this I saw from the engine larboard larboard quarter window the lights of the vessel that collided with us; from the first time I saw the lights till the vessel struck there might have been three quarters of an hour; I saw the same lights very frequently during the time from the same window; shortly before the collision, perhaps half a minute, I took off the cutoff, to increase the speed and avoid the danger; the schooner was at the time 40 or 50 feet off, abreast of us; had I not done so we should have been struck more forward, which would probably have broken the steampipe, and I should have been scalded; there is no signal for such an act as I performed, and it is in the discretion of the engineer himself; I think nothing more could have been done than was done to avoid the collision.

Cross-examined by Mr. Smith --- I think it would take five to seven minutes to bring the Cromwell to a standstill; if the mate had stopped the vessel seven minutes before I think we would have been struck.

To a juror --- The mate had the same access to the whistle as to the bell; the bell-pull and the rope were close together.

Robert Anglin --- I was part owner of the Oliver Cromwell at the time of the loss; the other owners were Walker & Berry and Robert Patterson; Capt. Patterson owned one-fourth; one-fourth of the vessel was worth 1500 pounds.

Mr. Campbell put in two letters written by J. Weatherley, the Toronto agent of the Company, one addressed to S. Rowlands, the Kingston agent, dated 6th January, 1858, and one of 16th February, addressed to plaintiff.

This was the plaintiff's case.

Mr. Smith for the defence objected that there was no legal evidence of ownership, 2nd, that plaintiff was not entitled to recover because the loss was not an ordinary peril, covered by the policy.

Patrick Larkins was then called and examined by Mr. Morrison. I have been a seaman 16 years on the lakes; I have commanded four years; I am Captain of the Jessie, and commanded her at the time of the collision; I took charge in March 1857; she was owned by Mr. Ronny of St. Catherines; she was a fore-and-aft schooner of 250 tons, with squaresail yard; there were eight besides myself on board on the 12th October, a full manning; the Jessie was bound from Dunnville to Chicago with a load of lumber; the vessel was A-1, and well rigged; I left Dunnville 5th October; I am well acquainted with the navigation of the lakes; there were a first and second mate on board, one of whom has sailed longer than I have. On the morning of the 12th Oct., at 2 o'clock I perceived a steamer's lights coming round Mackinac point; I was on deck with my second mate and two men; the lights were about four miles off; the wind was S.S.E. abaft the beam, and a good free wind breeze; there were two reefs in the Jessie's mainsail which were taken in before entering the straits; this was done because the Jessie was lightly laden; we were in company with the schooner Gold Hunter of Ogdensburgh, a large class schooner, going on the same course; we were within speaking distance when I saw the steamer, and continued so for 15 or 20 minutes before the collision; we had the proper lights recommended by the board of underwriters at Buffalo; I kept my course, according to the regulations, leaving the steamer to get out of the way; no difference is made whether free or beating; there are rules for sailing vessels meeting; the Canadian Companies and American jointly agreed at Buffalo to the same rules; the Jessie and Gold Hunter continued the same course till the collision, heading clear of Mackinac point; when I first saw the steamer I saw her three lights; she apparently headed for us, she then kept gradually away, on our lee, so that her red light became hid from us; for 10 or 15 minutes before the collision occurred I did not see her lights at all; I did not look for her, as I supposed she was keeping to leeward of us; I had a man on each bow to keep a look out; I was at midships and could see both ways; I was going about 7 miles an hour; the mate called that the steamer was crossing our bow, he was on the port bow forward; could see the red but not the green light; immediately ordered hard to port; order was obeyed, as witness believes from swinging of vessel; at the time of the collision, the Gold Hunter was about 156 (sic) feet from us; the collision took place as described by the other witnesses; our head gear was carried away, the jib boom broke; the collision caused our vessel to turn round so as to turn towards the Michigan shore, and we continued to head that way, as I thought it best to make towards the shore and ascertain what damage the Jessie had sustained; I did not ascertain the damage for two or three hours after; I did not go back to see what injury was done to the steamer; the reason was that the Goldfinch (sic) came alongside to ascertain whether we were damaged; I said that I did not know to what extent, but that we would not sink, and I asked him to go to look after the steamer, and he turned away to do so; my vessel was not in a manageable state, and I could not have got back to the Cromwell before she sunk; I did not try; I would have tried if no other vessel had been there; I went to the Michigan shore and repaired damages; I generally hold on my course; in navigating American waters a steamer is bound to get out of the way; if the mate of the Cromwell had stopped and blown the whistle, we might have got clear.

Cross-examined by Mr. Campbell --- About 15 minutes after I lost sight of the red light I saw it again, when we were close together; by not looking I had lost sight of all the lights for 15 minutes; if I had ported my vessel a minute before the collision, it might have been avoided, but I was in danger of running into the other vessel; I don't know whether I could have kept within the 140 feet between us and the Gold Hunter; I was steering to open up Mackinac Point, and nothing more, giving it a good berth.

Re-examined --- The Gold Hunter was on the starboard side of us, and between

us and the steamer.

John Weatherly --- I have been some 14 years an Insurance Agent; the universal practice in American waters is for the steamer to get out of the way of a sailing vessel; the steamer should alter her course so as to avoid collision; the sailing vessel should not be left in doubt as to what the steamer was to do.

Cross-examined --- I have had experience in all seas; I have sailed in American waters; my knowledge of the custom in American waters is not derived from my own experience at sea a sailing vessel with a free wind and a steamer are in terms of equality.

Mr. Smith then addressed the jury on behalf of the plaintiff, and Mr. Campbell closed the case.

The jury retired, and after a lapse of 20 minutes came into Court with a verdict for the plaintiff, and damages 1035 pounds.

The case closed at 4 o'clock, and the Court then adjourned till Monday.

p.2 McCuaig vs Unity Insurance Company

This was an action brought to recover the value of an insurance effected upon the steamer Trenton, which was destroyed by fire in the harbor of Picton. The case was opened by Mr. Draper for the defendants, who undertook by their pleadings to prove that misrepresentation had been used as to the value of the vessel, in consequence of which misrepresentation defendants were induced to take a larger risk than they would otherwise have done.

R.P. Street - Examined by Mr. Kirkpatrick - I am the Hamilton Agent of the Unity Company; John McCuaig on the 29th January 1858, made an application to me for insurance on the steamer Trenton; the application, which is produced, was filled up in my presence; the present cash value of the steamer he there represented to be 6,000 pounds, and the steamer to be two years old; I had notice that he had insurance in other companies for 3,000 pounds; very seldom risks are taken beyond three-fourths of the value in this Company; I had no hesitation in taking the risk at the value of 6,000 pounds; I might have taken it at 5,000 pounds and sent it to the head office, but would not if it was 4,000 pounds; the risk was accepted by the Company and a policy issued.

To Mr. Campbell - This was the first risk I had taken on any steamer, but I consulted Mr. Bellhouse, Agent for the Royal, who divided the risk; the Unity Company does not take marine risks; I think Mr. Bellhouse valued the vessel at the same amount; in this particular instance I should have been guided by his opinion; I asked Mr. McCuaig the cash value of the boat; the application was filled while he was in the office and Mr. McCuaig signed it; I laid no stress on the age, because I did not know whether it was of consequence, whether it was two or four years; I am told the other Companies have paid their insurances.

W.P. Reynolds - I am the Provincial Manager of the Unity Company; on the receipt of the application from Mr. Street, the risk was approved and policy issued; the policy was issued solely on the representation in the application; I am sole Agent and act without a board; if it had not been stated that the boat was worth 6,000 pounds I would have objected to it; I would not have taken more than two-thirds on a risk like this; the statement that the boat was two years old, induced me to suppose that that the boat was worth the amount stated; the premium was one per cent. (A number of papers concerning the loss, furnished by plaintiff to defendants were then put in -showing the value of the steamer to be from 5,000 to 5,400 pounds.) I made some inquiries arising from these papers, and had reason to believe the vessel had not cost the amount stated in the affidavits, and applied to plaintiff for further particulars of cost of hull, engine, etc., and received a return embracing a variety of articles not insured, such as furniture, cables, etc., amounting to 450 pounds odd; I wrote to plaintiff mentioning these deductions, but received no answer; it is usual to give every information asked for, and the policy requires it; I made out the value of the vessel, from the papers sent me, omitting the items not insured, 4,200 pounds; the furniture was not on board although included in value by plaintiff's papers.

Cross-examined - I saw the plaintiff in Hamilton, but I never offered to compromise with him, and never said that the claim would not be paid; I told him I was ready at any time to pay te claim as soon as he had satisfied me of the correctness of the claim; I learned, after the fire, that another 500 pounds was taken by the Hamilton agent of the Quaker City Company, but he never informed me of it.

Allan Gilmour - I am of the firm of Gilmour & Co.; I sold the Trenton to James McCuaig in August 1854, for 6,000 pounds; she cost, as near as I can make from extracts of our books, 5,700 pounds; this sum included every charge against the boat up to the date of sale; the contract for the boiler was 2,750 pounds, for the hull 900 pounds; she was sold on time; parties were in treaty for the purchase of the boat, and James McCuaig then offered to sell for 4,250 pounds; this was in September 1857, and included all the furniture; the party declined to accept the offer; my impression was that the party would not have given more than 3,500 pounds; the interest of our firm as mortgagees was insured, and this was paid without reference to value.

Cross-examined - John McCuaig at this time owned the Trenton; the transfer from James to John took place without my knowledge.

Thomas Maxwell - In the fall or winter of 1854 James McCuaig offered me the Trenton for 6,000 pounds; I considered that at least 1,000 pounds over her value, and I declined to purchase; the value of a vessel depends on the route she is on; I would not consider the Trenton's cash value last winter at over 3,750 pounds to 4,000 pounds; steamboat property has much depreciated recently.

Cross-examined - 5,000 pounds would build a new boat to replace the Trenton.

Wm. Bowen - I have followed the shipping business for several years; it would cost to build such a boat as the Trenton about 4,500 pounds, with furniture all complete.

Cross-examined by Mr. Campbell - I would insure her at a valuation of 4,500 pounds; I bought the Champion for 5,000 pounds; I considered her then worth 6,000 pounds.

Joseph Doyle - I know the steamer Trenton; I am an Insurance Agent; I saw the vessel last summer; I think she was then worth from 4,000 pounds to 5,000 pounds; on first class steamers I would insure at four-fifths, such as the Trenton at two-thirds and not more.

Cross-examined - An A-1 steamer I would insure at four-fifths - this is first class.

E. Pembrooke - I am Captain of the New Era; I have been in the business since 1844; I know the steamer Trenton; saw her last summer; I think her worth $16,000 or $17,000, cash value, without the furniture; at the time she was burnt I would not give more than $14,000 cash, if I wanted to buy her myself.

Overton S. Gildersleeve - I own several steamers; I know the Trenton; I would be willing to pay for the building of such a vessel as the Trenton, 5,000 pounds, all complete, furniture inclusive; I would estimate her cash value when burned at 3,750 pounds; and if I owned her I would have sold her for that.

G.M. Kinghorn - I am in the forwarding business; the steamer Trenton some times stops at my wharf; I consider the Trenton with furniture worth last summer 4,000 pounds.

Cross-examined - The value of the Trenton in 1855 by the insurance registry shown me is 5,000 pounds; it would be difficult to get a vessel insured that was not on the registry.

Thomas Howard would value the Trenton at 3,500 pounds.

This was the defendant's case.

David Shaw was then called for the plaintiff. The Wolfe Island Canal Company, of which I was a director, in the spring of 1855, offered 6,000 pounds for the Trenton; this was before she was fitted up with saloon; there was no cabin; I thought she was worth the money; the bargain was not completed because of a difference as to the security; after this a saloon was built; this I think would balance the depreciation of value in 1858; what one can get for property is not a criterion of its value.

H. Wellbanks - I am a ship carpenter and I am also a joiner; I knew the Trenton; on one occasion in 1857 I was on board and took particular notice of her build; I thought she must have cost $28,000, and that she was then worth $24,000.

Cross-examined - I guessed this without a knowledge of her tonnage or the cost of engines; I estimated the cost at 6 pounds per ton.

N.M. Bockus - I was the Montreal Agent of the Trenton; in 1858 after minutely calculating, I valued the boat at 5,417 pounds, after it was destroyed; it would be difficult to say what was the cash value when money was worth more than legal interest; for the purpose of insurance I would not hesitate to value her at 5,500 pounds.

Cross-examined - The furniture was included in the valuation I made; if the furniture was taken out 5,000 pounds would be about the value for insurance.

John S. Clute - I have frequently been on board the Trenton, and am an insurance agent; Mr. McCuaig asked me in the spring of 1858 what I thought she was worth, and I said about 6,000 pounds; she was laid up in Picton; the bedding and carpets were brought on shore; Mr. Reynolds called on me to value what was saved; I valued the remains of the engine at $800, the furniture $397.85; altogether $1197.85.

Alexander Stanley - I am the valuer for associated companies on both sides of the lakes; a vessel could not get insured in the association unless I was called upon to value; I was aboard the Trenton in 1856, when they were putting a saloon on her; just after she was launched she was valued by Capt. Weatherly, who was acting for two insurance companies, and compiled a register with which I was familiar; she was classed A 1* the highest classification made, and valued at 5,800 pounds; the usual depreciation on boats is ten per cent; calculating the depreciation for the four years, and adding improvements I should have valued the Trenton for the underwriters at $19,661 at the time she was burned; this would include the furniture. The calculations are made on the amounts furnished by Mr. McCuaig, which I presume to be correct; the Trenton could be replaced for $22,500.

Cross-examined - If I had been told there had been furniture in the calculation I would have deducted it.

Alex. Davidson - I have been for 12 years a salvage agent; I knew the Trenton; I agree with Capt. Stanley as to valuation.

Insurance agents don't value their property as highly as owners; if I had owned the Trenton and wanted to insure her, I would have valued her at 6,000 pounds, although I might not sell her for so much.

To Mr. Kirkpatrick - The only way the plaintiff could answer what the cash value of the ship was what she would sell for; I could not say that if a boat was insured at 6,000 pounds and was only valued at 4,500 pounds that that would be misrepresentation; we always put in our own value - we don't insure according to any other's valuation.

To Mr. Campbell - I went up after the fire; I went up to settle the matters for the Companies who held the Mortgages; the furniture was valued at 295 pounds and passed to the credit of those Companies; we took the furniture and the hull of the vessel for the 295 pounds, besides which we paid over 300 pounds for raising the vessel, and paid the salvage.

To Mr. Kirkpatrick - We took the property for the purpose of making profit of it; I offered to Mr. McCuaig that if he would pay me 300 pounds he might take the property, and I would have rather have taken the money than the wreck.

Captain Weatherly, examined by Mr. Campbell - I was Marine Inspector in 1855 for the Insurance Company; Among others I inspected the Trenton, and valued her at 5,800 pounds; she was then a mere tugboat, and the saloon had not been put up in her; my valuation has generally been acted upon; and would be found correct for 1855; There would be a depreciation each subsequent year; the time she was burned she would be value, for 4,346 pounds without improvement; to arrive at the actual value, the improvement would have to be added, and 10 per cent per annum deducted, which would give the actual value in March 1858 (the time she was burned), 5,247 pounds; the owners in all cases value the property higher than I do, and from my experience I would expect the owner to value the Trenton at 6,000 pounds.

To Mr. Kirkpatrick - I was not aware of the value of the furniture when until I heard the evidence; the furniture would have to be sold to ascertain its value.

James McCuaig examined by Mr. Campbell - I bought the vessel originally, and know what she cost up to the time she was burned; her gross cost was 7,540 pounds 17 7.

To Mr. Kirkpatrick - My brother gave me in 1856 6,000 pounds for the vessel; in 1857 he gave me 3,000 pounds for the one half, and afterwards meeting a reversal in business and requiring to make a payment he took the other half at 2,500 pounds.

To Mr. Campbell - I never had any authority from my borther to sell the vessel for 4,200 pounds to Mr. Glmour.

Mr. Campbell then addressed the Jury for the plaintiff; and Mr. Kirkpatrick for the defence.

Verdict for the plaintiff of 1,000 pounds.

Carruthers et al vs The Kingston Marine Railway Co. - This was an action to recover the amount of four promisory notes, amounting in all, with interest, to 438 pounds 15 4. Verdict for plaintiff 488 pounds 15 4 (sic) G.L. Mowat for plaintiff.

Carruthers et al vs Hooker et al - This was an action to recover the amount of three promissory notes amounting to 892 pounds 1 6. Verdict for plaintiff 892 pounds 1 6. G.L. Mowat for plaintiff.

A Heavy Cargo - The Barque Woodruff reached this port yesterday, from Chicago, with a cargo of 18,358 bushels of wheat, consigned to Mr. Joseph Doyle of this city.

p.3 As an evidence of the speedy close of business on the lakes, the steamers of the Royal Mail through line, viz.: the Champion, Passport, Kingston, New Era, Banshee, and St. Lawrence, are laid up for the winter.

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Nov. 12, 1858
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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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Weekly Chronicle & News (Kingston, ON), Nov. 12, 1858