The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Aug. 29, 1865

Full Text

p.2 The Regatta - 2nd meeting, more plans made.

-The steamer Banshee will take the place of the Spartan in the Royal Mail Line, making her first trip upwards tomorrow.


We regret to record the occurrence of an accident to the steamer Spartan, belonging to the Canadian Inland Steam Navigation Company, on her downward passage on Saturday. The vessel had passed Lachine village on her way to the Rapids, between five and six o'clock, and had also passed Point du Chene - a long spit of land running out from the Indian Reserve on the Caughnawaga side. At this place it appears that, partly from the time of the evening and partly from the smoky conditions of the atmosphere caused by fires in the woods, the pilot who had taken charge believed that he should not have sufficient light to enable him to descend the Rapids in safety. The boat's head was therefore turned up stream; but whether owing to the strength of the current at this place making it difficult to calculate the distance required or from some other cause, she struck a sunken rock while in the act of coming round. The rock caught just abaft the paddles, and she forged ahead with a sharp sawing noise, beginning to fill immediately. In an instant, as it seemed, the water rushed aboard, rendering passage up the after-companion impossible. The passengers who were below rushed to the iron ladders leading to the saloon deck, these being speedily blocked up. By placing chairs and otherwise raising the passengers a great number got high enough to reach towards the hatchway and other openings through the deck, and in this manner all were assisted from the main deck. Very fortunately a number of the men of the Admiral's ship Duncan, who had been on a trip to the Lakes, were on board on their return. They were at tea in the saloon, and the moment the alarm was given the coxswain of the Admiral's barge, Robert Smith, and Admiral's coxswain, John Luck, two of the party, made for the life boats. On board one of the boats was a dingy, which they turned out and cleared away the boat ready to let go. Swinging her round on the davits they commenced alone to lower her and got her into the water. Lieut. Richardson of the Duncan, having obtained permission of Capt. Howard, mustered his men and took charge of the landing of the passengers. He placed sentries so as to prevent any crowding of the boats, and to see that the ladies, of whom there were about seventy on board, were first put into a place of safety. The confusion, which on the first shock had prevailed, subsided, and the utmost quietness and calmness were preserved, Capt. Howard, the commander of the steamer, his first officer and the engineer, materially contributing to this. The appearance presented by the steamer was at this time very alarming. She had settled down by the stern, her after compartments having filled, and it was feared that she might roll over and carry with her those who were on deck. Gradually, however, owing to the hatches being open, the water began to pour into the fore compartments and she sunk without a list. During this time the boats had been busily engaged landing the passengers on the pier, known as the Government Wharf, the Duncan's men exerting themselves nobly. Several of the ladies refused to leave their husbands, but they and the children, together with several gentlemen, some infirm in health and others unable for lameness to help themselves, having been landed, all the others got safely on the wharf. The prospect was sufficiently discouraging. Their place of safety was rather frail, the night was coming on dark, with every appearance of rain, and all had escaped with merely the clothes they wore when the wreck took place. But relief was at hand. The sound of paddling was heard, and pulling for life and death, every muscle strained to the utmost, the Indians from Caughnawaga came down, the water looking black from the number of canoes. By this time it was dark, and many of the ladies were afraid to trust themselves with the Indians. Ultimately, believing it would be better to get ashore than remain there, they were all, after three hours' detention, landed in safety, and had the utmost kindness shown them. Several narrow escapes were experienced going to the land, one or two of the canoes having bumped on rocks which the darkness concealed. Shaken in carts and other conveyances along the river road, all were safely conveyed to Caughnawaga, whence they were crossed over to Lachine yesterday morning and brought to town by special train. Some of the baggage was landed on the wharf in the boats and there is little doubt that all will be saved, the Spartan after slipping off the rock which she first struck, having grounded on a ledge covered by about twenty feet depth of water. The water seen from Lachine side seems to cover the main deck of the steamer which as far as we can judge is lying about an eighth of a mile from the Caughnawaga side. She is a very fine steamer, newly built and has only run a part of this season. It is expected no great difficulty will be experienced in raising and repairing her.

Besides Lieutenant Richardson, and the two Coxswains, Robert Smith and John Luck of H.M. S. Duncan, the passengers speak in the highest terms of the conduct of Messrs. Sinclair and Hawkins, Midshipmen of the Duncan, Mr. S.V. Boyd of Washington, U.S., Mr. R. Armour, Bowmanville, C.W., a priest belonging to the St. Laurent Community, Dr. Bergin, Mr. Duncan McLennan and Mr. J. Bethune, of Cornwall, who kept guard on the decks and of several other passengers whose names we could not ascertain. The pilot, engineer, bar keeper and steward also did their duty nobly. We regret we cannot say as much for the men belonging to the steamer. While the captain and his officers behaved admirably several of the crew skulked like cowards, one of them actually having his chest on board the life boat, as well as himself, before a single passenger was saved. No great ceremony was used in tossing it overboard and in expelling his worthless carcass. Where the lives of women and children and helpless invalids are at stake no terms can be too strong to characterize such behavior, it forms so marked an exception to the conduct of our countrymen. There were about three hundred and twenty passengers on board, seventy of whom were ladies, forty seamen and thirty apprentices, belonging to H.M.S. Duncan, a large number of tourists and others, besides a valuable cargo.

In recognition of the services of the seamen of the Duncan, a sum of money was collected and handed to Lieut. Richardson, who received it, subject to the approval of the Admiral. [Montreal Herald]

Money Stolen - from schooner Red Rover, property of Capt. Kent.

Vessels To And From Canadian Ports Passing Through The Welland Canal - 28th.

p.3 Imports - 28,29; Exports - 28.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Original:
Aug. 29, 1865
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Rick Neilson
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Daily News (Kingston, ON), Aug. 29, 1865