The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Nov. 9, 1865

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p.2 The Assizes - Thursday, Nov. 9th - Stevenson et al vs Calvin & Breck - A special jury was called in this case, composed of the leading business men of the city and county. Sir Henry Smith, in opening the case, said that the case had been brought by Messrs. Stevenson and Harbottle against Calvin & Breck, of Garden Island, for damages sustained to the plaintiff's schooner Rapid, while being tugged out of Kingston harbor, laden with stone, by the tug William, owned by defendants. The importance of the case required a special jury, and the damages were laid at between $6,000 and $7,000.

William Keese, sworn. I was in command of the schooner Rapid on 3d September, 1864, laden with stone from Cleveland. The schooner lay 300 yards from Holcomb & Henderson's wharf in this harbor. I arranged with Mr. Breck to tow the vessel. I was on the dock on 5th September, and saw the tug William going to the schooner. The schooner was 191 tons burthen, and staunch; the steamer a large powerful tug. I gave no instructions to bring the vessel into the harbor; saw the William go and take hold of the Rapid; both were lashed together; the schooner headed for the tower on Cedar Island, the steamer's head being the same way; the tug was on the outside of the vessel; the tug headed up, and came round towards Holcomb & Henderson's wharf, but couldn't get her there, owing to the wind being strong; the schooner then run against a barge above Holcomb & Henderson's wharf, her stern swinging around and stiking the sunken wharf; the schooner was fastened on the barge by the force of her propulsion; the engine of the tug stopped once; had the tug reversed the engine then the collision could have been avoided; the vessel went ahead instead of backing; the schooner struck the barge aft of amidships. I went aboard the barge when the vessel struck, stayed on the barge, and saw that the schooner was settling in the water. I remarked to William Sughrue, who was in charge of the tug, that it was a bad job; he said it didn't matter much about the barge if the schooner was saved. I told him that the schooner was settling down; he said, "its only the heft of the wind that's heeling her over." I ordered my men to go to the pumps of the schooner, and found water making very freely in the hold, to which I called the attention of Sughrue, and told him that he had better haul her off and sink her in shallow water; he was afraid at first, but at last consented. Had the vessel lain as she was she would have been worse damaged. There were 400 tons dead weight of stone aboard. The captain should have known when half way to it, that he couldn't make Holcomb & Henderson's Wharf the vessel being lashed to the tug was entirely under the control of the tug; the schooner would have continued to run until the latter end of November had no accident happened to her; the vessel as then employed was worth $45 a day; her expense was about $29 a day; (Mr. Kirkpatrick objected to this evidence being received) the profit of the schooner would be about $16 a day; the freight and cargo at the time was $944.30. We had a quantity of salt on board, between the timbers -between 50 and 50 barrels (to preserve the timber). The value of the salt and putting it in was worth more than $100. Seven men were employed five days on the schooner at $2.50 a day. The storage of the material and cartage was $26. I was engaged until 17th December on the vessel at $4 a day, $356. The repairs on the vessel were $178.10.

Cross examined - I asked Mr. Breck to tow at 10 o'clock a.m. The tug came alongside about half past one. He said he couldn't take us down unless with another tow; the tow was at Chaffey's wharf; the vessel was lying over 300 yards from Holcomb & Henderson's wharf, at the proper anchorage; I don't know that the harbor regulations say 300 yards; the wind blew from the north east; I saw from the dock the tug as she approached my vessel; I was then on the dock looking on; I had other business to attend to and did not go aboard my vessel. I couldn't tell where they were going with the vessel; I saw the tug lashed to my vessel, but do not know which way the helm was when they started. I did not press Mr. Breck to send a tug that day, but went to Garden Island to see about it; did not say I was very anxious for them to take the vessel; I left instructions with the mate, but not regarding the tug, nor did I know that the tug was coming alongside; my vessel was at anchor when the tug came alongside; it blew very hard, and took about 15 minutes to raise the anchor. I couldn't tell the effect of the wind on the tug, I being on the dock. I never had the management of a steamer, and don't know how a steamer would act under the circumstances. When a vessel is lashed to the tug, the crew are instructed to put the helm as told them from the tug; the direction would be altogether under the direction of the captain of the tug; when the vessel lifted her anchor, she headed into port, the wind blowing on her starboard side. The tug was stopped at once; when the anchor was raised the steamer came with her head towards the dock, which was partly owing to the motive power of the vessel, and the wind; the wind alone as it then blew would have blown the vessels round towards Morton's; the vessel struck with her head to put on the barge near the Marine Railway wharf; after striking the barge the line was made fast to Holcomb & Henderson's wharf. The tug backed the vessel out, with her stern towards Garden Island. The vessel struck abaft the mainmast, on a barge lying between Holcomb's and the Marine wharf. The tug worked out with the vessel; the vessel was sinking; the line was never tight; the piece of timber against which the vessel struck was under water, and it was into the vessel when she struck, being on to the wharf; the wind sagged the vessel over before she struck the wharf; there was no means of escape then; a fender could not have been got down to prevent the accident; the men were paid off about five days after the vessel was stript, I was the only one not discharged.

William McTaggart, mate of the Rapid, sworn. - Was on the vessel when the tug came out to fasten to; the wind blew very fresh; the first I knew the tug was coming was when they were rounding to and they told us to heave up the anchor; we were in the usual anchorage; I told them that they couldn't take the vessel in without smashing her against the dock; the man in charge said, it was the way they generally brought vessels in; I wanted them to put a line ahead until the anchor was taken up. The tug made fast and went ahead, her bow working round until they went on the barge; we were anchored a little above Holcomb's wharf. The vessel could have been backed out, and the collision prevented. There was no change in the wind; the schooner could do nothing; what was required to be done by us was done.

Cross examined - I was mate on the schooner for some months, and consider myself competent to take charge of a vessel. The tug should keep about twenty or thirty yards from the vessel in tow. The captain of the steamer should have been a better judge than myself of what was to be done. We were 15 minutes getting up the anchor, and while getting it up we were ordered to put out the rope to Holcomb & Henderson's wharf. We did so as soon as we could. Even had we got the line out sooner the accident could not have been prevented. After the vessel got to the barge, the pressure of the wind drove the vessel on to the pier; we did not use a fender because we were not coming against a wharf; the corner of the wharf was under water, and the sunken timber could not be seen.

By Mr. Cameron - The person in charge of the tug did not require a fender to be put out; the line was put out and made fast as soon as it could be done; but the accident could not have been prevented had the line been put out sooner.

John Orr, sworn. - I am employed with Mr. Henderson, and recollect the collision. The schooner lay opposite to Henderson's wharf. My attention was first called to the vessel when she was swinging round on the barge; the jibboom of the schooner knocked down the mast of the barge; I heard the bell of the steamer ring once as they came opposite to the barge; had the steamer's engine been reversed the accident could not have happened. There was nothing in the way to prevent her backing out. The wind blew pretty strong, but I can't say that the vessel could have been taken from her anchorage downwards without being brought to the wharf. The vessel must have dragged her anchor before the tug came.

Cross-examined - The schooner might have been 100 yards from the wharf when the tug came alongside. While they were taking up the anchor the force of the wind took both the tug and the schooner towards the wharf. The vessel swung round about fifty feet from the wharf, and had headed more towards the shore when the bell rung; a stiff breeze blew on the starboard side; the bell rung about four minutes before the vessel struck. At the time the vessel "forged" in towards the railway I saw no attempt to put out the line; I don't remember. I never managed a vessel, and don't know what the difficulties are on such an occasion.

Paul Reid, sworn. - I am a ship carpenter by trade, and on the day of the collision I was at work on a barge for Mr. Henderson. The schooner lay at anchor a little over 200 yards from the wharf; the tug and schooner headed towards Point Frederick when I saw them first, and were working inwards; when about 70 feet from the wharf the bell rung and the steamer came ahead; had the steamer backed out (I said so at the time) the accident could not have happened. The steamer moved forward until the jib-boom of the schooner struck the barge, and got fastened on, the vessel being then in advance of the steamer; I saw the tug swing round by force of the wind; they were about five minutes on the barge when the tug backed out. I saw the schooner settling down.

Cross-examined - I was working on a barge on the other side of Henderson's wharf. I know nothing about the management of a steamer. The captain on board should have known better than I did what should have been done.

James Gallarin, sworn. - I live in Kingston, and work an engine on board of an elevator; I saw the schooner that day, about 100 yards from the wharf, and the tug alongside of her. I saw them turn, the vessel swinging round and the tug going ahead with her. I saw the steamer approach the barges. One bell is to go ahead and two bells to go astern. When about 70 feet from the barges the wheel stopped. I saw the collision; had the engine been reversed in time the collision might not have occurred. The schooner after getting off the barge swung round and came upon the pier. The water was high, the spiles of the pier could be seen. The vessel was sinking when she was removed.

Cross-examined - I was standing on Henderson's wharf. The vessels when the anchor was raised swung round towards the wharf, and I thought they were coming to the wharf. I saw no line thrown out. Had they thrown out a line in time the vessel might not have got on to the barge. The wheel of the tug went ahead. I heard no bell. I think that they could have backed out, notwithstanding the force of the wind. I never sailed a vessel and don't know if the tug could have backed out.

Henry Coleghom, sworn. - I was on the barge when the collision took place. The vessel was anchored in a good position to go down the river. I did not see that the Rapid was sinking for some time; she was lashed to the tug all the time; I don't think that the vessel struck very hard.

Cross-examined - The schooner lay west of Henderson's wharf. I did not notice her until I came to the barge. The pier is a sunken pier, and the vessel was close on it when I saw her.

John McArthur, sworn. - I saw the accident from the railway wharf; I have been engaged in sailing a good while. I saw the schooner in the morning heading northeast, and saw the tug make fast; the tug couldn't recover herself, and drove on to the barge; they could have backed; had plenty of room. I think the intention was to get the schooner to Holcomb's wharf. It was badly managed. I said to get pumps to keep the vessel up. In my judgement the accident could have been avoided; it was caused through mismanagement.

Cross-examined - I have stopped sailing and keep a tavern. I may have taken half a dozen horns that morning. Never said I would pay Mr. Calvin off for running me off the lake. He did run me off when we were running opposition. I did not apply to Mr. Calvin for employment lately, and never left an employment except of my own accord. I was going to pilot the vessel had the wind been fair. When the anchor was got up the tug went ahead, and couldn't turn round, owing to the wind and the weight of the vessel. The tug got so near to the barge that she could not recover herself. They were about 70 or 80 feet from the barge when the tug couldn't come round. It took more than 15 minutes to get up the anchor, the tug heading nor'-east. Had the tug come to the other side of the vessel, it would have pulled the vessel out instead of pulling her in. The tug was on the right side to bring the vessel to Henderson's wharf. The vessel became unmanageable because of the wind.

By Mr. Cameron. The steamer became manageable because of mismanagement. (sic)

Alexander Davidson, Marine Inspector, sworn. - My expenses were $104.65. I came here after the vessel was sunk, and took steps to have her raised. I spoke to Mr. Calvin and told him not to deliver up the stone.

Cross-examined - I came up here to look after the vessel in the interest of the Provincial Insurance Company. I don't know why I was subpaenaed. Mr. Harbottle told me he received $500 on the freight.

George Yeomans, sworn. - I was one of the parties who made a survey of the Rapid. The amount shown me, $972.97, is the correct amount of the estimate made at the time of the survey.

This closed the case for the plaintiffs.

The evidence for the defence will be given tomorrow. The case was not decided when the News was put to press.

p.3 Vessels To And From Canadian Ports Passing Through The Welland Canal - 8th.

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Nov. 9, 1865
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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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Daily News (Kingston, ON), Nov. 9, 1865