The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Rochester Daily Advertiser (Rochester, NY), Friday, June 19, 1846

Full Text
Launch of the Propeller.

A large concourse of people assembled at the landing yesterday afternoon to witness the launch of the new Propeller, "Genesee Chief. " The banks of the stream, and the hills upon both sides, were lined with ladies and gentlemen. The steamer Niagara was also thronged, and moved up and down the river, inviting with sundry nods and puffs of steam, the beautiful into her future element.

Everything being ready, at the appointed time the stay-blocks were loosed, and amidst the cheers of the throng, she moved gracefully into the water, the Star Spangled Banner floating in the breeze, and Adams' Brass Band playing, "Swiftly glides the bonny boat. " As she reached the bed of the stream, they struck up, "Hail Columbia," and the surrounding hills gave back the echo of the notes.

With as little delay as possible, the"Chief" moved majestically to the west side of the river, the band playing the very appropriate air of "Hail to the Chief, who in triumph advances. " Upon reaching the dock, a beautiful stand of Colors, the free-will gift of our citizens, manufactured by Mr. E. C. Williams, was presented by Hon. T. Kempshall, and received on behalf of the owners of the vessels, by Doct. A. Kelsey. Both addresses were brief and to the point. Upon presenting the Colors, Mr. Kempshall spoke substantially as follows:

Sir: - In behalf of the large number of the merchants and other business men of this city, I now present, through you, to the proprietors of the "Genesee Chief," these colors, to be worn by her. Receive them, sir, as a tribute of public regard for the liberal efforts made by your associates and yourself to advance the prosperity of our city; - and as a token of the high admiration called for by the skill and taste displayed in the construction of this beautiful vessel.

"As a specimen of art, we regard the "Chief" with satisfaction and pride; while as a pioneer in the more extended commerce destined for this port, we anticipate for her a highly propitious career. This occasion introduces a new epoch in the history of our city. Occupying a position, happily distinguished for its agricultural and manufacturing resources, with a convenient access to the vast inland navigation of the Lake, it is hoped that the efforts here commenced to develop its commercial advantages, may be prosecuted, until the cardinal interests of society, shall flourish in full vigor, and harmonious union among us.

May abundant success always attend the "Genesee Chief," and may this flag, which must ever be a sure guarantee of protection in war, also prove the faithful pledge of prosperity in piece.

Upon receiving the Colors, M. Kelsey responded briefly as follows: On behalf of the owners of the vessel to which you have made such flattering allusions, allow me to return their most sincere thanks to you, and through you to those gentlemen who have thus generously contributed these beautiful and appropriate colors. It is a source of sincere gratification to the owners of the "Chief," that the Merchants and other citizens of Rochester have kindly manifested their approbation in a manner so acceptable to all parties interested.

Since the foundation of our city very little attention has been paid to the commerce of our lakes, and not till within the last year or two has the access to our harbor been such as to offer many temptations to capital or enterprise in this direction. Our merchants and manufacturers have generally been restricted to a retail trade, and never I believe until the past season has a shipment of merchandise been made directly to the Upper Lakes. By the improvement of our harbor and the connection of Lake Ontario with Lake Erie by a large ship Canal, a vast market has been opened for our stirring and busy population.

With a view of offering suitable facilities for connecting the trade of this city with the hundred ports on the Upper Lakes, and through them to hundreds of others, a few individuals commenced the vessel upon which we now stand. They were all inexperienced in shipbuilding, but fortunately for them, the fell into the hands of Mr. George Steers, than whom a more enterprising, industrious, faithful, and skillful builder, is not to be found upon the Lakes, or on the rolling deep. Since the commencement of this vessel a large number of a similar character have been constructed in other ports, which together with those in contemplation, will soon give us a daily train from this port to Chicago.

In conclusion, allow me again to thank you for this generous gift. Already those banners are at the mast head - let them stand to the breeze; and in whatever port her signal is seen, we venture to assert the impression she produces will be in no measure be discreditable to the city of Rochester.

The Chief is one of the most perfect models we have ever seen. It sits light, draws but little water, and will be fitted up in a style inferior to none which can be found upon any lake. Much credit is due to the ship-master, Mr. George Steers, under whose direction the vessel has been fitted up - as well as to those gentlemen who originated and carried forward the undertaking. It is designed to have the Chief in running order in about four weeks.

The upper deck cabin will be completed immediately, and the machinery put in with as little delay as possible.

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Friday, June 19, 1846
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Richard Palmer
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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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Rochester Daily Advertiser (Rochester, NY), Friday, June 19, 1846