The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Sept. 6, 1871

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p.2 Shipping News - At the Montreal Transportation Company's wharf there have arrived yesterday and this morning the following grain vessels:- The Hercules, from Toledo, with 12,700 bushels wheat; the Rutherford, from Toledo, with 15,270 bushels wheat; the Northumberland, from Toledo, with 16,272 bushels corn; the propeller Enterprise, with 19,889 bushels corn from Port Dalhousie; the Medbury, from Cleveland, with 10,000 bushels wheat, and the J.G. McGrath, from Toledo, with 12,779 bushels wheat. The tug Bronson left last night with four barges, containing 50,000 bushels wheat.

At Swift's wharf the City of Ottawa and Shickluna touched and the regular mail line steamers.

At Gurney & Glidden's wharf the tug Elsworth arrived last night with two barges laden with iron ore and one with cordwood. The schooner W.T. Greenwood is loading iron ore for Cleveland at 80 cents, United States currency. The Magnet was launched at the shipyard yesterday. She now assumes the position of a lumber barge.

Ashore - The Royal Mail Line steamer Spartan, from Oswego to Kingston, went ashore at Pigeon Island during the night. Messrs. Calvin & Breck's steamer William went to her assistance this morning, having in tow with her the schooner Gazelle to receive the Spartan's cargo if it was found necessary to lighten her.


The steamer William and schooner Gazelle returned from the steamer Spartan, ashore on Pigeon Island, this (Wednesday) afternoon, and arrived at the wharf about three o'clock, bringing with them the passengers and their luggage. There were about one hundred and fifty passengers on board the Spartan when she struck. The following are the particulars of the catastrophe obtained from the passengers and purser of the Spartan:- The latter reports that the weather last night was rather hazy and a fresh breeze prevailed when the Spartan neared Pigeon Island, and no light was visible except a small glimmer, which appeared to be a long distance from the vessel, and was only seen at intervals. The vessel, which was in charge of both the captain and mate at the time, was running at full speed, which was slackened upon finding that the water commencing to shoal; not sufficiently soon, however, to prevent the vessel striking with a heavy shock. The purser further states that subsequent inquiries showed that the lamp at the lighthouse had exploded, and the keeper, being unable to replace it immediately, had substituted a candle, the deceptive light of which was the cause of the accident. Several of the passengers who were on deck at the time of the vessel striking, however, gave a different version of the occurrence, and stated that the light on the island was plainly visible, and that the vessel appeared to be steered right on to the shore with unaccountable carelessness. One gentleman remarked that he had watched the light for some time before the vessel struck, and wondered at the vessel continuing a course so plainly wrong. However, it is probable that the captain of the Spartan will be able to give a satisfactory account for the accident.

When the William neared the stranded vessel she found it was impossible to get alongside, consequently the Gazelle took on board the passengers and their luggage, and was towed with them on board into port. The William with the Hercules will at once return to the Spartan, towing the Gazelle, which last will take out the Spartan's cargo in order to lighten her. The Spartan is only insured against fire. When the passengers arrived they were too late to take the afternoon trains, and the majority of them claimed their hotel expenses from the company for the night. This the manager here refused to allow, and the dissatisfaction shown among the passengers was great, and made itself evident by remarks by no means complimentary to the steamboat company.

Mr. James Eccles, lighthouse-keeper of Pigeon Island, states that the lamps had never worked properly, and last night the reflectors were destroyed, but the light was kept burning and was visible at a long distance. The land was plainly to be seen from the Spartan's decks, and it is difficult to account for the captain steering directly towards it. It is usual to give the island a wide berth. The Spartan is badly damaged, and will be got off with difficulty.

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Sept. 6, 1871
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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), Sept. 6, 1871