The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), June 4, 1873

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p.1 Marine News

Montreal Transportation Company's wharf - Arrived: schr. D.G. Ford (sic - Fort ?), Chicago, 23,233 bush. wheat; prop. Lincoln, Milwaukee, 16,000 bush. wheat; schr. Lisgar, 20,775 bush. wheat; tug H.E. Bronson, 6 barges with 100 tons pig iron.

Messrs. James Swift & Co.'s wharf - str. Spartan and prop. Bristol passed up; and str. Corinthian and prop. Bruno passed down. The str. Nile arrived from the Rideau Canal with a general cargo. The tug Wren and Grenville coaled here this morning.

Port Colborne, June 3rd - Down: Schr. Union Jack, Bay City, Kingston, staves; prop. St. Albans, Chicago, Ogdensburg, gen. cargo; schr. Olive Branch, Port Huron, Oswego, lumber; props. Europe, Chicago, Montreal, gen. cargo; Silver Spray, Port Dalhousie, no cargo.

Up: schr. Richardson, prop. City of Boston; steambarge W.M. Cowie; schr. Fearless; prop. City of New York; schrs. River Side, Paragon, M.J. Preston, Australia, Forest Queen, America, Herchmer, Cortez, B. Parsons, Montcalm.

Lake and River Steamship Line - One of the strongest lines now on the lakes, is the above line, running from Montreal to Chicago. It is composed of eleven first-class boats - the steamer Osprey, and propellers Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, City of Chatham (which was burned last night at Hamilton), Canada, Columbia, California and Calabria. These are all very fine boats, and have splendid saloons and spacious staterooms, affording every accommodation for a pleasant passenger trip on the lakes. Besides, each has ample freight-room, and will pay well if filled at each trip, as the business gives every promise of. The line is run in connection with the Allan Liverpool and Glasgow lines, and the London Temperley line, and will foster the trade, via the lakes, between Chicago and the European ports. Messrs. James Swift & Co. are the agents at this port for freight and passengers.

Boating - Now that the mornings and evenings are quite long, which enables mechanics and others to have a little recreation and exercise, no better way of doing this can present itself than getting a boat for a short time and taking a pull at the oar. Mr. McCorkell and Mr. Cunningham have a great many boats of all kinds on hand, and we would advise all who wish to spend an hour pleasantly to go upon the bay. Messrs. McCorkell and Cunningham have had their boats all repainted and fixed up so as to afford every comfort to parties going out for pleasure as well as exercise.


The following letter, which appeared in the Mail of the 21st ult., was written by a Kingstonian now at Thunder Bay: -

Prince Arthur's Landing, Thunder Bay, Ont., May 16th, 1873.

So many of the readers of the Mail are now interested in this district that a few lines of "latest intelligence" can hardly come amiss. I was venturesome enough on this occasion to take advantage of the "first trip" of the Chicora in spite of the discouraging reports which had reached me concerning the vast quantities of ice. We got away from Collingwood about midnight of 10th May. Including one hundred and forty men for the Dawson Road, a mixed assortment of Glengarry Gaels and French Canadians, and a number of Mr. Dawson's staff, going up for the summer, we must have been over 300 souls. And the luggage of all these people, horses, cattle, and all the freight the boat could carry in hold or on deck, and you may fancy she sat pretty low in the water. I believe some nervous persons turned back at Collingwood; but beyond a little crowding and unavoidable diminution of speed, we experienced no inconvenience. Sunday morning found us off the entrance to Owen Sound, but the white surface of the bay forbade our entrance, and we held on our course, meeting a few patches of floating ice, but nothing to interfere with our progress. The Bruce Mines were reached on Monday morning. Here we found the population anxiously awaiting the mail from England which is to announce the future fate of the mining works so energetically and successfully prosecuted by Taylor Brothers, of London, during the last two or three years. It is feared that the unfortunate results of that miserable "Mineral Hill" business, on which the Times in its money article commented so cleverly some time ago, will be felt even here - as in how many other parts of the world - in the suspension of active mining operations. Surely after so bitter a lesson it will be some time before John Bull allows Brother Jonathan to come it over him so cleverly again.

At Sault Ste. Marie we were told that the entrance to Lake Superior was still bound by ice solid enough to bear a team. These reports, and the non-appearance of any boats from up lake, decided Captain Orr to lie over till next morning. Point aux Pins was left behind at nine a.m., with no obstruction in sight, but still unwelcome reports of difficulties thickening ahead. As the river widened into Whitefish Bay, every eye was strained eagerly westward to discern the thin white line which should reveal the dreaded barrier. We were beginning to hope that it was a false alarm, when just as we sighted Whitefish Point we also caught a glimpse of a field of ice stretching right across the Batchewanning Bay without passage through or prospect of getting around it. As we got near we could see, to our great relief, that the ice belt, though wide and of great thickness, was broken up; and the Chicora braced herself, took a run, and went at it gallantly. Then came an exciting half hour, spiced with just enough danger to make it interesting. On every side rose numberless miniature icebergs of most fantastic form and every hue which ice can assume under the play of light and shade. Immense oars, poles, boat hooks were brought into requisition, and everybody lent a hand to help to fend off the heavier masses from the vessel's sides. Particularly conspicuous was one old gentleman with an oar about six feet too short, with which he kept jabbing away most ferociously at the ice which would not come within his reach. Now and again the paddles in their revolution would strike some immense lump, and a mighty throb and shudder would run through the ship from stem to stern. All breathed more freely when we saw the blue water ahead of us again. On Tuesday, at midnight, we touched at Michipicoten Island, and landed the veteran guardian of the light, which, rising almost from the centre of Lake Superior, serves as a beacon and a guide to mariners on either side of the lake. Leaving behind us the little group of islands, bathed in the full moonlight in all their solitary and rugged beauty, we steered nearly a straight course for Thunder Bay. Passing the long tongue at Point Kewewenaw (sic), soon after noon, Isle Royale and Thunder Cape came in view. At Silver Inlet we found a wharf fairly covered with barrels of silver ore, the result of the winter's work, awaiting shipment. At $500 per barrel one million of dollars ($1,000,000) would hardly be an overestimate of this precious freight. Rounding Thunder Cape we found before us another wide field of ice, entirely solid enough to bear a pedestrian all the way to the shore, but by judicious backing and filling, and dodging about generally, we managed to work through, and at 9 p.m. on the fourth day of our voyage we ran up alongside of the new wharf. All the landing was down to receive us, and as we came within hail, three rousing cheers greeted us from the wharf, and were as cordially acknowledged from the vessel. Only these who have been imprisoned here from November, with scarcely a link from the outer world, can realize the interest with which the advent of the "first boat" is watched. Added to their other deprivations the residents of Thunder Bay were, owing to the failure of the Cumberland and Chicora to reach them on their last trips of the past season, reduced to a diet of salt pork and not very good quality at that. Those who could not stomach this diet kept a double Lent, and kept it thoroughly. To these our arrival meant Easter, about six weeks late. Beer, too, had run out some weeks ago, and great was the jubilation over a keg, which, within five minutes of her arrival, was landed, tapped and on draught at Summer's Hotel. Except for the wharf, a splendid piece of Government work, and as much building as the lumber supply permitted, the winter has brought little change to the landing. With the late arrivals the streets now present a busy and stirring scene. Mining and explorations have hardly commenced for the summer. Three A is waiting for its pump, which is daily expected. The vein is said to have looked more promising than ever at the bottom of the shaft, and I saw today a large and juicy specimen brought up by Capt. Slawson. Real estate in the village is beginning to move. There was a sale yesterday on Arthur street at $20 per foot. The survey party are returning, having completed their work and located a splendid line for the railroad; nothing is wanted now but the capital to build it. If any Ontario people are meditating a summer trip to the "seaside" we advise them to try Lake Superior instead. They will find here air as bracing and invigorating, scenery of the grandest in the Dominion, a perfect climate, and no end of sport. The Lake Superior whitefish and the trout with which the rivers teem rival in flavour the finest salt sea fish, and by many are even preferred. At smaller expense and with far less fatigue tourists may pass their vacation weeks at Thunder Bay infinitely more pleasantly than at the crowded and noisy and hackneyed river side resorts of the Lower St. Lawrence.

p.2 Burning of the City of Chatham at Hamilton

Hamilton, June 4th - About 11 o'clock last night, the propeller City of Chatham, loading at the Great Western dock, was discovered to be on fire, which immediately spread all over the vessel. The great western gong sounded the alarm. All the locomotives under steam kept up an unearthly screech, which thoroughly alarmed the whole city, and brought thousands to the scene of the conflagration. The crew who were aboard escaped, but nothing was saved. A number of sailors from a vessel near at hand cut the steamer loose, and towed her out into the bay to save their vessel, and the Great Western Railway freight houses and elevator. The burning vessel kept moving about slowly in the water, and was finally towed down to the beach and grounded on a safe place. Further particulars soon.

Later Particulars - I have got the following particulars: - The City of Chatham was built at Chatham last year by Hyslop and Ronald, and was owned by Tait & Co., the officers being Captain Tait and W.A. Geddes, purser. She was valued this year at $32,000, and classed as A 1. She formed one of the Lake and River Navigation Company's line, had discharged a cargo from Montreal, and was loading up again for the same port. The vessel and cargo, consisting of seven hundred barrels of flour, is a total loss, she having burnt to the water's edge. The amount of insurance has not been ascertained, but the vessel is thought to be fully covered. She was beached on the shore near Des Jordan's canal (sic).

Custom Imports - June 4th - Prop. Bruno, Toledo, A. Gunn & Co., 60 bbls. liquor; Fenwick, Hendry & Co., 35 half bbls., 20 bxs. cut tobacco.

Prop. Lincoln, Milwaukee, M.T. Co., 16,000 bush. wheat.

Barge Lisgar, Milwaukee, M.T. Co., 20,775 bush. wheat.

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June 4, 1873
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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), June 4, 1873