The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), April 10, 1874

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p.2 Marine Intelligence

Navigation seems to be pretty well opened all over now, to judge from our exchanges. At Kingston, however, the very strong belt of ice prevents entrance into the harbour from the lake. The belt extends from Murney Tower to Snake Island, and from the Batteau Channel to the mainland, and is so strong that no vessel can force its way through it. Advantage is taken by Messrs. Calvin and Breck to get their light vessels out from Garden Island by way of the Wolfe Island Canal, and up the American Channel which is completely free from ice. Two schooners were towed out in this way last evening. The harbour is quite busy with the preparations for sailing as soon as the barrier breaks, and the forwarders are making ready for a rush. We append some shipping items from various places:-

Clayton, April 8th - The ice blockade is raised. The steambarge Glasgow and propellers Champlain and Garden City and tug Jesse Hall opened a passage through the ice near Carleton Island this forenoon, and got through all right. The steambarge Belle Cross, with tows, was ready to sail waiting for the first news of the opening of the channel. One by one they took wing till nearly everyone has gone. It is snowing hard.

Cape Vincent, April 8th - Navigation is fully opened. The propellers Garden City and Chaplain passed this morning bound for Detroit, Toledo and Chicago. Steambarge Glasgow with two barges in tow arrived shortly afterwards. They did not leave until noon. The tug Jessie Hall also arrived with three other vessels in tow. As soon as she got near the wharf one of the schooners hoisted her sails and went up alone. The Polly Rogers is loading with ice for Toledo, and the schooner Surprise will load with ore for Cleveland.

First Clearance For Lake Erie - The brig. E. Cohen, Capt. Golden, took a clearance from Oswego, on Wednesday for Toledo. This is the first clearance for Lake Erie this season.

Launch - A new vessel, named the Elgin, was launched at St. Catharines a few days since. The Elgin is a staunch, neatly fitted, three-masted schr., with fore square-sail and top sail yards, and is adapted for either grain or timber. Her carrying capacity through the canal is 20,000 bushels of wheat. She was built for Messrs. Shepard & Arkeil (Arkell ?), of Port Stanley, and Conn, of Tyrconnell, the latter of whom performed the christening ceremony. She will be commanded by Capt. M. Dalton, who has bought an interest in her.

Detroit River Bridge - The vessel owners of Detroit have called a convention of vessel owners on the lakes, to be held in that city on the 15th inst., for the purpose of taking action against bridging either the St. Clair or the Detroit river by railroad companies.

Several vessels cleared from this port yesterday. The steam barge Glasgow with her tow barges, left in the forenoon. Also a tow of sail vessels. Navigation may be considered open. [Ogdensburg Journal]

Our harbour has grown into activity during the past week, and now presents a slight indication of plenty of business between navigators and shippers, although rates are not quite up to the figure which makes glad the heart of the sailor. There seems to be an impression among vessel owners that the season will prove a bad one for them, everything tending to that end. First comes the length of the season, which has its weight in the general effect. Then the increased vessel capacity, which must increase competition. Then the action of the Board of Lake Underwriters, which press the master to sail without insurance, or pay more than ever before for it. Towing combinations are as united as ever, and demand the old rates. There is everything against the vessel owners and nothing working to his favour; and in order to live, he must war with man and the elements. [Toledo Blade]

New Custom House - A United States Custom House has been established at Kelley's Island. It will be under charge of the Sandusky District, and Mr. D.K. Huntington will be the Collector.

Vessel Owner's Association - A permanent organization of the vessel owners of Milwaukee was effected Friday by the election of the following officers:- President, D.M. Brigham; Vice-President, Zachariah Saveland; Secretary & Treasurer, Louis Blyer; Executive Committee, R.P. Fitzgerald, David Vance and C.W. Norris. The Association desire to co-operate with similar organizations at the different Lake ports for the purpose of forming a general organization.

Sailors Wages - But few crews have so far been engaged at this port, but plenty of men are to be had at $1.25 per day. [Detroit Post]

The River Guides - Seventeen spar and three can buoys are placed between the mouth of Fox River and Escanaba during the season of navigation.

Custom House Removed - The Custom House at Bay City has been removed to Maxwell's block at just below Third street bridge, which is a more convenient location for vessel men than the former one.

Towing For Chicago - The Inter-Ocean says that for 1874 there will be no change in the tug lines or the rates, but for "prompt payment" a deduction of 20 per cent will be made. The same paper says "Chicago has by all odds the best towing facilities on the lakes."

Interesting To Sailors - A large number of ocean seamen from Halifax and other Nova Scotian ports passed westward by the G.W.R. on Sunday evening, en route for Chicago, anticipating better times and more money this year, upon the great lakes than upon the ocean. Our Canadian boys should secure engagements. [St. Catharines Journal]

To Try the Straits - The Inter-Ocean says: "We learn that during the present week, notwithstanding the cold weather in the Straits for some time past, and the well-known condition of the ice, several of our propeller lines will send out boats, the belief being that by the end of this week or the middle of next a passage through can be successfully made."

Ice-Cargoes - Rough Weather on Lake Huron - The schooners Negaunee, Col. Cook and Penfield, which passed this port early last week to procure cargoes of ice at some point above, and had a rough time of it on Lake Huron. On getting as far up as White Rock, the storm which was prevailing so increased in violence that the tow got separated from the tug (the Pringle) and all the crafts put for the river. The Negaunee and Cook arrived at Port Huron, but up to Sunday the Penfield had not put in an appearance. Yesterday the tug Mocking Bird was chartered to take the tow to Tawas, where the ice was to be obtained; she started with the Negaunee and Cook, and it was expected that the Penfield would be picked up outside. [Detroit Post]

Examinations of Lake Captains - We are glad to see that the shipmasters of Buffalo have signed a document agreeing to submit to a Board of Underwriters in the matter of examinations in regard to competency to command. This is as it should be, and we hope that it will be generally taken up. The following is the agreement referred to:-

We, the undersigned shipmasters of Buffalo, agree to submit to the action of the Board of Lake Underwriters, so far as it requires us to pass an examination in regard to competency to command, etc., by a Board of Underwriters. But the object being exclusively for the benefit of insurers we hereby protest against paying an annual tax for the same.

It is signed by a great number of captains.

Port Colborne, April 9th - Arrived - Schr. Ames, Toledo, Oswego; barque Wm. Home, Chicago, Port Colborne, wheat; James Scott, Port Ryerse, Stonebridge, lumber; Cambria, Windsor, Garden Island, timber.

Out - Prop. Antelope and two barges to Bay City; schrs. Columbia, Detroit; Anglo-Saxon, Chicago.

The ice moved out from this shore, making a channel whereby vessels could pass without much trouble.

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April 10, 1874
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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), April 10, 1874