The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Monday, Dec. 10, 1855

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Business of Oswego
Ship Building in 1855

The year 1855 has been one of marked activity, prosperity and success, in all branches of commercial and other business pursuits in this city. It is believed that at no period in the history of Oswego, has her career of prosperity been more satisfactory and brilliant than the present, and the close of no former season has shown so large an aggregate profit for the year to our commercial men.

The produce operators, commission men, millers, shippers, &c. , all have reaped a rich golden harvest. The canal forwarding business, perhaps, has been the only interest that has not kept up with the full tide of prosperity in other branches, but this, we understand, has not been bad, by any means, and the favorable weather which will permit all the boats on the canal to get through to tide water with their freight, will afford an auspicious closing of the business of that interest. Perhaps it would be futile for us to attempt to give the aggregate profits of the commercial interests of our city for the present year. It would be a large figure, and the lowest we have heard it estimated by shrewd business men, is around a million, and from that to a million and a half! This handsome balance on the credit column, must render our businessmen easy.

This wave of prosperity to our commercial interests, has given an impulse to other branches of trade in our city. We propose to take up the various leading pursuits and manufactures, in a series of articles, thus showing in a detailed form, what has been done. We shall commence with Ship Building, and follow up this subject by an account of the other branches of trade.

The ship yards of the city have done a business the present season much in advance of any former year, while a considerable number of vessels have been built at other points for parties here.

Alderman George R. Rogers' Yard

Ald. Rogers has built and launched the past season, three first class vessels, of an aggregate of 959 tons, Custom House measurement. he has two other vessels on the stocks, in a forward state of completion, of an aggregate of 750 tons, Custom House measurement; also a tug of 162 tons; and has a contract for building two or three other large vessels. He has employed some 75 men during the summer and will have on 115 during the winter. The following is a list of the vessels launched from his yard. and also of those now on the stocks, in an advanced stage:

LaunchedT. Y. Avery351tons
"Ocean Eagle295"
"W. Lewis318"
On the stocks375"
Total tonnage1671

James A. Baker's Yard, and Marine Railway.

Besides a very large business in the way of repairs to vessels and canal boats, upon his Marine Railway, Mr. Baker has built and launched, the present year, and has on the stocks, the following vessels, the tonnage being Custom House measurement:

Launched. . . . . . . . . Augusta. . . . . . . . . . 350 tons

" . . Persian. . . . . . . . . . . 381 "

On the stocks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 412 "

Total tonnage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1143

Mr. Baker has docked and repaired upon the Marine Railway, during the year, 45 vessels, comprising steamboats, propellers, barques, brigs, and schooners, whose aggregate tonnage amounts to 11,038 tons -besides an almost endless number of canal boats. The total of repairs on all these vessels and boats, as exhibited by his dock book, is $56,290. Mr. Baker gives average employment to about 100 men.

Andrew Miller & Co's Yard, and Floating Dry Dock.

Mr. Miller has built and launched this year, and has on the stocks, the following: -

Launched. . . . . . . . . . Barbarian. . . . . . . . . . 357 tons

On the stocks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365 tons

The number of vessels and boats which have undergone repairs is very large, and a heavy business has been done in the aggregate in this yard and dock, though it has not turned off as many new vessels as those of Messrs. Baker and Rogers. The number of vessels and boats docked is as follows:

Vessels 81; aggregate tonnage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14,503

Canal boats 276 " 22,840

The aggregate of these repairs is not given, but cannot fall much short of $100,000, if it is not over that sum. The average number of men employed is about 100.

Besides the above yards, there are two others in the city, which started in the latter part of this season. The first is that of:

Messrs. Lee & Lamoree.

These gentlemen employ some 25 men, and have on the stocks a splendid vessel , which will be launched in a few days, if the weather is favorable.

Its tonnage is as follows:

On the stocks. . . . . . 375 tons


Mr. George Goble.

Is building a splendid vessel, at the foot of West Fourth street, where his yard is located, which is in an advanced condition. her tonnage is as follows:

On the stocks. . . . . . . . . . . . 360 tons

He employs about 25 men

The business done in Oswego in the way of shipbuilding shows the following aggregate:

Number of new vessels built13
Total tonnage4471
Number of vessels docked for repairs194
Number of boats docked for repairs476
Total tonnage65,381
Number of men employed350

Besides the above we will state, that there have been a considerable number of canal boats built in this city at different localities, but there has not been a large business done in this way. We do not comprehend why a good and profitable business of this kind could not have been done.

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Date of Original:
Monday, Dec. 10, 1855
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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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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Monday, Dec. 10, 1855