The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), July 8, 1878

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p.3 The Magnet - The steamer Magnet left the harbour for Charlotte at an early hour this morning, and will return in time to begin her regular trips for the season tomorrow. The boat will be of great convenience to parties having business in Oswego or Rochester, there being very little direct communication by boat with these places at present.

The Armenia - The steamer Armenia, while on her way down, broke her rudder, and had to be towed down by the Lady Franklin. She will be made all right again in a day or two.

Launch - This morning a new steam yacht was launched at W. Robinson's boatyard, Stewart's Dock, for Professor Dupuis. She is 30 feet long, and is a well finished boat.

Marine Notes

J. Swift's - strs. Spartan from Hamilton; Corinthian from Montreal; Armenia from Picton; Passport from Hamilton; prop. Persia from Montreal; str. Corsican from Montreal; prop. Armenia from Toronto.

St. Lawrence & Chicago Forwarding Co. - Arrived - prop. California, Toledo, 3,452 bush. corn; schrs. G.C. Finney, Chicago, 19,088 bush. corn; Annie Mulvey, Toronto, 13,059 bush. wheat; Julia, Toronto, 7,000 bush. wheat.

Montreal Transportation Co. - Arrived - schrs. Nassau, 19,287 bush. corn; Montmorency, 20,241 bush. corn; tug Bronson with barges Virginia, Dauntless, Lorne, Kinghorn, Colborne, Lancaster, Milwaukee, and Wheat Bin; tug Glide with barge Oswego, 569 tons coal; scow Empress, 102 tons phosphate. Departures - tug Bronson with barge Harvest, 10,900 bush. wheat and 100 tons phosphate; Oswego, 596 tons coal; Cayuga, 491 tons coal.

Port Colborne, July 6th - Up - schooners Mellow Craft, Quebec, Amherstburg, light; Craftsman, Toronto, Ashtabula, light; Victor, Hamilton, Toledo, light; Nellie Hunter, Cobourg, Ashtabula, light; Bay Trader, Thorold, Port Rowan, light; Queen of the Lakes, Toronto, Black River, light; Gulnair, Hamilton, Cleveland, light; E. Allen, Port Colborne, Manitoulin, light. Prop. Scotia, Montreal, Chicago, gen. cargo.

Down - schrs. Jamaica, Chicago, Kingston, corn; London, Toledo, Kingston, timber; Prince Alfred, Spanish River, Kingston, timber; J.R. Noyes, Chicago, Kingston, grain; E. Allen, Manitoulin, Port Colborne, lumber; G.K. Mins (sic), Chicago, Port Colborne, corn.

The Oswego Excursion

The Oswego papers contain sensational accounts of a mishap which occurred to detain the steamer Hastings on her return trip from Kingston to Oswego on Thursday evening. The Palladium, in particular, "goes for" the officers of the boat. That the delay was lengthened cannot be denied, but this can be most satisfactorily accounted for. The Oswego Times speaks in the following manner: "Leaving the former place (Kingston) at 5:30, she arrived within fifteen or twenty miles of Oswego at ten o'clock last night. Then the pilot, John McCumisky, lost his reckoning, and mistaking the lights of the propellor City of Toledo, bound for Ogdensburg, for the Oswego lights he followed the propellor several hours and did not discover the mistake until the Hastings was somewhere between the Gallous and Sackett's Harbour. After cruising around in different directions, the pilot concluded he was lost, and at 2 o'clock this morning stopped the engine and the steamer lay at anchor. Captain Campbell was unable to throw any light on the situation. About daylight this morning the steamer got under way again and when the captain and pilot found themselves they were in Mexico bay, from whence the steamer managed to reach Oswego in safety. A special train which had been held for the Syracuse excursionists waited for them until 2 o'clock this morning. At 8 o'clock the Hastings took the Canada party on board and started for Kingston. The whole affair appears ridiculous and yet it is not without its serious aspect. The lives of so many people should not have been trusted to a pilot unfamiliar with the lake. Such a blunder would not have been made if the officers had been competent to take charge of the boat."

Captain Campbell makes the following statement of the affair: According to the custom of the owners of the boat an excursion was arranged for Oswego, to leave early on the morning of the 4th of July. A pilot was engaged for the purpose of taking the boat across the lake, and he was supposed to have sole charge of the steering. The first trip over and the trip back again were made all right, but on the way over something went wrong. The mate was on deck during the whole time, but did not think it his duty to interfere. It was Captain Campbell's watch below, and he went to bed, naturally enough expecting that all would be right, as McCummiskey, the pilot, had frequently taken boats across to Oswego, and this was the fourth time he had taken the Hastings over. The pilot claims that there was a dense fog on the lake during the night, and this was the cause of his following up so closely the lights of the propellor. It is not true they were within fifteen miles of Oswego. If they had been they could have seen the lights, and been all right. Had it not been customary to take a pilot on board to navigate the boat, the officers could have done it easily, as they had both charts and compasses on board. The statements of the Oswego papers were grossly exaggerated, and one of them, at least, is said to be written in the interests of an opposition boat.

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July 8, 1878
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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), July 8, 1878