The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oliver Mowat (Schooner), 15 Jul 1873

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Kingston, July 16 - Yesterday, at Mill Haven, near this port, a splendid schooner of 18,000 bushel capacity, was launched for Messrs. Frazer & George, in the presence of a gathering of 2,000 people. It was named the OLIVER MOWAT. The Premier was present, having joined the excursion party from Kingston in Messrs. Frazer & George's new steamer.
      The Toronto Mail
      Thursday, July 17, 1873

      . . . . .

      Bath, a town which has been making steady progress backwards, and has reached a point where such progression must cease, was once noted for it's shipbuilding but it's near neighbor, Millhaven, yesterday accomplished it's first achievement in the nautical line of enterprise. The new schooner of Messrs. Fraser & George, of this city, was launched, and Millhaven and the country around made a gala occasion of it.
      And the enterprising owners indulged in the luxury of an excursion from the city to the scene of the launch, inviting quite a number of their personal friends to accompany them. The day was so calm and bright, giving promise of an avoidance of the horrors of a rough passage of the lower gap, with a prospect of the pleasant weather. That a very hopeful party left Carruther's & Co. dock at 11:15 a. m., on what proved to be as enjoyable a trip as can be remembered by the most experienced excursionist on board and he ought to be a judge !
      The freight steamer SAXON, newly built and fitted out by Messrs. Fraser and George, carried the party. She afforded a clear deck for two-thirds of her length, over which was stretched an awning, forming a most agreeable shade. The SAXON is a fine substantial boat, and moves with a steadiness which makes a trip on her superior to that on a side-wheel steamer for real comfort. She is commanded by Captain Freel, and will ply on the lakes and the Bay of Quinte, and from her ample capacity for freight must make a remunerative return for the outlay involved in her construction.
      On board were the Premier of Ontario, The Hon. Oliver Mowat, brother-in-law to Mr. Fraser, and Mr. Wm. Robinson, M. P. P., with members of their families. Judge Burrowes, and other gentlemen together with the wives and daughters of several prominent citizens. Mr. Mowat won golden opinions, and especially so from the ladies, for his affability of manner, he is most agreeable company, and proved that it is not necessary to put on style to sustain the dignity of a Premier.
      Passing the Murney Tower, which recalls the early history of Kingston, with the visit that Tom Moore paid to this spot and under the inspiration of the cooling breezes wrote a part of ' Salla Rookh' -- and leaving astern the distillery (which is once more idle) and the penitentiary, (which is fated not to be) the SAXON made a call at Portsmouth, where a pleasant addition was received to the party on board. The noble looking Rockwood Asylum, affords the last and most interesting prominent land view, and attention is diverted to the scenery of the bay, and the prospect is indeed very very fine, particularly opposite :the Brothers." From this point the rafting operations in Collin's Bay attract distant attention, Their importance is not sufficiently known to Kingstonians; vessels arrive almost daily with timber, which is rafted and sent to Quebec. The village receives a great deal of unwanted life from the presence of so many workmen, and the lively industry in which they are employed by Messrs. McArthur Brothers. An agreeable sail, indeed, ended with the arrival of the steamer at Millhaven, the shore of which presented a pretty sight, from the crows assembled to witness the event of the day. A large number of Millhavenites were gathered on the wharf to welcome our small delegation. The whole country around seemed to have made a holiday : There were not less than 2,000 persons present at the appointed hour (2 o'clock) and the proportion of well dressed and bright looking country girls unmistakingly declared that the 'Haven" would be a most attractive spot as a summer resort for city beaux. No one in the Kingston party seemed to have been "struck," and there is no romance (more the pity) in the shape of an elopement to chronicle. The pretty bay was dotted over with small boats, filled with people, for the cool water had an attraction which those sweltering on the shore under the fierce sun could not exaggerate.
      The new vessel as she sat on the ways was much admired, her model being very graceful indeed, a close examination of her did not detract in the least from the impression gained on first view, for she is perfect in structure, and a credit to her builder, Mr. Beaupre, formerly of Portsmouth. Being as handsome a boat as ever sailed the lakes, Messrs. Fraser & George may safely pride themselves upon her. She is a "success." They have fitted her as a three-masted schooner, after the fashion now prevailing with first class vessels on the lakes, and Mr. Oldrieve, of Kingston, has supplied the sails and rigging. Her dimensions are 130 feet length, 26 feet beam, 11 feet in the hold, and will carry 15,000 bushels. Some one was favorably impressed with her, for he offered $30,000 in cash for her on the spot yesterday; but he refused the bargain sought.
      She is a perverse boat, though, she loved the ways fondly, and would not leave them even to accommodate so large and admiring a crowd. The operations for launching were begun at 1:30 but the ordinary means employed were to no avail. Move she would not; perhaps it was not a good day for moving, was too warm for much exertion. The crowd was patient, however, and never ceased its interest in the expectant sight. Every method of hammering, levering and ramming was employed to induce the vessel to act with propriety and a graceful acquiescence becoming the occasion, but they were to be shown to be tricks that were vein as the noted heathen.
      Chinese umbrellas were vied a prime invention, one of the luxuries, Millhaven must be further south than Kingston, it was so warm. It would be a good ;location to create soda water manufactory and ice-cream foundry. But we presume the July sun was putting on style also for the occasion, and it is generally a warm sun, you know. At 4:45, just as the word to adopt the last resort, that of the steamer jerking the schooner off, the vessel, as if smarting under the intending indignity, began to move downwards so neatly and gracefully that her former perverseness was overlooked. As she glided away to enter upon her natural element, the fair daughter of one of the owners, Miss Fraser, christened the new candidate for nautical honors, whose handsome new flag was unfurled, displaying the name " OLIVER MOWAT." A portion of the loud cheers which here arose from vessel and shore were a personal tribute to the popular and Honorable gentleman whose name was displayed, and who stood on the platform. As handsome as the OLIVER MOWAT looked on shore, she appeared to still greater advantage in the water. The SAXON went out and towed her about the bay, whit quite a crowd of Millhavenites on board, they taking the full liberty of both vessels, reposing no doubt, unlimited confidence in the hospitality of the owners. The towing of so large a boat, helpless as it was without steering apparatus in position, was attended with difficulty, and led to a series of mishaps, troublesome but resulting in no injuries. The boats were drifted twice ashore, but were easier worked off, and the vessel got into dock. At 7 o'clock a start was made for home, and dinner, which was long delayed, was heartily relished by all on board. The trip home was splendid, the lake being a dead calm, and the night very cool. The city was reached at ten o'clock, after touching at Garden Island and Portsmouth, and the excursion then and there put down as one of the best of this seasons pleasant trips.
      The OLIVER MOWAT will complete her fitting out at Millhaven, and then go into service at once. May her career by a fortunate one.
      One impression of Millhaven is that it possesses more "tight" young men on holiday occasions around its taverns than are creditable to an orderly village like it always has been.
      Daily British Whig, Kingston
      July 16, 1873

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launch, Mill Haven
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William R. McNeil
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Oliver Mowat (Schooner), 15 Jul 1873