The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
United Empire (Propeller), C80776, 21 May 1883

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The launch of the new propeller built at Sarnia by Mr. James Beatty was only partly successful. The vessel stood broadside to the water, and started evenly on her way when released from her fastenings, but after sliding a few feet the stern swung rapidly forward displacing the cradles, and leaving the bow high and dry out of the water. Tugs will be employed to drag her off. The failure to put the craft fairly afloat was a great disapointment to the thousands of people who assembled to witness the launch, as well as to the owners and builders. As the fastenings were cut, and the vessel began to move, little Miss Wakefield, niece of the owner, broke a bottle of water on her bow and christened her " The UNITED EMPIRE."
      The J/W/ Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, October 1882

James H. Beatty's new screw stm. UNITED EMPIRE arrived at Detroit on Friday to receive part of her outfit. She was built by Parry & Dybin of Sarnia. She is 260 ft. long, 36 ft. beam, 15 ft. hold, and will carry 1,200 tons on 12 ft. of water. The hull is of wood with steel arches and steel ceilings from the bilge upwards 7 ft. She is considered the strongest vessel ever constructed of wood. Her engine is a fore and aft compound with cylinders of 34 and 68 inches ans stroke of 42 inches. She has two steel boilers, each 12 by 12 ft., and her wheel is 13 ft. in diameter, with 19 ft. pitch. It will be noted that she has immense power and Capt. E. Robertson, her master, states that she will not take the back wash from anything that floats on the lakes, not even excepting the famous H.J. JEWETT. The UNITED EMPIRE is finely fitted up with passenger accommodations and can carry about 200 cabin and 218 steerage passengers. She will run between Sarnia and Duluth, extending her trips to Detroit during the excursion season. John McEdwards is her clerk and George Bussey her steward.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      May 21, 1883 3-6

Steam screw UNITED EMPIRE. Official Canada No. 80776. Of 1961 gross tons; 1296 tons reg. Built at Sarnia, Ont., in 1882. Home port, Sarnia, Ont. 258.8 x 36.0 x 15.0
      List of Vessels on the Registry Books of the
      Dominion of Canada, on Dec. 31, 1886

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new vessel. Sarnia
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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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United Empire (Propeller), C80776, 21 May 1883