The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Western Herald (Sandwich, ON), Friday, February 11, 1842

Full Text

The following particulars of the commerce of the Western Lakes, from a statement prepared at the request of the Head of the Engineer department on the lakes, by a gentleman of Buffalo, is made up, says the Buffalo Commercial, "from precise and accurate data, which cannot be gainsaid." Previous to 1832, the whole commerce west of Detroit was confined almost entirely to carrying up provisions and goods for the Indian trade, and supplies for the troops, and bringing back the produce of the fur trade.

From 1819 to 1826, one voyage annually was made by a steamboat to Mackinac; and in 1832, steamboats chartered by Government first appeared at Chicago, then an open roadstead.

In 1833, there were 11 steamboats, which cost $360,000, at Buffalo. These boats took away from Buffalo 42,956 passengers, and brought back 18,529; and for passengers and freight that year they received $229,212,69. Three trips were likewise made to Chicago, the receipts for which were $4,355,93.

In 1834, there were 18 steamboats, at a cost of over $606,000. The whole amount received for freight and passengers was $238,565,95; of which $7,272 may be considered as earned west of Detroit.

For the years 1835, 6, 7, 8, 9, no details could be prepared without vast labor, and the attempt was therefore not made.

In 1840, a Steamboat Association had been again formed, that embraced all the boats. There number was forty-eight, from 150 to 700 tons burthen, and the cost of their construction about 2,200,000. The aggregate earnings for freight and passengers were $725,523,44. Eight boats ran regularly to Chicago, whose aggregate earnings were $302,785,83; of which $201,832, may be considered as business west of Detroit.

In 1841, the aggregate earnings were $707,132,27; of which $226,352 were earned west of Detroit.

For estimating the amount of business, done by the sail-craft, no precise data are possessed. The number of sail vessels estimated at 250, varying from 30 to 350 tons burthen. Their cost is estimated at $1,250,000; and the freight earned at $750,000. Exact data cannot be obtained without consulting the Custom House books at every port of entry on the lakes.

In addition to this are the vessels owned on both sides of lake Ontario, which pass through the Welland Canal, and push their trade to the extreme end of Lake Michigan. The number that passed through the canal was, in

1840 1841
Schooners, 1863 1915
Scows & Boats 700 972
Tonnage 202,282 247,911

The amount of freight on the property, which was grown on the American side of these waters, and earned on Lake Erie and the Upper Lakes is estimated at $150,000; and the aggregate commercial business on these lakes is estimated at $1,700,000. --- N. Y. Journal of Commerce.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Original:
Friday, February 11, 1842
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Western Herald (Sandwich, ON), Friday, February 11, 1842