The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Frances Smith (Steamboat), 30 Apr 1867

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      We are glad to be able to state that Capt. Smith's new Steamer has so nearly reached completion, that he expects to be able to launch her on Tuesday, 30th inst., at 2 p.m.
      Owen Sound Comet
      Fridav. April 19. 1867:

THE STEAMER BONNIE which is to run on the route between this port and Collingwood until our new steamer, the 'Frances Smith' is ready, arrived here this morning about nine o'clock with freight and mails. She will make three trips per week.
      Owen Sound Comet
      Fridav. May 3. 1867

Now-a-days we hear plenty of talk about shipping - ne navies - [ the old "wooden walls" to be done away with - vague ideas about iron-clads - "hydraulic propulsion" tumble about promiscuously on our minds, and "Great Easterns," grim old "Warriors" - "side launches" -'Gridirons' are all mixed together, still 'tis so far away across the AtlaNTIC that we soon forget it, and somehow we expect such things over there.
      But we have had the hammers clinking here in our midst - a hundred busy hands have raised the great ribs - driven the iron bolt and patiently fitted timber upon timber till a fine ship has stood out against our evening sky, and we too "know the ropes." The 30th ult. was the time appointed for the launch, and was looked for with expection (sic), though many a wiseacre shook his head and ventured "she would not get off so soon," but the hammers clinked on, and Tuesday the people began to pour in.
      As the hour, 2 p.m., approached, every available spot near the launch was occupied. Long dense crowds line each side of the river. Down stream lay the "Algoma" with excursionists from Collingwood. Across from the town lay the new vessel broadside to the stream and resting upon a series of great timbers, which sloped away to the water - a broad basin unbroken, save here and there a skiff shot across as though pleased with its own temerity. Half past two
the last blocks were knock (sic) away - a dozen axes cut a dozen cables - the great mass with a tremor - a groan - moved off and gliding down took her plunge, surging back the water in a huge swell - down came the halyard and up went the flag, unfurling to the breeze the name FRANCES SMITH - while on deck, the bandsmen recovering their legs, blew lustily, as though each thought he himself had done it.
The vessel was then moored, and the crowd dispersed well pleased with a sight so novel to most.
The new steamer is a fine boat and reflects great credit upon the enterprise of her builders.
Previous to the launch a deputation consisting of T. Scott, Esq., Mayor, A.M. Stephens, Esq., ex-Mayor, Judge McPherson and H. Secord, Esq., presented to Capt. Smith, Colors for his new steamer, purchased by subscription of the citizens of this town. His Worship the Mayor read the following address, which was beautifully engrossed
on parchrnent, by Wm. Armstrong, Esq., Clerk of the Peace, in presenting the colors:
      'To Captain W.H. Smith,'
DEAR SIR,- We, your fellow towns-men, participate in the pleasure which you must this day feel in the successful completion of a project which, for some time, has been the object of your ambition, viz., the construction of this large, staunch, and beautiful steamship.
Your efforts heretofore in providing us with swift and commodious means of transit conferred upon us a boon possessed by few other towns, we are not unmindful of those favors, and feel much satisfaction in witnessing in this noble vessel, the substantial result of these endeavors. During you residence amongst us, your career exhibits a spirit of enterprise which elicits our warmest commendation; it is this same spirit of enterprise which has built
up our large and wealthy cities; traversed our country with railroads and canals, and founded a Dominion in a land but recently gloomy forest.
Your persevering efforts to advance your own welfare - ever honorable - have been such that we, as a community, have shared largely in the benefits accruing therefrom; our laboring men and mechanics have been provided with employment, the business of our town has been enlarged, and our farmers in the surrounding country have been enabled to obtain an increased reward for their labors.
      We have met here to-day to acknowledge our appreciation of those qualities we see in you which have secured to you our respect and admiration; and in testimony of the esteem in which we hold you, we beg to present you with this set of colors to be carried by this splendid steamer whose launch we are about the witness. Her fine model, great strength and superior workmanship attest the skill and integrity of her architect, and under the able command of yourself the travelling public may rest assured of safety, speed and comfort, together with kind and courteous treatment.
      We wish you success in this undertaking; we hope and trust that it may be profitable to you, and that you and your esteemed family may long enjoy the fruits of your persevering energy.
      Captain Smith replied as follows:
      Mr. Mayor and fellow townsmen:!
      For the appropriate and highly esteemed present, as well as your kind address, - either of which would in itself be sufficient to inspire with feelings of grateful remembrance the many kind favors I have already received at your hands, - accept my heartfelt thanks, and I trust that the future will not find me unmindful of what can, and must of necessity be done, in order to develop 'even some' of the great natural resources of our town and surrounding country. In fact, this is the only place in which there can be a dockyard conveniently established for the construction
and needy repairs of the merchant marine, which is likely at no distant day to spring-up in this north-westerly portion of the great Dominion of Canada. I feel, gentlemen, that this my first effort at building, may and will be followed by many others; and should this noble vessel astonish the finny tribes of the Georgian Bay, by her speed, as I feel assured she will, the entire credit will be due, to her designer and builder, Mr. Simpson. Gentlemen, I again most
cheerfully thank you for your magnificent present, and kind wishes for myself and family, and I trust that the new ship may long be spared to float those beautiful colours to the gentle breeze.
      Owen Sound Comet
      Friday, May 3, 1867

      We are very much gratified in seeing that Captain Smith's new steamboat, the "Frances Smith," is progressing towards completion quite rapidly. We are assured that every exertion is being made to have her ready to run down to Collingwood on Wednesday next, the 22nd inst., and on Friday there will be a grand excursion on her from Meaford to Owen Sound (at 50 cents each) calling at Cape Rich, in order to celebrate the Queen's Birthday

      Through to Toronto the same day.
      The New, Fast, Commodious and Splendid Steamer
      will commence making daily trips between
      Owen Sound and Collingwood, on Thursday,
      the 23rd, leaving Owen Sound (Sundays excepted)
      at 7 a.m., calling (weather permitting)
      at Cape Rich and Meaford, arriving in Collingwood
      in time to make connection with the afternoon for
      Toronto; leaving Collingwood at 1:30 P. M. or
      immediately after the arrival of the morning train,
      calling at Meaford and Cape Rich, and arrivin at
      Owen Sound the same afternoon
      Owen Sound Comet
      Friday. May 17. 1867:

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launch, Owen Sound
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William R. McNeil
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Frances Smith (Steamboat), 30 Apr 1867