Early Lake History - The Detroit Post has been gathering scraps of lake history, from which we take the following: "On Lake Ontario, previous to 1797 and during that year, the following vessels were engaged in the commerce of the lake:
Schooner American, Capt. Theophilus Pease. This vessel was owned by Matthew McNair, of Oswego; schooner Lark, Capt. J. Goodwin; Island Packet, Capt. William Howell; Eagle, Capt. Baldwin; Mary, Capt. E.M. Tyler; Farmer, Capt. Sam Carver; Two Brothers, Capt. A. Bennett; Experiment, Capt. C. Holmes; also schooner Democrat.
Shortly before the war the United States brig Oneida was built and commanded by Capt. Woolsey. In 1809 the schooner Ontario, 70 tons burthen, was built by Porter, Barton & Co., at Lewiston, and sold to the United States during the war. The same year the schooner Cambria was built on an island at the lower end of Lake Ontario, and brought in an unfinished state to Lewiston, where they were purchased by Porter, Barton & Co. and her name changed to Niagara.
In addition to the foregoing the following vessels were in commission in 1810: Schooner Diana, Capt. A. Montgomery; sloop Marion; schooners Charles and Ann, Gold Hunter and Genesee Packet; Matthew McNair, Townsend, Bronson & Co., Thomas H. Wentworth and Capt. Eagle were the principal owners and forwarders on Lake Ontario previous to the War of 1812. Quite a number of vessels which were in the service of the government during the war, were afterwards sold and employed in the commerce of the lakes.
From the close of the war up to 1819 and 1820, but few were built. About the year 1815 mention is made of the brig Gen. Brock, schooner Union, Elizabeth and Maria, which varied in tonnage from 80 to 120 tons burthen. The Brock was lost on Long Point, Lake Erie. The Elizabeth was seized by the government and sold at Sandusky. The last named vessels were owned on the Canada side of Lake Erie, as were also the Lady Provost, Rattlesnake and Lord Nelson.
Of the navigation of the lakes since 1820, there are many even at the present day familiar with its history, and of the vessels which plied on the lakes, two of which, the Michigan and Superior, were purchased by speculators at Niagara Falls and sent over the Falls, one in 1829, the other we believe in 1831.