The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), June 1, 1850

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Ontario and St. Lawrence Steamboat Company

The following notices of the Boats of this company, and history of Steamboat navigation on the Lake and River, we cut from the Ogdensburg Republican. To many, the account of the boats which have navigated out waters in years past will be interesting, like the suggestion of the parting and virtues of long-gone friends. Comparing the past with the present, calling to mind that the steam crafts of fifteen years since, and then looking upon the palaces which are now in their beauty and magnificence "walk the water like a thing of life," we are led involuntarily to pay a tribute to the enterprise, skill, and liberality of the worthy gentlemen comprising the Steamboat company. They have done well - and we doubt not the public will see to it that they are well rewarded.

Steamer "Northerner" - Steamboats in old times.

This steamer, whose appearance in our port has been looked for with much interest, arrived in port on Wednesday evening last, and on Thursday morning, before leaving, she was visited by hundreds of our citizens, though the rain fell in torrents, which was a great disadvantage to the first appearance of this splendid craft. She left here again this morning, and the appearance she presented was truly magnificent. We can only speak briefly of her dimensions, and internal arrangements, not having been able to make more than a brief visit to her. She is 230 feet in length, 31 ft. 4 in. beam, and 12 ft. 6 in. depth of hold. her engine, which is a most beautiful piece of machinery, is from the works of T.F. Secor, New York. The cylinder is 66 inches, with 11 feet stroke. In regard to her internal arrangements, it would be difficult to imagine anything more complete and truly admirable.

The upper deck saloon is one vast apartment, richly furnished, with 52 large staterooms, besides several family rooms. The Ladies Saloon on the main deck, aft, is a perfect model for a lake boat. Large, airy and comfortable in itself, it is splendidly furnished throughout. Add to this, the suite of "bridal state rooms" fitted up adjoining, and there can be nothing finer as a whole.

It is meet that so fine a boat as this should be commanded by a gentleman whose good qualities are on an equal scale, which most emphatically is the case. That old favorite, Capt. Child, is in command. he is well known to our readers and the whole traveling public, and wherever he is known, there he has devoted friends. For years, through storm and sunshine, he has piloted the traveler through our waters in safety, with a punctuality and steadiness only equaled by the seat itself. Kind and affable to all, none who travel with him but leave his boat with regret, and give him at parting a warm and heart-felt gratulation.

We cannot omit to speak also, of his officers and men, all of whom, in their several stations, discharge with like promptness and fidelity their arduous duties. Mr. H.H. Holmes, the Purser, Mr. D. Wait, the Engineer, and Mr. Tallman in the Saloon, who caters to the delicate tastes of passengers, each and all are gentlemen well known, and admirably qualified for their duties.

Since writing of this new steamer, we have been led to take a retrospect of the marine on our lake and river, back to the time when there was but one steamer running here, making semi-monthly trips from here to Rochester and back. It is interesting to note the progress made during this time. The first steamer running here was the old Ontario, built in 1817. Many of our citizens who were boys then remember her well. Next came the Martha Ogden, built in 1825. In 1831 the Brownville, another small steamer came out. she was followed in 1832 by the United States, which made her weekly trips to Lewiston; she was considered a monster in those days. She was the first steamer of any magnitude, and was really considerable of a craft. One of her engines is now in the Rochester built in 1842.

In 1833 the Charles Carrol, a small steamer was brought out. In 1834 two boats, the Oswego and the Wm. Avery, were built. These ran but a short time, and in 1836 gave place to the Oneida, which with the United States, formed the line from here to Lewiston. In 1837 two other boats, the Telegraph and Express were brought out, and "ran their brief face," after which we believe they were razed into schooners. As the work of improvement commenced, the company next built a new steamer - the St. Lawrence - in 1839, which was then considered a "top shelf" of all boats. She was a good boat for the times: her once proud form is now tossed up on the bar in our harbor, a pray to decay and the elements.

Next came the Lady of the Lake, in 1841. In 1842, the Rochester came out, the United States having been previously laid up. In 1845 the Oneida gave place to the Niagara, which is still running and well remembers for her gallant bearing. One by one the four boats mentions as in the line in 1846, gave place to the Cataract in 1847, the Ontario in 1848, the Bay State in 1849, and this year, 1850, the noble steamer Northerner takes the place of the Niagara, so that the line now consists of the Cataract, the Ontario, the Bay State and Northerner, all which may challenge comparison with any boats running. Long may they continue to run - a source of profit to their owners, and a proud monument to the enterprise, perseverance and skill of the Ontario and St. Lawrence Steamboat Company.

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June 1, 1850
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), June 1, 1850