The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Tribune (Detroit, MI), 28 May, 1876

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THEN AND NOW. - In view of the present stagnation of trade, it may be consoling to vessel owners to know that still lower rates than those now obtained ruled in 1857. In that year, Capt. Ben Wolvin, of the steam barge Raleigh, had command of the schooner Africa, and carried one cargo of corn to Buffalo at 1 cent per bushel. On the second trip to Buffalo, he carried 5,000 bushels of corn for nothing, the shippers paying the expense of handling. The Africa had a remunerative charter to deliver railroad iron from Buffalo, and Capt. Wolvin did not chose to take her down without ballast - hence the contracts referred to. During the season of 1857 a fleet of upward of thirty vessels owned by the Lake Navigation Company remained in ordinary at this port for several months owing to the inability to secure cargoes for them.

In striking contrast to this remarkable dearth of business is that fact that at one time during the season of 1866, vessels received 25 cents per bushel for wheat to Buffalo. One vessel that season loaded at this port with corn for Buffalo, the freight agreed upon being one half the value of the cargo upon its arrival at its destination. Unfortunately for the owners of the vessel, however, she was never heard from after leaving port, having gone down with all hands during heavy weather. - Chicago Tribune.

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In late 1875- early 1876 shipping rates were in very depressed state. Rates for corn in May, 1876 were as low as two and a half cents per bushel, whereas a year earlier they had hovered near seven cents. Nearly half of the grain fleet did not come out of winter quarters until late, due to the low rates, while a significant number of vessels laid up for the year in mid-season.      
Date of Original:
28 May, 1876
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Dave Swayze
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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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Detroit Tribune (Detroit, MI), 28 May, 1876