The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 11 April 1863

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Spring Walks by a Fresh Hand

Yesterday "Fresh Hand" paid a visit to his old friends, the ship-carpenters, at Portsmouth, and found them all as busy as ever, mallet in hand, driving in the bolt with unerring stroke. Last year he called the attention of the public to an old house which reared its modest chimneys hard by the Penitentiary Quarries, and which, with its primeval architecture, spoke of many a year gone by. "Fresh Hand" has little else to say of that self same ancient dwelling, save that it stands there still, and that from one of its care-worn chimneys the blue smoke is frequently seen to curl. "Fresh Hand" then alluded to this old house, because he thought this "Walk" would be deficient without it.

Portsmouth is much the same as it was a year ago, and has experienced few innovations that would attract the attention of even the most casual observer.

In Ault's Ship Yard, all was industry and bustle; for when eighty hands are kept constantly employed, what else can one expect? Nor was "Fresh Hand's" friend of a twelvemonth, Mr. Ault, within doors. He was moving round among his men, superintending all that was going on, with an experienced eye and a solicitude for the despatch of business, which augur well for the vessels at present under his care. Here the fine barque Arabia is being thoroughly rebuilt, forty men being kept constantly employed at her. Her breadth of beam is 26 foot' length over all on deck, 140 feet; and depth of hold 12.5 feet.--She has had seven feet added to her keel, with 6 inches more beam, and when ready for sea, which will be in three weeks' time, will rank A No. 1 with any vessel on the lakes. She is intended for Messrs. W. Ferguson & Co., of this city.

The propeller Whitby, Capt. Kennedy, Beaver Line, is receiving repairs here.She has been newly caulked, and has had new "pointers" placed in her, fore and aft, to prevent her beams from springing in a heavy sea. She has been well bolted, too, throughout. Her boilers have been strengthened, and new brasses, where needed, have been placed in her machinery, to strengthen it; while her deck has been covered with a new lot of canvass, to prevent rain or heavy seas from soaking into the hold from above. The poopcabin on deck, formerly used by the crew alone, has been divided into berths or compartments, for the accommodation of passengers, all of which berths or compartments are roomy, and will be able to accommodate about 40 individuals. Forward, too, new bulwarks have been erected, and altogether the Whitby will look as trim and neat as a craft can be at the opening of navigation.

Alongside the Whitby lies the steamer Ranger, one of the same line, and commanded by Capt. McMillan, which has a cabin capacity for 40 passengers, and with some slight alterations in the berths, and new cabin fittings, she will be in fine condition for the approaching season Like the Whitby, her deck has been covered with new canvass, and both these vessels will be shortly provided with pony engines, manufactured in Montreal, for the purpose of lowering into the hold and taking out freight therefrom. This will save a good deal of manual labor.

Under Mr. Ault's superintendence, the tug Rescue, has been thoroughly repaired, and has had new boilers placed in her.

From Ault's Ship Yard, "Fresh Hand" passed into Messrs. E. Berry & Co.'s Ship Yard, formerly that of MacPherson & Crane. Here the above firm have eight large barges, capacity 15,000 bushels. One of these has been rebuilt, three put under thorough repair, while the balance have received a slight overhauling.

The foreman of this yard is Mr. William Yeoman, who deserves great credit for the expedition he has made, in getting the above barges repaired. This finishes "Fresh Hand's" visit to Portsmouth.

On his way back, he called in at Mr. O'Gorman's Establishment, and found that gentleman busily engaged in superintending the construction of a large number of pleasure boats. In his store room Mr. O'Gorman has about fifty boats, of all sizes and descriptions, from the tiny gig to the pleasure yacht. Of these, Mr. O'Gorman has reserved twenty for hire during the Summer, and, judging from the requisition in which his boats were hold last Summer, few, if any, will be idle next.

The proprietor will be prepared to execute more work next season than before, and, on an average, employs, six hands, who turn out the very best of boats, as evidenced by the fact that they are held in requisition all along the lake seaboard, and even as far down as the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Nay, for that matter, some time ago, Mr. O'Gorman sent one of his boats to Switzerland, which had been ordered by an officer in H.M.S.

Mr. O'Gorman has twenty-four boathouses in connection with his Establishment, the greater number of which are rented; and in the yard adjoining them, a number of boats are laid up ready for the season. Probably Kingston, in Mr. O'Gorman's Establishment, carries off the palm for the construction of pleasure boats, from all other cities, towns or villages in the Province.

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11 April 1863
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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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Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 11 April 1863