The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 11 Oct 1858

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p.2 Fearful Steamboat Accident in Canadian Waters

The city was convulsed with horror on Saturday last by the dreadful intelligence that the new and powerful steam-tug Hercules had been blown up, and that all on board of her were killed. The facts did not turn out so fearfully bad, but bad enough in all conscience. The News of this morning tells the sad tale pretty much as it happened:-

On Saturday morning last, at 8 o'clock, the new steamer Hercules, belonging to Messrs. Calvin & Breck, Garden Island, employed as a tug boat on the river St. Lawrence, while towing the steamer New Era, disabled by the breaking of her shaft, up the Rapid Plat, about 25 miles below Prescott, burst her boiler and sank, causing the death of several persons. One man named Kingsley was found on the wreck quite dead, the Hercules not being entirely submerged, and several others are missing, among whom we regret to mention Dexter Calvin, junior, son of Mr. D. Calvin, one of the owners of the boat, an estimable young man about 22 years old. Martin Feeby, the captain of the old America, and Archibald Cambridge, employed as wheelsman on the America. Captain Miller, of the Hercules, the engineer, and several of the hands were badly scalded or otherwise injured.

Full particulars of this sad calamity have not reached us. Dr. Meagher, at the request of Mr. Breck, proceeded by the railroad on Saturday afternoon to render aid to the sufferers.

The steamer Gildersleeve, belonging to the same firm, left port on Saturday noon for the scene of the disaster, and the same evening the America went down to the same place.

Although Messrs. Calvin & Breck have employed a number of steamers on the river for some years, this is the first calamity of the kind, causing the loss of life, that has occurred. Joseph Valley, one of the hands injured, was on board the St. Lawrence steamer on her way to this port on Saturday evening. On arrival he was to be sent to the General Hospital.

Since the above was in type a telegraph has been received, which states that Captain Miller's recovery from the injury he received is very doubtful. A man is supposed to be in the hull of the Hercules. In addition to those mentioned as injured, are D. Doyle, T. Terrion, first engineer, Patrick Malone, fireman, William Longueuil, Thos. Christopher, J.K. Tulloch, 2nd engineer. Edward Russel and John Crawley escaped unhurt.

Further Particulars

Dr. Meagher, who returned from the scene of the disaster on Sunday last, has favored us with the following Report:-

Sunday Night, 10th Oct., 3/4 past 11.

Just arrived in the Steamer Gildersleeve, from Morrisburgh, where upon first telegraph of accident, I was immediately despatched by the firm of Calvin & Breck, to render professional assistance to surviving sufferers. Dexter Calvin, and 3 others missing; viz. Capt. Martin, John Doyle, and Alex. McCambridge; Capt. Miller lies seriously injured at the above place and may not be removed for some time, entertain hopes of a ultimate favorable issue. All suffering within reach received medical aid, as I started well prepared for every emergency. Two slightly scalded have returned to their homes at Prescott.

Brought up with me Terriault, 1st Engineer, who will recover; three dead bodies on board, one Tilloch Keelan left at Prescott about where he resided, (was a colored man) whose wife returned with us - no family. Two landed at Garden Island, one named Malone, without friends or family in this country. The other named Kinsula, who was killed instantaneously, as parietal and temporal bones were much fractured. Miller's wife and children left at Morrisburgh paying him all care. Exaggerated reports about rifling the dead - Their money and one check for a considerable amount, in known and safe hands. Messrs. Calvin & Breck, unremitting in their attention to all concerned. I wa present at the inquest which has adjourned; accident unavoidable, and no blame attached to any one.

In haste,

James Meagher, Surgeon.

Monday, 8 o'clock, A.M. Oct. 11th

p.S. - Total number on the Hercules, 15 in all.

-Imports - 9.

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11 Oct 1858
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 11 Oct 1858