The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 9 Dec 1871

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Burning of Steamers Highlander and Hercules.

One Man Burned To Death.

Last night the steamers Hercules and Highlander, belonging to Messrs. Calvin & Breck, were totally destroyed by fire at Garden Island. The fire broke out on board the Highlander, and was first discovered by Mr. Watt, a resident shoemaker, about fifteen minutes to ten o'clock, and before the alarm was fairly given the vessel was enveloped in flames, and the Hercules, which was lying alongside, was in a similar condition. The two vessels were tied up side by side, on the north side of the wharf, which is large, in the usual manner to pass the winter, while the steamers Wellington and Hiram Calvin were in a like manner tied up on the south side. The fresh breeze prevailing at the time added to the fury of the fire, and destroyed all prospect of saving the vessels; the efforts of all present were consequently directed to prevent the flames from extending to the wharf and thence to steamers on the south side. This was done with some difficulty, as the flames communicated to the wharf several times and a good deal of it is destroyed. The vessels continued to burn until they sunk. We regret to have to report that one man perished in the fire on board the Highlander, he was the only person on board, and had only gone there a short time before the fire was discovered, having been until then on board the Hiram Calvin; and it is supposed - although it must remain a matter of pure supposition - that when he went on board he repaired to his sleeping quarters - the engineer's room, built a fire and immediately went to sleep, and while in that condition, from some cause, the fire from the stove communicated to the vessel. The unfortunate man's name was Charles Kelley, a native of Cornwall, and was, we are informed, an unmarried man. The steamers Watertown and Pierrepont brought over from Kingston Patrick Devlin with one of the city fire engines and members of the fire brigade, who lent their assistance in preventing the spread of the flames. His Worship the Mayor was also present, and several prominent citizens of Kingston. The vessels were uninsured, and the loss has been variously estimated at from $13,000 to $25,000.

It should be mentioned in connection with the subject, for the benefit of the friends of the parties at a distance, that there is a William Kelley from Cornwall residing at Garden Island, who must not be mistaken for the unfortunate man who was burned. The fire on the steamers burnt out very rapidly, but it was several hours before the wharf and the other steamers were considered safe.

p.3 Out In the Cold World - 2 Kingston mariners are home; their vessel the Jessie Scarth frozen in ice at Byng Inlet a month ago; they have been trying to free her and are nearly starved.

Police Court - man charged with breaking into cabin of sch. Gladstone and stealing clock.

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9 Dec 1871
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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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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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 9 Dec 1871