The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 1 May 1872

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p.1 Western Marine - Canadian sch. Jane McLeod ashore at East Sister; stm. barge Wm. Cowie arrived from Port Hope. [Detroit Union]

p.2 Navigation - Loss of a Barque & Two Men - barque Graham of St. Catharines capsized 7 miles off Steven's Landing, Lake Huron.

-Garden Island - numerous vessel arrivals and departures listed.

-The Navigation - harbor is filled with thick, heavy ice; gives list of arrivals and departures of many vessels.

-ad for Canadian Navigation Co. - Royal Mail Through Line - with schedule.


A Fleet Five Days In The Ice Floe

Yesterday about two o'clock, the steamers Lawrence, Capt. Reed, and Milwaukee, Capt. Lamphere, of the Northern Transportation line, entered this port and were soon moored to the Company's wharf. The Lawrence had seven or eight passengers for the West, and the Milwaukee also had a number. The former had nine horses on board.

The incident of the passage, the detention in the ice at the lower end of Lake Ontario, and the exciting scenes incident thereto, as related by the passengers, were equal to the descriptions of Capt. Kane of scenes in his Arctic voyage.

The Oswegatchie left Ogdensburg on the 20th; the Brooklyn on the 21st at daybreak; the Lawrence on the 23rd, the Young America on the 24th, the Empire on the same day; the Milwaukee on the 25th. This fleet of steamers collected at Cape Vincent, which point they reached without serious obstructions from ice in the St. Lawrence. The Lawrence left Cape Vincent on Tuesday at two o'clock, and pushed out into Lake Ontario to encounter the ice, and to enter upon a five days struggle to pass the frozen barrier. The others followed the Lawrence one at a time, but did not come up with it until Thursday, when the fleet of thirteen propellers, some of them bound down were in sight, wedged in by the immense field of ice. At one time nine of those propellers were within hailing distance.

The passengers describe the scene presented by this spectacle as beautiful and sublime. The expanse of ice was boundless. Thirteen of these beautiful craft stood out upon the frozen surface, puffing and struggling for progress through the icy floes. This struggle lasted from Tuesday, the 23rd, until Sunday morning, the 28th. The incidents were of the most exciting nature. Sometimes the propellers would push their way rapidly for several miles through the mass of ice, then again would come on a struggle for hours, when the fleet would not progress a rod. Some days a progress of miles would be made and nightfall would close the struggle; when daylight the next morning would reveal the discouraging fact that during the darkness the fleet had drifted for several miles backward beyond the point made the day before.

Luckily, the stewards of the several propellers had taken in a good stock of provisions at the Cape, and there was no lack in the bill of fare. The passengers passed away the time pleasantly in games of "euchre," and alternately "taking a hand" with the captains and crews in the contest with the ice.

Unfortunately for the poor horses upon the Lawrence but a limited supply of provender was on board. The oats were all consumed and for several days the poor brutes were without hay. On Saturday it was discovered that the City of Boston, bound down, had a cargo of corn, and was lying from a half to three quarters of a mile from the Lawrence. A boat was got overboard, and by dragging over the ice when necessary, and pushing it through the water when possible, and by carrying planks to bridge over the chasms in the ice, a supply of corn was transferred to the Lawrence, and temporary relief furnished the famished animals.

On Sunday morning Captain Reed, who was in the advance, found himself several miles below the False Ducks, and discovered that the wind had made an opening in the ice toward the Canadian shore, like a canal sufficient for the passage of the Lawrence. This he at once entered, followed by the Milwaukee, and soon discovered another similar opening leading out into clear water in the Lake. This he also followed, feeling his way along carefully by the use of the lead, until he passed out of the ice, after the five days struggle, the most remarkable and exciting, without doubt, ever experienced upon Lake Ontario. Captain Reed informed us that for more than thirty years he has navigated the Lakes, and has never experienced anything like this before. He represents this ice floe as covering the entire area of the lower end of the lake. A north-east wind, he thinks, is necessary to break it up, and drive it out upon the Lake. [Oswego Advertiser]

-Imports - 27,29, May 1.

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Date of Publication:
1 May 1872
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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), 1 May 1872