The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 9 May 1877

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p.2 New Yachts - no new yachts built for Kingston harbor this season; improvements made to Emma and Zitella; Mr. McCorkell has finished 2 craft in lower province; Mr. Cunningham despatched 2 third-class yachts to Montreal - "cat-rigged".

ad - R. & O. Navigation Company - Royal Mail Through Line - schedules for Corsican, Algerian, Spartan.

p.3 The Bay Boats - Maud replacing Hastings.


The schr. H.F. Church has arrived at the M.T. Company's wharf with 18,611 bushels of wheat.

The N.T. Co.'s propeller Lowell passed down from Chicago, and the prop. St. Albans passed down from Thorold to Ogdensburg.

The tug Glide left the M.T. Company's dock with the barge Cleveland, 483 tons of coal, and the barge Kinghorn, having the cargo of the schr. Church.

Passed the Canal - Prince Alfred, Kingston, Bay City, light; Anglo Saxon, Kingston, Luddington, light; Northman, to Clayton, timber; Clyde, Port Huron, Garden Island, do.; Gleniffer, do., do., do.; L.S. Hammond, Toledo, Cape Vincent, wheat; Mary Copley, Chicago, Kingston, corn; W. Ballen, Chicago, Ogdensburg, corn; Grace Channon, Chicago, Kingston, corn; G.B. Sloan, do., do., wheat; D.A. Wells, Chicago, Port Colborne, do.; steam barge Clinton, Toledo, Montreal, corn.


A Fine Vessel - A Pleasing Ceremony

What has for a long time been pleasantly anticipated by the public on the one hand, and with anxiety by the owners on the other, came off yesterday at Garden Island - the launch of the ocean vessel. We have seen many launches, but none which called forth such admiration from an admiring crowd, who thronged the prominent points and animatedly gazed upon the huge black hull, manifesting feelings of more or less suspense until the fastenings were removed, and the craft glided silently and sylph like into the water, which rolled in small mountains before her, and surged and soughed as the vessel ploughed her way outward.

The vessel is one of the finest that has ever been built on Lake Ontario. During Mr. Berry's time larger vessels may have been built at Portsmouth. At the present we are not in a position to say that such is or is not a fact. But if larger have been constructed they can bear no comparison to the Garden Island, every stick of which is of choice timber, the model of which has been stamped with general approval, and the finish of which is unsurpassed on the continent -on either side of the Atlantic for that matter, and when we say this we are supported by the judgement and professional opinion of men whose experience in such matters enables them to speak with more than usual confidence and assurance.

The launch was to take place at 2 o'clock, and to witness it the Pierrepont conveyed a load over from the city. A slight delay followed, but only a slight one considering the nature of the undertaking. To visitors to the island this time appeared as so much grace, very opportunely afforded for an inspection of the vessel before being committed to her natural element. At 2:30 o'clock, standing at a respectful distance and surrounded by a coterie of laughing maidens, we awoke to the consciousness that something was going to happen, for while casting the political horoscope with a friend, there was a rush, not of mighty waters, but of little feet; two blushing damsels tossed us off our elevated position, and the next thing we knew the vessel was sailing down the slippery ways, accompanied by an unmusical chorus of many "ohs!", and the screams of about forty tugs and pleasure boats. Once she began to move the passage was quick, smooth and without accident. Nearing the water the rapid friction of the timbers, of which the ways were made, heated the lubricating material to that extent that smoke arose in quite a volume. But not a jar was noticeable, and away out into the channel she floated, looking great, grand and majestic. Then her admirable proportions were the more plainly distinguishable. On her deck stood Captain Zealand, of Hamilton, who has the reputation of being a careful, capable and experienced navigator, and who has the appointment of Commandant of the Garden Island. Next to the owners and builders, perhaps, he was the happiest and proudest man of the day, but around him were some of the firm's most faithful servants, all of whom seemed to evince a personal interest in the success of the launch. The vessel was built under the survey of Bureau Veritas, Quebec, French Lloyds, from the design of Mr. Rooney, shipwright and foreman for Messrs. Calvin & Breck, and it is gratifying to learn that on a recent inspection by a gentleman representing the French Lloyds the craft was pronounced A 1 in every respect. Some time since we gave the dimensions and leading points about the vessel, but deem it advisable at this time to reproduce the facts in slightly altered form: Her length on the main deck is 178 feet. Breadth of beam, 35 feet 3 inches. Depth of hold, 22 feet. Size of floor timbers sided and moulded, 14 inches. First and second futtocks, sided and moulded, 13 1/2 inches. Top timber at the head, 9 by 10 inches. Planking, 5 1/2 inches thick and six inch nails. All of the above is done with selected Ohio oak. Her treenails are of locust imported for the purpose in the rough, and manufactured here. All the butts in the ship are fastened with Muntz patent yellow metal, in fact all of the bolting below the load line is done with this same metal, the cost of which is 18 cents per pound. All her centre line - that is, her keelson and its rider - are each 20 inches square; her keel is of elm, the fastening through and through these three requiring such a quantity of the yellow metal that it must be seen to be appreciated. She has a graceful clipper bow, which is beautifully carved. Her stern, which is round, is also nicely carved. In front of the cabin, and supporting its roof, are two knees beautifully carved. The forecastle, steward's and carpenter's rooms, and all berths for the sailors are comfortably fitted up. The ponderous rudder (a patented arrangement) is hung with five immense straps, cast in the Kingston Foundry by Messrs. Davidson & Doran. Iron would not answer for this purpose on account of the injurious action of salt water. The lower hold beams are of Ohio oak, sided and moulded 14 inches. The main deck beams are also of oak, 12 by 13 inches. There are about sixty tons of iron knees as fastening to these beams to be put in on her arrival at Montreal, as she would draw too much water to navigate the St. Lawrence canals if they were put in here. Her pumps, anchors and chains and these knees are now on the way out from Glasgow. The chains are 1 3/4 inch iron. They will be 120 fathoms long. Two anchors will weigh 40 cwt. each, but she will have three others - a stream anchor, weighing 12 cwt., and two smaller. The cabin is nicely finished in fancy moulded and nicely grained oak color. The ship' blocks are strapped with galvinized irons patented, manufactured by the Penfield Block Works, Lockport, N.Y., and are the nicest we have seen for some time. Her sails are made of Rutherford's best flax canvas, imported expressly for the ship from Scotland. She will spread 3,500 yards. Besides she has a full suit of spare sails. She will have six shrouds on each side of fore and main masts of 4 1/2 inch wire. Her fore topmast backstays are likewise 4 1/2 inch and doubled. Her fore and main topmast stays are the same size wire. Her mizzen mast has four shrouds on each side of 3 3/4 inches wire; mizzen stay, 4 inch wire single. She is to be full barque-rigged, with double topsail yards. The ship's ports, four in number, for receiving the timber, are 30 by 34 inches each, two on either side of the stem piece, one above the other. The launch was not the only thing about which the builders felt an anxiety; they were anxious to know how much water she drew - an important point in this country of dangerous rapids and small canals. Settled in the water her depth was marked at 7 feet 8 inches forward, and 8 feet 7 inches aft.

The keel was laid in November, 1875, and work on the vessel has been pretty constantly carried on ever since. The construction was slow, but the better of this, since it permitted of a better selection of material and enabled the carpenters to give their work better finish. The cost of the vessel for these reasons is greater, perhaps, than it would be under other circumstances, but when to be used in the firm's own business the old saying may be aptly applied to this case, that in the long run a good article will be found a cheap article. The Garden Island is going into the timber trade, and will ply between Quebec and Glasgow. It may be decided to run the vessel into Southern climes, and in that event her bottom will be coppered. In northern waters this protection is unnecessary; but in the south there is a peculiar worm which takes kindly to wood, and which bores the hull, causing leaks, and, mayhap, more serious consequences.

The captain is the only one engaged here. He collects his own crew, three mates and twenty-five sailors in ordinary, at Quebec, the first mate requiring to be a man of equal qualifications with the captain, so far as a knowledge of navigation goes. Towards the end of the week, or in the beginning of the next, the vessel will be towed to Montreal, where she will be fitted out for sea, everything being now provided for this fitting out. We viewed the monster spars and topmasts, and mentally surveyed the fine vessel setting out in full dress and flaunting colours, and the view was one that pleased the eye and delighted the heart.

On the ways we understand the vessel cost some $75,000, complete - when it can be said "tis finished" the expense will figure considerably more.

The event was commemorated on the island last evening by a dinner in the Town Hall, after which the young ladies and gentlemen tripped to the music gaily.

Messrs. Calvin & Breck are to be congratulated on the great success of the launch.

The vessel was christened the Garden Island. We did not see the ceremony, for at that moment we were rising from the awful predicament from which a bevy of astonished ladies had thrown us, and were almost too dazed, bashful and confused to even see the vessel itself.

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9 May 1877
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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.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 9 May 1877