The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 17 Jun 1895

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Robert Rankin, of Port Hope, between sixty-five and seventy years of age, died on Saturday evening about 8:30 o'clock, as a result of falling off the schr. Eliza Fisher, into the harbor at Swift's wharf. He was owner of the boat and was in charge of her. His wife was on board.

In the evening the mate, Mr. Hadden, assisted by the crew, washed the deck of the schooner, and when they had finished Mr. Rankin thought the wash was not done satisfactorily, and started to repeat it. He stood on the rail farthest from the wharf and tried to hand up a pail of water. In doing this he fell overboard. There were many people on the wharf at the time of the accident, and there was great confusion. Capt. Bates, of the schr. Fabiola was on the steamer Swift, and although he can only use one arm, gallantly wanted to jump in and attempt to save Captain Rankin, but he was prevented by friends who thought he would not be equal to the case because of his deformity. In the meantime one of the crew of the Fisher caught the clothing of Rankin with a pike pole, and was holding him until men in a yawl boat came to the scene. Another man came along and seized the pike pole and tried to pull the man out of the water. The result was the clothing gave way and he went to the bottom. He was picked up by the men in the yawl, but it was too late to save his life. His heart beat once or twice when he got on the wharf but all efforts to bring him back to consciousness failed. He was rolled on a barrel and treated in other ways, as directed by Drs. Saunders, Sullivan and Wood.

Sergt. Snodden and officers Craig and McCullough went down and were told the particulars of it. Officer Craig searched the clothes of the body and found a watch and some money, which he handed over to the grief-stricken wife, to whom Rankin was married about seven weeks ago. Her name, before marriage, was Mrs. Saunders. Dr. Saunders decided that in view of the circumstances it was not necessary to hold an inquest and the body was removed by undertaker Reid. It will be sent to Port Hope. Deceased leaves a second wife and children by his first wife, who are Mrs. Johnston and Robert Rankin, of Port Hope, and chief of police Rankin of Cobourg. Deceased was born in Ireland and was a resident of Port Hope for many years. In view of the fact that the wharves near the accident were crowded with people at the time, it is unfortunate that the efforts to save the man were unsuccessful.


Capt. Donnelly went to Picton with the str. America.

Capt. E. Booth brought the steambarge Jack down from Detroit.

The schr. Acacia is unloading her cargo at Breck & Booth's dock.

The schr. Fabiola's cargo of coal will be transhipped to Smith's Falls.

The prop. Rosedale, from Duluth, has about 60,000 bushels of wheat.

The str. North King will start running down the river on June 29th.

The steambarge Jack will go on the ways at Garden Island, and be repaired.

The schr. Fleetwing unloads at the asylum and the schr. Annie Falconer at Swift's sheds.

The owners of the str. Varuna have purchased the str. Nellie Cuthbert from Capt. Frederick for $1,200.

The str. D.D. Calvin and barges Ceylon and Augusta have cleared for Marquette, light, to load timber.

The prop. Myles is in with a cargo of flour from Chicago. She will lighten part of it and proceed to Montreal.

The str. Algerian, Capt. Dunlop, called yesterday. She had a large passenger list and much merchandise on board.

Passed Port Colborne: Str. Rosedale, Duluth to Kingston, wheat; str. Acadia, Cleveland to Montreal, general cargo.

Mr. Cole, Picton, has been made purser of the new str. America. Mr. Cole is one of the most popular stewards in the employ of the company.

The work of removing the cargo of the Canadian steamer St. Magnus is proceeding slowly. The vessel is seriously damaged. She may prove a constructive total loss.

The mail boats lose considerable time getting into the harbor at Belleville. The harbor is so narrow that the steamers have to reverse several times before getting turned round.

The str. Passport was three hours late on her up trip on Saturday. This was caused by an attempt to come up the Galops rapids. In failing to do this she had to turn around and take the canal.

The prop. Acadia was at this port today. The Acadia has had large improvements done to her during the winter. Capt. Towers, western manager of the R. & O. N. Co. last year, is in charge of the Acadia this summer.

C.F. Gildersleeve is credited with so changing the machinery of the steamers Montreal and Terrebonne, of the Richelieu line, as to increase the speed and reduce the coal consumption, in one instance by fourteen tons per trip.

p.4 Fifty Dollars and Costs - for dumping barges in Niagara River; offending dredging company had to take out bond not to do it again; tug and scow seized by collector of customs for breaking bulk in Canadian water.

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17 Jun 1895
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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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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 17 Jun 1895