The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 29 Jun 1895

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p.1 General Paragraphs - The schooner Annie Minnes grounded trying to get into Wolfe Island dock with a cargo of coal this morning. She will probably have to be lightened.

The steamer Reindeer will be dry-docked. She broke her bed plate and crankshaft near Deseronto the other day, and had to be towed down to the Kingston foundry for a new bed plate.

The barge Belle, of the M.T. Co., has entered Davis' dry-dock to be caulked and get new bilges.


Passed Port Colborne: Str. Tecumseh and barge Ashland to Collins Bay, timber.

The str. Spartan, Toronto, and str. Hamilton, from Hamilton, called here yesterday.

The boiler for Connolly's new dredge will be adjusted next week. It was built by the locomotive works.

The steamyacht Minnie has arrived from Alexandria Bay with a party of Yankees for the Rideau on a fishing tour.

S. Stansbury has been appointed to buy supplies for the steamers of the Thousand Island and St. Lawrence river steamboat companies.

On Tuesday the chief engineer of the str. Van Allen wrote from Trenton to an engineer asking him to take the position of second engineer on the steamer. The letter did not reach him and Fred Corkey received the appointment.

The steamer Alberta with steam pump and diver, is trying to raise the schooner Hartford, which went down with all hands, Oct. 11th, 1893, in Mexico Bay, twenty miles east of Oswego. The Hartford lies in forty-five feet of water, and had a wheat cargo. The pump will be used in getting the grain out of the hold.



F.W. Fearman Writes A Letter About It.

Recently F.W. Fearman, of Hamilton, writes that it was with pleasure "I paid a visit the other night to my old ship, the str. Hamilton, formerly the Magnet, and I was indeed surprised to find her, under her new name, so fine a craft. She is now a new boat - fine new cabins, furniture, berths, and engine, and well equipped in every way as a first class passenger boat, and I am sure she will be well patronized by the Hamilton people at least. She is to run between here and Montreal, and I know of no trip so fine and cheap as this, as I notice the trip is only $15 for a return ticket, including meals and rooms. Twelve years ago I wrote the following letter, just after the loss of the Asia, which was lost on the upper lakes, and had no bulkheads, and all the passengers and crew were lost except two. As it is now nearly fifty years since this vessel made her first trip in our waters, her history may be interesting to some who have not known it before."

To the Editor of the Montreal Witness,

I notice in your issue of the 22nd inst., that you state, as far as you know, there is not a vessel on the lakes, freight or passenger, built with watertight compartments. You will permit me to correct you as there is one, the iron steamer Magnet, in which vessel I sailed with the late Capt. Sutherland seven years, from 1847 to 1854, and during that time she had three accidents, in all of which the boat was saved by being built in compartments. She had four iron bulkheads, dividing her into five compartments - the gentlemen's cabin, engine room, freight hold, fore cabin and store room - and is the best built steamer on our waters. Her hull was as sound and would ring like a bell. The motion of her wheels could be heard for an hour and a half out on the lake of a still night before she would reach port, and I expect, if she has been taken care of, her hull is as sound today as when she was put together in 1847 at Niagara dockyard. The government had an interest in her and she was built with great care, under the supervision of Capt. Sutherland, who was part owner, and the use of that interest was given to him for his conduct in carrying troops on the steamer Traveller from Toronto to Kingston and back in the winter during the rebellion of 1837 and 1838. The Magnet came out in opposition to the Bethune line, and was well supported by the public, and some years paid ninety to 100 per cent on her cost, although we carried passengers for some time at twelve and one-half cents to Toronto and fifty cents to Kingston, with music galore. She was the first white-painted boat at this end of the lake; all others were painted black, and they looked like steam hearses. The first mishap that befell this boat was at the end of the Beauharnois canal, in the river, on her first trip to Montreal, in November 1847. She ran on a large bolder and stove holes in two compartments, the fore cabin and freight hold, and the fore part of the vessel sank at once, but the engine room and the cabin were free from water, and, after two weeks of labor, she was docked at Kingston, repaired, took a heavy load to the west at double rates, which almost paid for the accident, and laid at Hamilton.

The next accident occurred on Lake Ontario. The mate pro tem mistook a lime kiln light on the shore for Oshawa wharf light, and ran her stem onto the beach, and in backing her off, after moving the freight astern, a large hole was made in her bottom under the gentlemen's cabin, and we had just time to get alongside of Darlington wharf before she went down, astern this time, and was again saved by the bulkheads as the water was kept from the engine room, which enabled us to reach port, which we certainly could not have done if there had been no division in her hull. With the assistance of the war steamer Cherokee and the admiral and a hundred or so residents of Darlington and Bowmanville she was blanketed, pumped out and hauled out at Niagara, and again repaired and was as good as new.

The third accident also occurred on Lake Ontario. This was a collision on a fine, calm moonlight night between the Maple Leaf steamer of the Bethune line on her trip up, and the Magnet going down the lake, off Brighton, I think. The vessels were on their proper courses and were seen from each other for nearly an hour and would have passed at least four hundred yards apart, but all at once the course of the Maple Leaf was changed direct for the Magnet, and the Maple Leaf struck the Magnet stem on just aft of the bow, which was completely cut off, and again the bulkheads or divisions came to our rescue, as only the store room, a small compartment, filled this time. If there had been no divisions to the vessel she would have gone down like a shot with all on board, as the opening was as large as an ordinary door. The Magnet was run in Presqu Ile Bay, the ragged iron cut off, a sail put over the bow, and again we started for Niagara dock, where she had a new stem put on and came out as good as ever to fight the old line, that was soon glad to take her in and divide the profits. At the trial for damages, which took place afterwards, it was not explained how or why the Maple Leaf's course was altered, but we on board the opposition boat thought we could understand it, and it came near being to some of us our last trip.

I write these few lines relating to events that occurred thirty years ago, to show the advantage of compartments in lake going vessels, and I believe that steamers of the Magnet's build and size, with perhaps outside sheathing of planks, will yet prove the best adapted to our lake and river navigation, being safe, roomy, staunch, stiff in heavy weather, true to helm and comfortable to crew and passengers, and not too expensive for through boats for freight and passengers. My memory runs back to those busy steamboat days, and the names of men who were prominent then, the most of whom are long since gone, are brought fresh to my recollection. Among them were Capts. Sutherland, Dick, Twohey, Colclough, Bowen, Maxwell, Richardson, Gordon, Van Cleve, Harrison, Mason, Furrell, Howard, Torr, Kerr and owners Bethune, McPherson, Crane, Gildersleeve, Holcomb, Henderson, Hutton, Herron, Gunn, Brown, and prince of them all, that kind, genial gentleman, Hon. John Hamilton.

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29 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), 29 Jun 1895