The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 9 Sep 1896

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And That Is In the Safe Port of Kingston.

Grain shippers will soon be brought to a realization of the fact that there is only one natural point in the east for the transhipment of western grain, and that is Kingston. In constructing this wonderful country of ours, nature must have foreseen the need of a favorable and safe port at the foot of the chain of great lakes, and to meet it, planned the magnificent, unsurpassed harbor fronting the limestone city. A safe and uninterrupted channel exists between the Welland canal and this port. Search the records of the past, since the grain-carrying trade has been established, and note the number of wrecks that have occurred to vessels entering this harbor! Not as many as have occurred this season alone to vessels bound to River St. Lawrence ports. The season had barely opened when the str. Morley, bound to Prescott, went on a shoal near Clayton; cargo destroyed; great expense to owners in making repairs. Next the str. Samoa and consort struck a reef near Brockville while bound to Prescott; both cargoes destroyed and vessels badly damaged, meaning a loss of money for repairs and loss of the same while vessels were laid up. The str. Monteagle, also bound to Prescott, struck a reef; cargo nearly all destroyed; craft badly damaged; long delay in making repairs; meaning a loss of money to owners of craft and cargo. The last to record so far this season is the str. Saturn, consigned to unlucky Prescott; cargo damaged; steamer injured, loss of money all round. The season has not yet ended, and there is no knowing how many more wrecks will yet be recorded if shippers will persist in sending grain past this port. So many accidents occurring down the river will arrest the attention of insurance men, which will mean that rates will advance on all cargoes and craft sent past Kingston. Prescott elevator projectors contemplate increasing the capacity of the storehouse there. They had better wait until they learn what tomorrow bringeth forth. Another season there may be no need for the present accommodation. Vessel owners are not blind to their own interests and will not continue to send their craft to ports dangerous of access, knowing they have but one chance in a hundred of escaping wreckage. Neither are grain shippers going to stand everlasting loss by consigning to ports valuable cargoes which they know cannot be housed undamaged. Millions of bushels of grain have been transhipped here in years past, with less than one-fourth the loss to shippers in all that time that they have been put to in one brief season by losing cargoes consigned to ports on the St. Lawrence.

Rescue of the Monteagle.

About sunset, last evening, the str. Monteagle, using her own power, and also being in tow of the tug Reginald, arrived in port and tied up at the government dry-dock She was released about three o'clock in the afternoon and at once set out for this harbor. Her injuries are not extensive, as one rotary pump kept her clear of water. She has about 18,000 bushels of wheat still aboard, as it is estimated that about 20,000 bushels were pumped overboard. Only about 9,000 bushels were saved dry. The str. Collier has in the neighborhood of 3,000 aboard that is only slightly damaged. Saturday night Capt. Griffith allowed four feet of water to enter the stranded steamer, thinking a tug was coming out to the rescue. After waiting for some time the water was lowered a foot, but as no sign of a tug appeared the water was allowed to flow in again. As the steamer started to leak from the pounding she had received, it was found to be not necessary to re-scuttle her; she made water fast enough. A heavy sea was rolling, and for some hours her decks were washed by every wave that rolled down the lake. When the steamer settled down it was found there were twelve feet of water in her hold. The wrecking plant of Donnelly Bros. was taken over early Sunday morning, but owing to the heavy sea the plant could not be put aboard. The lighter was left in the lee of Horsehoe Island, while the tug Reginald steamed down to Cape Vincent. At nine o'clock Sunday morning the work of releasing the stranded steamer was begun, under the superintendence of John Donnelly, jr. Work was kept up until Tuesday afternoon when the steamer was floated off in good condition, considering the experience she underwent. The wife of Capt. Griffith was aboard, but she showed no fear. Capt. Griffith says she behaved like an "old salt." When the Monteagle struck she was making nine and a half miles an hour. Her port bow struck first and sheared off. When her stern struck the reef the boat stuck, the bow swinging around to the southard. She was drawing fifteen feet aft and a little over fourteen feet forward. The str. Marquette was passing up light at the time. Capt. Griffith signalled for assistance but no notice was taken of the plea. Capt. McLeod, representing the insurance underwriters, arrived here at noon and at once set about making a survey of the damaged boat.

May Have To Quit Here.

In conversation with an official of the M.T. Co., today, it was learned that Kingston might soon lose the M.T. Co.'s plant. If the present condition of affairs does not soon change and more grain arrive here for transhipment, it is only the matter of a short time before the company pulls up stakes and locates at another town. The company has just as large a staff employed now as when grain cargoes arrived daily. Less than twenty-five per cent of the transhipping done in former years is being done this season, yet the company's expenses at this port have not decreased in proportion. About the only grain transhipped here now is brought down by the company's own boats. These can go on down the river the same as any other of the craft now in the grain carrying trade. More grain is being transhipped at St. Lawrence river points this season than ever before in the history of the grain carrying trade. The M.T. Co.'s barges are carrying more grain to the seaboard, but not from Kingston. The company has fifty barges of its own and has chartered about thirty more. It is found difficult to secure the services of barges long enough to tranship grain brought down here by the company's lake tows, so busy are they at other river ports. The company finds it cannot handle its business disjointedly, a part here and a portion at another point. It can be handled more advantageously when concentrated at one point, and with this end in view it will not be long before it is carried into effect and the present plant transferred from here to a point down the river.

Marine Notes.

Connolly's new dredge has a contract at Quebec.

The schr. Fabiola will not be obliged to go into the dry-dock.

Some of the K. & M. F. Co.'s barges have been delayed at Montreal for ten days.

The schr. Annandale, Toledo to Kingston, coal, is on the way down Lake Ontario.

The steambarge Coaster brought in damaged grain from the prop. Monteagle.

The schr. Fleetwing did not get away for Charlotte till this morning. She will bring over soft coal.

James Stewart, who went to Prescott to look over the prop. Ceylon, says she has not much damaged grain.

The str. Orion, grain laden, from Fort William, passed through the Welland canal today for this port.

The str. Sequin and consorts with 160,000 bushels of wheat for the K. & M. F. Co., Portsmouth, left Duluth today.

The sloop Sovereign has been towed into Portsmouth and righted. The work of unloading her was prosecuted today.

The str. Bannockburn and consorts are expected to arrive here tomorrow night. They are grain laden from Fort William.

The schr. Fabiola cleared, this morning, for Oswego. The vessel has been lying here a couple of weeks but is now well supplied with fall work.

The str. Columbian arrived in yesterday afternoon and will be laid up near the dry-dock. The steamer has made money this year running excursions.

While running down Lake Ontario, Sunday, the str. Saturn encountered very severe weather and had her hatches stove in by the fury of the waves.

The sloops Echo, 3,100 bushels of peas; Laura D., 3,000 bushels, and Pilot, 3,000 bushels, from bay of Quinte ports, discharged at Richardson & Sons' elevator today.

The str. Saturn is ashore on a mud bank at the foot of Wolfe Island. She is not damaged and is resting easy. She was drawing twelve feet of water, and only eleven feet covered the shoal. A tug and lighter went down to the rescue this morning.

A half million bushels of grain is on its way down the lake for the Prescott elevator, which is now completely filled, and there are 200,000 bushels tied up at the wharves awaiting transhipment. There are no barges available to release the blockage. The Ogdensburg elevator is also blocked.

Why He Favors It.

W. Power maintains that the dry-dock is the proper location for an elevator, and gives these reasons:

"The dry-dock premises, west side, is a very suitable location for an elevator. At the outer end of the wharf there are thirty-five feet of water, and 400 feet in shore there is twenty feet of water. Of course at present it is very much exposed to west or south-west gales, but by lengthening out a wharf from the Kingston foundry premises a breakwater could be made to protect vessels from storms from westward. You have only to look at the long splendid wharf built by the M.T. company, how it forms a lee and is protection for fifty to sixty steamers, schooners and barges. Without such a wharf their large fleet would have but little or no protection from storms down the lake. In this connection it might be mentioned that ships coming to the west side of the dry-dock wharf would escape passing the shoals that are in the harbor north-east of this point. Railroad connection and other arrangements would follow in course of time."

Capt. McLeod, Buffalo, representing the underwriters' association, is in the city. He states that the entire cargo of the prop. Monteagle will be sold. The Kingston syndicate will buy the grain.

p.4 Thousand Island Park, Sept. 8th - ....The Varuna arrived late on Saturday night, having been delayed at Stella on account of the wind. She had a fair list of passengers. This is her last trip of the season.

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9 Sep 1896
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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 Sep 1896