The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 21 Jul 1897

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The schooner Wells is in port with 200 tons of coal for Crawford & Co. She is from Oswego.

The sloop Maggie L., Wolfe Island, arrived last evening with 3,800 bushels of barley for Richardson & Sons.

The schooner Pilot, Bay of Quinte ports, discharged 2,500 bushels of peas at Richardson & Sons' elevator today.

The sloop Idlewild, Amherst Island, is in port with 1,000 bushels of wheat, consigned to the Kingston milling company.

The steamer St. Andrew, Fort William, arrived last night with 37,000 bushels of wheat consigned to Richardson & Sons. She was discharged this morning by the M.T. Co.'s elevators.

After next year the boats now on the Toronto-Prescott line, Spartan, Algerian, Passport and Corsican, will have their cabins removed and they will run between Prescott and Montreal as observation boats.

The Richelieu & Ontario navigation company has complained to the minister of customs that American steamers are reported to be carrying excursions between Canadian points contrary to the law. For many years the authorities have been aware that infractions of the law were being made. The steamers ply for excursions between Canadian points, and evade the law by merely calling at an American port en route. Did they go from one Canadian port to another, they would be stopped immediately. Instead, they give the coloring of international trade to the proceeding by calling at an American port en route. The chances are that the practice, which has been largely patronized by church picnics, and which extends all over the St. Lawrence, even down to Montreal, will be suppressed.


Down The St. Lawrence on the New American Line.

Upon this mighty river, combining, as it does, all the beauties and grandeur of any navigable water-way known to civilization, is about to dawn a new era of traffic. Kingstonians should not be slow to recognize the fact that they have at their very doors the head of an artery which is destined to carry, and that very soon, a large proportion of the romantic and scenic loving tourists of this and other countries.

The St. Lawrence may not be so famous for historic traditions and ruined castles as the Hudson and Rhine, yet it is more attractive on account of the varied effects due to mother nature and modern architecture, and nowhere up to the present have the wandering tourists found such an amphitheatre of natural attractions, marvelous, picturesque and thrilling, beyond reach of the most descriptive pen. It has been left for the "White Squadron" to throw their searchlight upon this grand panoramic archipelago, and as a result the American line has sprung into unusual public favor, from Kingston to Montreal, owing to the admirable service this steamboat company has placed upon this route. The most fastidious cannot but be pleased and impressed by the combined attention, not only of the officials but of everyone connected with the boat. The captain and purser on the America are always on the alert to offer any explanation or point out historic or noted spots that may be of interest to the watchful tourist.

Below, on the main deck - which, by the way, is cleaner than many saloons - the usual freight is very conspicuous by its absence. Here you will find as genial, careful and attentive a crew as ever manned a boat. On the same deck will be found a most spacious and elegantly-fitted dining room, lighted with what appears at first glance as one combined plate glass window, affording the tourist the special privilege of filling the mind with the most charming scenes which spring into view every moment as if by magic, and at the same time treating the inward man to the fruits of the highest culinary skill that can be procured.

By the writer's side, at one of the many tables in this apartment, sat an American tourist, his wife, and daughter. They had just came from the far-famed Hudson, and, in speaking of the St. Lawrence trip, said that if any one thing would make this line and route popular it would be the exceptionally well-managed dining room, which they considered equal to the best they had met. Especially worthy of mention is the unrelaxing care with which the good-natured and portly steward watches the distribution of the viands. The cuisine is of the first order, and nothing is left undone to have meals served in the latest and most approved and tempting style. In other words, the steward of the America is a jewel, a real Kohinor, and nowhere could the steamer's own electric searchlight be thrown, with less fear of comparison, than on their own well-appointed festive board.

The large and unobstructed decks of these steamers afford the most magnificent opportunity to view this majestic river, washing the shores of its thousand wooded isles and angrily splashing the spray of its eddies and rapids against the myriads of rocks and bluffs.

Greatly to the comfort of the passengers, the stokers use hard coal, which accounts for the absence of smoke and dirt, resulting in the well merited appellation of the "White Squadron." Even the smokestacks are white, and they bear the New York Central shield, also the letter "F," which means, possibly, that they are ready for friend or foe.

Being the lightest draught passenger boats on the route, they run the rapids with ease and safety. During the thrilling experience of shooting the Long Sault rapids an old boatman interjected, "Why, she sails down here like a white swan!" But it was too much for a large German tourist, who was intently watching the keen eyes and expressive features of the strong and trusty pilots, and at the same time feeling what was to most of us the pleasing motion of the boat, but this combination was too much for our German friend and he moved around like a white swan too, and soon swooned away. However, he rapidly recovered.

"Hurrah for the rapids that merrily, merrily

Gambols and leaps on its tortuous way;

Soon we will enter it, cheerily, cheerily,

Pleased with its freshness and wet with its spray."

Soon after the Long Sault we were rushed into the seething and tumultuous currents and rapids of the Coteau, Cedars and Cascades, and after a short, tranquil sail, the Indian pilot came aboard for the purpose of guiding us safely through the treacherous rocks of the surging Lachine Rapids. The interest here was about equally divided between the rapids and the excellent behaviour of the America as she glided over the turbulent course with such smoothness that it was a surprise and a delight to every passenger, and it must have been very gratifying to the pilots to have a boat answer their touch so readily.

While shooting the rapids the face of the Indian pilot was a wonderful study, arousing the keenest interest of the most observing passengers. His dark, brown face, his piercing and unfaltering eye, high cheek bone, aquiline nose and firmly set mouth all seemed to speak of their load of responsibility.

Soon after the Lachine rapids were run we passed under the Victoria bridge and sailed majestically into Montreal harbor on time, one of the special features of the American line.

Every passenger - both Canadian and American - was delighted, and even enthusiastic, over the unbounded success of the America, and it was suggested by a score of passengers that the America's trip should be written up, hence this little sketch from one who appreciates the admiration and praise bestowed upon this floating favorite.

Many of the tourists are so attached to the America and "Charlie," the steward, that they decided to take the return trip, which proved as interesting and delightful - in fact, some of the tourists enjoyed it more. The America, without doubt, is the gem of the river, and will certainly continue to gain in popularity long as she is under such capable management.


Were Kept Hustling.

The steamers of the R. & O. navigation company were kept hustling during the past couple of days, the rush being brought about by the Epworth leaguers returning from their big convention at Toronto. The steamer Algerian left Toronto at ten o'clock Monday morning with 168 passengers aboard. She reached here about ten o'clock the same night, where her passengers, destined for the Saguenay and other eastern points, were left over. These were picked up Tuesday morning by the steamer Bohemian and taken eastward. Meanwhile the Algerian, after a stay of only fifteen minutes here, returned to Toronto and resumed her usual trip Tuesday afternoon. The Corsican left this port also at five o'clock Tuesday morning on her usual run, accompanying the Bohemian on her special trip. The Corsican had a heavy passenger list, the majority of them being bound for the lower St. Lawrence and Saguenay river.

Goods Bought Here - For the first time in many years the R. & O. Navigation Co. purchase supplies here for their boats. The supplies more particularly referred to are bread and cakes. These are furnished at the same rates as are obtained at Toronto and Montreal. The quality of the goods commended itself to the officials of the company, and half the amount consumed on the steamers of this line is now supplied by R.H. Toye.


The Welland Canal Report.

Port Colborne, July 20th - Up - steamer James, Ogdensburg to Chicago, general cargo; steamer Norwalk, Kingston to Buffalo, light; steamer Rust, Oswego to Toledo, coal; steamer Escanaba, Prescott to Buffalo, light; schooner St. Louis, Collins Bay to Serpent River, light. Down - steamer Frost, Chicago to Ogdensburg, general cargo; steamer Aragon, Marquette to Prescott, corn; steamer Marion, Milwaukee to Oswego, barley.

Port Dalhousie, July 20th - Up - steamer Britannic, Kingston to Duluth, light; steamer Pueblo, Prescott to Chicago, light. Down - steamer Petrel, Toledo to Collins Bay, light; schooner Case, Toledo to Collins Bay, timber; schooner Marengo, Toledo to Collins Bay, timber; steamer Saturn, Serpent River to Collins Bay, timber; schooner Fulton, Serpent River to Collins Bay, timber; schooner VanStraubenzie, Serpent River to Collins Bay, timber; steamer Omaha, Chicago to Prescott, oats; steamer Pentland (Peatland ?), Chicago to Prescott, iron; steamer Denver, Chicago to Kingston, corn; steamer St. Andrew, Fort William to Kingston, wheat.

p.4 Thousand Island Park, July 20th - ....The steamer Pastime took the place of the Nightingale last week for a few days on the Clayton-Fine View route....The steamer Varuna from Trenton and way ports made her first appearance here this season on Saturday evening, with a fair passenger list, and remained over Sunday....The sloop Dolphin was on her way from Clayton to the park with a load of lumber and was struck by the squall and lost part of her deck load...The steamer Little Mac is on the route between Thousand Island park and Grand View park, making four trips daily.

p.6 To Stay In Kingston - Kingston, July 21st - The M.T. company officers say they will follow the grain trade. The purpose for which the Mooers' elevator is being built is to keep the grain trade here. That purpose succeeding, the M.T. company will not have very far to follow.

Yours respectfully, Samuel Scott


[Watertown, N.Y., Times]

Details were arranged yesterday for the sale of the New Island Wanderer. Yesterday a committee of stockholders of the old company met C.F. Gildersleeve, of Kingston, general manager of the Richelieu & Ontario navigation company, at the office of Smith and Smith, and arranged for the disposal of the boats. The New Island Wanderer was contracted to be sold to Mr. Gildersleeve, the delivery of the boat and the completion of the sale to be made on or before August 18th . In the meantime the boat is to be run as at present. The title of the New Island Wanderer is in the name of ex-mayor H.F. Inglehart, who purchased it at the sale, but it was generally understood that he was acting for the old stockholders and would hold the title of the boat until a satisfactory disposal could be made. The price paid by Mr. Gildersleeve is not made public.

Mr. Gildersleeve also took an option on the Island Belle, and will determine within seven days whether or not he will purchase the boat. If he elects to purchase it the delivery and completion of the sale will be made at the same time as that of the New Island Wanderer.

In the transactions, Mr. Gildersleeve did not act for the Richelieu & Ontario navigation company, although it is intimated that that company will control the boats and compete with the Folgers in their own territory.

The outcome will probably be a steamboat war that will be long and bitter.

The steamer Hamilton is ashore near Morrisburg. The steamer Passport tried to pull her off early this morning.

Meeting of Elevator Committee.

The general committee of the city council and board of trade upon the elevator question met this morning and heard the reports of president Chadwick and alderman Elliott regarding the interview with the president and general manager of the Montreal transportation company. They were impressed with the fairness of the company's statement as to the change in the grain trade, having had the effect of forcing a large share of Kingston's traffic into other channels, the only hope of stemming the tide being the erection of an elevator and the providing of conveniences equal to those offered at other ports. The company will be satisfied with a bonus of $35,000, $10,000 of which will be understood to be a consideration for retaining their business in Kingston, as at present, for the ensuing twenty years. The general committee will recommend to the city council that a provisional agreement be drawn up for the Montreal transportation company, covering all the guarantees necessary to fully protect the citizens, and upon this basis a by-law be at once prepared for submission to the people. The joint committee, composed of twenty gentlemen, was unanimous in its recommendation, and there is no question as to the general concensus of opinion upon the propriety of the step among the more active of Kingston's citizens.

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21 Jul 1897
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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), 21 Jul 1897