The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 30 Jul 1897

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The schooner Albatross cleared, light, from Garden Island, this morning.

The steamer D.W. Rust, Toledo, is in port with 38,000 bushels of corn consigned to the M.T. Co.

The steamer Rugee, after discharging her cargo of grain at Portsmouth, cleared this morning for Chicago.

The steamer Johnston reached Garden Island this morning with a cargo of timber from Belleville for the Calvin company.

The steamer Ketchum and consort Owen, Chicago, arrived this morning with 110,000 bushels of corn for the M.T. Co.

The schooner Ballou, Bay of Quinte ports, discharged 3,000 bushels of rye and barley at Richardson & Sons' elevator today.

The tug Hall, with three light barges, arrived from Montreal last night. She cleared again this morning for the same port with two barges grain laden.

The steamer Glengarry and consort Minnedosa discharged 8,200 bushels of grain at the M.T. Co.'s elevators today and tonight will return to Fort William for another cargo.

The difficulty between the sailors on the schooner Eliza Fisher has been settled. The owner was willing to do anything fair and told them that he was willing to pay their demands if they agreed with the time kept by Capt. Taylor. Four of the men claimed back wages, but only two of them agreed with the captain's record. They were paid off, while the other two were given a few days to revise their accounts.

Welland Canal Report.

Port Dalhousie, July 29th - passed down: steamer Colonial, Chicago to Prescott, corn; steamer W.D. Morley, Chicago to Prescott, corn; steamer Iona, Chicago to Prescott, corn; steamer Elfinmere, Chicago to Prescott, corn; steamer D.W. Rust, Toledo to Prescott, corn; schooner Wawanosh, Toledo to Kingston, timber; steamer Pueblo, Chicago to Ogdensburg, corn.

Port Colborne, July 29th - Down: E.H. Shores, jr., Duluth to Oswego, lumber; Topeka, Chicago to Ogdensburg, corn; Nipigon and barge, Lake Lenden to Ogdensburg, lumber; Arabian, Duluth to Prescott, wheat; steamer Chas. A. Street, barge Godfrey, Chicago to Prescott, corn; barge Lozen, Chicago to Kingston, corn; James, Chicago to Ogdensburg, general cargo.


Capt. Fitzgerald, of the steamer Rugee, which discharged a grain cargo at Portsmouth yesterday is well posted in the matter of grain transhipment, having been in the business for a number of years. No better authority can be quoted on the advantages the different harbors on the lakes and river St. Lawrence afford. Capt. Fitzgerald was seen by a Whig representative while in the city.

"I see by the papers that you are agitating the building of a second elevator in Kingston," said he. "You will need it to keep the trade in Kingston, and the M.T. Co. will have all they can do with the assistance of a storage elevator, although the company is composed of all grain buyers, to keep the grain from going to Prescott or Ogdensburg."

"Why do you make such a statement?"

"Simply because Prescott and Ogdensburg are the natural points of transhipment. The rate of freight from upper lake ports to Prescott, Ogdensburg and lower Lake Ontario ports is the same, consequently barges can afford to take grain from Prescott and Ogdensburg to Montreal cheaper than from Kingston. They save a trip a week."

"By what you say you don't think it would pay to build an elevator in Kingston?"

"No. Not unless the elevator built would be controlled by a company of grain buyers, controlling a large amount of floating property."

"What about the dangers of the St. Lawrence river in comparison with Kingston harbor? Will it have no effect in diverting the trade from river ports?"

"No. There is no danger for a boat having a captain or pilot who understands his business. I have been running to Ogdensburg for a number of years and never struck bottom yet. The steamer Hecla made eighty-four trips between Ogdensburg and Charlotte last season, running trips at night on the river, and never had an accident. The talk about the danger between Kingston and Prescott is all rot. There is no danger, and that has been proven by the number of boats that have passed up and down the river this season without accident."

"Do you not think Kingston the best natural harbor, captain?"

"No, certainly not. Ogdensburg is away ahead of it, for no matter how the wind blows it has no effect in Ogdensburg harbor, and there are besides good docks, good anchorage, and almost a land-locked bay. What I wonder at is that Kingston has retained the grain trade as long as it has."

"But are you not an Ogdensburg man, and for that reason are speaking in favor of that port?"

"I am from Ogdensburg, but I am speaking of facts just as I find them, and know to be true."


The Kestrel Put Out Of It.

At the Hamilton regatta yesterday in the twenty-seven foot class the Kestrel made the best time around the course, but was given last place because she did not leave the buoy left of starboard. The race was given to Sylvia, which was third, as she sailed according to rules.When the Hiawatha's crew saw their error they sailed over the course four times and won second money.


About seven o'clock last evening the spirit of Capt. John Irwin left its earthly dwelling place and passed to its everlasting home. The death of Capt. Irwin was a surprise to his many friends, who expected the strong, sturdy mariner to weather the storm of sickness and pull through safely. But illness rendered his frame weak and he was wrecked on the rocks of disease. Deceased suffered for about three months, kidney disease seemingly being the cause of his sickness. This was brought on by catching cold while attending to his duties during the second trip he took this season on the schooner Minnedosa. He was obliged to give his command up to his son, Chamberlain, who since then has been in charge of the schooner.

Capt. John Irwin was born in the county of Armagh, Ireland, near Charlemount, in 1834. In 1840 he came to Canada with his grandfather, the late Robert Gillespie, settling in Kingston, where he made his home until carried away by death. In 1850 he entered the employ of the Calvin company, sailing on its lake-going fleet for a number of years and receiving a thorough marine education, which fitted him for the important commands he afterwards held. Leaving the Calvin company he entered the employ of the late James Morton, sailing different boats owned by this famous distiller. Then he purchased his own command, owning among other vessels the Lily, Champion and Queen of the Bay. The first named was lost off Long Point during the storm, and this was the only disaster the late captain was ever in. The late James Falconer was a partner of deceased for some time, afterwards going into the employ of the late Samuel Fraser. While with this owner he sailed the schooner Edward Blake, being in command of her seven years, and leaving her to assume charge of the schooner Minnedosa, which event occurred four years ago. During his long marine career, covering forty-seven years, not a single life was lost from any boat he commanded. He was painstaking and careful, a clever pilot, having a thorough knowledge of all the great lakes, their harbors, bays, inlets, etc. He was an authority on marine matters and his statements were never questioned.

He married in 1860, ten children blessing the union. Of this number seven are living. They are: Willard, in charge of a grain elevator at Emerson, Man.; Mrs. Kelly, Sydenham street; Mrs. Cole, Buffalo; Chamberlain, in command of the Minnedosa; Rodney, Buffalo; Annie and John, who live at home. Mrs. Cole and Rodney have arrived in the city to attend the funeral, which takes place at two o'clock on Sunday afternoon.

The steamer Glengarry and consort Minnedosa were to have cleared today, but were held over so as to allow the son of the deceased, commanding the schooner, to attend the funeral. John Gillespie, Pittsburg, is an uncle of the dead captain.

Snips - The steamer Paul Smith resumed her ferry trip to Wolfe Island yesterday, repairs to her cylinder having been completed.

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30 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), 30 Jul 1897