The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 13 Dec 1897

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Excursionists Saw the Rosedale on Sunday.

The greatest amount of excitement and figuring occurred on Friday and Saturday over the contract for the rescuing of the stranded steamer Rosedale. The Folger-Donnelly syndicate made an offer to release the boat, they to receive $17,000 when it shall be brought safely into Kingston, or to have the boat for $10,000 as she stands, money to be paid when she reaches the harbor. Another syndicate put in an opposition offer, and the telegraph offices and every other influence was brought to bear by both sides upon the insurance companies at Buffalo. About five o'clock on Saturday afternoon the excitement ended with the acceptance of the Folger-Donnelly offer. They promptly set to work that night and on Sunday the schooner Grantham was loaded with wrecking apparatus, because the mild weather and the northeast wind were so favoring that they could not but take every possible advantage of it. About nine o'clock on Sunday morning Messrs. Folger and Donnelly with about fifty of their friends paid a visit to the wreck on the steamer Island Wanderer, to whom as a new purchase she was comparatively a stranger and the owners were anxious to know how near she would come to her reputed speed of sixteen miles per hour. The distance from the Grand Trunk wharf to Nine Mile Point is a little over six and three quarter miles, and that distance was made within twenty-seven minutes, showing a speed of at least fifteen miles an hour. The east Charity shoals lie nine miles from the point, making a run of sixteen miles an hour. The Rosedale's mast can be easily seen from Nine Mile Point.

As the wreck was approached other vessels were seen alongside and visions of piracy on the high sea were opened to the winter excursionists. The Island Wanderer was brought alongside the Rosedale and the wreck inspected. She lies on perfectly even keel, showing thirteen feet depth forward and fourteen feet aft. To outward appearance she seemed to be simply resting at anchor. The only apparent injury to the hull is a bulging of the deck near her centre. The aft part seems dry, as the cabin is free from water. The cabins, however, were in a very disorderly state, showing a hasty dismantling of the boat. The insurance companies had carried everything movable to Kingston. Michael O'Neill and Jerry Hurley were left in charge at the wreck, being given a stove and a box of provisions, and the visitors forthwith returned to port.

The syndicate were quite encouraged with the view of the boat feeling that the storms had not the power to injure and render their efforts utterly futile. The piratical vessels at the steamer were William Gilroy, of Sacketts Harbor, and the schooner Two Brothers, of Picton. The former had been pumping grain from the lake bottom with a sand pump, and the crew of the latter had been taking it from the hold, but the syndicate did not object, and left them free to pursue their work. These wreckers are making, with a small crew of four or five men $100 per day. The sand pump is capable of raising from 500 to 1,000 bushels per hour.

The Grantham was equipped with all requisites for the work yesterday, and about thirty men engaged. It may appear to the public a fruitless attempt undertaken by the wrecking company, and it is indeed a work necessitating the exercise of skill and judgement. But the success which has always attended the efforts of this experienced wrecking company almost warrants the prediction of a safe landing of the boat. Four pumps, including the company's big Niagara Falls, rejected by the first workers, were taken out. The object of the wreckers will be to lower the water sufficiently to allow temporary repairs to the broken bottom, and as soon as the water and grain are taken from the forward compartments, her punctured bottom will be cemented over. Fifty tons of coal were taken out, and if successfully floated, the Rosedale will steam into port by her own machinery. If the wind remains quiet for the time, the company think the steamer will be in dry dock by Thursday night.


The tug Petrel, of the Collins Bay Rafting company, passed up yesterday with four pontoons in tow.

It is said that the insurance companies were offered $20,000 for the steamer Rosedale as she stands on the shoal by a local syndicate.

This morning the steamer Pierrepont towed the schooner Fleetwing to the north side of Cataraqui bridge where she will strip and go into winter quarters.

J.D. Reid, of the Edwardsburg starch factory, purchased the lot of damaged wheat, ex steamer Rosedale, tendered for sale. The wheat is being kiln dried at Clark's malt house.

This morning 16,000 bushels of wheat were discharged at the Mooers' company elevator. It is part of the last cargo of the steamer Bannockburn and is placed in storage for Richardson & Sons.

The Donnelly wrecking and salvage company expects two wrecking pumps to arrived here tonight from Midland. These will be put aboard the Rosedale, making five pumps at work on the wreck.

Welland Canal Report.

Port Colborne, Dec. 11th - down: steamer Monteagle, Chicago to Ogdensburg, corn.

Navigation will be officially closed next Tuesday, the 14th, for the season.

Made a Big Show - "The money paid for the wrecking operations on the Rosedale gave Kingston streets a carmine hue on Saturday. Many of the men had imbibed freely....." - resulting in many drunken fights, etc.

p.6 Snips - The barge Nebraska, 16,000 bushels wheat, was discharged at Mooers' elevator today. The wheat is owned by J. Richardson & Sons.

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13 Dec 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), 13 Dec 1897