The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 16 Mar 1898

Full Text


Those Record Years.

Yesterday 1878 was spoken of as having put forth one of the early record springs. The diary of T.A. Brock was thereupon consulted. The last crossing on the ice bridge by horse was on March 5th; on the 7th the ice moved down from in front of the city; the Pierrepont went to the Cape on the 9th, but not until the 11th was the harbor clear, yet two days earlier than this year. Regular ferry trips were made after the 9th throughout March. The winter of 1882 had a better record for earlier navigation for the Pierrepont reached Cape Vincent by way of the Wolfe Island canal on March 7th. If a record the other way is desired look up 1885, for horses crossed from the islands to the city on April 20th; the first ferry trip was on the 25th.

Big Tugs Are Needed.

Bay City, Mich., March 16th - Representatives of the navy department are in Bay City for the purpose of getting options on several of the large lake tugs belonging to the Saginaw Bay towing association. The association owns the largest and most powerful fleet of any company on fresh water, one of the number having been a blockade runner during the rebellion. It is said the tugs are wanted for towing coal barges in the event of war with Spain.



The tug Jessie Hall was engaged today in shifting M.T. Co.'s barges above Cataraqui bridge.

Capt. Scott expects to be afloat again as commander of the steamer Persia on or about April 25th. For a mariner who has plied his calling since his twelfth year, the affable captain retains his youth wonderfully and is as bright today as ever.


Facts That Prove Both Sides Of The Question.

The fatality that is generally attached to a Friday was exemplified in the case of the steamer Colonist. After having been on the marine railway at Portsmouth, she was launched at ten o'clock in the forenoon of Friday, April 16th, 1869. On the following Friday she left for Chicago at three o'clock in the afternoon. In the fall of the same season at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 20th she was driven by heavy weather over a bar at Manotowoc, on the west shore of Lake Michigan. The pounding she received in crossing the bar detached a blade from her propeller. A steam pipe burst and was the cause of the death of Charles McEwen, Kingston. She was repaired at once and continued on her voyage.

The next Friday was another fatal day for her. At half past two on the morning of November 27th she sprang a leak when twenty miles northwest of the bight off Hammond's bay, on the west shore of Lake Huron. There was a heavy snow storm at the time and the wind was from the south by southwest. In forty minutes from the time the leak was discovered the fires were extinguished by the water. The life-boats were lowered and the crew got in them. The captain being the last to leave the sinking craft, stepped from the deck into his boat. The small boats were about fifty feet away from the vessel when she disappeared and went down in one hundred and thirty five fathoms of water. The leak was in the stern pipe, which no doubt was caused by the pounding she received in crossing the bar. The crew, after having been in the life boats thirteen hours, were finally picked up by the wrecking steamer Clamatis. Some of the crew had their fingers and toes frost bitten. This account is taken from her log book, and is certified by Mr. Barnes, of this city, who was her chief engineer. The peculiar point is that all her misfortunes, both small and great, happened on Friday.

The propellor St. Lawrence, however, had a very different career. She, too, was launched on a Friday from the Kingston marine railway, at 10:30 o'clock April 8th, 1870. Her first voyage was to Toledo, leaving Kingston at 6 a.m. on the following Friday. George Barnes was her chief engineer also, and the gentleman who was proprietor of the railway, W. Power, can substantiate both. She had good luck all season and her owners, the present G.E. Jaques & Co., Montreal, were particularly fortunate. In the spring of 1876 the late Mr. Norris, St. Catharines, had the Scotia and four other vessels laid up at Port Maitland, on the north shore of Lake Erie, and the whole fleet left there for Duluth on a Friday. These boats had a particularly successful career that season. This shows that the "Jonah day" did not affect them.

The maiden trip of the steamer Persia was made on a Friday also. She started from St. Catharines for Chicago, and since then she has been marked by a regular series of successful seasons and has been phenomenally fortunate. Capt. Scott, of this city, was in command of the four above mentioned steamers at the time and is yet in command of the Persia.

Another very striking coincidence occurred relative to Capt. Gaskin and Capt. Scott. In 1861 they were shipwrecked pursers through the foundering of their respective steamers on Lake Ontario, and a few years afterwards they commanded steamers trading between Montreal and Chicago, and very singularly both vessels went from under them on the upper lakes in heavy weather through springing a leak. In marine circles they were considered a hard pair to beat in their business. Both captains are Kingstonians. Capt. Gaskin has more than once offered Capt. Scott the captaincy of one of his new steel steamships.

p.5 Thousand Island Park, March 14th - ....The sloops Dolphin and Flying Cloud are fitting out and will leave for Clayton in a few days....

p.6 The Late Patrick Deane - lockmaster at Brewer's Mills, oldest on canal, 54 years of service

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Publication:
16 Mar 1898
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
Creative Commons licence:
pd [more details]
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

British Whig (Kingston, ON), 16 Mar 1898