The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 8 Jul 1898

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p.1 Leak In the Canal - St. Catharines, July 8th - Navigation was suspended on the new Welland canal last night on account of a bad leak in the bank at lock No. 19. A large staff of men were set to work promptly but it will be late tonight before locking is resumed.



The sloop H.M. Ballou, light, arrived in port last evening.

The schooner Fleetwing cleared for Oswego yesterday to load coal.

The schooner Annie Falconer will leave for Oswego tonight for a cargo of coal.

The schooner Acacia arrived from Oswego last evening with coal for R. Crawford.

The steamer King Ben with a general cargo from Montreal reached port last night.

The schooner Two Brothers with coal from Oswego arrived in port yesterday afternoon.

The schooner Fleetwing cleared last night for Charlotte to load coal for James Swift & Co.

The schooner Eliza Fisher has been lying at anchor in the harbor for over a week, unable to secure a cargo.

The schooner Fabiola completed the discharge of her coal cargo at Swift's wharf this afternoon and cleared for Charlotte for another cargo.

The R. & O. steamers Corsican and Columbian left port this morning for Montreal. The steamer Algerian, bound westward, touched at Swift's wharf this afternoon.

The steamer Rosedale will likely leave for the upper lakes on Sunday. She has received a thorough painting in black with yellow trimmings and masts, and looks as neat and trim as the day she first set her head for sea.

On Wednesday the Brockville navigation company met and elected the following officers: President, Newton Cossitt; vice-president, O.K. Fraser; managing director and secretary-treasurer,W.S. Buell; directors, Newton Cossitt, O.K. Fraser, Robert Towie, Thomas Wilkinson, J. Grant, W.S. Buell. Reports presented showed the cost of the new steamer Brockville to be about $11,000.

Welland Canal Report.

Port Dalhousie, July 7th - Down: Steamer Badger State, Cleveland to Ogdensburg, general cargo; steamer H.R. James, Chicago to Ogdensburg, general cargo.

Port Colborne, July 7th - Down: Steamer James, Chicago to Ogdensburg, general cargo; steamer Iona, Chatham to Montreal, wheat.


The Steamer Sustains Little Damage By Her Accident.

The R. & O. navigation company's steamer Caspian arrived in port last night and tied up at the government drydock wharf. She apparently suffered little, if any, damage through her mishap at Thousand Island Park yesterday morning, a fact which surprises the leading captains on the river. When she struck the Pullman Reef, near the Twin Islands, she was cutting the water at the rate of fourteen miles an hour, her average speed, and ran on the shoal nearly three- quarters of her length, but the blow had little effect on her staunch hull.

The Caspian and the steamer Empire State left Clayton at 6:20 o'clock and headed for Thousand Island park under full head of steam. The former at once took the lead and maintained it until she encountered the reef, being then over three lengths in advance. The passengers were roughly startled by the sudden stoppage, and some were thrown from their seats. When it was seen that the steamer was firmly lodged on the reef, the passengers and baggage were transferred to the park. Word was despatched to the Calvin company to send down assistance, and the steamers Chieftian and Parthia went down with a steam pump.

The reef was submerged to the depth of four and one-half feet, and the grounding raised the Caspian three feet, throwing one wheel out of water. The shoal is rough and rocky, but the two tugs with a six inch line doubled succeeded in pulling her off after a few hours' work. The boiler of the stranded boat was emptied to lighten her, and for this reason the steam pump was taken along in case the Caspian would make water too freely. It was a matter of wonder to all that she did not take in water faster than two inches an hour. The hull was damaged very little and steam being raised the Caspian headed for Kingston.

John Hanna, of this city, mate of the Caspian, was on watch when the mishap occurred. In the early morning hours a heavy fog lined the shores cutting off the regular land marks. The reef, which stands in an inconvenient spot, but which is well known to river pilots, is only marked by a small block buoy, painted white. The sea was running very high and the buoy was almost lost to sight in the whitecaps. It was not seen by the mate until the steamer was upon the shoal. Last season the steamer Merritt ran aground on the same spot, showing the dangerous position of the reef. It stands almost in direct line with the channel and it is surprising that the American marine authorities, so particular in having their water channels well marked, are satisfied with a small white block to indicate this treacherous spot.

The Caspian will enter the government dry dock this evening to have her hull examined and repaired. The docking is not the result of the grounding yesterday, but to have a few plates replaced, which were damaged by a jam in a Cornwall canal lock last week.

That the Caspian's steel hull was not badly shattered by the accident speaks well for its staunchness. Solidity is a characteristic of the hulls of the R. & O. N. company's steamers and though they have ploughed the waters for many years, they now can stand the roughest usage with little injury. A few years ago the steamer Spartan met with a similar experience to that of the Caspian when passing Alexandria Bay at the rate of sixteen miles an hour. Her damage did not prevent her from making her usual trips for the remainder of the season.

Capt. A. McDonald, in command of the Caspian, was making his first trip down on her and was not fully acquainted with the channel, not having passed down that way in some years.



Cornwall, July 8th - Fortunately for shippers and forwarders there are two sets of locks in good working order at the foot of the Cornwall canal, for tonight the new locks, which are used regularly, are disabled and a large fleet of vessels bound east and west are being locked through the old locks. Two years ago when the four gates were torn out of lock seventeen they dragged over and started the mitre sill of the lower gate. This has been gradually weakening ever since, and tonight at six o'clock it was found that the action of the water had worked out the concrete pocket between the sill and braces, and inspector Ramsay fearing an accident, ordered the old locks to be used. The old locks will accommodate all vessels drawing not more than nine feet of water, and there will be no delay to navigation other than by the use of these locks instead of two in the left. To effect repairs either the entire level above the locks will have to be emptied, which would stop navigation for three or four days, or a cofferdam will have to be built above and below the damaged lock, and the old locks continue to be used. It is altogether likely that the latter course will be followed. The old locks were rebuilt and re-entered a couple of years ago in preparation for just such an emergency.

p.6 What Mate Dandy Says - during fire on steamer Jubilee, he had to hold off some men with an oar in order to get the women in the yawl boat.

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8 Jul 1898
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 8 Jul 1898