The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 5 Aug 1898

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Unfavorable Proposal Made By Government.

The federal government has given much attention and has expended vast sums of money in improving the ships' channel from the great lakes through the St. Lawrence, a work which will probably still go on for many decades. The improved waterway will undoubtedly prove a valuable asset to the country, and it is a work watched with interest and acquiesced to by every mariner of any importance. Since the undertaking was begun navigation has been made safer and easier, a necessary accompaniment to increasing traffic. But the government in past years has erred in allowing its engineers to perform certain works. An immense amount of money has been sunk in deepening the south channel of the Galop rapids, river St. Lawrence, and, as time will likely show, all to no advantage. The south channel is rendered a somewhat dangerous one, owing to swift cross currents, making passage through it difficult even for single boats. The difficulty is much greater for tugs having a tow of barges. The government now proposes to spend thousands of dollars more on the same channel, a movement which does not meet with the approval of captains and pilots on the St. Lawrence. Another proposal of the government is to close the gut above the rapids, a proceeding which pilots say will render the channel practically unnavigable. In conversation with a Whig reporter last evening a river pilot expressed his disapproval of the proposed plans. He believes it would be more profitable for the commerce of the country if the money set aside for such work were consumed by fire. If more attention were given the north channel in the galops, the government would be more justified in the outlay of money. The pilots and mariners of any standing are unanimous on this point, and the department would not make a mistake in ascertaining the opinions of men who are familiar with the best water routes and peculiar action of currents.

All are liable to err, said the pilot, and one or two mistakes made by government engineers might be pointed out. At the lower end of the Morrisburg canal a pier was constructed not long since. It is finished with a square end, each corner strapped with iron. The pier is so situated that a south wind and the current of the river water press against it, and frequently boats effecting an entrance to the canal are driven with force against the corner of the pier, with considerable damage as the result. Within the last few years, it has cost one company over a thousand dollars to repair damages sustained at that point. The pier should have been constructed on the other side of the canal, where it would divert the currents from the channel into the lock. It is said that the engineer proposes to taper the end of the pier to a point which may improve it somewhat. Another instance is the antiquated bridge constructed over the Welland canal, where traffic is exceedingly heavy. The bridge is supported by an abutment erected in the centre of the canal. This is a menace to navigation. Any deep draft boats which rub the edge of the bank are thrown with some force out in the stream, and often swing up against the heavy stone work. An up to date government would have that pier removed and the bridge replaced by a suspension bridge.

p.3 The Late Joseph Senecal - owned a large hotel on Grenadier Island for many years; owned steam yacht Catharine when it was run down by steamer St. Lawrence; among dead were his son John, who was engineer on the yacht; bodies were recovered but yacht still lies where it sank.



Capt. Nicholson, of the schooner Eliza Fisher, retired to rest last night in the cabin of his vessel, tied up at James Swift & Co.'s wharf, at a late hour. Capt. Nicholson hung his clothing on a hook behind the door of his cabin, leaving the door secure. When he awoke at the hour of four this morning he found his watch missing. Becoming suspicious he looked further and discovered that eight dollars in bills and some loose change had also disappeared. He aroused the crew and all answered their names excepting one. Convinced that the missing man was the guilty party, Capt. Nicholson went in search of him, thinking that perhaps he had gone off on a spree, but after an hour's search no sign could be discovered of the missing man. The affair was thereupon reported to the police.

Capt. Nicholson says the theft must have been committed by some one inside the cabin when he retired, as he locked the cabin door and this morning found the door open with the key inside. Mosquito netting covered the windows and this remained undisturbed. The Fisher should have stood out to sea last night only it was impossible to do so as the crew were not all aboard until late in the night. Capt. Nicholson prizes the watch on account of it being a present to him from his oldest daughter. If he could recover this he would not mind allowing the money to go.

Capt. Nicholson is of opinion that the thief expected to get a large sum of money, but in this he was disappointed, as the captain did not receive his freight money for the last trip until this morning.

Capt. Nicholson this morning swore out information at police headquarters for the arrest of Daniel Callaghan, charging him with stealing $8 in money and a silver watch.


The sloop Maggie L. cleared for bay ports today.

The schooner Wave Crest cleared for Oswego this morning.

The schooner Fleetwing is discharging coal at Swift & Co.'s wharf.

Workmen are engaged in scraping the masts of the schooner Grantham.

The tug Thomson arrived from Montreal last evening with five light barges.

The steamer Hamilton, from Montreal, reaches Swift's wharf this evening.

The schooner Eliza Fisher cleared today for Oswego to load coal for this port.

The tug Thomson clears for Montreal this evening with four barges, grain-laden.

The steamer Glengarry and consort Minnedosa arrived from Fort William with 90,000 bushels of wheat.

The steamer Bothnia, from Chicago, reached the M.T. company's elevator today with 40,000 bushels of corn.

The S.S. Bannockburn and consort Melrose will reach port tomorrow from Toledo with 120,000 bushels of wheat and rye.

An accident happened at Thousand Island park dock on Wednesday when the Algerian ran into the Islander, which lay at the dock. Her bulwarks were smashed in.

Capts. Dunlop, Esford, Grange and McGraw, of the R. & O. navigation company, have been fined at Toronto $50 and costs for allowing liquor to be sold on board their boats.

The steamer Iron Duke and consort Iron City, from Chicago with 90,000 bushels of rye and corn, discharged at the M.T. company's elevator today. They return to Chicago this evening.

Called at James Swift & Co.'s wharf: steamer Spartan, Toronto to Montreal; steamer Algerian, Montreal to Toronto; steamer Arundell, Charlotte to Alexandria Bay; steamer Hamilton, Montreal to Hamilton.

The steamer John J. Hill, built at Marine City, Mich., in 1892, has been purchased by the Atlantic transportation company and will carry coal from Newport News to northern ports. She is a vessel of 787 tonnage, net register, and has a capacity of 1,500 tons. Last spring she passed down from the inland lake to the coast with the intention of going south as a United States government transport ship.

Welland Canal Report.

Port Colborne, Aug. 4th - Down: steamer Bothnia, Toledo to Kingston, timber; Glengarry and barge, Fort William to Kingston, wheat; schooner F.C. Leighton, Detroit to Ogdensburg, wheat.

Port Dalhousie, Aug. 4th - Down: steamer Armenia, Thessalon to Kingston, timber; barge Valencia, Thessalon to Kingston, timber; yacht Irene, Erie to Toronto, light; steamer Glengarry, Fort William to Kingston, wheat; barge Minnedosa, Fort William to Kingston, wheat; steamer Badger State, Detroit to Ogdensburg, general cargo.

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5 Aug 1898
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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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), 5 Aug 1898