The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 28 Jun 1899

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The M.T. company's yards present a very sombre appearance at the present time. On the far side, raised upon the marine railway, is the tug Walker, as fine a tug eight months ago as ever sailed in these waters. Now there is merely part of the skeleton left, totally useless to be rebuilt. As to what will be done with the fragments is not yet known. At present the wooden mass will have to thoroughly dried. The engine is the most valuable part, and that will be removed. The whole front part of the tug is an indescribable mass, but the stern remains intact. The name alone reveals what the vessel once was.

Then in the slip at the near end of the yard is another grewsome (sic) sight which tells a sad story. Last night about half-past seven o'clock the tug Active entered the harbor towing the tug Bronson, burned at Alexandria Bay last Thursday morning. The Bronson was soon secured to the wharf, and immediately a great crowd of people commenced to pour into the yard to get a view of the disabled tug. Although considerably burned, the Bronson is not in such a bad condition as many imagined. Of course the whole upper works are gone, and the sides badly scorched, but the hull proper is intact. The fire did not get down that far, and that was a very fortunate thing. The engine and boiler are all right also. Immediately after arriving here the crew began chopping away a lot of the burned part of the vessel, and the work of rebuilding will be commenced at once. Possibly the tug will be placed in Davis' drydock.

A good sum might have been realized had a small fee been charged for entrance into the yard to view the remnant of the tugs which met with such unfortunate disasters.

The Judgement Reversed - Last season the steamer Reliance, owned by the Deseronto navigation company, was loading sugar at Montreal. A team of horses, waggon and sixteen barrels of sugar fell overboard and were lost. The owner, Mr. Meldrum, sued the Rathbun company for $700, and Judge Gill gave the plaintiff a verdict for the full amount. The superior court has now upset that verdict, giving the Rathbun company a judgement both as to law and facts with full costs. No appeal can be taken from this judgement.


Before the tug Bronson left Alexandria Bay for Kingston, A.C. Cornwall, chief of the fire department at the former place, served the captain with a paper asking if the M.T. company would pay salvage on the tug to the fire department. The demand, for such it may be called, caused great surprise, but the company gave the department a full understanding that they would do so. The matter is the talk of marine circles today, and the action of the Alexandria Bay fire department in making such a demand is severely criticised. The M.T. company intended to pay the department a good sum for the aid they gave in putting out the fire, as they do in all cases, but the grant they make is voluntary and in simple recognition of service rendered. But in this case the claim made for salvage simply staggered the company, as they had never heard of such a thing being done before when a fire department aided in putting out a fire on a vessel. The people of Alexandria Bay when they heard of it expressed the greatest indignation over the affair.

The question naturally arises, has a fire department a right to claim salvage in a case of this kind, but this would lead to an intricate discussion. Salvage, as it is commonly understood, applies only to vessels which are saved from destruction by other vessels, and no case in this district is known of a "land" department claiming or being awarded such a thing. The Kingston department has put out fires on many vessels at this port, and some serious ones, but never thought of demanding salvage; in fact the city would never tolerate such a thing. They would have about the same right to claim it for saving a building from destruction. Grants are generally made for faithful work done by firemen, but this is a mere voluntary affair, and is never really due.

In the case of the tug Bronson, when she was enveloped in flames, the captain blew a distress whistle, and then ran the tug aground. The wharves and buildings near by commenced to catch fire, and the fire department turned out just as much to save these from destruction as to put out the fire on the tug. They came out as a matter of duty and nothing more. Marine men say the action of the Alexandria Bay department is a very small matter, and that it will not be looked upon as a question of rights.

p.3 Thousand Island Park, June 26th - ...The schooner Cornelia brought a load of coal a few days ago for the use of the powerhouse....



The tug Thomson cleared last night for Montreal with three barges grain laden.

The sloop Echo, from Deseronto, is unloading pulpwood at the Grove Inn dock. The schooner Fleetwing arrived this morning from Oswego with coal for Swift & Co.

Called at Craig's wharf: steamer Argyle from Montreal; steamer Persia, from St. Catharines.

The steamer Prescott passed down to Prescott this morning and arrived up again this afternoon.

The steamer St. Andrew, from Fort William, unloaded 37,000 bushels of wheat at Richardsons' elevator today.

The United States government will remove a portion of South Island which obstructs the entrance to Oswego harbor.

Welland Canal Report.

Port Dalhousie, June 27th - Up: steamer Sir S.L. Tilley, Kingston to Cleveland, light.

Down: steamer St. Andrews, Fort William to Kingston, wheat.

Port Colborne, June 27th - Up: steamer Bannockburn and barges, Kingston to Chicago, light; steamer S.L. Tilley, Kingston to Cleveland, light.

Down: steamer Clinton and barges, Ashland, to Kingston, timber.

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28 Jun 1899
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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), 28 Jun 1899