The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 29 Aug 1899

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p.1 The S.L. Tilley was built for Sylvester Neelon, of St. Catharines, in 1884, and is a composite of 750 tons net register. It was bought by R.O. & A.B. Mackay in 1896. When it caught fire the boat was bound for Cleveland to load coal for Fort William.



On the Fine R. & O. Steamer Spartan.

A sail up the lake to Toronto does not embrace the thrilling feat of "running the rapids," but it has many another quality that partially makes up for this defect. The writer had occasion to take a trip to the queen city of the west on the R. & O. steamer Spartan, which left Swift's wharf last Thursday afternoon at three o'clock. Though this boat is one of the oldest of the line, it affords excellent accommodation for the travelling public. It's steel hull has ploughed the waters of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence for so many years that it has become a familiar and popular craft.

Splendid views of the Canadian shore, of Amherst Island and other islands are to be seen as the steamer westward takes her way. Then the beauty and picturesqueness of the far-famed Bay of Quinte breaks upon the wandering and enchanted gaze. For many a long mile the steamer plied its course upon the quiet waters of the Bay, while on the right stretched far away the fine farms on the Canadian shore, and on the opposite side the fertile plains of Prince Edward county rested beneath the warm beams of an August sun. One of the prettiest scenes ever witnessed was here seen. The sun was setting in majestic splendor behind the western horizon, throwing its mellow rays upon the opposite shore of Prince Edward. Upon the green hillside, surrounded by large apple orchards and well-wooded slopes, were a large number of cattle silently grazing. The soft sunlight fell upon the beautiful scene and transformed it into something that far outrivalled the fondest dream of the poet or the artist. There was no sound save the noise of the waters as they were pushed aside by the vessel. All else was quiet, and the hush of evening settled over all. How peaceful, how restful appeared the fairy-like scene!

Darkness, however, soon came on and only the dim outline of either shore could be distinguished in the gathering gloom. Short stops were made at Deseronto and Belleville. In a short time the Spartan entered the foot of the Murray canal, that great, artificial waterway transforming Prince Edward county into an island and at the same time affording an outlet from the Bay of Quinte into the waters of Lake Ontario. Near the first bridge of this important canal is located the summer resort known as Twelve O'clock Point. Here every evening the popular steamer is saluted by a large number of campers who gather on the bank and make the air lively with their sweet, familiar songs. The melodious notes are wafted across the water, and make the listener sad as he drinks them in. Why is it that sweet music always awakens a feeling of sadness?

After passing through thirty miles of canal, with its high banks towering on either side, and crossed in four places by swing bridges, the vessel emerges into the open waters of the lake. It is now time to retire, and when the traveller awakens he finds that the boat has reached her landing at the foot of Yonge street, Toronto.

Until 2 p.m. the passengers can view the sights of Toronto, and a great deal is to be seen in that time. The parliament buildings, the new city hall, the universities, the stores, a view of the city from the street cars on the belt line, these and many other things can be seen during the short space of time. Sharp at the above-mentioned hour the steamer left her wharf and side by side with the Chippewa steamed out of the lively harbor. The view from the "gap" was a very pretty one. Tall factory chimneys belched forth clouds of thick, black smoke, which hung over the great city like a pall, and it, combined with the hazy summer atmosphere, nearly obscured the city. The lake about was lively with craft of all descriptions making their way to or from Toronto.

The sail down the lake, during which the vessel hugged the shore, afforded a good view of the country and towns along the route. The Spartan called at Cobourg and Port Hope, two wide-awake and growing towns. The sun was sinking to rest beneath the wooded hills back of Port Hope as the steamer reached that place. The R. & O. steamers do not use the Murray canal on the return trip, but come down the lake. The limestone city was reached at 4:30 a.m., and if this hour be a little too early for the average mortal to tear his head away from the pillow he can snooze away in quiet contentment until even Gananoque is passed and Clayton, N.Y., is reached. Connection can here be made at 10:30 a.m. with one of the Folger boats on its way to Kingston.

The excellent menu on board the Spartan was all that the most fastidious could wish. Everything was served in commendable style and with alacrity. Capt. Grange, a Coteau man, is a very kind and affable officer, and it was no fault of his if his passengers did not enjoy themselves. The purser is a young Napaneean, Hall by name, and the passengers found him very obliging. W.J. Newman, of this city and lately of the Whig's reportorial staff, is steward and is one of the most popular officers on the R. & O. boats. This is attested by the large number of beautiful bouquets that are ever being placed in his hands by passengers whom he has obliged and who are grateful for his kind attentions. The other officers and men are good fellows, every one of them, and a trip on this boat is one to be long and fondly remembered.


The steamyacht Sophia, sunk at Clayton a week ago during the gale, was in port yesterday with a party aboard.

Mr. Knopf, Milton Island, has rented from Davis & Co., the steam yacht "C. Here," for the balance of the season.

The R. & O. steamer Spartan will receive extensive repairs this winter. She will be well overhauled. New upper works are to be built, and the vessel lengthened forty feet.

An unsuccessful attempt was made yesterday to launch the tug Bronson from the M.T. company's marine railway. Two tow ropes were broken in the work. The trouble was caused by a large pile of stone which had been thrown into the slip by the proverbial small boy. The Bronson had to be hauled up again on the ways.


At the police court this morning the case of Delos Grimshaw, charged with obstructing the harbor by allowing the hulk of the old steamer City of Kingston to lie under water near the K. & P. railway wharf in Anglin's bay, was again before the magistrate. Mr. Grimshaw had denied the ownership of the boat, claiming it belonged to Capt. W.R. Smith. Four years ago Grimshaw and Smith purchased the boat from Mr. McKelvey for $25, but there was no formal transfer made. In October, 1895, the witness (Grimshaw) ceased to be an owner, transferring his right at that time to Smith. This writing was in the hands of Mr. Mundell. Witness further stated that he had nothing to do with removing or placing the boat in the position in which she now lies. She sank herself before he sold his interest to Smith.

Mr. McIntyre - "Before you went to the north-west in June, did you not tell the harbor-master that when you returned you would make arrangements to have the boat taken out?"

Mr. Grimshaw - "No, I told him no such thing. I said I did not own the boat.'

William Mundell, barrister, said that Mr. Grimshaw had left with him a document signed by W.R. Smith in connection with the purchase of the Kingston by Smith from Bradshaw. The latter instructed witness to take proceedings against Smith to recover the amount of the purchase money. Witness wrote a letter to Smith. He had been unable to find the document. No proceedings were taken against Smith.

W.K. Smith, who was subpoened, was put in the box by Mr. McIntyre on behalf of the city, Mr. Whiting refusing to examin him as a witness for the defence, although he had been subpoened.

Mr. Smith - "Is this case just for pastime or am I to receive any money for coming here?"

Mr. Whiting - "The side who places him in the box should do the paying."

The magistrate to witness - "You must give evidence or I'll have to commit you."

Witness - "All right, I'll give evidence."

Witness said he never had a copy of the agreement, but had signed one agreeing to purchase the boat from Grimshaw for $164. He never took possession of the boat, nor did he pay any money. The boat was sunk by reason of carrying hay.

"I told Mr. Mallen, who had been sent by Grimshaw to me, that I would not take the boat if she carried the hay, as the steamer would not be any use if she carried this freight. The strain from the load caused her to sink near Anglin's Bay, a short distance from where she now lies. After the steamer was sunk, Mallen and Grimshaw called on me and the latter asked me to give Mallen the job of pumping the vessel out. I told Grimshaw that I was not going to have anything more to do with the boat, and that the parties who had sunk the boat could pump her out. Someone pumped her out and Grimshaw tried to collect five dollars from me for the work but I would not pay him. I have had no more to do with Grimshaw or the boat since."

B.W. Folger then had something to say, and asked the magistrate to adjourn the case until Mallen was subpoened, but the magistrate would not do so. Just here some cross-firing took place between the two counsels, Mr. Whiting stating that his points were too subtle for Mr. McIntyre to see.

His Honor - "Now as far as I can see, Mr. Grimshaw does not claim the boat, nor does Mr. Smith. Nobody seems to own it. Anybody can take it who wants it."

Mr. Whiting - "Well now here's Kingston's benefactor, Mr. Folger, he should take it. It would be a good attraction for Lake Ontario park. I understand that Mr. Folger told the city clerk he would remove the boat if given permission."

Mr. McIntyre - "The clerk says more than his prayers, and seldom says them."

The magistrate - "I will adjourn this case for one week, until other witnesses can be summoned, or in the meanwhile to see if the boat cannot be removed by somebody."



At three o'clock this morning one of Kingston's oldest and best known residents passed from earth, in the person of William Power, Gore Street. Deceased was born in Prince Edward Island, and when a child moved to Quebec city. Here, when a young man, he entered Gilmour's shipyard, and after learning his trade he began business for himself building ocean vessels. Some years after he went to Montreal, where he pursued the same trade. In partnership with a man named Tait he conducted a drydock, and also built several ocean ships among them the Kate Gleather and Tina Forbes, well known to sea-faring men. In 1870 Mr. Powers moved to Kingston and carried out a ship building business and conducted a marine railway here until 1885, when he practically retired from business. The schooner Singapore and propellor Cuba, familar vessels on the lakes and rivers, are the product of his skill. He built many of the first vessels in these ports, which have long since been converted into lake and river barges.

An aged widow and three sons survive. They are Edward, of this city; George, of Duluth, and William, of Detroit. Mr. Powers has been ailing for over a year and a half, old age being the cause of his debility and consequent death. He died aged seventy-eight years.

Mr. Power's shipyard was situated where the dry-dock now is. The first vessel he repaired was the steamer Hastings, before that known as the Rochester. He built a new boat (the China - editor), partly owned by Capt. Patterson, who sailed her. The vessel had a short life. She left here one autumn day many years ago and when near Nine Mile Point took fire and burned to the water's edge. She carried a cargo of iron ore. John Boyd was first mate aboard. Soon after this Mr. Power constructed the propellor Africa, of which trace has been lost. Then he built the propellor Cuba in 1875; one year later he turned out the schooner Hyderabad, of 290 tons, and the following year the Bangalore, of 296 tons. The vessels are well-known today to local mariners and shippers. A great deal of deceased's work consisted in the repairing and reconstruction of disabled crafts. The last work he did was in connection with the building of the barges Brighton and Cobourg, launched here about two years ago. The Kingston locomotive works did the iron work on these two vessels, while Mr. Power superintended the wood work for the M.T. company, to whom they belonged.

Deceased was a well known liberal and usually active in Sydenham ward. He was a member of the city council for four years, from 1874 to 1877 inclusive, representing the ward in which he lived. He was a man of wide experience, extensive reading and ripe wisdom, but he found the council a dreary place for men of his quiet, methodical life. He was for years an active worker in the mechanic's institute. For nearly all his life in this city he was associated with it and filled many of the elective offices. He was a true-hearted Catholic, devout and attentive, possessing religious convictions of tolerance and faithfulness in a marked degree. He never disputed over the views of his fellow citizens.

Mr. Power was a remarkably observant man and it might well be said of him that he never forgot anything he heard or saw, and that there was little around him he did not see. For forty years back he could, by means of his retentive memory alone, give day and date for every incident that transpired within that time, which he was then aware of. He could even tell the condition of the weather on many important occasions during the last half century. His was a most extraordinary faculty for certain remembrance of what transpired.

Incidents of the Day - Davis & Co. are putting up an office and another large building on their dry dock premises. The latter is for a planing machine, band saw and motor, which the company has had to purchase to meet the increase in the business.

p.6 Yacht Naaid (sic) In Port - owned by J.W. Wheeler, a New York millionaire.


[Hamilton Herald]

There is, perhaps, no lake-faring captain better known at this port than William Zealand, the chief officer on board the ill-fated propeller, Sir S. Leonard Tilley, destroyed by fire, near Fairport, on Saturday night. A rather singular coincidence in connection with the destruction of the Tilley is the fact that a few years ago, not many miles from this point, Capt. Zealand was acting as purser on the St. Magnus when she capsized, entailing a big loss of cargo. Before assuming control of the Tilley, Capt. Zealand was captain of the Lake Michigan for two seasons, and was also captain of the Hamilton steamboat company's boat Modjeska, running between here and Toronto.

Capt. Zealand's father, Edward, was also a sailing master for many years, but he, with his entire crew, went down to a watery grave with the steamer Zealand fully twenty years ago. The incident occurred in a fierce storm off Prince Edward county in Lake Ontario, and neither the boat nor the bodies of any of those who manned it were ever found.

Capt. Edward Zealand had three brothers, all of whom were sailors, and their father was on board the boat which captured the Caroline in 1837 and sent her over Niagara Falls. This was the penalty for carrying supplies from the American side to the insurgents.

Marine Notes.

The tug Bronson has not yet been launched.

The steambarge Waterlily from Picton was at Craig's wharf today.

The steamer Alexandria from Charlotte called at Craig's wharf last night.

The schooner Fabiola, from Charlotte, arrived at Swift's wharf with coal.

The steamer Argyle will arrived from Oswego tonight on her last trip down.

Called at Swift's wharf: steamer Spartan, from Montreal; steamer Corsican, from Toronto; steamer Algerian, from Montreal; steamer Hamilton, from Hamilton.

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29 Aug 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), 29 Aug 1899