The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 20 Apr 1900

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p.1 Navigation Formally Opened - Buffalo, April 20th - Navigation on the great lakes opened today. The big steel propellers City of Bangor and Crescent City arrived here.



He Is 90 Years Of Age Today.

Capt. William R. Taylor, the veteran mariner, and the grandfather of Kingston's present mayor, was born in the seaport town of Blythe, on the Tyne, in England, April 20th, 1810, and today celebrated his ninetieth birthday. At the early age of thirteen years he went to sea, being apprenticed for six years. His apprenticeship document is an interesting paper, and is still in good order, nothwithstanding that it was drawn seventy-seven years ago. It stipulates the apprentice's pay is to be four pounds for the first year, and an increase of one pound for each successive year until the time had expired, with an extra five pounds to be given at the completion of the term for good conduct. This latter, Capt. Taylor received, for he served his time faithfully and well. His first voyage was to Montreal, and over six weeks was then taken to cross the ocean. After serving his apprenticeship Capt. Taylor continued to serve with the same owners. After two years before the mast he became second mate, and in another year he was appointed first officer, being then twenty-one years old. His first command was the England, on which he remained for two years. He made many voyages to Baltic seaports, and was three times to St. Petersburg.

When twenty-two years old Capt. Taylor came to Canada to settle. He landed in June 1832, at Kingston, on what was known as McGuire's wharf next to Richardson's property. He came as a perfect stranger, knowing nobody, and nobody knowing him. But he was of the right calibre, and success attended him. He shipped on Hon. John Hamilton's steamboat, called the Queenston, as a wheelsman. In three months he had become second officer, and shortly afterwards he assumed command. In 1833 he went on the Willie Fourth as second mate, which position he held for two years. The following two years he spent as chief officer on the steamboat Cobourg. Then he left the steamboat business, and sailed a schooner of Hooker & Henderson, of Prescott, for four years, trading on Lake Erie. His next charge was with Macpherson & Crane, Kingston, large forwarders and vessel owners. Capt. Taylor sailed four of their vessels for fifteen years.

After that he went into business for himself. The first vessel in which he had an interest was the Shamrock, but this was lost on Lake Erie in the third year he sailed her, but all hands were saved. After this Capt. Taylor bought a one third interest in the Governor, built at Portsmouth. Later he owned the vessel himself, and sold it. Following this he built three vessels, Mary Taylor, Annie Minnes, and Annie Falconer, the latter two still being in the grain and coal trade about Kingston. At one time Capt. Taylor owned the schooner Queen of the Lakes, now the property of Capt. Staley, Barrie Street. Capt. Taylor also sailed the barque Superior.

In 1860 he gave up sailing and sold all his vessels, as they were not paying at the time. He was then appointed inspector of the Inland Lloyds insurance company, with headquarters at Toronto. This position Capt. Taylor held for sixteen years, and resigned, much against the desires of the company. His son succeeded him as inspector, and continued as such until his death in December, 1898. Thus Capt. Taylor retired in 1876 to private life, after having been in the marine business for fifty-three years. In his long career as a mariner, Capt. Taylor was never shipwrecked at sea. He has been driven ashore, but was never in great danger.

Capt. Taylor is in good health, and is quite active, being around the city every day. His memory is simply wonderful, and he can recall with rapidity event after event which happened in his boyhood days. He maintains great interest in marine matters, and in the events of the day. Capt. Taylor was rather backward about saying anything about himself for public print, but on being pressed, gave a reporter an interesting account on his life, an outline of which has been given.


The American life saving stations on Lake Ontario were opened today.

Capt. Savage, of the schooner Annie Minnes, is refitting and repainting that vessel.

The steamers C.H. Merritt and Alexandria are still undergoing repairs at Picton.

The steamer Elphinmere will leave tomorrow morning for Cleveland to load grain.

The steamer New Island Wanderer is in the government dry dock receiving repairs.

Capt. Flynn and Alexander Carr, Picton, have purchased the schooner Granger, of Amherst Island.

The schooner Eliza Fisher, Picton, is being pumped out, repainted, and supplied with a new main boom.

The schooner Kate is being brushed up and painted, and otherwise fitted up, ready for the season. She wintered at Picton.

Capt. Hicks is fitting up the steamer Varuna at Picton. The popular craft will be on the Trenton-Picton course as in former seasons.

The steamers Empire State and Badger State which ran from Cleveland to Ogdensburg last season will this season ply between Buffalo and Menominee.

The tug Mary P. Hall left Ogdensburg yesterday for Kingston to tow the barges Thrush, Lapwing and Hiawatha to Charlotte to load coal for Ogdensburg.

The steamer Reliance arrived at Oswego Wednesday from Deseronto with a load of lumber. It was her first trip this season and the crew report a good voyage.

The sloop Monitor has been purchased by Messrs. Eccles and Grantham, Picton, and will trade around bay ports. She is being thoroughly overhauled for the season.

On Monday the steamships Rosemount and Bannockburn and the steamer Glengarry, with their consorts, will clear from the M.T. company wharf for Toledo to load corn.

The steambarge Aberdeen, with consorts Rob Roy and Delaware, are about ready, and as soon as the canals are open will carry coal between Oswego and Montreal.

The Rideau canal opens on Wednesday next. A number of improvements have been made, new buoys having been placed. A new bridge at Maria street, Ottawa, is nearly completed, the old one being condemned.

p.3 Point Traverse Tales - William Ashley and son, Edwin, left on Monday for Main Ducks, where they will fish this coming summer.

p.5 News of the District - The Picton people are trying to re-establish the ferry between Adolphustown and Glenora. At one time it was one of the most important on the Bay of Quinte.

p.6 Incidents of the Day - Capt. E. Booth left yesterday for Toronto to assist in fitting out the steamer Toronto, of which he is first mate.

The steamer Hero arrived from Belleville this afternoon at two o'clock, having made a successful trip up the bay yesterday. A number of passengers arrived down. The Hero left again at three o'clock this afternoon.

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20 Apr 1900
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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), 20 Apr 1900