The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 23 Jun 1900

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p.1 The steamer King Ben, Oswego, coal-laden, for James Mallen, arrived in port this morning.



That of the White Squadron Now Reviewed.

Kingston, June 21st - (To the Editor) - In your paper of July 8th last year, a contributor, under the above leading heading, furnished your readers with a lengthy account of the various steamboat lines on the St. Lawrence, Rideau, and Ottawa rivers, Lake Ontario, and Bay of Quinte routes, which did business, directly and indirectly, with this city, from 1845 down to that time, as well as many other interesting reminiscences associated with the leading features of Kingston in the past, which consisted chiefly of the military, the marine and the shipbuilding industries, covering the greater part of that period, with all which I entirely coincide, for I know them to be facts correctly detailed. There was one feature of the article, however, which appeared to me to be lacking to make it complete, and that was the absence from it of any mention of the part which the Folger Bros. firm for the past thirty years, had had with the local steamboat service of this port. What the Gildersleeves have been and still are, to the Bay of Quinte, for the past forty or fifty years, the Folgers have been to the port of Kingston and the adjacent waters, in the way of excursion and ferry work, as far down as Alexandria Bay, Brockville and Ogdensburg. Both firms have been indispensible to our pleasure, comfort, and convenience, and both, in their respective arenas, have done their work well in their catering to the requirements of our citizens needing the use of their boats in these waters for pleasure, convenience and business purposes, and their well equipped steamers have been available at all times for excursions, picnicking and ferry purposes, and when public and private parties failed elsewhere to secure steamers for their requirements, the Folgers could nearly always be depended upon for a suitable boat, at a minutes notice, to supply their wants. That being the case, they should not be overlooked by our citizens when they require the use of a well-equipped steamer, furnishing all the necessary comforts and conveniences desirable, instead of forgetting them, as has sometimes occurred, when a new adventurer occassionally comes on the scene, for a short time only and who has had no permanent interest in our welfare, being here to-day and away tomorrow, prompted rather with the design in fact of injuring our old reliable firms through prejudice and jealousy of them, than anything else. Several attempts have been started to kill them off, but, as in the case of the Gildersleeves on the Bay of Quinte, without avail. Our citizens and the denizens of the adjacent islands should, therefore, give them a steadfast and constant support in their peculiar ferry and excursion avocations, which they have performed so well ever since the time when they took over the steamers from G.M. Kinghorn, which was then almost solely a ferry business to Garden and Wolfe Islands and to Cape Vincent. Compare the number and character of their steamers of that period with those of the present day, and who can but admit that the company have done wonders in making the large additions they have to their present fine fleet of magnificent steamers now plying on the river in the 1000 Island trade during the greater portion of the period mentioned, which have always given general satisfaction, because of their neatness, completeness, tidiness and comfort, their rates having been so reasonable as to be within the reach of all to take an airing among the picturesque scenery of the beautiful St. Lawrence river at our very doors, with an almost total immunity from accident, it can be truthfully averred, owing to the care and caution exercised by the whole corps of employees on the different boats of this line, from the masters down. These being facts which cannot be gainsayed, let our pleasure-seeking citizens not forget then when a stranger, and an untried, but ephemeral competitor, appears on the scene occasionally. Worth should be recognized favors never forgotten as they are usually a fair forcast of even better things to come. The Folgers, too, it should not be forgotten, give an immense amount of work and trade to our citizens in connection with their various boats, and the many other enterprises they are engaged in, which should prove a guarantee of our patronage to them in return.

"Competition is the life of trade," is an axiom of long standing, and is true wherever there is room for competition and it be essential. But in the case of the Bay of Quinte and the Thousand Island services, these features are not present, as those who have so long filled the bill in these sections of our waters, and given such steady and universal satisfaction, are still engaged in the business, which is a sure guarantee that no further aid is required to do work sufficient, only for those now doing it so well. Therefore, to divide up a business which is by no means too formidable for those now engaged in it, merely for the sake of opposition, instead of giving "life" to trade would be more apt to prove fatal at first by producing decline and finally possible and probable death.

To present and to establish the facts herein set forth, and also to point out those who are really entitled to our abiding patronage and support, is my sole reason for writing this letter, for I contend that the Folgers and all other men of like enterprise, should be encouraged, aided and supported in all their undertakings; and it were well for us to cling to those we have tried and found worthy of our continued confidence, than to incautiously and spasmodically "fly to the help of those we know naught of," as some odd people sometimes do.

At the opening of the general business this season, a few days ago, all the steamers of this fleet had had a complete overhauling, renovating and improvement, making them more neat, natty, attractive and comfortable than ever before, which means a great deal. The owners of this line never do things by halves, which is very well known.

In order, therefore, that all concerned may have equal justice done them, I request you to allow this instalment to appear as a supplement to the article on a similar subject which was published in your columns last July. FACTS.


Capt. William H. Oliver Killed at Charlotte, N.Y.

The sad intelligence was received on Friday afternoon of the death at Charlotte, N.Y., of Capt. William H. Oliver, of the schooner Burton. His death was accidental, but no particulars were given. Deceased was a son of Capt. John Oliver, owner of the schooner Eliza White, and sailed between Kingston and Charlotte. On Friday morning at ten o'clock, Capt. Crawford received a telegram from Capt. Oliver, stating that he was about ready to sail for Kingston with a cargo of coal. In the afternoon another telegram was received, stating that he was dead. Deceased was about thirty years of age and resided with his parents at the corner of King and lower Gordon streets. The remains will likely arrive on the steamer Toronto on Sunday morning. The flag on the schooner White is flying at half-mast.

Later - It is learned that Capt. W.H. Oliver was killed at the coal shutes. He had run in his schooner, the Burton, for a load of coal, and while on the chutes watching the process of loading, a train of coal laden cars was run out. There was not sufficient space between the cars and the railing against which Capt. Oliver was leaning for a body to pass, so he was crushed to death. As he was leaning over the railing looking at the schooner below, he did not notice the approach of the cars. The deceased was aged only about twenty-five years, a steady, industrious young man. This spring he received his papers qualifying him as a captain. His first command was the schooner Burton. He was credited with being one of the best posted young sailors sailing out of this port.

p.5 Incidents of the Day - The schooner Laura D., from bay ports, unloaded grain at Richardsons' elevator today.



The tug Maggie May cleared for Ottawa

The tug Thomson cleared light for Montreal.

The schooner Joseph McBride, from Trenton, is unloading birchwood at Booth's wharf.

The S.S. Bannockburn and consorts from Fort William will arrive at the M.T. company's elevator tonight.

The steamer Myles, from Goderich with 40,000 bushels of wheat, will arrive at Richardson's elevator on Sunday.

The steamer John Milne arrived from Smith's Falls last evening, having in tow the new steambarge built by Mr. Foster for the coal trade. The steambarge was taken to the Kingston foundry wharf to have its boiler and machinery put in.

The steamer Jessie Bain has been chartered by the dominion government from the Thousand Island steamboat company, to be used for a survey of the St. Lawrence river between Kingston and Prescott. Extensive repairs are being made to the steamer which will be completed in ten days time.

The steamer Columbian did not reach the city till after midnight on her return trip from Oswego. From Nine Mile Point to the city she was obliged to run very slowly and to keep her whistle constantly blowing, owing to the heavy fog that hung over the water. The citizens who patronized the trip much regretted the condition of the weather that prevailed at Oswego. Beginning at eleven o'clock, it rained nearly all day. Many people stayed on board the boat.

The Yacht Club Races - sailing instructions listed for this afternoon's races.

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23 Jun 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), 23 Jun 1900