The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 12 Jul 1900

Full Text




St. Henri, Que. July 12th - The steamer Spartan, after continuous and heroic exertions for over a week has been released from the rocks in Lachine Rapids by the wreckers of the Calvin company, Garden Island. It is no exaggeration to say that this is the most skilful wrecking feat ever accomplished on river St. Lawrence. No more dangerous place exists between Niagara and the sea, than the Lachine Rapids, and the stern of the Spartan rested in the most dangerous whirlpool known as the "Bouillon Blanc" or "White Swells" of the ever-dreaded Verdun channel with its countless rocks and snags reminding one of the fabled "Charybdis" and "Scylla" intensified many times.

The method of release may be summed up as follows: A strong life-line was first run from the bow of the Spartan to the long pier or dam above the water works. Then the veteran rapids man, Aime Guerin, who informed us he has been in Calvin's employ over thirty years, working in the rapids sawing timber, etc. with a boat, called a challoupe, about thirty feet long with flaring sides and manned by a picked crew of sturdy Indians, proceeded to coil large steel wires into the challoupe and when loaded each Indian grasped the life-line, and, with Aime in the bow, a turn of the painter was hitched around the life-line and by releasing the pressure little by little the seething current forced the challoupe with its freight towards the Spartan and the wires were placed on board under the superintendence of Capt. Gilbert Johnston, of the R. & O. navigation company.

After a sufficient number of wires were taken out in this manner, the other ends of the wires were run to the main shore, over the top of the dam, a distance of nearly half a mile, and there attached under the supervision of Capt. Tom Bryan to several powerful triple and quadruple purchase blocks with heavy chain purchases driven through them. Two light draft wrecking steamers, the Parthia and William Johnston, were then moored to giant anchors at the upper part of the dam on the inside of it, as no steamer could remain outside of it, and their powerful steam winches, designed expressly for wrecking purposes, were brought into action. Straining the wires to their utmost capacity, inch by inch, and foot by foot, the Spartan was dragged from the rocks and released.

The ladies say that during the whole period of working the countenance of Capt. Johnston preserved the stolidity of the red man in the challoupe, but the moment that the Spartan was released the reaction was complete and his countenance underwent a transformation and became as beaming as the rising sun.

p.2 To Have A Reliable Chart - The survey of the St. Lawrence river, between Kingston and Prescott, now in progress, is being carried out for the purpose of furnishing a reliable chart of these waters. The Canadian government has never had a survey made of this portion of the river. Mariners have hitherto had to depend upon an American chart which is not a reliable one, hence the desirability of furnishing one absolutely correct. The Canadian channel is being used more and more every day since the opening of the Soulanges canal, and the government is going to do everything possible to encourage traffic in these waters.


Cheap Travel On The St. Lawrence River.

The S.S. Rosedale cleared last night for Fort William.

A new electric light engine has arrived from Lachine for the steamer Rideau Queen.

The steamer Toronto remained in port last evening until after the heavy storm passed.

The schooner Annandale, from Gananoque, is awaiting entrance to Davis' dry dock.

The pleasure yacht Sport, from Sport Island, Thousand Islands, was in port to-day with a party of pleasure seekers.

Arrivals to-day at Swift's wharf: Steamers Corsican, from Toronto; Caspian, from Montreal; North King, from Charlotte.

Called at Craig's wharf this morning: Steamers Ocean, from Montreal; Argyle, from Charlotte; Arabian, from Montreal to Duluth.

The S.S. Rosemount and consorts, from Fort William, arrived at the M.T. elevator company this morning with 175,000 bushels of wheat.

The steamer Unique arrived at Swift's wharf at noon with her first excursion from river points to the city. These excursions will be run daily.

The lake and river traffic so far this season has been greater than last. The R. & O. navigation company steamers report larger business, both in tourists and freight.

The steamer Jessie Bain left to-day to begin survey work on the St. Lawrence. The first stop was made at the foot of Wolfe Island, where soundings are to be taken.

It is rumored that next Sunday afternoon 'Tom" McAuley's steam yacht and the Kickatorial Union's steam yacht Tekona will have a race in the harbor. There is a great rivalry between these two yachts.

A rate war between rival steamboat companies doing business among the Thousand Islands went into effect to-day. The company operating the steamer Unique lowered the rate from Thousand Island points to Kingston from fifty cents to twenty-five cents. The Folger Bros. went them one better, and cut the rate to fifteen cents. The new schedule went into effect to-day.

The crew of the steamer Pierrepont are indignant that the captain of the steamer America should claim that his boat can land at and leave a wharf quicker than any other steamer around here. The Pierrepont's crew challenges the America to prove its title to the honor, and will show the latter that the old gunboat can turn around three times while the America turns once.

p.3 Two Old Residents Gone - death of Benjamin Platt, 90, Adolphustown.

Allan Black has sold his famous yacht Kestrel, to Mr. Knopf, of Milton Island, a New Yorker, who summers near this city. The Kestrel was formerly a Hamilton boat, and under the old measurements was classed as a twenty-seven footer. Now she is in the thirty-foot class. Mr. Black will cruise this season in his yacht Hawk, and next year will likely have a speedy boat built.

A Record Trip - The steamer Arabian, Capt. Olivier Patenaude, has reached Montreal from Duluth. It passed through the Soulanges canal, drawing thirteen feet of water. The steamer's time from Montreal to Duluth and return, 15 days and 20 hours, is said to be the fastest on record for the trip.


Squall Strikes Kingston.

Damage To Vessels.

worst since storm of Sept. 13th, 1895

".... The schooner Ballou, owned by Capt. Smith, Belleville, which carries grain to Richardsons' elevator, was at anchor in South Bay when the storm arose. The little vessel was capsized in an instant, and its masts pointed downwards. The crew were not injured. Such an occurrence has not been known of by local mariners to have happened before in this vicinity, while a vessel was at anchor. This morning the schooner Burton went up to right the Ballou. The schooners Acacia and Burton had left for Oswego, but were driven back into Kingston harbor under bare poles. Both threw their anchors. The Acacia had her bobstays carried away."

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Publication:
12 Jul 1900
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
Creative Commons licence:
pd [more details]
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

British Whig (Kingston, ON), 12 Jul 1900