Jan. 22, 1902
Steamer Ericson Built In Brockville Many Years Ago.
Peter Reid, one of Cardinal's oldest and most respected citizens, has given the Tribune information bearing on the early history of navigation on the St. Lawrence that will add much to the interest that has been awakened in the public mind by the discussion, in these columns, of facts connected with old time propellers.
When Mr. Reid .....landed at Montreal in 1841, he got on board the Ericson, a steamboat of the present propeller type, and the first of its kind ever constructed in these waters.
This steamer plied between Montreal and Brockville, via the roundabout way of ascending the Ottawa river by Bytown, thence up the Rideau river to Kingston, and down the St. Lawrence. This route was made necessary because the St. Lawrence canals had not been then built. Mr. Reid's account of this boat's construction and operation is quite interesting. She was built at Brockville by Mr. Perkins for the forwarding firm of Sanderson & Murray. The engines were invented by Mr. Ericson, after whom the craft was named. This boat was no doubt launched and run very much in the way of an experiment. But the traffic she secured between Montreal and the upper St. Lawrence was so large and her financial success was so great, that Perkins was induced to construct a sister ship - the Propellor, which name, oddly enough, is used to indicate the type of vessels now so popularly known in the lake and river trade. Indeed, is it not quite natural to suppose that the name "propellor" used at first only in a limited and individual sense as the name of a particular vessel, became in time the common, collective name under which boats of her style of construction were classified? Mr. Reid tells the Tribune that the Ericson and Propellor ran for years up and down the river, and were such a success that many more were built on their model.
Although these two boats cannot be included in the list of propellors as published in the Tribune recently, because of their time being long before the limit of thirty years ago set by Mr. Leacy, yet to Mr. Reid must go the honor of having brought to present day notice the two first propellors ever constructed, the names of which, it is safe to say, very few men in these days remember.
The Tribune hopes to publish more of Mr. Reid's early recollections of old steamboat days along the St. Lawrence, as they would bear a close connection with the subject directly under discussion - old time propellors.