The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 22 Apr 1902

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p.2 To Beautify the Wharf - Folger's wharf will be made bright and attractive this summer. The warehouse will be painted, and a new pavilion, twice the size of the present covering, erected at the wharf entrance. This pavilion will contain long seats. Flower beds will also be made alongside. The Folgers will make a good start in beautifying the harbor portion of the city.


Crawford's wharf: schooner Acacia cleared for Oswego.

Soward's wharf: schooner Fleetwing cleared for Oswego.

Rathbun's Grove Inn wharf: schooner Eliza White cleared for Oswego.

The steamyacht Alert, of Cape Vincent, is in Davis' dry dock for repairs.

Folgers deny that they purpose inaugurating a line from Toronto to Montreal.

The Calvin company's steamer Bothnia leaves next Monday for upper lake ports.

Richardsons' elevator: schooner Jamieson arrived from Whitby with 10,000 bushels of barley; steambarge Chub, from Wellington with barley.

The steamer Ellen, of Rockport, has commenced Saturday trips to Brockville, which she will continue until the steamer Victoria comes out, about June 1st.

The steamer Monteagle, of Ogdensburg, N.Y., waiting here for the past few weeks for entrance to the government dry dock, could stay no longer, and cleared across the lake.

Architect Smith is preparing plans of the salon of the steamer America, with a view to the purchase of new carpets. The company will also recover the seats with plush, supply new chairs, and otherwise make the appartments of the popular steamer first class in every respect.



[Oswego, N.Y., Palladium]

Fifty-one years ago, April 21st, 1851, occurred one of the most disastrous accidents that has been recorded in connection with the shipping in Oswego harbor. As the Canadian sidewheel steamer Comet was swung away from the dock at the foot of West Seneca street, her boiler exploded, and thirteen people lost their lives. Eight were killed outright and five died of their injuries.

Those who were killed were Royal Davis, first engineer; James Carroll, second engineer; Thomas Begans, fireman; John O'Connor, James Church, waiters. The missing were John Dewere, deckhand; C. Hennessey, carpenter; and the colored cook.

James Frier, waiter, and Daniel McGuire, cook's mate, were among the injured, and with three others, whose names are not in the list, subsequently died.

Bronson Babcock, at that time a boy, stood on the lower bridge and was an eye-witness to the accident. The Comet had laid at the dock with bow pointing up the river. A stern line had been made fast to a spile on the dock by which she was turning. She had succeeded in getting about one-quarter of the way around when the explosion occurred. There was a cloud of steam and smoke, the hull drifted around until the bow pointed about due north and then settled upon the bottom.

The injured were horribly scalded and as soon as they could be reached were brought ashore and taken to the old Frontier house, which stood where the Hermann lumber company's plant is now located, fronting on Seneca street. One poor fellow had lost all of the skin on his body excepting a little patch on the tip of his chin. The burns were all covered with flour to exclude the air and everything that medical aid could suggest was done to relieve their sufferings.

Samuel R. Beardsley was mayor of the city on that occasion and the following communications was received from the mayor, Francis M. Hill, and common council of the city of Kingston, returning thanks for the kindness shown by the people of Oswego:

City Clerk's Office,

Kingston, Ont.,

April 29th, 1851.

Sir, - I have the honor to enclose to you a resolution passed unanimously at a meeting of the common council of this city held yesterday. I have the honor to be, sir, Your obedient servant, M. Flanagan, city clerk.

To his honor, the mayor of Oswego:

"Resolved, that the thanks of the mayor, aldermen, and commonalty of the city of Kingston be given to the authorities and citizens of Oswego, N.Y., for the prompt and generous assistance rendered by them to the captain of the steamboat Comet, of the port of Kingston, on the occasion of the dreadful accident which destroyed the vessel in the harbor of Oswego on the 21st inst., and for their kind and humane attention to the survivors of the disaster, their exertions in recovering the bodies of the dead from the water, and for the praiseworthy facilities afforded by them for conveying the remains of the unfortunate men who lost their lives by the melancholy event, with every becoming decency and respect to their families and friends in Kingston." A true copy - M. Flanagan, city clerk.

City clerk Flanagan was for over half a century clerk of the city of Kingston and died only a few years ago. The Comet was raised from the bottom of the river by George Weeks, taken to Kingston and rebuilt, the name changed and for many years thereafter did service as a passenger steamer. The accident was attributed to defective boilers.

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22 Apr 1902
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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), 22 Apr 1902