The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 12 Mar 1903

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Capt. Craig Tells of Steamer Burned.

T.J. Craig, a former captain for the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation company, who has seen one of his ships burn, spoke to a Syracuse, N.Y., Herald representative in an interesting manner of fires of St. Lawrence river craft, relative to the last and most disastrous of these conflagrations, the burning of the Montreal Saturday night, at her dock at Montreal. Capt. Craig said:

Those superstitiously inclined to remark ill-fated names will note with emphasis the burning of the R. & O. steamer at Montreal on Saturday. The steamer Montreal (No. 1), Capt. Dreyeau, was burned to the water's edge at Cape Roque, 9 miles west of Quebec city in 1866, and nearly 200 people were either burned or drowned.

The steamer Montreal (No. 2), Capt. St. Louis, built of iron in 1868, was named Beaupre in anticipation of placing her on the Montreal-St. Anne de Beaupre route carrying pilgrims together with the steamer Three Rivers to the famous shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre. Her place on the Montreal-Quebec route was to have been taken by the steamer Montreal (No. 3), and it is more than likely that the Montreal (No. 2) will continue to ply on the route between Montreal and Quebec till such time as another steamer is built to take her place.

The other loss which the R. & O. company sustained by fire are:

Steamer Bavarian, Capt. Carmichael, burned off Whitby on Lake Ontario in 1873. The captain died from exposure, his body was found floating in mid-lake, supported by a life-belt the next day, the following day. Chief Engineer Funican and three passengers were burned to death.

The steamer Corinthian, Capt. T.J. Craig, of Kingston, burned in 1892, while shooting the Coteau Rapids, St. Lawrence river. The steamer was beached at the foot of the rapids and passengers, crew and baggage safely landed. The passengers were driven in farmers' rigs such as the famous caleche, Go-by-golly and lumber waggons with hay rack, the whole forming a picturesque and amusing procession, to St. Dominic, the nearest Grand Trunk railway station. The flyer and express trains closely following each other were stopped and all passengers loaded and landed in Montreal on steamboat schedule time none the worse for the mishap excepting a very slight shock at the first alarm of fire. The captain and other officers and crew lost everything excepting the steamer's papers and the clothing they stood in.

In connection with the loss of the Corinthian, Captain Craig told this incident: "There had been a newly married couple on board, who persisted in asking every little while if there was any danger of anything happening on the trip. It was necessary to reassure them every little while. They were from England. On the morning of this day they were on deck early with the others enjoying to the utmost the beautiful scenery of the St. Lawrence and the Thousand Islands. Capt. Edward Ouellette, the chief pilot in the rapids, was on board, and I felt safe in informing the pair that there was no likelihood of a mishap, but at 4 p.m. fire was discovered in the crank pit and the flames shot high above the walking beam. Fire appliances were in operation and the flames held in check till the steamer was beached and the passengers were safely landed, except the bridal couple, who undertook to leap from the promenade deck to the shore. They miscalculated the distance and fell in three feet of water, but were rescued by an inhabitant who was attracted to the scene. The efforts of the crew to save the burning steamer were now redoubled, but the flames had gained too much headway. The crew was continually breaking through the fire-eaten deck and fearing a loss of life the steamer was abandoned and she was quickly consumed.

At dinner that night at the St. Lawrence Hall, Montreal, I congratulated the young couple on their narrow escape and they were surprised to think that I remembered them in the midst of so many other passengers. But I seemed to think that perhaps they had a presentiment of something to happen, and could not forget their persistent questioning."


Fleet Appointments

The following fleet appointments for the season were announced yesterday at the office of the Ogdensburg Coal and Towing company:

Steamer Avon - Captain George Clifford.

Tug Seymour - Captain P.J. McGrath.

Tug Myra - Captain James Martin.

Barge H.B. - Captain Narcisse Lalonde.

Barge James Buckly - Captain Alfred Lalonde.

Barge Ireland - Captain Louise Souve.

Barge Aide - Captain Narcisse Gamblin.

Barge Menominee - Captain A. Demers.

Barge Witbeck - Captain Justin Malette Sr.

Barge Isaac Stephenson - Captain Justin Malette Jr.

Barge Fred Carney - Captain Timothy Hunt.

Barge Hoboken - Captain O.C. Wilcox.

Barge Argo - Captain John Murphy.

p.8 Contract Awarded - Breck & Halliday have secured the contract for placing an electric lighting plant, dynamo engine, switch board and searchlight in the M.T. company's steamer Rosemount. They will begin the work at once.

May Build New Steamer - Messrs. Wilson and Fraser, two government engineers, Ottawa, are in the city looking over repairs being made to the government steamer Scout, and also negotiating with R. Davis & Sons, ship-builders, for the construction of a new yacht, seventy-five feet long, with a guaranteed speed of 18 miles an hour. The yacht is wanted for the purpose of buoy inspection between Kingston and Montreal.

Davis & Son have over sixty men now employed. The firm is making repairs to the steamers Clinton, Scout, Advance, and other craft lying in the harbor.

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12 Mar 1903
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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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), 12 Mar 1903