The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 28 Aug 1903

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And A Young Man Lost His Life.

The steamer Erin, which went ashore at Farran's Point last week and was released by the Donnelly Wrecking company, after receiving temporary repairs, started up the river with her barge. Yesterday, however, she met with another mishap, going on a shoal near the Sisters, five miles below Alexandria Bay, Part of her cargo of railway iron is being placed aboard her escort. The Donnelly company will again release the unfortunate steamer, which will likely enter the government dry dock here for repairs.

It seems that in connection with the accident Robert McKay, a deckhand, lost his life. Capt. Conlon gives this story of the affair.

"All went well until the Sister Lighthouse was reached. This has been the site of many river accidents, on account of the proximity of a dangerous shoal to the regular steamboat channel, which has been for a number of years past buoyed by one of the American government's gas buoys. The buoy for some unaccountable reason or other was not lit. The Donnelly, which was towing us, cleared the shoal all right, but the Erin bumped into it running up about two and a half feet. As soon as it was discovered what had happened the captain gave orders to the crew to at once release the lines at the stern connecting with the Danforth so that the latter might clear the Erin and thus not force her onto the shoal any further. Young McKay with two other deck hands were thus engaged arranging to let the line go, the former being up on a ladder. The Danforth was fastly moving up towards the Erin and the two latter seeing a collision was imminent got away. Either misjudging the distance of the Danforth away from the Erin or else thinking he would be safe young McKay held his position. When the collision came he was thrown violently from the ladder to the deck. The Danforth tore off the upper bulworks of the Erin and pushed her further onto the shoal. This was the only damage done to the boat. As soon as possible McKay was picked up and taken to the cabin. It was at once found he was severely injured, but being so far away from medical attendance it could not be gotten at once and he expired shortly afterwards."

The deceased was a Scottish immigrant about twenty-one years of age, who came to this country about a month ago. He obtained employment as deckhand on the Erin at Kingston a week later as the boat was about to start for Montreal. An unposted letter, dated Kingston Mills, signed Robert McKay and addressed to his cousin, Allan C. McKay, Little Rideau, Ont., was found in his pockets. The latter has been communicated with and the undertaker at Brockville is awaiting a reply as to what disposition shall be made of the body.

Marine Intelligence.

Craig's wharf: steamer Alexandria up this evening.

The government's lately acquired gasoline launch, Viator, has left for Port Colborne.

Richardsons' elevator: steamer Orion, from Fort William, with 30,000 bushels of wheat.

The S.S. Rosemount is now on her way to Fort William with a cargo of coal. There she will load wheat for Kingston.

Swift's wharf: steamers Kingston and North King down; Rideau Queen to and Rideau King from Smith's Falls; Hamilton from Hamilton.

M.T. company wharf: S.S. Fairmount and consorts cleared for Chicago; tug Hall up with three light barges and cleared down with three, grain-laden.

The fine sailing yacht Cinderella, of Oswego, with F. Haunch and party, of Syracuse, N.Y., aboard, was in the harbor today bound for the Thousand Islands.

A steamyacht race will take place at Alexandria Bay tomorrow afternoon between the three fastest yachts on the river - the Stroller, belonging to Gilbert T. Rafferty, of Pittsburg, Pa., the Jean, belonging to T.A. Gillespie, of Pittsburg, Pa., and the Now Then, belonging to Commodore Lewis Luckenbach, of Brooklyn. The course will be to Dark Island and return, a distance of twenty miles.

p.5 Incidents of the Day - The steamer Erin and consort Danforth have arrived from down the river, and are at the government dry dock for repairs.

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28 Aug 1903
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Geographic Coverage:
  • 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), 28 Aug 1903