The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 5 Dec 1903

Full Text

p.2 Incidents of the Day - The steambarge Kenirving is wintering in the lock at Brewer's Mills.

The steambarge John Milne will be placed on the Kingston Foundry marine railway for the winter. Extensive improvements are to be made to her hull and machinery.

There is a call for better protection for mariners. There is nothing between Toronto and Kingston, that a ship drawing over ten feet of water can get into, except Brighton Bay, and it is comparatively safe for eleven foot vessels.

p.5 Incidents of the Day - The government buoy steamer Scout is in port.

Goderich Items - ...The steamer Neebing, (Indian for summer), which lay outside the harbor on Friday, November 27th, came in on Saturday, with a cargo of grain, and anchored at the elevator, where she unloaded on Monday. She left port on December 2nd for Collingwood, where she will lie at anchor. The Kilterhouse came in on Saturday with a cargo of coal for Holmes coal depot, and will winter here....The fishing tugs Evelyn and Minnie Clark, which were at Lake Erie the past few weeks, arrived safe and sound in port on December 1st. The Azoo ? (Captain John McDonald, Goderich), which left harbor a few weeks ago, with lumber from Johnston's harbor and from the Goderich saw mill, arrived safely at Blondy's Dock, Chatham. On leaving that port to load with coal at Toledo, for Holmes, Goderich, the weather changing, the Azoo had to turn back, and now lies frozen up in the river at Chatham. Capt. McDonald stripped the Azoo and returned home.

p.6 Capt. Cadotte is now in charge of the schooner Queen of the Lakes, which is loading grain at Richardsons' elevator.



Loss of Emerald Recalls Previous Disasters.

[Toronto Mail & Empire]

The loss of the schooner Emerald with all hands has served to recall to the memory of mariners, vessel owners, and others interested in lake shipment, some of the many similar disasters of which Lake Ontario has been the scene. Whenever two or three old lake sailors have been gathered together during the past week, the talk has turned naturally from the sad fate of the Emerald, and its brave master and crew to other disasters, which have come to the notice of the narrators, either from the lips of others or through their own personal experience.

Lake sailors have a theory of their own that the waters of the various lakes possess a distinct individuality, which they ascribe to the variance in depth of these big bodies of water. They say that a vessel passing from one lake to another will, without any changes whatever in the cargo, be found to ride fully one inch higher in the waters of Lake Ontario than on Lake Erie. Their explanation is that this is due to the increased density of the water of Lake Ontario, because of its greater depth. They say too, that although Lake Erie is much more unruly on account of its shallowness, its waves do not possess the same force as those of Lake Ontario, and if given their choice of lakes on which to weather a storm of a given violence, they would choose Lake Erie. They do not pretend to harmonize their views with the teachings of science, they only present them as their own personal belief.

The loss of the schooner Picton two years ago, with all hands, is still fresh in the memory of the public. It was a parallel to that of the Emerald in that the master and his son went down together. The Picton was at one time owned by Capt. McMaster, and he sailed her for over five years disposing of her when he bought the Emerald.

One of the most mysterious disasters in the history of Lake Ontario was that of the propeller Zealand, which sailed with a cargo of flour from Toronto for Montreal in the early part of November, 1880. A fierce gale raged on the lake after the vessel's departure, but no anxiety was felt for its safety until it was so long overdue that it became apparent that it had gone down. Its fate could only be conjectured, however, for not one of its crew of sixteen men came ashore, either alive or dead, and not a sliver of wreckage was found to indicate how or where the vessel had been sunk.

The same year, 1880, was one of the worst in the history of the great lakes, and mariners still speak of it in impressive tones as a proof that lake sailing, although less romantic, may be fully as dangerous an occupation as a life on the high seas. In 1880 the total loss of life on the lakes was 456, which was in excess of that of any previous season since 1860, the year of the Elgin horror.

In the same November gale which sent the Zealand to the bottom, the schooner Belle Sheridan went down near Kingston with Capt. James McSherry, his three sons and two other seamen, only one member of the crew being saved. The schooner Norway foundered in the same storm, all the crew of ten men being lost.

In April of 1880 the schooner Northman capsized 10 miles off Port Credit, and the captain and nine men all perished. In the following September the schooner Olive Branch foundered between the Main Ducks and the False Ducks, and Capt. Cook and his crew of five were lost.

The ill-fated name Emerald appears more than once in the marine chronicle of 1880. On January 26th William Brown, a seaman, was drowned off the schooner Emerald in Lake Ontario. In May the propeller Oswego Belle had its name changed to Emerald at Collingwood, and a month later one of its sailors, Patrick Elliot, fell from the mast and was killed.

Fifteen years ago the schooner Nellie Hunter went to the bottom on her second trip. She was bound with coal from Oswego to Toronto, and carried a crew of seven men, as well as two passengers. None of them were ever seen again.

p.10 Point Traverse Tales - Claude Cole was in the Bay last week with his new tug.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Publication:
5 Dec 1903
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), 5 Dec 1903