The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 12 Dec 1904

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Casualties During the Past Year.

Chicago, Dec. 12th - Sailing the great lakes during the season of navigation just closed has probably been the healthiest occupation in which men are engaged in earning a livelihood. The figures compiled up to the close of the season show that a smaller number of people who sailed the lakes were lost than for a quarter of a century past. The total number of dead was 49, compared with 66 in 1896, 88 in 1897, 95 in 1898, 100 in 1899, 110 in 1900, 122 in 1901, 140 in 1902, and 94 in 1903.

But two sailors lost their lives in what might be called shipwrecks. This is in striking contrast with the two preceding seasons, where a number of crews were lost by sinking of their vessels. One of the two lived until he got ashore, and died from exhaustion in the woods.

The larger item of losses was men falling overboard, eighteen being credited to that cause. All but two of these occurred in harbors. Eleven sailors fell into the hold of ships and were killed, and nine were killed by machinery, either aboard ship or on docks. One was burned, one committed suicide and two dropped dead from heart disease. The largest number lost at one time was four, who were drowned by the capsizing of a small boat in the St. Clair River.

Lake Erie again leads with the largest number of casualties, nineteen losses taking place on that lake. Eleven sailors were lost on Lake Superior, nine on Lake Michigan, seven on the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers, two on Lake Huron and one on Lake Ontario.

The small number of the season's dead is ascribed by vesselmen to two causes; one was that there were no great storms during the entire period of navigation. In fact, the season was remarkably free from dangerous gales; the other reason was the absence of fog to a remarkable degree, which tended to prevent disastrous collisions.

Not a passenger was lost or even reported as being hurt on any of the lakes, although millions were carried.


Marine Notes.

The steamer Westmount is laid up at Depot Harbor.

The steamer Simla is unloading her wheat cargo at Richardson's elevator which was too full last week to admit of taking in any more.

The steamer Rosemount reached the Soo lock Sunday afternoon, and will get to Goderich tomorrow morning. It was feared she would be too late to get through the ice.

p.5 Marine Intelligence - It was the Canadian steamer Fairmount, and not the Westmount, which stranded at the Dyke on Friday night.


Courtwright, Ont., Dec. 12th - The Canadian steamers Wacondah and Arabian have arrived with the first cargo of a 1,000 barrel flour shipment, and the J.H. Plummer is expected, shortly, with the remainder. The flour will be shipped over the Pere Marquette railway. This is taken to indicate that Pere Marquette is succeeding in diverting some of the great traffic of the lakes to the road. Courtright is expecting the erection of an elevator, with a capacity of 500,000 bushels of grain before long.

p.6 Incidents of the Day - The steamer Pierrepont will be much missed from the harbor this winter, as she would have been useful to the islanders in breaking through the ice in the bay. The steamer Fawcett is able at present only to reach Garden Island. Down near Coteau, the Pierrepont broke through nine inches of ice, and got within seven miles of the steamer Aberdeen. She will winter at Coteau. It is her first absence from Kingston in winter since she was built over forty years ago.

The steamer James of the Rutland Transit line, which plied between Ogdensburg and Chicago, burned at Ogdensburg, N.Y., on Saturday night. The fire started in the engine room and before it was discovered the after part of the vessel was enveloped in flames. The flames came close to the steamer Haskall and Langdon and Governor Smith of the Rutland line and the Danver. The Governor Smith and the Langdon caught fire. All the boats are frozen in and cannot be moved. The crews were ashore. The Rutland boats cost $90,000 each, and are not insured.

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12 Dec 1904
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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), 12 Dec 1904