The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 18 Apr 1905

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The steamer New Island Wanderer succeeded in reaching Cape Vincent this morning.

Quite a lot of ice was blown down from the lake to the Wolfe Island shore during last night.

The steamer Jesse Spaulding was the first vessel chartered at Chicago this season to carry corn to Kingston at three cents.

Thirty years ago, today, steamers were plying between Kingston and Brockville.

This morning the tug Emerson went up the lake, followed by the steamer Advance, which the M.T. company is trying to get through to Oswego to load coal. The tug, it was thought, might be able to break a passage through the ice and get the steamer into the open water beyond. In case it did, the Emerson would come back for its own barges, and follow to Oswego.

p.3 Picton, April 17th - This morning the steamer Deseronto came in from Deseronto, and has now commenced her regular run. Officers: Captain, N. Palmateer; mate, W.B. Palmateer; engineer, S. Larue.....Navigation opened Saturday when in the morning the steamer Reindeer, in charge of her owner, Capt. Collier, left the harbor for Napanee. She had to return, having met a field of ice below the "ways." The high winds shifted the ice and in the afternoon she set out on her second trip, reaching her destination. Sunday afternoon the sloop Gull came in with lumber. She made the run from Deseronto in three hours. Tonight (Monday) the Lloyd S. Porter and tow barge Isabel Reid leave for Oswego for coal. Capt. Taylor, of Cobourg, will sail the W.G. Suffel.

Local Marine Tidings.

The steamer North King will leave Davis' dry dock tomorrow. She was never in a stauncher condition.

It was expected that the steamer Spartan would leave this afternoon or evening for Toronto, to complete repairs.

The steamer New Island Wanderer returned from Cape Vincent this afternoon, and left again for that port with fifty passengers.

Three of the Calvin fleet of steamers left Garden Island today. The steamer India left for Charlotte this morning for coal and the steambarges Simla and Burma left this afternoon for Toronto for timber.

The steamer Advance will likely reach Oswego by five o'clock this afternoon. The tug Emerson was successful in breaking a passage through the ice into the lake, and towing the Advance to open water. The Emerson arrived back at 1:30 this afternoon and will take a tow of barges across the lake tomorrow.

Messrs. James Swift & Co. have chartered the freight steamer Nile for the coming season. She will run weekly trips between Kingston and Ottawa, calling at all way ports on that route. Capt. E. Smith will be in charge of the steamer which will commence her trips immediately upon the opening of canal navigation.



And Others Were Badly Injured


At five minutes after three o'clock this afternoon a terrific explosion occurred, the report being so loud as to be heard for many miles around. People rushed from their houses and stores, and for some time were unable to determine the exact location of the explosion. Smoke was seen arising in the vicinity of the waterfront. Investigation proved that the explosion had been disastrous, resulting in the loss of several lives and the destruction of considerable property.

The details as far as can be gathered are these: The crew of the government tug Scout were engaged in loading on to to the tug, at the government dry dock, several gas buoys which were to be placed as signals in the river and lake. In some manner one of these buoys was exploded, the gas being at high pressure, shattered the steel buoy and killed or injured all those who were in its close vicinity. Fire followed the explosion and the tug and a portion of the wharf was soon ablaze.

Within a few minutes after the explosion, large crowds commenced to gather, fire alarms were rung in and medical aid and ambulances summoned to the scene of the fatality. Another gas buoy also loaded was situated near the burning tug and it was feared that another explosion would occur, consequently the crowds were kept back as much as possible.

One man. thought to belong to the crew of the Scout, was found near the scene of the accident in a dying condition. He was badly torn by the explosion and was also burned. It was reported that a small boy was also found and removed to a neighboring house.

All the windows in houses and factories in the close vicinity of the dry dock were smashed to atoms and the force of the explosion caused damage to property within a radius of several hundred yards.

The fire brigade arrived promptly and soon had streams of water playing on the fire.


Fred Mullen, Welland County, first mate of the Scout.


Capt. Allison, Morrisburg, so seriously injured that he may die.

Samuel Delaney, deckhand of the tug Reserve, not badly hurt.

Clifford Tesscer ?, Cornwall, blown into the water, but suffers only from shock.

The boy injured was William Winters, who was badly burned. The latter was on the wharf.

Some Details.

At four o'clock all that could be vouched for as dead was Frederic Mullen, who lived on Ontario street. He was blown into the air and struck near the side of the dry dock. One of the crew was just coming out of the hold when the explosion occurred and escaped with cut hands. A person standing in the dry dock yard was hurled to the ground by the force of the explosion.

Four of the injured were hurried to the general hospital, including a little boy, who was in the hold, and who climbed off the boat fully five minutes after the explosion. He had evidently been stunned. One of the men was very seriously wounded and was a terrible sight, the other three are less dangerously burned and cut. Doctors busied themselves in caring for the injured.

The unfortunate young man Mullen was blown completely off the boat to the quay, and was terribly mangled. Every vestige of clothing was torn from the body, which was hurled twenty feet or more. The head was blown from the body, being held in place by a fragment of skin only. The head was flattened and the face distorted beyond recognition. When the body fell it alighted face downward. The skin was blackened and burned, and the only portion of clothing was a small piece of the man's under garments sticking into the boots.

A piece of the iron tank, about two feet square, was blown 200 yards, and alighted near the Gore street entrance to the dry dock.

Two years ago the Scout was lengthened in Davis' dry dock, the work occupying about four months. Twenty feet was added to her. The work cost $20,000. The steamer was valued at about $30,000.

It is understood there were thirteen on the boat. Nine had been accounted for at four o'clock.

Every window in the south side of the Locomotive works machine shop, several hundred in number, was blown out, in some cases sash and frame being torn and twisted. Many windows in residences and stores along Ontario street were smashed, a large plate glass window in the Frontenac hotel and another in the Ontario bank also being broken.

It was said that two bodies remain in the ill-fated steamer, but this cannot be learned for a fact and will not be known until a search of the hull is made.

Not a particle of glass remains in the windows of the Cereal works or Kingston elevator.

There were about twenty physicians on the scene of the accident within a few minutes of its occurrence. They rendered every assistance possible in aiding the injured, relieving them temporarily and sending them off to the hospital with despatch.

The firemen were badly handicapped, having to fight the flames against a stiff breeze. The streams of water had little effect on the fire, and the flames shot high in the air. At one time the steamer was ablaze from stem to stern, and not a bit of the frame work could be seen from the shore.

The explosion was so acute that it blew in the glass window in Gowdy's butcher shop on Princess street. The glass in the doorway of the Shoe Shine was broken by the concussion.

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18 Apr 1905
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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), 18 Apr 1905