The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 10 Jul 1905

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p.1 Capt. Wilson's Leg Broken - Cornwall, July 10th - While mooring his vessel to the bank of the Cornwall Canal, just above Lock 18, on Saturday night, Capt. H.F. Wilson, of the schooner Boyvr ?, had his leg caught in a loop of rope against a snubbing post. The leg was broken in two places, and had to be amputated below the knee at the Cornwall General Hospital, where the wounded man was at once removed.




Capt. William Simmons of this city, who showed the jingoes of Charlotte, N.Y., that Canadians will not allow the Union Jack to be insulted or lower it because of threats, is an Irishman by birth, his native place being the County Wexford, Ireland. When he was eight years old he came with his parents to Canada, and lived for some years with them on a farm in Kingston township. When a young man he took to the water, and for the past thirty-three years has been a mariner, plying the great lakes on nearly as many vessels.

He was first on the schooner Jane, sailing out of Kingston. Then he spent a season on the Despatch, of Oswego, which was commanded by Capt. Frederick Jollitt, of Wolfe Island. Next, he sailed with Capt. James Matheson on the Hamilton barque Molther. Other Canadian boats on which he sailed were the Jane C. Woodruff, with Capt. Thomas Flett, of Hamilton, and the Laura Calvin, of which Capt. Jollitt was in command.

After that he served aboard a number of United States vessels. The first of these was the Dashing Wave of Ogdensburg, commanded by Capt. Griffin. The next were the schooner Mary Collins and the schooner Alfred Allen (Oswego). He rose to be second mate of the Jane Woodruff and later first mate of the Orkney Lass, which plied between Chicago and Kingston. After being mate of the Advance, of Chicago, and mate of the schooner Skylark, of Chicago, for three years, Capt. Simmons came back to Canada, and was mate with Capt. Jollitt on the schooner Bismarck. Then he became mate with Capt. Joseph Dix on the schooner White Oak. Following that he became master of the three-masted schooner W.I. Taylor, on which he sailed for six seasons, for William Lesslie of Kingston. His next periods of service were on the schooner Manzanilla and the schooner Singapore, the latter then owned by A. Gunn, and which was lost last fall. For the three following seasons, he sailed on the barge Ceylon, for the Calvin company, and later on the steambarge Jack for the same company.

After that Capt. Simmons bought the schooner Annie Falconer from Capt. Thomas Taylor. He sailed her one season and sold her, buying the steambarge Owen, of Chatham, which he had for three years. Three years ago he purchased the schooner Acacia whose value is now doubled since July 4th, when her decks were kept clear of a threatening crowd which desired to trample under their feet the flag that for a thousand years has braved the battle and the breeze, but who feared the cold lead with which Capt. Simmons declared he would riddle them.

Capt. Simmons has had very few accidents in his long career as a mariner. About twelve years ago, during a fog on Lake Huron, the Calvin company's steambarge, which he commanded, had a collision with a vessel. The latter was sunk and two lives lost. Capt. Simmons' boat was saved, and also its cargo. Another accident he had was when he sailed the schooner W.I. Taylor, twenty-three years ago. It ran ashore on Manitoulin Island in Lake Michigan (sic). The cargo was lost, but the boat was got off the beach.

Three years ago the steambarge Owen, which belonged to him, was lost between Long Point and the Ducks. Its smokestack rolled out, carrying away the steam pipe. The vessel became a total loss.

Speaking of the flag incident Capt. Simmons says it was an ignorant element which caused the trouble. The better class of people in Charlotte would never stoop to such a thing. He would not think so much of the affair, were it not that the collector of customs made himself so offensive. He should have known better. The likelihood is that Mr. Bump will be dismissed from the office he holds, as the United States government would not for a moment excuse his conduct when Capt. Simmons' flag was hoisted as a compliment.

Several years ago, Capt. Simmons says he sailed into Oswego on the steambarge Owen with two British flags flying on July 4th, and the people on the pier cheered this vessel as it came in. He had no United States flag flying either. What reasonable objection could be taken to the Union Jack flying alone he cannot understand. On July 1st, Dominion Day, a United States schooner, commanded by Capt. Shaw was in Kingston harbor, and flew two U.S. flags, and yet no one here thought of protesting at the compliment. United States yachts land at Kingston wharves every day and nearly all of them fly only the Stars and Stripes.

The Union Jack which Capt. Simmons defended, will be a most valuable relic to hand down to his sons. The Board of Education should crave the loan of it to exhibit in the schools as an object lesson to the rising generation.

Today the protest papers, which are to be forwarded to the minister of marine, were prepared by Hon. Mr. Harty, M.P., who will look after Capt. Simmons' interest.

Yesterday the schooner Acacia was still in port, and from her masthead the flag which was so nobly defended floated proudly in view of hundreds of people who stopped to gaze at Capt. Simmons' ship and the British colors with which the light breeze played gracefully.

Story A Fake, Says Roth.

When the attention of Collector of Customs George F. Roth was called to the report that Captain William Simmons was ordered to lower the British flag, on entering Charlotte harbor on July 4th, the collector said:

"The report is a big fake. When the Acacia entered Charlotte the men around the docks regarded the attitude of the boat in flying the British flag as an insult and they began to make a fuss. Deputy Collector Duane C. Bump informed the captain of their views and told him there was apt to be trouble, whereupon the captain decided he had better lower the flag. This is the whole story. There was no demands made at all and Capt. Simmons pulled down the flag quite readily when the situation was explained to him. The whole trouble probably lies with the morning newspapers trying to make a sensational story out of the matter." [Rochester Post-Express]

Was Within His Rights.

Stupidity and tactlessness, both in large quantities, seem to have been very fairly shared by the Canadian schooner captain, who made a provocotive display of the Union Jack in the harbor of Charlotte on the fourth and by the deputy collector at that port who compelled the captain to lower his flag by refusing to give him clearance papers unless he did it within ten minutes. Strictly speaking, the trouble-hunting Canadian was well within his legal rights in flying the flag he did, and the deputy collector certainly went far beyond his in forcing its sequestration, but after the landsman is brought to book by his official superiors, as we hope he will be, promptly and sternly, the sailor will still be in need of a lesson in manners from anybody on his side of Lake Ontario who is competent to give it. If the captain's own flag had been a part of a courteous decoration of the schooner, we cannot believe that even a deputy collector at Charlotte, or even a deputy collector at Charlotte wearing as this one does the rude name of "Bump," would have made any objection to it. But the captain did not decorate - he only made assertion of Britannicity on the one day when such assertion is most likely to enrage the loafers on a water front. And he had his deserved reward. It's a miserable, squalid little incident, humiliating to Canada and the United States alike. [New York Times]

Bump And The Papers.

Toronto World: Mr. Bump's conduct was no doubt highly improper, but what could be expected from an individual with a name like that?

Ottawa Citizen: If Collector Chump - excuse us, Bump - had not sense enough to recognize an act of international courtesy, the easiest way out of the difficulty was the best.


On All the Passenger Steamers Afloat.

The presence of J.R. Moulther and Robert Chestnut, United States steamship inspectors on the river, has served to emphasize the precautions on all steamboats to protect the lives of passenger and crew. In accordance with the provisions made by the department all passenger boats of the Thousand Island Steamboat company and other lines will have a fire drill at least once a week in the presence of competent inspectors. The crew will be given instruction in manning the fire pumps, unlashing and swinging the lifeboats and handling all apparatus designed for protective purposes. The record of these drills is entered in the log boat and reported by the master monthly to local inspectors. At Clayton the crew of the steamer St. Lawrence gave an exhibition fire drill. A stream of water was played on the deck in twenty seconds.

Must Stay Off The Wharf.

The public will hereafter be prohibited from going on Swift's wharf on Sunday afternoons for sight-seeing. For years, the wharf has always been crowded when the big steamers land on Sunday afternoons, and it has been difficult to land the passengers and take on coal and supplies. There was also danger to the people from carriages and delivery waggons. Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Swift had two policemen stationed at the entrance to the wharf at the foot of Johnston street and they kept the crowd from getting down to the boats. The new rule is a good one, but would be better carried into effect by the erection of gates.

Movements of Vessels.

The schooner Metzner, from Oswego, is unloading coal at Portsmouth.

The schooner Luff is at the Penitentiary wharf with coal from Charlotte.

Crawford's wharf: Schooners Tradewind and New Dominion from Oswego with coal. Craig: Propellers Cuba, down, tonight; Melbourne, down, last night; Persia, this morning.

Swift's: Steamers Caspian, from Charlotte yesterday; Toronto, down yesterday; Rideau Queen, for Ottawa, this morning; Kingston, down; schooner Youell cleared for Charlotte.

On Saturday, the United States steamyachts Castenet and Idler, carrying passengers here from Thousand Island points, were held up for Canadian inspection. The customs will be stricter hereafter, but the officials allow the Yankee boats to fly all the stars and stripes they wish, and will not ask that any be hauled down.


Marine Tidings.

This morning a gasoline yacht from Clayton carrying passengers here was held up by the customs for inspection. It was found, however, that the vessel was under the inspecton tonnage required by United States law, and in view of the reciprocity arrangement, is allowed privileges in Canadian waters not accorded Canada's own small gasoline yachts.

The steamyacht Alean, owned by G.A. Davis of New York, was in port today, en route for the Bay of Quinte, where she will cruise for three weeks. It was built by the Davis' Dry Dock company, of Kingston, some years ago, and will likely winter here hereafter, instead of at Clayton as formerly.

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10 Jul 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), 10 Jul 1905