The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 26 Aug 1905

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p.1 WHO WAS IN THE WRONG? - enquiry into collision in Toronto harbor - Commander Spain will be in Toronto Tuesday to open an enquiry into the Turbinia - Mayflower collision.

p.2 The America's Trip - excursion to Ogdensburg, slight accident to one of steamer's wheels.


The Steamboats Have All Been Busy

In another week the excursion season by water will come to an end. It is a decidedly limited season, and steamboat companies have to make big earnings in a short time. This summer has been a far better one for travel than for some years, and the Kingston steamboat men are well satisfied. The coming week will probably be the heaviest of the season on the river.

According to Mr. Horsey, traffic manager of the Bay of Quinte and Lake Ontario Steamboat company, the travel on their boats has been the largest in some years. Last year and the year before, it was very good, but the present season eclipses either, both in the way of general travel and special excursions, of which there were more during the past six weeks than usual. The excursion travel out of Kingston stands about the same. If the Toronto fair was only a week later, Mr. Horsey says that it would be better for the boats, because they would get the usual heavy travel of the latter part of August and the traffic to the fair as well. The fair practically closes the excursion business when it comes to an end. For the next ten days, the steamers North King and Caspian will run from Charlotte to Toronto, and will have as much as they can attend to.

The Thousand Island Steamboat company has also enjoyed the best season in some years. The loss of the island ferry had been a benefit to it, as the steamer Pierrepont has been a bigger money-maker in other ways. The Kingston-Cape Vincent traffic, good at all seasons of navigation, has never been so large as it has this summer. Down the river, the company's boats have all been busy. The steamer America, the flagship of the "White Squadron," holds a splendid record for the season. She has been busy night and day for weeks past and has carried many charter excursions of a paying nature. The excursion travel on the Folger boats has been larger out of Kingston this summer than last.

The two steamers of the Rideau Lakes Navigation company have also had a splendid season, much better than that of 1904. The Rideau route has been so well advertised by the United States railroad companies that these steamers are kept busy during July and August, largely with tourists from all over the States. Parties of twenty and thirty often came long distances to take the Rideau trip. In order to increase the Kingston travel, Capt. Noonan this summer gave special rates to Jones' Falls and return, as a day's fine outing. Many have taken advantage of these trips.

Marine Notes.

The steamer Alexandria did not reach Craig's wharf till this morning, being delayed by fog on the river.

The steamer Hamilton arrived, this morning, twenty-five hours behind scheduled time. She was ten hours late on the up trip.

W.T. Brooker, Portland, has bought the steambarge Westport from Mayor Foster, of Smith's Falls. He will keep her busy on the Rideau.

Craig's wharf: schooner Acacia from Charlotte; propeller Lake Michigan up this morning; steamers Waterlily and Alexandria up this morning.

Swift's wharf: steamers Toronto down and up; Caspian from Charlotte; Hamilton down this morning; Rideau Queen from Ottawa tonight; Belleville up tonight.


The house boat La Duchesse, probably by long odds the finest craft of her kind seen hereabouts in a long time arrived in port yesterday afternoon and tied up at the K. & P. railway wharf. The house boat is surprisingly large and magnificently fitted out. It is towed by a large tug and accompanied by two beauties of steam launches, besides a fine assortment of skiffs. The outfit is the property of Mr. Holt, of New York, whose magnificent summer residence near Alexandria Bay is well known to Kingstonians. H.P. Belmont, of the United States metropolis, and noted for his connection with the street railway and subway systems of that city, has the vessels chartered at a cost of nearer, it is said, $1,000 than $500 a day outside regular running expenses. The party secured a number of fishing licenses and will enjoy the sport up the Rideau. The tug accompanying the house boat has too much draught to continue beyond Kingston.



For Running The Argyle At Full Speed.

In the city council chamber at 10:30 o'clock, Saturday morning, judgement was given in connection with the recent casualty to the steamer Argyle. In attendance were Commander Spain, who read the judgement, Capt. Thomas Donnelly, John Hazlett, manager of the Lake Ontario Navigation company, and press representatives. The judgement was as follows:

"In the matter of a formal investigation, held at Kingston, Ont., on Wednesday, 9th August, 1905, before Commander O.G.V. Spain, R.N., wreck commissioner, assisted byCapt. Thomas Donnelly, to enquire into the causes which led to the grounding of the British S.S. Argyle, off Corbett's Point, near Oshawa, Ont., on Saturday, 29th July.

The court having carefully enquired into the circumstances, attending the above mentioned shipping casualty, finds as follows:

That the S.S. Argyle, of the port of Picton, Ont., left Toronto at 8:20 a.m., on Saturday, 29th July, bound for Oshawa, Ont., with an excursion party of 150 passengers on board, belonging to the Toronto Carpet Company.

That the weather was foggy from the time the Argyle left the eastern gap, outside Toronto, until the time she struck.

The Argyle was commanded by Capt. William Manson, who holds a certificate of competency for the inland waters, issued in Toronto, in March 1885.

From the sworn evidence given during the enquiry by the inspector of hulls, the equipment in regard to life boats, and life saving apparatus generally, boats, etc., was sufficient and up-to-date.

The mate in his evidence testified that fire and boat drill had been carried on on board the ship, at least once a week. The steering gear on board the vessel was in good order, and no complaints were made about it.

The compasses on board the Argyle were not correct, and the captain had no correct idea of the deviation; and so far as the court was able to ascertain, the compasses had not been corrected for a very long time.

The court is of opinion that the accident to the Argyle was caused by gross carelessness on the part of the captain in running the vessel at full speed in a dense fog from the time of leaving the eastern gap, Toronto, until she ran ashore off Corbett's Point, near Oshawa. The lead was not used, and apparently the captain had no idea of the correct compass course. The course steered was the usual one and the reason for steering this course as given by captain was that he had always done so and the ship had gone clear, and he supposed she would go clear again.

Taking all these facts into consideration, the court suspends the certificate of competency for inland waters of Capt. William Manson for a period of twelve months, such suspension to date from the time of the accident, that is, 29th July, 1905.

The court also wishes to point out that it is to be hoped that the method of navigation pursued on board the S.S. Argyle is not usual on board passenger steamboats on the lakes, otherwise, there is no doubt that some appalling disaster must occur sooner or later."

A Suit For Libel.

One of the Toronto papers may have to stand a suit for libel in connection with the statements it made concerning the condition and equipment of the steamer Argyle, when the latter met with its recent accident. The marine court has found that the boat was thoroughly staunch and perfectly equipped. There is no more seaworthy boat on the lake than the Argyle, and the finding of the court gives great satisfaction to the friends of General Manager John Hazlett, of this city. Mr. Hazlett will likely have something to say now that his steamer has been given such a good name by the marine judges. The Argyle is completing the heaviest week of travel she has had this season.

All Shipyards Busy - Chicago, Aug. 26th - A half dozen steamboat lines figuring on building new passenger steamers for the service next year, have discovered within a day or two that lake shipbuilding is "cornered." One line that is especially anxious for a new ship has gone the rounds without finding a ship builder who is anxious for a contract. A marked advance in prices has resulted, and it is likely that several projects for new boats will have to go over for a year. Lake Michigan lines alone are figuring on new boats. Already there is serious delay in the delivery of material, and this is certain to become worse. Every steel plant in the country is far behind in its orders, and it is said to be impossible to get the boats already under contract out on time, even if the supply of workmen were as large as it should be.

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26 Aug 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), 26 Aug 1905