The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 4 Jan 1906

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p.1 Can Build Part In England - Montreal, Jan. 4th - C.J. Smith, general manager of the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation company, has returned from England. The company intend before long building a sister ship to the new steamer Montreal, as well as a freight and passenger boat for the Montreal-Toronto-Hamilton line. He is now of the opinion that at least the hull, engines, and boilers can be built in England and the upper works added at Sorel.

New Boat Promised - St. Catharines, Jan. 4th - It is announced that President Frederic Nicholls, of the Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway and Navigation company, will place another steamer on the route between Toronto and Port Dalhousie in 1907. It will be built by the Canadian Shipbuilding company.



Capt. Scott Has Retired From Service.

After an active life of fifty-three seasons on the lakes and rivers, Capt. John H. Scott, of this city, has retired from the propeller Persia, of which he has been in charge for many years. Capt. Scott went sailing when but thirteen years of age, and for the past thirty-eight years, has been a master mariner. His initial experience as a sailor was two years on a full-rigged brig, Janis, under Captain Hudson, an ex-Royal Navy lieutenant. In 1854 the captain was cabin boy on a Mississippi river boat. For several seasons he passed through several vessels in advancing positions until he obtained the captaincy of the schooner Hannah Butler, then as master of the steamers Colonist, St. Lawrence, London, Scotia, and Persia, successively.

Capt. Scott has during his career on the water, had many thrilling experiences in furious gales, on storm-tossed waters, in which boats and many lives were lost. When on the propeller Banshee in 1861, she foundered in a gale, off the False Ducks on Lake Ontario. He clung to a plank for twelve hours during the night, when after much hardship he was rescued. When, on November 27th, 1869, he was in command of the steamer Colonist, which was lost during a blinding snow storm on Lake Huron, he and his crew were adrift at the mercy of the waves for fourteen hours. Again in 1880, in the fierce storm on Lake Ontario, when the Norway of Garden Island, the Zealand of Hamilton, and other craft foundered, his boat, the steamer Scotia, weathered the awful gale. In the fall of 1881, in the hurricane which swept the upper lakes, when the Columbia with her entire crew were lost, Captain Scott with his steamer reached port in safety. The high seas which swept the boat extinguished the fires, and before she could be saved, the captain had to jettison ? barrels of pork. The cargo of 9,000 bushels of wheat was damaged. When the boat arrived in South Manitou Island, there was three feet of water in her, which had melted two tiers of caustic soda. William Hazlett, now of R.M.C., was chief engineer, and he jokingly remarked: "I hope the government won't fine us for poisoning the fishes."

For twenty-four years Captain Scott was consulting master for the late Captain James Norris, a once prominent ship-owner of St. Catharines. Captain Scott is one of the best known of the lake captains, and liked in every port for his genial disposition. When the next summer rolls around and he is not on deck when the Persia comes into her ports of call, his jolly, typical mariner, face will be missed.

Abandoning Barges.

Relative to the abandonment of tow barges on the St. Lawrence river, Secretary Howard of the George Hall Coal company, Ogdensburg, N.Y., states that within a few years the passing of tow barges on the river will be complete.

A quarter of a century ago, when the forwarding business of the Hall company was established, a good percentage of the inland lake commerce was carried by what was known as the "canal schooner," a sailing vessel built to fit the locks in the old Welland canal, with a carrying capacity of about 600 gross tons, while the St. Lawrence river trade was handled by river barges, loading to their small capacity of nine feet draught of water, the depths over the sills in the locks of the old St. Lawrence river canals.

With the enlargement of the Welland canal came the 2,000 ton steamers, and they soon drove the old canallers out of business by lowering the freight rates so that a 600 ton "wind boat" could not make expenses. The "wind boats" were gradually dismantled and used for tow barges, and many of them their glory departed, found their way to the St. Lawrence river, there to end their existence as coal and lumber carriers in shore trade.

Since the St. Lawrence canals have been enlarged to the depth and capacity of the Welland, permitting the passage of fourteen-foot draught vessels through to tide water without breaking bulk, steamers are superseding tow barges in the St. Lawrence river trade and the picturesque fleets of coal barges are rapidly passing from the scene of action.


A meeting of Masters' and Mates' Association was held last evening in their new quarters, over Wade's drug store, King street. A large number of mariners were present. The following officers were elected:

Master - Capt. James Martin.

First Officer - Capt. John Doyle.

Purser - Capt. O.J. Dix.

Shore Secretary - Capt. G.H. Hunter.

Pilot - Capt. John Cherry.

Watchman - Capt. Walter Collins.

Lookout - Capt. John Corkey.

Auditors - Capt. A. McDonald and Capt. Charles Martin.

The association is in a flourishing condition.

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4 Jan 1906
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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), 4 Jan 1906