The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 18 Jan 1906

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The Death of Charles H. Gildersleeve.


Sketch of His Life.

Charles Fuller Gildersleeve was of the sixth generation of Gildersleeves who have been engaged in the shipbuilding and steamboat business. On his mother's side he came of United Empire Loyalist stock. He was the son of the late Henry Gildersleeve who came to Kingston in 1816 to assist in building the Frontenac, the first steamboat launched on Lake Ontario by his wife, Sarah Finkle.

In Kingston on October 17th, 1833, C.F. Gildersleeve was born. He was educated at the Upper Canada College. He studied for and was called to the bar in 1859, but on his brother's death in 1864, he gave up the legal profession to take the management of the steamboat business in which his father and brother had been engaged since 1817.

In his marine career, Mr. Gildersleeve built and owned the steamers Corinthian, Norseman, Maud, Welshman, and North King. He also owned the steamers Empress, Bay of Quinte, Hastings, and Hero, the latter being the best known to this generation. The routes on which these boats were engaged were between Rochester, Port Hope, Bay of Quinte ports and Kingston.

In 1893 Mr. Gildersleeve formed the Lake Ontario & Bay of Quinte Steamboat company, which took over the steamers owned by him, he becoming first manager of the company.

In March 1894, Mr. Gildersleeve was appointed general manager of the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co., which had its headquarters at Montreal, and which controls the through passenger traffic by water between Toronto, Montreal, Quebec and the Saguenay river. In this position, he showed his marine genius. For eight years, prior to his appointment, that company's business had yielded no dividends to its shareholders. The first year of his management yielded vastly improved results and ever since, the shareholders have received good dividends. Through his efforts the service was made one of the most efficient in the world. He advocated the construction of several large boats, and the result was the building of the Toronto, the Kingston and the Montreal, lake passenger steamers that cannot be excelled. After ten years' splendid service with the Richelieu & Ontario company, he retired, and returned to his old home, Kingston, where he since looked after the interests of the Bay of Quinte Navigation company, as president and general manager. The later position had been held by his son, H.H. Gildersleeve, who is now general manager of the Northern Navigation company, at Collingwood..... (followed by another full column of biography and tributes)

Will Be Of Immense Importance - Gilbert Johnston, mechanical superintendent, R. & O. Navigation company, Montreal, writes to the Whig that copies of that paper containing reports of Capain Thomas Donnelly's lectures before the Marine School have been sent to him by friends in Kingston, and have interested him very much.

"I am sure the lectures will be of immense benefit to the many mariners of Kingston as the subjects so far taken up are of great importance and have been materially dealt with by Captain Donnelly, who is one of the very few marine authorities in Canada.

I would like to make a collection of them, and believe that every mariner would find it profitable to do likewise."

p.3 The Last Ferry Trip - For the past fourteen years the last ferry trip has been made on the following dates: 1890, Dec. 29th; 1891-2, Jan. 17th; 1892, Dec. 27th; 1893-94, Jan. 1st; 1895, Jan. 10th; 1896, Jan. 4th; 1897, Jan. 13th; 1898, Jan. 8th; 1899, Jan. 9th; 1900, Jan. 23rd; 1901, January 18th; 1902, Jan. 7th; 1903, Jan. 9th; 1904, 1904, Dec. 29th. These dates are furnished by Ira A. Breck, whose diary goes back half a century.

p.4 Late Mr. Gildersleeve - a positive editorial on his life.

p.5 Personal Mention - Capt. William Daoust, Montreal, is in the city. She will be on the M.T. company's steamer Advance the coming season.

p.8 Incidents of the Day - The steamer New Island Wanderer went to Cape Vincent this afternoon, by way of the river. The ice has everywhere disappeared.

The flags on vessels all along the harbor front are flying at half-mast, out of respect to the memory of the late C.F. Gildersleeve.

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18 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), 18 Jan 1906