The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 12 Aug 1908

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p.1 The old steambarge Resolute, which sank on November 23rd, 1906, off the western channel, Toronto, has made its reappearance under a new name, that of J. Rolph.



Rochester, N.Y., Aug. 12th - In a collision at 10:30 o'clock, last night, between the steamer Titania and the steamer Kingston, the Titania was sunk at the entrance to Charlotte harbor.

It is said that forty-two tickets were sold on the Titania, indicating that that number of passengers were aboard. It is not yet possible to ascertain how many lives were lost, if any.

The Kingston is 400 feet long and one of the largest boats on Lake Ontario. The Titania is a small boat plying from Sea Breeze, a suburban resort of Rochester, to Charlotte, another suburban resort of Rochester, on the lake front. Both are side wheelers.

The Titania and the Kingston were both coming into the mouth of the Genesee river trying to make their docks when the collision occurred. The Titania hit the Kingston on the port side, near the wheel. The Titania's bow was stove in and the vessel sank in less than a minute in twenty-five feet of water.

Numerous small craft put out to the aid of the passengers struggling in the water and the crew of the Kingston threw life preservers. There were a number of thrilling rescues.

Patrick Thorp, captain of the Titania, says there were only fifteen passengers on the boat and a crew of four. It would, therefore, seem that all the passengers were rescued.

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And Is Now In Port of Chaumont.

The schooner Acacia, which went on rocks off Bull Rock Point some two miles from Sacket's Harbor, in a fierce gale several weeks ago, was, says the Watertown, N.Y., Standard, after a series of mishaps towed to Chaumont, where she became the property of the People's Milling company, of that village.

The Acacia was loaded with 370 tons of coal. A few days after she foundered, an arrangement was made with the owner of the steambarge McDonald, of Kingston, to take the coal off the wrecked vessel. While this was being done the barge took fire and was badly burned, so much so that she was taken to Chaumont and repairs, which will necessitate several months' delay, commenced.

An effort was made by the People's Milling company to float the boat, but without success. A diver was secured, but he was unable to find any hole in the boat. The conclusion was reached that the leak must be in the bottom and several steam pumps were put at work. The Little Mac, owned by the same company, was sent to assist and she had a breakdown and now lies at Sacket's Harbor. The barge Parsons was, Saturday night, pressed into service, and last night drew the Acacia to Chaumont. The company believes that in her they have an excellent boat for their grain, coal and hay business.

Doing Good Work.

The steamer Wahcondah is still aground at Farran's Point, but it is expected that the vessel will be released by tonight. The barges Dorchester and Grantham are being used to lighter the steamer, and the Donnelly company is doing good work. The steamer Donnelly arrived at the scene at three o'clock on Monday afternoon, and in an hour's time work had been commenced.

Marine Notes.

The steamer Missisquoi had on board a record crowd, on its trip here from river ports yesterday.

The schooner Mary Ann Lydon is at Garden Island, shipping a new spar. She will clear for Charlotte, to load coal for Booth's.

The steambarge Mary Louise cleared for Morton, with a general cargo.

The steamer Stormount, loaded with grain from Fort William, will arrive late tonight at the M.T. company's elevator.

The schooner Bertha Kalkins will clear today for Oswego.

The government dredge Sir Richard and tug Trudeau have been given a coat of paint.

The government steamer Scout was at the city wharf on Tuesday night.

Swift's: steamer Aletha, from bay ports; steamer Caspian, down and up today; steamer Dundurn, down today.

The Lysander Chartered - The magnificent houseboat Lysander, owned by Capt. Capion, of Clayton, N.Y., has been chartered, together with the yacht Imogene, to the Gillespies, of Basswood Isle. Aboard the houseboat is a party of engineers, who will enjoy an outing at Collins Bay. The houseboat is valued in the thousands. It is equipped with electricity and gas, has steam heat, hot and cold water in every room, and in every respect rivals a modern hotel.



Titania Was Warned But Did Not Heed.

Rochester, N.Y., Aug. 12th - Capt. Thorpe, of the Titania, was the first man on board the Kingston. When the bow of his vessel crashed under the Kingston's guard he quietly stepped off his own deck and boarded the big steamer through the midship gangway.

The engineer of the Titania stuck to his post, and sank with his ship, but was subsequently rescued.

"Either Capt. Thorpe lost his head or his steering gear went wrong," said Capt. Esford of the steamer Kingston. " It was my watch and I was on the bridge. When I saw the course he was taking, I shouted to him, but he paid no attention. The next moment the crash came."

"Were the lighthouse lamps burning."

"Oh, yes. Besides, it was bright moonlight. He could not have failed to see us."

"Wasn't the Titania running at a high rate of speed for a boat entering the harbor?"

"Yes, but being a small craft she can stop quickly. Before she was used as a ferry she was a private launch. That accounts for her speed."

Kingston at Toronto.

Toronto, Aug. 12th - The steamer Kingston, run into by the United States ferry steamer Titania, at the entrance of Genesee river, last night, the result being the sinking of the Titania, arrived in port, this morning, about an hour late. She brought about 200 passengers, most of whom were on the boat when the collision took place. Capt. Esford blames the accident entirely on the Titania.

Capt. Esford was on the bridge at the time and when he saw the course the Titania was taking he shouted to Capt. Thorpe, but the latter paid no attention and the next moment they collided.

There were twenty-two persons on board at the time, all of whom were saved.

F. Patterson, Toronto, a passenger on the Kingston, was an eye witness of the accident. "I was standing on the deck," said Mr. Patterson, "when the Titania swept around the eastern lighthouse. She was running at a great rate of speed and shot across the channel toward us. Captain Esford shouted, but they struck us the next moment with a shock that made even the Kingston shiver. About ten feet of the Titania's bow split away, and she rolled over and sank.

"I never saw any craft sink as quickly." said one of the crew. "She did not fill and go under gradually. She sank like a stone. The passengers on our boat, who were not eye witnesses, hardly knew that anything had happened."

Evidently this was not the case with a number of the passengers asleep in their berths. Two ladies, sleeping in top berths, on the port side, were thrown out headlong, and sustained severe bruises from contact with the lower berths and floor. Beyond a severe shaking up, however, their injuries were not serious, and they were able to complete their trip without medical attendance.

"Was there any excuse for the accident?" Capt. Esford was asked.

"None whatever," he replied.

"The entrance to Charlotte is 100 feet wide. On each side of the channel is a lighthouse."

"Is there plenty of room for two ships to run abreast?"

"Yes. The Kingston and Toronto have passed each other there without any difficulty."

It is probable that the majority of the passengers on board the Titania were tourists or campers who, according to Capt. Esford, numbered twenty-two. All are believed to have been rescued, although it is quite probable that some of those on board the unfortunate craft were drowned and sank before the arrival of the rescuing boats.

At the time of the collision the harbor was dotted with launches and sail boats, which were quickly on the scene and did splendid service in pulling the drowning passengers out of the water. Their assistance, allied to that afforded by the Kingston, and later by the life-boats, accounts for the remarkably small list of injuries and the absence of casualties.

Early this morning, as the Kingston left Charlotte, the upper rigging and part of the hull of the Titania were visible above the surface of the water. Beyond a few scratches, which hardly penetrated beneath the paint, and a bent paddle, the Kingston is uninjured.

One of the most sensational rescues of the whole accident was that made by William Losie, baggageman. When the smash came the upper deck of the Titania was on a level with the baggage room window and a woman, seated on the smaller steamer's deck, was thrown towards the Kingston.

Mr. Loosie (sic) happened to be in his office, and so close were the boats together that by leaning out of his window he was able to seize the frightened woman. With more energy than gentleness he hauled her bodily in the window. The woman immediately began to cry for a friend with whom she had been seated when the collision occurred.

May Be One Missing - Rochester, Aug. 12th - The wife of Capt. Roscoe, of the Algoma, is missing and it is feared she is a victim of the collision last night, between the steamers Titania and Kingston. It is said the Titania's steering gear was defective at the time she crashed into the Kingston.

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12 Aug 1908
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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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), 12 Aug 1908