The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 24 Aug 1908

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Two Big Freighters Were Badly Damaged.

Cleveland, Aug. 24th - So far this season four small vessels have passed out of existence, but not a single freighter of any size has been lost. The lake underwriters have been lucky in that respect, as the boats that were total losses carried very little insurance.

The underwriters, however, have been called upon to pay some pretty big repair bills. The steamer H.P. McIntosh, which was sunk in the St. Clair river by the steamer M.A. Hanna on July 4th, was out of commission about five weeks, and repairs on her will cost between $40,000 and $50,000. It took about ten days to make repairs on the Hanna.

The insurance people were hit pretty hard when the new steamer D.D. Meacham stranded on Passage Island, Lake Superior, on her first trip. The big freighter is in the superior dock of the American Shipbuilding company, and repairs on her will not be completed until the middle of next week.



The steamer Simla and barge Ceylon cleared for Toledo.

The schooner Clara is at Richardsons' loading feldspar.

The steamer India will go into the government dry-dock.

The tug Colonel By arrived from Ottawa, with two blue barges

The schooner Oliver Mowat is at Davis' drydock undergoing repairs.

The steamer City of New York cleared from Richardsons' for Montreal with a cargo of grain.

The steamer Fairmont will pass on her way from Montreal to Fort William.

The schooner Mary Ann Lydon arrived from Charlotte with coal for Robert Crawford.

The steambarge Westport, from Rideau canal ports, is unloading a cargo of bricks at R.M.C.

The schooner Charlie Marshall arrived at the Kingston & Pembroke railway wharf from Charlotte with coal.

Swift's: steamer Caspian, down and up, Sunday; steamer Aletha, down the river, Sunday; steamer Aletha, from bay points, today; schooner Keewatin, from Sodus, with coal.

When Swift's dock was crowded to overflowing, yesterday afternoon, one of the fenders on a big vessel came down with a crash, and several people had a very narrow escape. The weather was very rough and made it very difficult for boats to land.

The steamer Caspian did not arrive here from Charlotte until five o'clock Sunday afternoon, being detained across the lake on account of the heavy gale. Many excursionists were disappointed by her non-arrival in the morning. The Caspian did not make the river trip, but returned west shortly after her arrival here.

The steamer Argyle was sold to F.T. Hutchinson, Toronto. The steamer was built in Picton in 1873 for Mr. Hepburn, and from that time up to the season of 1907 sailed the upper part of Lake Ontario. In her early life she was known as the Empress of India. For several seasons she was in commission along the north shore between Toronto and Port Hope. It is expected that the new owner will place her on this route next season.


The Late Capt. Thomas Donnelly.

After an illness extending over a year and a half, Thomas Donnelly passed to rest at six o'clock this morning, at his residence, University avenue.

For the last year no hope was held out for his recovery. The ablest physicians and surgeons on the continent were consulted and last winter Capt. Donnelly submitted to an operation at Baltimore, but this was not performed as the physician deemed it useless. So a few months ago the great marine expert was brought home to die. He faced the end bravely, but clung to life with persistence, for he had wonderful vitality. During the past week he became steadily weaker, and at length the exhausted frame found rest. His death has caused great sorrow in a large international circle of marine and other friends, among whom he was greatly esteemed. Capt. Donnelly's illness was caused by his slipping in the Kingston curling rink three years ago and falling on a curling stone. The injury developed a fatal internal disease.

The late Thomas Donnelly was born on Garden Island, Dec. 27th, 1856. ? He was a son of the late Capt. John Donnelly, veteran wreck master. He received his education at the public school, Garden Island, and at the Kingston Collegiate Institute. At an early age he commenced sailing, for the firm of Calvin & Breck and at the age of twenty-one years he took command of the schooner Prussia, which had just been launched. He was also captain of the schooner Grantham and the steamer Hastings, and the wrecking tug Conqueror. He sailed two winters on the Atlantic ocean and studied in White's Navigation school at Bristol, Eng. He received a British master's certificate.

In 1885 he became inspector of hulls and later examiner of masters and mates for the Dominion government, which positions he filled for many years. Later he was chief inspector for Inland Lloyds and Bureau Veritas, and helped to organize and was the first superintendent of the Canadian Lake & Ocean Navigation Co.

Upon the formation of the Donnelly Salvage & Wrecking Co. he became its secretary and, associated with his father and brother, John Donnelly, performed a number of wrecking jobs which brought them fame, such as the releasing of the steamer Rosedale from Charity Shoals, raising the steamer Eugene Zimmerman sunk in the Soo river and releasing the steamers William Nottingham and H.W. Smith from the beach at Buffalo last year, this being the largest wrecking job ever accomplished on the great lakes.

Capt. Donnelly was a member of the Dominion Marine association since its formation and a member of the executive board, where his advice on marine matters was much appreciated and as marine surveyor he was recognized to be one of the best on the American continent and the best posted man on marine matters in Canada. By the Dominion government marine department at Ottawa he was recognized as an authority, and several years ago was appointed to lecture to the masters and mates of the province during the winter months. There is no doubt that in the death of Capt. Donnelly Canada has lost its greatest marine expert.

As a member of the city council, representing Victoria ward from 1896-1901, Capt. Donnelly gave excellent service to the people. In 1901 he contested for the mayoralty against Ald. R.E. Kent, but was defeated by the narrow margin of seventeen votes in probably the most strenuous mayoralty contest ever waged in Kingston. Had he been elected he would have made an admirable mayor.

For some years he was a member of the Board of Education, serving as recently as two years ago, when his health failed. As a speaker he was forceful and earnest, and expressed himself with great clearness and decision.

Several lodges claimed him as an active member, namely Ancient St. John's A.F. and A.M., No. 3; Kingston, Frontenac and Cataraqui Royal Arch Chapter, No. 1; Hugh de Pavens Preceptory, No. 1, Knights Templar; Kingston No. 59, Independent Order of Oddfellows, of which he was a past grand and veteran; the Royal Arcanum and the ?. He was also a member of the Frontenac club, of Kingston, and was attached to the London branch of commercial travellers. He was a governor of the Kingston general hospital, a member of St. Andrews Presbyterian church, and a member of the Kingston curling club. In politics he was a conservative. He was also a valuable member of the board of directors of the Oddfellows relief association.

He was married in 1880 to Miss Etta Hickey, of Garden Island, who predeceased him. His second wife was Miss Florence Chapman, of Kingston. He leaves, besides his wife, to mourn his loss, Harold Donnelly, cadet at the Royal Military College, and Miss Ruby, Master Hibbert and Playfair, at home. He is also survived by his brother, John Donnelly, his faithful partner in the wrecking and salvage business. The two brothers were ever together and worked side by side for years, so that the death of the senior member of the firm is keenly felt by the younger.

Other brothers and sisters surviving are: Sandford, of Toronto; Luther, of Cobalt; Foster, of Kingston; Mrs. E.A. Booth and Mrs. Charles McCormack, Kingston.

The late Thomas Donnely was an untiring worker, and never idle. He had travelled the continent in the pursuit of his business, and was known, also, in British marine circles. In recent years, when he devoted much of his time to the duties of marine advisor, he had long distances to travel, one day being in Montreal and the next having to answer a call as far west as Detroit on an important matter. His advice was sought in all quarters. Three years ago his firm lost heavily by failure of another concern. Many businessmen would have been completely crushed, but before the season of navigation had ended he and his brother, by several great marine wrecking successes had far more than covered the amount of their loss, and were again on easy street. As marine wreckers the deceased and his brother had success for years, and enjoyed the confidence and the patronage of marine companies in the two countries.

The flags on the city buildings and on vessels all along the harbor front are flying at half mast out of respect for the memory of the deceased.

The funeral will take place from the family residence on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock.

p.5 Death of David Leslie - born in Ireland, lived on River street, 66, survived by wife, 5 sons and two daughters; brother of Wm. Leslie (sic - Lesslie ?), marine engineer, employed by Donnelly Wrecking Co.

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24 Aug 1908
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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), 24 Aug 1908