The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 22 Sep 1908

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The steambarge Navajo is loading corn at Richardsons' for Quebec.

None of the M.T. Co.'s tugs were able to leave today, and the steamer Alexandria, due at Folger's last night, was held at Bath over night.

The steamer Toronto did not go down among the islands to Prescott today, but tied up until five o'clock this afternoon when she cleared for Charlotte.

The fog and smoke has been the worst ever experienced. This is the third trip the steamer America has had to cancel, something hitherto unknown with the company.

The large freight steamer Beaverton was at Swift's wharf on Monday on her way up the lakes. She cleared about noon and it is not known how far she got up before the fog enveloped her.

As a result of the heavy fog, the steamer America did not come over from the Cape last night. The fog is said to be even worse than the smoke of a few days ago, and nearly all the boats are again laid up.

Swift's: The steamer Belleville from Montreal arrived at Swift's on Monday evening, two days late, and is still tied up there on account of the fog. The steamer Toronto arrived at eight o'clock this morning, about three hours late, and intended waiting until the fog lifted. Capt. Booth handled his boat in fine style, and the way he brought the boat into the wharf in the dense fog was a surprise to the people gathered on the wharf, as they did not think any steamer would dare try to land.



Some Fridays That Were Not Jonah Days.

The superstition that is usually attached to a Friday is supposed to be especially strong in sailors and all others who go down to the sea in ships. That Friday is not always an unlucky day is vouched, is vouched for in the following narrative, which is founded upon entries made in the log book of Capt. Scott, of Kingston, one of the best known captains on the lakes. He commanded the steamer Persia during all of her career, but retired to private life a couple of years ago.

The fatality that is generally attached to a Friday was exemplified in the case of the steamer Colonist. After having been on the marine railway at Portsmouth, she was launched at ten o'clock in the forenoon of Friday, April 16th, 1869. On the following Friday she left for Chicago at three o'clock in the afternoon. In the fall of the same season at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 20th she was driven by heavy weather over a bar at Manotowoc, on the west shore of Lake Michigan. The pounding she received in crossing the bar detached a blade from her propeller. A steam pipe burst and was the cause of the death of Charles McEwen, Kingston. She was repaired at once and continued on her voyage.

The next Friday was another fatal day for her. At half past two on the morning of November 27th she sprang a leak when twenty miles northwest of the bight off Hammond's bay, on the west shore of Lake Huron. There was a heavy snow storm at the time and the wind was from the south by southwest. In forty minutes from the time the leak was discovered the fires were extinguished by the water. The life-boats were lowered and the crew got in them. The captain being the last to leave the sinking craft, stepped from the deck into his boat. The small boats were about fifty feet away from the vessel when she disappeared and went down in one hundred and thirty five fathoms of water. The leak was in the stern pipe, which no doubt was caused by the pounding she received in crossing the bar. The crew, after having been in the life boats thirteen hours, were finally picked up by the wrecking steamer Clematis. Some of the crew had their fingers and toes frost bitten. This account is taken from her log book, and is certified by Mr. Barnes, of this city, who was her chief engineer. The peculiar point is that all her misfortunes, both small and great, happened on Friday.

The propellor St. Lawrence, however, had a very different career. She, too, was launched on a Friday, from the Kingston marine railway, at half past ten on the 15th day of April, 1870. Her first voyage was to Toledo, leaving Kingston at 6 a.m. on the following Friday. George Barnes was her chief engineer also. Joseph Hiscock, fruit merchant, a young man at that time, was purser. She had good luck all season and her owners, the present G.E. Jacques & Co., of Montreal, were particularly fortunate.

In the spring of 1876 the late Mr. Norris, of St. Catharines, had the Scotia and four other vessels laid up at Port Maitland, on the north shore of Lake Erie, and the whole fleet left for Duluth on a Friday. The propeller Scotia was one of the boats in this fleet, and was commanded by Capt. Scott. The boats had a particularly successful career that season. This shows that the Jonah day did not affect them.

The maiden trip of the steamer Persia was made on a Friday also, during September 1873. She started from St. Catharines for Chicago, and since then she has been marked by a regular series of successful seasons and has been phenomenally fortunate.

Capt. Scott, of this city, was in command of the three above named steamers at the time.

Another very striking coincidence occurred relative to Capt. John Gaskin, late manager of the Montreal Transportation company at Kingston, and Capt. Scott. In 1861 they were both shipwrecked pursers, through the foundering of their respective steamers on Lake Ontario, and a few years afterwards they commanded steamers trading between Montreal and Chicago, and, very singularly, both vessels went from under them on the upper lakes in heavy weather through springing a leak.


Ought To Be Censured.

[Belleville Ontario]

We have excellent authority for saying that Mr. Porter, by driving the government dredge away from Belleville, prevented the spending of $10,000 or more among the business men of this city for supplies, and delayed the completion of our harbor works. That is one part of the price which Belleville had to pay for having a "hard-shell" tory representative in the house of commons.

p.5 Sailor Injured - St. Catharines, Sept. 21st - Mate John Houston, of the steamer India, met with a serious accident at lock fifteen Welland canal, early this morning. He was standing on the top of the fender as the steamer entered the lock when the fender struck against the wall, Houston being thrown into the water between the side of the lock and the vessel. Help was rendered and Dr. Herod summoned from Thorold. Houston was badly bruised about the head but after the wounds were dressed he continued up the canal on the steamer, but will be laid up for a few days.


Late Marine Notes.

The schooner Keewatin cleared for Oswego this afternoon.

The steamer America came over from Cape Vincent this forenoon.

The steambarge John Randall is at Richardsons' loading wheat for Washburn.

The steamer Alexandria arrived at Folger's this forenoon, on her way to Montreal.

The steamer Rosemount, grain laden from Fort William, and the steamer Wahcondah, from Duluth, arrived at the M.T. Co.'s elevator at noon. The captains report the fog very heavy. Both vessels were anchored a few miles out, the most part of the night. The steamer Wahcondah took on a pilot here and then cleared for Montreal.

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22 Sep 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), 22 Sep 1908