The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 22 Mar 1909

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p.2 Opening of Navigation - vessels being prepared for new season.

p.8 Incidents of the Day - The schooner Kitchen loaded ice at Port Hope for Fairport.

He Was Fortunate - On Monday morning J.B. Lappan, engineer of the steamer Frontenac at Garden Island, was working on the steamer Prince Rupert, fixing pipes when he slipped and fell down the aft hold, striking twenty feet below on blocks of ice. He was fortunate in escaping with a bruised hip and a sprained right wrist. He will be laid up for some days.

March 23, 1909


March 24, 1909



The Carriers Will Be Able To Do It.

Francis King, secretary of the Dominion Marine Association, was asked what direction the organization would take in view of the cut in rates by New York railways carrying grain. He said in reply that the association did not make the rates; they were not in the business, but he was satisfied that grain for Montreal could be carried cheaper than to New York, and that shippers would meet the cut and preserve the trade. Grain could be handled by the St. Lawrence route at lower figures than by Buffalo.

Mr. King pointed out that the association's work was to facilitate trade, to encourage the use of the Canadian route and to make traffic safe and expeditious. "I think I have made it quite clear to Hon. Mr. Brodeur, minister of marine, that the association is not making rates," said the secretary, "for he asked me specifically about that idea." Mr. King remarked further that just now contracts for carrying grain were not being made, owing to the new bills of lading to be used. Carriers, backed by the association, say they will only agree to a shortage of half a bushel per 1000 bushels; the shippers say they will not send out a bushel under the lading bills. "Thus we are in conflict," said Mr. King. "Last year the shortages, and all surpluses entering into the calculation, reached 50,000 bushels, which the carriers had to make good. We think the trouble was in the elevators and the weighing, and we have asked the government to do something to stop the leakage, either by government ownership of elevators or inspectional review. The carriers should not be expected to meet the shortages and they do not intend that they shall."

Mr. King said he was advised that companies handling package freight had a pooling arrangement, with the evident intention of meeting railway rates. He said these companies were quite willing to come under the railway commission board and have it fix rates. Coming back to the cut in grain rates, Mr. King said he was sure the association would do all it could to aid in making the St. Lawrence route the cheapest to the ocean.

p.4 Picton, March 23th - ....The steambarge Reliance, of the Hepburn fleet, has been sold to Valleyfield, Que. people for, it is understood, $5,000. She was purchased by Hepburn Bros. a year ago from the Rathbuns, of Deseronto, and was used last summer in the coal carrying trade to the bay district. She will go to Valleyfield early in May after repairs are completed which are now under way at the ways.


Granite For Chicago.

Alexandria Bay, N.Y., March 24th - Leopold Bros. of Chicago are getting ready to commence work at the quarry on Miller's property. During the past winter a new dock has been built so that the large boats can get in. This will do away with the scowing of the stone. A railroad track has been laid from the quarry to the dock and when navigation opens a force of from 400 to 500 men will be set at work. L.M. Middlemass has erected an hotel at the lower end of the quarry which will accommodate between 300 and 400 men. Boats are waiting at Kingston for the ice to get here to load. The stone goes to Chicago. Experts have tested and examined the granite which comes from the quarry and pronounce it to be the finest in the country.

p.6 Personal Mention - Capt. Palmateer has arrived from Picton to take charge of the steamer Aletha.



Captain Estes Had Remarkable Record As Sailor.

The recent death of Capt. John B. Estes, of Charlotte, at the age of more than ninety years, has brought into review something of the remarkable career of this last sailor whose record was of those days when there were in reality "men before the mast." In the seventy-five years in which Capt. Estes sailed the great lakes he came to know them in fair weather and in foul as the plainsman knows the range.

The record of Capt. Estes' eventful life runs thus: Born on Wolfe Island, in June 1818, he was a lad of only thirteen when he shipped before the mast on a trading schooner plying St. Lawrence and Michigan ports. Three years later saw him a first mate, and when yet scarcely more than a boy, being as yet only seventeen years of age, he took the command of the General Proctor. Without doubt he was the youngest skipper that ever sailed the lakes. Later he succeeded to the command of the schooner Pennsylvania and the brig New York. While captain of the schooner Oneida, which was rated the fastest sailing vessel on the lakes, Capt. Estes left the port of Chicago together with a fleet of vessels from that and nearby ports. Lake Erie reached, a tremendous gale sprang up carrying away the foremast and much of the canvas, but by wonderful seamanship the ship was worked under the lee of Long Point and stayed there until the storm subsided, when she continued on to Tonawanda, where the disabled vessel was repaired and Capt. Estes proceeded to Clayton. There he learned that of the fleet which had started out with the Oneida only one boat beside his own had lived the gale out, to arrive in the St. Lawrence port.

Subsequently Capt. Estes commanded the Niagara and the schooner Oneida Chief. It was with the last named vessel that so notable a record was made that Capt. Estes was transferred to the Cataract, plying between Ogdensburg and Toronto. In 1859 he took command of the steamer Ontario and for eighteen seasons Capt. Estes had practically the same crew, so popular was he with his men. The Ontario later became the Abyssinian, when the old Ontario Steamship was merged into the present Richelieu & Ontario Navigation company, Capt. Estes still remaining in command. Later he commanded the steamers Admiral and Rothesay, Sylvan Stream, Pilgrim and St. Lawrence.

In 1900, though then a man of nearly eighty, Capt. Estes took command of the steamer Unique, of Ogdensburg, which was running as an excursion boat between St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario ports. Previous to his assuming command, the boat had had six captains during that season.

In all his nearly seventy years of seafaring life, Capt. Estes never had an accident to a boat under his command, and within that time he saved sixty persons from drowning. He was a member of Montcalm lodge, I.O.O.F., of Clayton, N.Y.

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22 Mar 1909
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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 Mar 1909