The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 16 Sep 1909

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Islander Destroyed at Alexandria Bay.

The Thousand Island Steamboat company was dealt a severe blow on Wednesday night, just at the close of a successful season, when the steamer Islander was burned to the water's edge and sank at Alexandria Bay, N.Y. The cause of the fire is unknown, the first notice of it being taken when flames appeared up around the smokestack. The alarm bell was rung and the crew mustered on deck to fight the flames but it was soon apparent that the boat was doomed, and the crew was ordered ashore as fast as they could go. The last man to leave the burning vessel was Capt. John Bertrand, who was forced to jump into the river from the hurricane deck to save his life

Howard S. Folger, the general manager of the company, was interviewed this morning, and he stated that the first news he received was about seven o'clock this morning, when the general passenger agent telephoned that the steamer was burned. Mr. Folger said it was a hard blow at the end of the season, but it was very fortunate that no one was burned or injured.

The loss was covered by insurance, said the general manager, "and the next thing is to build. We intended to build one new boat this season anyway. Now we will build two."

The Islander was used on the Alexandria Bay-Clayton run, and was just the boat for the trip. It will be exceedingly hard to replace her at any cost. She was lying at the freight wharf, near Cornwall Bros.' store when burned, and the freight shed was partly damaged.

The burned steamer was built at Rochester, N.Y. in 1871, its first name being the J.H. Kelly. Afterwards it was renamed the John Thorn. When purchased by the Folgers it was renamed the Islander. In 1902 it received a new hull and last winter extensive repairs were made to the upper works, so that the steamer was in staunch condition, and its destruction is a great loss to the company. The Islander was the first of the Thousand Island Steamboat company's to begin service in the spring, starting down the river on April 16th to carry the mail between Clayton and Alexandria Bay, and running until November 16th. She was known as the company's freight steamer, but also had a complement of about 500 passengers.

The Islander was 125 feet long, 20 feet beam and 7 feet deep. She had a gross tonnage of 118 (148 ?), had a 150 horse power engine, and carried a crew of fifteen.

The Islander is insured with the Lloyds, whose New York representative has been notified. As the steamer is a total loss, the full insurance will be paid to the company, and the hulk goes to the underwriters.

This is the first steamer the Folger company has lost in its forty years of navigation business. Although lives were in danger on the Islander, all aboard escaped, and thus the Folger company still holds its proud record of never having lost a life aboard its boats.

The cause of the fire will probably never be known. A telephone message from Alexandria Bay this morning stated that some guests of the Thousand Island House were sitting on the balcony about midnight when they noticed a heavy smoke coming from the stack of the Islander. Immediately afterwards flame appeared. The fire alarm was rung, but before the fire apparatus reached the wharf the steamer was all ablaze.

p.5 Pith of the News - The steamer Hebron, from Oswego to Quebec with coal, struck on the rocks in the Galloups Rapids below Prescott, early Thursday morning. She sank at the head of Point Iroquois.



The steamer Advance is due up from Montreal today.

The schooner Ford River is at Richardsons' loading feldspar.

The steamer Sowards arrived from Oswego with coal for R. Crawford.

The schooner Keewatin arrived at Howe Island with coal from Oswego.

The steamer Algonquin is loading grain at Fort William for Richardson's.

The tug Bartlett cleared for Montreal with two coal barges and one light barge.

The government steamer Alert cleared for Brighton. The inspector of canals is on board.

The steamer Dundee arrived from Chicago with 70,000 bushels of corn for Richardsons.'

The steamer Crowe loaded the first cargo of new grain at Fort William. She is bound for Goderich.

The steamer Victoria will come up from Brockville next Monday for extensive repairs at Davis' dry dock.

It was expected that Ontario car ferry No. 1 would be able to clear from the dry-dock, for Cobourg today.

Work of unloading damaged grain off barges at Richardson' was completed today. This will be good news to everyone.

The steamer John Rolph, of Belleville, will enter the Davis' dry dock, after discharging her cargo of coal at Swift & Co.

The steamer New Island Wanderer entered Davis' dry dock on Thursday morning for repairs to hull and general overhauling.

The schooner Ford River left the Davis drydock, on Wednesday 8th, after undergoing repairs to her stern, injured last fall by running on Point Frederick in a fog.

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16 Sep 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), 16 Sep 1909