The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 11 Apr 1910

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Steamer D.D. Calvin Was Gutted At Garden Island.


The steamer D.D. Calvin was burned to the water's edge at Garden Island early Monday morning, and now lies on the bottom a total loss. The steamer, recently purchased from the Calvin company by Capt. J.H. Smith, Belleville, for about $7,000, was insured for $6,500, and the owner puts his loss at $10,000, as he and a man have put in two months' work fitting her out.

Just how the fire started is not known, but the captain, who was on board with a man named John Gibson, thinks it caught from the galley stove. At any rate they were awakened by the smoke about 1:15 o'clock, and when, scantily clad, they ran out on the deck from their state room forward, they saw the aft portion in flames, and the wind blowing the fire forward. The men saw at once that while alone they were perfectly helpless, so they dropped over the side into the life boat and rowed quickly to shore to get help.

In a few minutes the tug Frontenac and her crew, that did such good work at the city hall fire in 1908, were on the scene, but it was too late, as the boat was beyond saving. The men fought valiantly for a long time, and when they realized that the fire was beyond their control word was sent to the city and the Chatham engine was soon on the way over on the steamer Pierrepont. Chief Armstrong, Engineer Way and two firemen went over and fought hard, but very little was saved.

The flames were shooting up from stem to stern, burning merrily, defying all attempts to quench them. It was then decided to scuttle her, and this was done, the water pouring in, and the big ship gradually settled as the water gained in her hold.

Several streams of water were played into her, but it was seven o'clock this morning before the fire was finally subdued, all that was left being a charred hulk beyond all repair.

Captain Smith was seen by the Whig, and while he took his great loss with a true sailor spirit was in a way at a standstill, not knowing which way to turn. He could not account for the starting of the fire, and said it had secured good headway before it was discovered. "We were only able to get out with what clothes we had on," said the skipper, "so fiercely was the fire raging when we were awakened. I had $200 in an envelope in my coat pocket in the after cabin, and this was burned, and my man lost all he had, clothes and outfit." The captain said he had no plans made yet and could not say what he would do until he saw friends in Belleville. He came to the city at nine o'clock and left for Belleville at noon.

Both Hiram A. Calvin and Captain Smith wished to return thanks to Ald. Rigney, chairman of the fire and light committee, Howard S. Folger, and the firemen for all they did to aid in extinguishing the fire.



When Two Garden Island Vessels Were Burned.

Capt. Coleman Hinckley, of this city, had quite a remarkable experience this morning. At four o'clock he was called from his bed by telephone and asked if he would go down at once to Folger's wharf and take the steamer Pierrepont across to Garden Island with the city's fire engine, Chatham, to assist at the burning steamer D.D. Calvin. The captain responded at once, and in a short time the old Pierrepont was pounding across the harbor to the aid of her sister ship, which was in peril.

On December 17th, 1871, Capt. Hinckley took the same steamer Pierrepont across to Garden Island on a similar errand. At that time the steamers Highlander and Hercules were on fire, and the aid of the city fire department was sought. The Pierrepont, under command of Capt. Hinckley, and with the fire engine and a number of firemen, set out in the night for the island and rendered valuable assistance. The two burning steamers were frozen in at the island at the time, the winter having set in early that year.

Capt. Hinckley possesses a gold watch as a souvenir of that trip thirty-nine years ago. It was presented to him by Messrs. Calvin and Breck, and a portion of the inscription reads: "For manly and efficient service," The captain has carried that watch to this day.

Incidents of the Day - The steamer City of Ottawa went on the dry-dock today to receive repairs. She was injured by running aground last fall before laying up. She will remain here until the lower canals open on May 1st.



The steamer Belleville will commence running May 3rd.

The schooner Britton is waiting to go on Davis' dry dock.

The schooner Keewatin arrived from Oswego with coal for Swift's.

The schooner Cornelia cleared on Sunday for Oswego to load coal.

The steamer New Island Wanderer went on the Cape Vincent route on Monday morning.

The steamer City of Ottawa arrived at the government dry dock from Toronto on Sunday morning.

The steamer Carleton arrived from Oswego on her way to Belleville to load cement for Toronto.

The steamer City of New York and the schooners Kitchen and Charlie Marshall leave Cobourg this week for Erie, Pa., to load soft coal for Toronto and Kingston.

Inspectors Moulthier and Chestnut have returned to Oswego. They made an inspection of the steamer New Island Wanderer and the Ottawa, and both vessels passed the test.

Daily Standard, April 11, 1910




At one o'clock this morning, fire broke out on the steamer D.D. Calvin, at Garden Island, and completely destroyed the boat. She was owned by Captain J.H. Smith and J.D. Carllow of Belleville, who bought it from the Calvin Co. about three months ago.

Captain Smith and a fireman John Gibson also of Belleville, were both sleeping on the boat, when they were roused by smoke. They were sleeping in the forward part of the boat, and had to slide down a rope into a yawl boat. The Calvin Co. men fought the fire all night, but could not make much headway, as there was quite a wind blowing from the west, and at five o'clock a call was sent to the local brigade, and Chief Armstrong sent the Chatham engine over, he and five men accompanying it. They fought the fire up to seven o'clock this morning but the boat was a total wreck. Capt. Smith places the loss at $10,000 with $6,500 insurance.

He wishes to thank the Mayor, the Chairman of the Fire Committee and Chief Armstrong for the prompt way in which they responded, and for the magnificent work done by the brigade when it arrived.

Capt. Smith had the further misfortune of losing $200 in cash, which was in a pocket of his coat in the stern of the boat, where he could not reach it on account of the flames.

Captain Smith and John Gibson left for Belleville this morning.

p.2 Placing the Buoys - The Government steamer Reserve was last week engaged in placing buoys between Prescott and this city.

At Swift's Wharf - Everything is on the move at Swift's wharf. The office, waiting, freight ware-room and the big coal shed have all been painted. The road leading to the wharf has been graded and rolled putting it in first class condition. The company believe they have waiting rooms and offices unsurpassed in any port on the lakes.

A Dock Difficulty - Brockville Board of Water Commissioners met over whether to let R. & O. steamers land at waterworks' dock again this summer; they are stirring up mud near intake.



The str. Seguin cleared from Richardsons' for Toronto, to undergo two weeks' repairs.

The steamer Carleton arrived from Ogdensburg on her way to Belleville, to load cement for Toronto.

The steamer City of Ottawa is waiting to go into the Government Dry Dock.

The schr. Keewatin arrived from Oswego with coal for Swift & Co. this morning.

The coal heavers began to work at Swift & Co.'s this morning, on the arrival of the schr. Keewatin, under command of Capt. Doherty.

The fine gasoline yacht Etta arrived from Alexandria Bay this morning.

The crews of the schooners and tugs of the Calvin fleet arrived this morning.

Capt. Coon and crew arrived from St. Catharines to fit out the steamer India.

Captain Malone and crew are fitting out the steamer Rupert.

The schooner Cornelia cleared for Oswego to load coal.

The schr. Britton is waiting at Davis' dry dock to undergo repairs.

The steamer Aletha arrived from Bay ports this morning, and cleared at 3 p.m. for Belleville.

The steamer America is in Davis' dry dock undergoing repairs to her hull, which will require the greater part of the week. The schooner Britain (sic - Britton ?) will enter the dry dock as soon as the America leaves.

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11 Apr 1910
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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.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 11 Apr 1910