The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 2 May 1911

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p.2 Incidents of the Day - The steamer Simla, of Garden Island, was released on Monday from the Middle Ground shoals, Soo River, injured.

At the time of going to press the steamer Aletha was still aground, but it was expected that she would be released before night. She was lying easily as the wind had shifted soon after she struck.



To Discover If Outer Portion Leaks

The water works committee is rather disheartened over the report of the bacteriologist of Queen's University that the last sample of water taken from the intake pipe is contaminated with colon bacili, after expending several thousand dollars in renewing the inner portion of the intake, but it realizes that it must make the pipe tight, no matter what the cost, and so the members of the city council were today asked to sign a "round robin" for the engaging of the Donnelly Wrecking company's expert deep water diver to make a test of the outer 1,300 feet of the pipe.

Ald. Carson told his committee yesterday afternoon that Superintendent Hewitt and John Donnelly were of opinion that the leakage, if any, was in the outer portion of the pipe. The inner section had been tested and found tight. The only safe way to test the outer 1,300 feet was with the aid of a diver. If an air test was used the pipe would be sent to the surface and broken in pieces. The leak might be found by the diver in a day or two, and again it might take much longer. It would cost at least $50 a day to make the test. If a steamer was used it would cost near $100 a day. The chairman and the superintendent will decide what it is best to engage.

It will be necessary to pump inshore water while the test is being made, and the amount of chlorine treatment, which is still being used, will be doubled. When inshore water was pumped before there were no bad results as very few typhoid fever cases have been reported for the past four months.

The old piece of intake pipe was sold as scrap to Selby & Youlden, for $14.50 a ton. There are twelve or fourteen tons of it, so that at least $175 will be realized.



The steamer Aletha, of the Bay of Quinte Navigation Company line, which plies between here and Picton, is in very bad shape on the rocks in Navy Bay, as the result of an accident to her machinery last night. The fog, which hung over the harbor all day, kept her here until late in the evening. Two or three times the crew decided that they would not attempt to go out in the night. At eleven o'clock she pulled in at Swift's wharf, took on freight for Bay ports, and coaled up preparatory to making a start. Somewhere in the neighborhood of one o'clock, she left the wharf. She had only gone as far as the locomotive works wharf when her main steam pipe burst. This left her at the mercy of the high wind, which was blowing at the time. She was powerless to do anything to assist herself. She could not even give a signal to any boats which might be in the harbor as her steam escaped so quickly as to render that impossible. Her rudder was useless as it was of no assistance with no steam on. She drifted across the harbor, driven before the wind, until she struck on the rocks in Navy Bay.

The Aletha went over a rock and is lying on her beam's end with her bow out quite a distance. The crew were able to step from the deck to the shore.

The Aletha is under charter by the Lake Ontario and Bay of Quinte Navigation Company, from the Hepburn Co., of Picton. She recently came off the marine railway at Picton where $2,000 was spent in rebuilding her hull. It is hard to say just what the damage to her will be, but the marine men think it will be heavy. The steamer will have to be put into dry dock after being released.

The only one who was hurt at all was a man named Ryder, who was a passenger on the boat. He was standing watching the engines working when the accident happened. He was scalded about the neck and hands. Dr. Hanley attended him when he reached the city.

When seen this morning Edwin E. Horsey, general manager of the L.O. and B. of Q. Steamboat company, said the damage would not be heavy. The Aletha struck broadside and as the hull was rebuilt last winter it would sustain no serious injury. As soon as she hit the rocks along the shore the crew got the life boat out and rowed to shore. The Donnelly Wrecking company is working to release her now and it is not anticipated that much trouble will be experienced. A new steam pipe was installed this morning and steam was gotten up during the forenoon. As soon as employees of the company reached the boat the seacocks were opened and her hold filled with water to prevent the boat from rolling.

The steamer Alexandria made her initial trip from Picton, on her way to Montreal, last night, and it was one which will be long remembered by the members of the crew. It was 1:30 o'clock when the vessel reached Folger's wharf, and the members of the crew stated that it was one of the worst nights they ever experienced. It was not only rough, but so dark that it was almost impossible to navigate. The vessel experienced a great deal of trouble in making the different ports. The steamer had quite a large cargo of freight and took on quite a cargo here.

The steamer Buena Vista cleared on her first trip down the Rideau River.

During the month of April, there was received in St. Lawrence canal passes, for Montreal, 435,133 bushels of wheat, and 4,226 tons of coal. In view of the fact that this record only covers three days of the month, it is indeed a good one. Now that navigation is in full swing, the figures will continue to go up.

The steambarge John Randall arrived from Smith's Falls, and is being inspected.

The cargo of the steamer Sharples has been taken out, and the vessel will soon be ready to undergo repairs.

M.T. Co's elevator - Steamer Glenmount, from Fort William, lightered 4,000 bushels of wheat, cleared for Montreal; steamer Rosemount, from Fort William, discharging 62,000 bushels of wheat; steamer Stormount will arrive from Fort William, during the day; will lighter and clear for Montreal.

The steamer Britannic is being fitted out for the season's work. She will leave Montreal on Wednesday evening for Cornwall, Kingston and intermediate ports. The Britannic will have the same run as last year and will be manned by the following officers: Captain Andress; mate C. Hart; first engineer, J.F. Marchand; second engineer, Eugene Marchand; purser, A.N. Smith.

An ore deal was closed at Cleveland in which sixty-five cents is allowed for freighting from Lake Superior to Lake Erie. More than 36,000 tons was involved in the deal.

Lumber rates are strong at $2.50 from the head of the lakes and $2 from Georgian Bay.

The tug Cardinal and schooner Flora Cornell, owned by the Cardinal Starch Works, has been sold to Kingston parties, so it is reported.

To Locate Bessemer

An attempt will be made this summer by a Cleveland salvage firm, to locate the wreck of the Bessemer, lost a year ago last December, with thirty two lives, during a terrific storm on Lake Erie.

The Lake Erie Coal Company, owners of the vessel have given their consent to the company searching for it, and it is understood that work will be commenced as soon as possible.

Last summer efforts were made to locate the wreck, but without success. Many reports were circulated that the Bessemer had been found, but none of them were substantiated. This attempt will be practically the first systematic effort made to locate her.

No exact information can be obtained as to the possible location of the boat. Undoubtedly she went down in deep water.

Mariners at Port Stanley and elsewhere are confident that she is lying in the "Sailors' Graveyard," off Long Point. Whatever wreckage came ashore was found near that point, and it is thought that the Bessemer drifted down the lake to founder in this most treacherous part in Lake Erie.

The worst tragedy of modern times in Lake Erie is well remembered by Kingstonians. Capt. Bob McLeod and his brother Jack, first mate of the vessel, went down with thirty of their crew.

Nine of the men were found later in a yawl off Erie, Pa., frozen stiff. This was one of the most gruesome sights ever seen by sailors along the great lakes.

The body of Capt. McLeod was found near the Falls late last spring. His brother Jack was also found near the same spot. The engineer, Gene Wood, was found east of Long Point. One or two other bodies were found.

The residents of Port Stanley still insist that they heard the distress whistles of the Bessemer during the stormy night in December, when she was unable to make the harbor in the storm, and it is said by them that she turned her head up the lake and was seen no more.

It is interesting to note that a younger brother of Captain McLeod, Captain William McLeod, is now in charge of the Bessemer, running between Port Stanley and Conneaut.

p.6 A Serious Aspect - new hydro-electric dam will lower water over sills of locks.

p.8 Pith of the News - A two masted schooner was wrecked off Milwaukee, in Lake Michigan, and capsized. Life boats are unable to reach them owing to the heavy waves. It is believed six men are lost.

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2 May 1911
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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), 2 May 1911