The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), March 7, 1840

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p.2 St. Lawrence Navigation - report to House of Assembly.

Improvements of Kingston - Its Harbour and Neighbourhood.

Messrs. Wm Dickinson & Co. have built a wharf at Hatter's Bay, extending from the shore 700 feet; there is 23 feet depth of water at the outer end of the pier. Hatter's Bay will be a very commodious and safe harbour. The enterprising owners are now preparing to do an extensive business at the opening of the navigation; they are purchasing all sorts of rafting materials, pine timber, &c. They own five first class schooners, which are employed usually in the stave trade from Lake Erie, besides they have a number of vessels chartered. They are adding two new first class barges to their Montreal line.

Messrs. Calvin, Cook & Counter, at Garden Island, are building a tow steam boat to ply between Montreal and Quebec; their own rafts will afford her a good deal of employment, and the public will no doubt liberally patronise an undertaking which has for its object the breaking up of a monopoly. This boat will be of great advantage to the lumber trade in the despatch and security it will afford in crossing Lake St. Peters. They are also building a large schooner, and are erecting new piers, and making various other improvements, which give to the place a bustle and activity quite unusual; no doubt it is of the greatest advantage to the neighbourhood.

The Foundry, now under the able management of Messrs. Masson & Thirkell, have more work than they can attend to; they are now building two small engines, and are prepared to undertake steam engines of any size with all the modern improvements.

The Marine Rail Way have two first class barges nearly ready to launch, for the Ottawa Company; they have about 50 men employed and are anxious to employ more ship carpenters; they have refused the building of a great many new vessels for want of hands; they have lately made a purchase of the ground in their neighbourhood. The affairs of the Company are well managed, and the stock is rapidly increasing in value. Any quantity of timber suitable for ship building, will be purchased by the Company at good prices.

The Messrs. Ives are the next establishment. They are building a new schooner for the timber trade; she is 150 feet in length, and will be the largest sailing vessel on Lake Ontario. They own three other schooners. The steamer Queenston, also owned by them, will tow rafts as usual.

At Cartwright's wharf there are several schooners now fitting out. The steamer Brockville, Captain Lawless, is also there. The boat and Captain are both so well and favourably known to the public that it is unnecessary for us to say a word about either. The Brockville will resume her old route. The new steam boat Henry Gildersleeve is at the same wharf; she is a beautiful model, with a powerful engine, and promises to be a fast boat. She is intended for a daily line between this and Oswego.

Capt. Bowen, formerly of the Bytown, has been appointed to the Henry Gildersleeve; we consider this a fortunate choice as Capt. B., is well known to possess active business talent, with gentlemanly manners, and we are satisfied that he will afford every accommodation to the public, and entire satisfaction to the stockholders.

Counter's Wharf, (or Plymouth Dock) - The Commodore Barrie, Captain Patterson, is there undergoing necessary fixing for a summer business; she takes her old route and we believe we are warranted in saying that she has never carried a passenger who would not be glad to go in her again. We may here remark, that Plymouth Dock three years ago rented for £150; it now brings £550. It is true that some buildings have been erected by it's enterprising owner.The wharf is now undergoing a thorough repair, and a very large warehouse is building, but the value of the new repairs bears no proportion to the increase of rent - which must be attributed to the general improvement of the town. There is, perhaps, no individual who has done more for the prosperity of Kingston than Mr. Counter.

The Rideau and Ottawa Forwarding Company, which has been lately so well managed by Messrs. McPherson & Co., are making most extensive preparations for the approaching season. They are adding two new Steamers to their line, and the old ones are undergoing a thorough repair. They have also built three new Schooners, and six new Barges of the first class. The towing on the Canal this season will be regular and expeditious, - it is expected that goods will arrive by this route, from Montreal, in three or four days. We believe that the arrangements of the Company are such that the delay in some instances heretofore complained of, will be obviated, and that any quantity of merchandize or produce can be forwarded promptly and safely.

Scobell's Wharf - No part of this Town shows more conspicuously the benefit of improvement than this valuable property, and we are happy to learn that the rents pay the owner well for his outlay. Messrs. Sanderson & Murray are getting a very large warehouse finished for them, which will enable them to accommodate their friends with all the storage that may be required. They have added 5 new Barges to their Montreal line, two of which are upon a new principle, and are intended to navigate the Lake. They will carry eleven to twelve hundred barrels each. They have also added a first rate Schooner to their list of vessels.

The Commercial Wharf will be occupied by Mr. Hamilton's Steam Boats. Messrs. Henderson & Hooker are now employed in building a Wharf and Store at an expense of £4,000. As this establishment is built by an old and experienced house, and expressly for the forwarding business, it will combine advantages and conveniences. They have a front of 132 feet. The plan of the buildings, which we have seen, combines beauty, strength and usefulness, and, we apprehend, will enable the proprietors to accommodate their numerous friends with any extent of storage they may require. They have added three new Barges to their Montreal line.

Strange's Wharf, occupied by Messrs. H. & S. Jones, is well provided with storage. They have added two new Barges to their Montreal line, and will be prepared, at the opening of the navigation, to enter into their usual engagements as Forwarders. The Big Britain, Captain Herchmer, is lying at this wharf; she will resume her old route in the spring. Captain H. is the oldest Captain on Lake Ontario; he has long stood the test of public opinion, and has never been found wanting in strict order and regularity in his boat, and in a manly and correct demeanor to his passengers.

Lake Ontario Steamers - Mr. Hamilton's line will run the same as last year, with the addition of a splendid new boat, the Niagara, built at Niagara, to be commanded by Captain Sutherland, - she will run between Oswego, Toronto, and Hamilton. The new boat Ontario, we are informed has been tried before this - upon her success,(of which there is very little doubt,) a vast improvement in the affairs of this Province will in our opinion, take place. It is, we believe, the intention of the Hon. John Hamilton to make Kingston his place of residence. We congratulate our readers upon this event. Mr. H. has, by making the Lake boats end their voyage at Kingston, conferred a great benefit upon the Town, and his well known enterprise - his liberal, manly, and straight forward conduct on all occasions, would make him an acquisition to any community.

Since the above was in type, we have learnt that the Ontario has made her first trial, from Niagara to Queenston, and back, distance 14 miles, which she run in 48 minutes. It will by this be seen that she will fully realize The expectations of her owner, and be a good 16 miles and hour boat, and 18 miles an hour for a short time on an emergency can be done by her. There is now no longer any doubt that she has speed enough for any rapid in the St. Lawrence. She may be expected at this port as soon as the harbor is open, which, from present appearances, will not be long.

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March 7, 1840
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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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Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), March 7, 1840