The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), June 16, 1841

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p.2 Melancholy Occurrence - soldier drowned off barge while passing through locks on way to Kingston. [Bytown Gazette]

On Wednesday, a barge, with Ericson's patent propeller belonging to Messrs. Murray and Sanderson, arrived in port, via the Lachine Canal with equal to one hundred tons of cargo on board. She performed the trip from Brockville, a distance of 150 miles, in 16 hours and, having headway at the rate of 7 miles per hour, ran the rapids with perfect ease and safety; and can, at all times, without depending on wind or weather, make the run in about the same time. Sailing boats have frequently been detained a fortnight on this route, as they cannot venture to descend the rapids without a fair wind. This will be a delightful conveyance for passengers who will thus save the risk and fatigue of landing three times - one about midnight, and travelling 37 miles over the worst of roads. If the Lachine Canal bridges were removed, and swing-bridges substituted, passengers could go on board at Kingston, and be landed in port with their baggage. Ericson's engine is the simplest, and the application of power the most direct that has yet appeared. It is represented as the greatest improvement in steam navigation that has been effected since its first introduction and that it will answer well on all our inland lakes and rivers, as well as for ocean navigation, being easily applied to sailing vessels. The experiment has been attended with complete success, and cannot fail to remunerate Mr. Ericson, the inventor, as well as Messrs. Sanderson and Murray, who will have three of their barges running in a fortnight from this time. They are intended to go up the Rideau and down the St. Lawrence; their towing powers we believe, are greater than steamboats with paddles, and the consumption of fuel very small - the Ericson having only used 3 cords of wood from Brockville to Montreal. [Montreal Gazette]

Ericson Propeller - A decked Barge, belonging to Messrs. Sanderson and Murray; calculated to carry 1000 Barrels of Flour has recently been fitted up at this place with one of these engines of 15 horse power. On the first trial the boat ran from 6 to 7 miles per hour and so satisfied is Mr. Sanderson of its capability, and adaption to the object intended that the Boat was immediately loaded, and he proceeded with it to Montreal yesterday morning. The machinery is very simple in its construction and occupies but a small space in the stern of the Barge, adding so little to her incumbrance that she will carry as much as formerly into about 100 barrels bulk; or nearly the original quantity, if the Mast Rigging and sails be laid aside. The Proprietors are about putting similar engines into two other Barges which they intend to have in operation in about 2 or 3 weeks.

These propellers are admirably adapted to Canal and river navigation and are destined to work material changes in the method of transport and add much to the Commercial facilities of the Country. [Brockville Recorder]

From a sense of public duty we give place to the following article, though we are informed that the statements therein made are in several particulars exaggerated and incorrect.


Mr. Editor, - By giving insertion to the following lines, they may prove of great utility, particularly to Emigrants intending to proceed from Montreal to Kingston, via the Canal, and the River St. Lawrence and Ottawa.

We whose Signatures are hereunto annexed, being the male passengers that shipped on board the barge Bytown from Montreal the 26th May for Kingston, would earnestly invite the attention of our fellow Emigrants to the fact of our having been detained on the passage 14 days from the want of proper arrangements on the part of Messrs. Murray & Sanderson. At one period of our voyage we were unnecessarily delayed for nearly 3 days in consequence of the barge being not adapted to navigate the stream.

We were therefore obliged to disembark, and get our baggage on board a most wretched barge, infinitely worse than an open boat - as it was filled with dirty water whose stench was calculated to create a plaque.

We could not therefore go below deck, and were exposed to a burning sun during the day, to the cold dews of the night, and frequently to tempests and heavy showers of rain, that thoroughly drenched all our clothes.

To these hardships we attribute the death of one of our companions, Alexander Falconer, who before he came on board this second barge, was strong, active, and healthy for his years, was full of spirits, and of a remarkably good appetite - he died on Monday night at 11 o'clock, was 65 years old, and a native of Scotland.

Finally, we were compelled to leave this barge for another, little better than the former, as we were obliged to sleep or stand on deck, and to encounter a reception of similar hardships. For the first few days of our voyage, we had the company of a young gentleman named Murray, who officiates as Clerk in the stores of Murray & Sanderson, Montreal, and whom we understood is a relative of the first named gentleman. We repeatedly requested him to return us our money, and said we would procure some other mode of conveyance. This he refused, so that we were necessitated to sit for hours under a broiling sun without moving on foot. We also anchored at different places at noon and were obliged to remain there till the following day, without being able to procure provisions, in consequence of our isolated position, or the village being too far.

N.B. The Gentlemen connected with the Emigration Office in Montreal, will have the goodness to give circulation to this document, as it may prevent a repetition of similar grievances.

The distance from Montreal to Kingston, by our line of route is 240 miles, we therefore sailed 3/4 of a mile per hour on an average.


Edward Cochrane,

William Hardy,

James Hardy,

Lewis Margach,

James Bell,

James Stewart,

George Rankin.

Kingston, June 9th, 1841.

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June 16, 1841
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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.
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Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), June 16, 1841