The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Argus (Kingston, ON), June 29, 1849

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Melancholy Steamboat Accident.

On Wednesday evening, about nine o'clock, as the steamer Passport was opposite Lancaster, on Lake St. Francis, on her upward trip, a quantity of steam escaped through the "hot-well" of the engine, occasioning the death of Sixteen persons, and scalding about 35 others. The sufferers were all immigrants. The cause of the escaping of the steam has not yet been ascertained; but will, most probably, be known at the Coroner's Inquest, now being held at Cornwall. In the meantime, however, we may state that the persons in charge of the machinery were all experienced and trustworthy, having been for many years in the same employment. It may, therefore, be inferred that the accident is one of those which may occasionally happen, notwithstanding all care that may be taken.

On hearing of the unfortunate affair, the owners of the boat immediately telegraphed to Cornwall, to have all necessary medical aid supplied, and attendance given to the sufferers.

Below we give a list of the killed and injured. The two first on the list were young women who jumped overboard on the first alarm and were drowned.

A complimentary address from the passengers to Captain Bowen, and the officers of the boat, together with their reply, will also be found below.

(list of dead and injured followed)


On board the Steamer Passport,

28th June, 1849.

Captain Bowen -

Dear Sir:

We the undersigned cabin passengers on board the Steamer Passport, feel it our duty to record our sense of the prompt and able manner in which you succeeded in allaying the fears of the passengers, as well as in averting, as far as possible, the danger to which we were exposed on the evening of the fatal disaster, which occurred on the 27th inst., on our journey from Montreal to Kingston. We feel satisfied that the lamentable occurrence was not in any way attributable to a want of due vigilance on your part, as Commander of the Steamer, and we have much pleasure in tendering to yourself, as well as to Mr. Howard, and other officers of the ship, our heartfelt thanks for their kind attention to the unfortunate sufferers on this melancholy occasion.

(Signed by 29 signatures)


Steamer Passport, June 29th, 1849.

Major Logie -

Dear Sir;

I beg to return to you our sincere thanks for the very handsome testimonial which yourself and fellow passengers now on board the str. Passport, have so kindly offered, as testimony of the conduct of myself and Mr. Howard, and other Officers of the ship, on the evening of the fatal disaster which occurred on the 27th inst., on the Steamer's passage from Montreal to Kingston; and to assure you that we shall ever entertain a high sense of the kind consideration shewn to us upon that melancholy occasion, by the whole of the cabin passengers.

I also beg to thank you, sir, for the very handsome manner in which you were pleased to enclose the said testimonial.

I have the honor to be, Sir,

Your very obliged and humble Servant,


The Trade on the Upper Lakes - A glance at the shipping list of the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser of Monday gives a fair idea of the extent of the commerce of the Lakes. That paper reported as having arrived at Buffalo, from Saturday noon to Monday noon, 13 steamers, 3 propellers, 1 bark, 3 brigs, and 70 schooners, freighted with 200,000 bushels of wheat, 180,000 bushels of corn, and 24,000 barrels of flour - equal to an aggregate of half a million bushels of grain, besides the usual quantity of provisions and lumber which accompanies a fleet from the West.

Of the mode in which these large receipts are to be disposed of the Commercial Advertiser remarks:- The elevators are nearly all full, and as near as we can get at, there is not storage room for over 130,000 or 150,000 bushels. Some 100,000 bushels have been sold to arrive, and this quantity will go into boats. The balance will have to be provided in some way or other, and as boats in the canal will detain boats some three or four days, forwarders who are fortunate enough to have boats here, will obtain a slight advance in canal freight. [Albany Argus]

(missing issues until July 20th)

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June 29, 1849
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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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Argus (Kingston, ON), June 29, 1849