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Title: A Century of Sail and Steam on the Niagara River
Author: Cumberland, Barlow
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Century of Sail and Steam on the Niagara River" ***

(This file was produced from images generously made

[Illustration: Barlow Cumberland]

A Century of Sail and Steam on the Niagara River

By Barlow Cumberland




Although the book is published about two months after the author's death,
it will be gratifying to many readers to know that all the final proofs
were passed by Mr. Cumberland himself. Therefore the volume in detail has
the author's complete sanction. We have added to the illustrations a
portrait of the author.


This narrative is not, nor does it purport to be one of general navigation
upon Lake Ontario, but solely of the vessels and steamers which plyed
during its century to the ports of the Niagara River, and particularly of
the rise of the Niagara Navigation Co., to which it is largely devoted.

Considerable detail has, however been given to the history of the steamers
"Frontenac" and "Ontario" because the latter has hitherto been reported to
have been the first to be launched, and the credit of being the first to
introduce steam navigation upon Lake Ontario has erroneously been given to
the American shipping.

Successive eras of trading on the River tell of strenuous competitions.
Sail is overpassed by steam. The new method of propulsion wins for this
water route the supremacy of passenger travel, rising to a splendid climax
when the application of steam to transportation on land and the
introduction of railways brought such decadence to the River that all its
steamers but one had disappeared.

The transfer of the second "City of Toronto" and of steamboating investment
from the Niagara River to the undeveloped routes of the Upper Lakes leads
to a diversion of the narration as bringing the initiation of another era
on the Niagara River and explaining how the steamer, which formed its
centre, came to be brought to the River service.

The closing 35 years of the century form the era of the Niagara Navigation
Co., in which the period of decadence was converted into one of intense
activity and splendid success.

Our steam boating coterie had been promised by Mr. Chas. Gildersleeve,
General Manager of the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co., that he would
write up the navigation history of the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River
sections upon which he and his forbears had been foremost leaders.
Unfortunately he passed away somewhat suddenly, before being able to do
this, and they pressed upon me to produce the Niagara section which had
been alloted to myself.

The narration has been completed during the intervals between serious
illness and is sent out in fulfilment of a promise, but yet in hope that it
may be found acceptable to transportation men and with its local historical
notes interesting to the travelling public.

Thanks are given to Mr. J. Ross Robertson, for the reproduction of some
cuts of early steamers, and particularly to Mr. Frederick J. Shepard, of
the Buffalo Public Library, who has been invaluable in tracing up and
confirming data in the United States.

Dr. A. G. Dougaty, C.M.G., Archivist of Canada, Mr. Frank Severance, of the
Buffalo Historical Society, and Mr. Locke, Public Librarian, Toronto, have
been good enough to give much assistance which is warmly acknowledged.

                                    BARLOW CUMBERLAND.

                                    Dunain, Port Hope.


Chap. I.--The First Eras of Canoe and Sail                      9

Chap. II.--The First Steamboats on the River and Lake
Ontario                                                        17

Chap. III.--More Steamboats and Early Water Routes. The
River the Centre of Through Travel East and West.              25

Chap. IV.--Expansion and Decline of Traffic on the River. A
Final Flash, and a Move to the North                           36

Chap. V.--On the Upper Lakes With the Wolseley Expedition
and Lord Dufferin                                              47

Chap. VI.--A Novel Idea and a New Venture. Buffalo in
Sailing Ship Days. A Risky Passage                             58

Chap. VII.--Down Through the Welland. The Miseries of
Horse-towing Times. Port Dalhousie and a Lake Veteran. The
Problem Solved. Toronto at Last                                68

Chap. VIII.--The Niagara Portal. Old Times and Old Names at
Newark and Niagara. A Winter of Changes. A New Rivalry Begun   80

Chap. IX.--The First Season of The Niagara Navigation
Company. A Hot Competition. Steamboat Manoeuvres               94

Chap. X.--Change Partners Rate-cutting and Racing. Hanlan
and Toronto Waterside. Passenger Limitation Introduced        109

Chap. XI.--Niagara Camps Formed. More Changes and
Competition. Beginnings of Railroads in New York State.
Early Passenger Men and Ways                                  119

Chap. XII.--First Railways to Lewiston. Expansion Required.
The Renown of the Let-Her-B. A Critic of Plimsoll             134

Chap. XIII.--Winter and Whisky in Scotland. Rail Arrives at
Lewiston Dock. How _Cibola_ got Her Name. On the U. E.
Loyalist Route. _Ongiara_ Added                               143

Chap. XIV.--Running the Blockade on the Let-Her-B. as Told
by Her Captain-owner 156

Chap. XV.--The Canadian Electric Railway to Queenston. An
Old Portage Route Revived. The Trek to the Western States.
_Chippewa_ Arrives. Railway Chief                             165

Chap. XVI.--_Cibola_ Goes, _Corona_ Comes. The Gorge
Electric Railway Opens to Lewiston. How the Falls Cut Their
Way Back Through the Rocks. Royal Visitors. The Decisiveness
of Israel Tarte.                                              178

Chap. XVII.--_Cayuga_ Adds Her Name. Niagara and Hamilton
Rejoined. Ice Jams on the River. The Niagara Ferry
Completed. Once More the United Management From "Niagara to
the Sea"                                                      189



_Accommodation_, Steamer 17

Advertising, N. Y. C. 175

_Alaska_, S.S. 145

_Alberta_, Steamer 121

Albany Northern Railroad 42

_Alciope_, Steamer 29

_Algoma_, Steamer 35, 44, 121

Algoma, qualifications of electors 46

American Civil War 43

American Colonists under James II 81

American Constitution Compared 47

American Express Line 37

American Prisoners from Queenston Heights 14

_Arabian_, Steamer 37

_Armenia_, Steamer 126

_Asia_, Steamer 78

_Assiniboia_, Steamer   121


Barre, Chevalier de la 81

Barrie, R. N., Commodore 29, 30

Baldwin, Dr. 15

Bankruptcy of Steamers on River 43

_Bay State_, Steamer 37, 105

Baxter, Alderman John 152

Beatty, Jas, Jr., Mayor 114

Bell, Mr. David 64

Benson, Judge 33

Benson, Capt 33

Blockade-Running 160

Bolton, Col. R. E. 48

Book Tickets Introduced 132

Boswell, A. R 114

Bouchette, Commodore 13

Bowes, Mayor J. G. 38

Boynton, Capt. George B. 156

Brampton, Mills 42

_Britannia_, Steamer 33

Brock, General 15, 33, 169

Brock's Monument, Imitation of 33

_Brooklyn_, Steamer    48

Bruce Mines 44

Buffalo & Niagara Falls Railroad   31

Buffalo Dry Dock Co.   63

Buffalo in Sailing Days   64

Buffalo & Niagara Falls _Burlington_, Steamer 32

Butler, Col. 84

Butlersberg Begun 84


Callaway, W. R. 123

_Caldwell_, Warships 13

_Caledonia_, Schooner 15

Caledonian Society 97

Caledonian S. S. Co. 140

_Canada_, Steamer 26, 28

Canadian Through Line    37

Canadian Constitution Compared 47

Canada Coasting Law Suspended 49

Canada Railway News Co. 93

Canadian Pacific Railway Terminals 51

_Campana_, Steamer   120

Campbell, Capt. Alexander, Selects Queenston portage 170

_Captain Conn's Coffin_, Schooner 14

Captain, position of, high importance     27

Cannochan, Miss Janet 119

_Cataract_, Steamer 37, 105

Cayuga Creek 10

Cayuga, 112 ways of spelling 189

_Cayuga_, Steamer, launched, speed trials 190

Century, the close of a 198

_Campion_, Steamer 37

Charleston, S. C. 159

Charles II. Adventurers 45

_Chicora_, Steamer--
  With Woolesly 47
  History name 148
  Renown 138

_Chicora_, Steamer, decision to build partner 136

_Chief Justice Robinson_, Steamer 34, 39, 41

Chief Deseronto 152

Chief Brant 152

Chippawa River 9

_Chippewa, Steamer_--
  Name 173
  Launched 174

_Cibola_, Steamer--
  Burned 17
  Built 145
  History of Name 148

_City of Toronto_, 1st Steamer 25

_City of Toronto_, 2nd Steamer 35
  Rebuilt as Algoma 44
  Transferred to Upper Lakes 45

_City of Toronto_, 3rd Steamer 35
  Goes ashore 123
  Burned 125

_Clermont_, Steamer 17

Collingwood-Lake Superior Line 109

_Columba_, Steamer 141

_Commodore Barrie_, Steamer 30

Connaught, H.R.H. Duke of 51

Conn, Capt. 14

_Corona_, Steamer--
  Named 179
  Launched 179

Cornell, Mr. George 89, 102

Cross raised at Fort Niagara 81

Cross raised at Quebec by Cartier 81

Cumberland, Col. F. W., M.P. 48, 49, 53, 62, 78, 121

Cumberland, Barlow-- 61, 109, 120, 172, 198

Cumberland, Mrs. Seraphina 122

Cumberland, Miss Mildred-- 174, 179

Cumberland, Miss Constance 150

_Cumberland_, Steamer 63

Currie, James C. Neil 36


Daniels, Geo. H. 176

Dawson Road 44, 48

Dennis, Joseph 14, 26

Denison, Lt.-Col. Robert 154

Denonville, Marquis de 82

Demary, J. G. 73

Dick, Capt. Thomas 30, 44

Dick, Capt. Jas. 44

Doctors prescribe Niagara Line 132

Docks purchased--
  Queenston 91
  Youngstown 166
  Niagara-on-Lake 181
  Lewiston 191
  Toronto 195

Dongan, Col. Thomas 81

Donaldson, Capt. William 110

Don Francesco de Chicora 149

Dorchester, Lord 13

Dorchester, Lady 13

_Dove_, Schooner 14

_Dragon_, H. M. S.   30

Dufferin, Lord 52
   Tour through Upper Lakes 53

Dufferin, Countess of 54

_Duke of Richmond_, Packet 15

Duke and Duchess of York 183

Dunbarton, Scotland 38


Early Steamer Routes and Rates 23, 24, 29, 31, 32, 134

Early Passenger Schedules--
  Albany and Bugalo 128

Early Passenger Agents 131

Early Closing Movement 185

Eckford, David 18

Electrical Traction, Infancy of 167

_Emerald_, Steamer 32

_Empress of India_, Steamer-- 114, 126

Engineer Corps of U. S. A. 193

Erie Canal 36, 40

Erie & Ontario Railway 38

Ernestown 18

Esquesing, Mills 42

Estes, Capt. Andrew 28

Evolution of the Niagara Gorge 180

Exclusive Rights for Navigation by Steam 18

Excursion, Queen's Birthday 94

Expansion of Niagara Navigation Co. 194

Exposition, Buffalo 182


Fast Time to Niagara 26-31

_Filgate_, Steamer 114

Finkle's Point 18, 19, 25

First Vessel on Lake Erie 10

First Navies On Lake Ontario 17

First Company to Build Steamer for Lake Ontario 17

First Steamer on Lake U & First Steamer on Hudson River 17

First Steamer on St. Lawrence 17

First Steamer on Lake Ontario 19

First Steamers on Lake Ontario, dimensions of 22

First Board of Directors N. N. Co. 197

First Steamer to Run the Rapids 121

First Niagara Camp 119

First Twin-screw Steamer on Upper Lakes 121

First Canoe Route to Upper Lakes 9, 45

First Name of Niagara 155

First Iron Steamers 36

First Railroads in New York State 127

First Sleeping Cars 129

First Electric Railway to Niagara River 167

First U. E. Loyalists 153

First Suspension Bridge over Niagara 171

Flour Rates (1855) to New York 41

Flour via Lewiston to Montreal 42

Folger, Mr. B. W. 186

Fort William 45

Fort Garry 44

Fort George 83, 120

Fort York--Toronto 154

Fort Missasauga 80

Fort Niagara, contests for possession of 12

Fort Niagara--
  Established by French 81
  Evacuated 83
  Captured by British 83
  Never captured 3
  Americans 83

Formalities on Early Steamers 26

Four Track Series 176

Foy, Hon. J. J. 184, 198

Foy, John 62, 109, 132, 188

Foy, Mr. A. 150

Foy, Miss Clara 179

French River 9, 45

French Pioneers, Trail of 11

French Encompass British 12

Friendly Hand Excursions 100

Frontenac, Count 10

_Frontenac_, Steamer, commenced 23, 24, 28

Frontenac Lake 12

Frontier House, Lewiston 146

Fulton, Robert 17


Gallinee, Pere 81

Gibraltar, Point 14

Gilbert, Abner 84

Gildersleeve Family Record 15

Gildersleeve, H. 25

_Gildersleeve_, Steamer 33

Gilkison, Robert 30, 31

Glasgow, Winter in 143

Gordon, L. B., Purser Peerless 41, 136

_Gore_, Steamer 30

Gorge Electric Railway 179

_Governor Simcoe_, Schooner 13

Grand Trunk Railway, opened 42

_Great Britain_, Steamer 29

Great Western Railway 42, 60

Great Trek to Western States 171

_Griffon_, Sloop 10, 81

Grimsby 32

Gunn, J. W. 37

Gzowski, Mr. Casimir 64


Hall, Capt. 76

Hamilton, Hon. Robert 25, 29, 170

Hamilton, Hon. John 29, 36

Hamilton Steamboat Co. purchased 114

Hanlan, Edward, reception of 114

Harbottle, Capt. Thomas 36, 92

Harbour Regulations, Toronto, 1851 37-38

_Hastings_, Steamer 150

Hayter, Mr. Ross 152

Head of Navigation Portages 170

Hendrie, Geo. H. 173

Hendrie, Hon. J. S. 197

Hendrie, William 173

Hennepin, Father 10

Heron, Capt. 34

_Highlander_, Steamer 37

Historical Society, Buffalo 20

Horse Canalling through Welland 68

Hudson River Railroad 41

Hudson's Bay Fort 50


Ice Jams on River 191-194

Irea, A Novel 59

Immigrants by Chippawa River 171

Indiana Excursions 99

Interest, Points of 101

Iroquois Cap 11

Irwin, C. W. 88

Isle Royale 11, 63

Israel Tarte's Decisiveness 184


_J. T. Robb_, Tug 62

_Jean Baptiste_, Steamer 114

Johnson, Sir William 12, 83

Jonquiere 83


Kaministiqua River 45

_Kathleen_, Steamer 150

Kendrick, Mr. D. M. 175

Kent, H. R. H. Duke of 13

Kerr, Capt. Robert 32, 87

Kingston Gazette 19

Kingston Dockyard 29

Kirby, Mr. Frank 173


La Salle 10

_Lady Dorchester_, Schooner 13

_Lady Washington_, Schooner 13

_Lahn_, S.S. 138

Lake Superior 44

Lake Ontario Steamboat
Co. 20

Lake Nipissing 81

Leach, Capt. Thomas 43, 62, 125

Leach, Alexander 62, 103

Legislature, Provincial 46

Lewiston 12, 20, 89

Lewiston, Railway Development 134

Liancourt, Duke de 85

Ligneris 12

Limitation of Passengers 116-118

_Limnale_, Warship 13

Livingston 18

Long Point Bay 14

_Lord of the Isles_, Steamer 141

Lunt, Mr. R. C. 88, 110, 111, 118

Lusher 19


Mackinac 57

Macdonald, Bruce 198

Macklem, Oliver T. 38

_Magnet_, Steamer 37

_Maid of the Mist_, Steamer 121

Maitland, Lady 26

Maitland, Sir Peregrine 26

Mallahy, U. S. N. Capt. Francis 22

Manchester 31

Manitoulin Island 44

Manson, Capt. William 62, 70, 78

_Maple Leaf_, Steamer 37

Marine Dept., United States 63

Marine Insurance Anomalies 66

Mariner, An Ancient 73

Marks, Thomas 51

_Martha Ogden_, Steamer 20, 28, 29

Matthews, W. D. 198

Maude, John 85

_Maxwell_, Steamer 114

_Mayflower_, Steamer 37

McBride, R. H. 62, 78, 198

McCorquodale, Capt. 130, 152, 187

McGiffin, Capt. 152, 180

McKenzie, R.N. Capt. James 23, 29

McLean, Capt. 48

McLure, General, Retreats from Newark 86

McNab, Capt. 56

Meeker, Mr. C. B. 127

Mellish, John 85

Milloy, Capt. Duncan 38, 43

Milloy, N. & Co. 47

Milloy Estate, Arrangements with 87

Milloy, Donald 88, 110, 122

Milloy, Capt. Wm. Assumes Control 122

_Minerva_, Packet 15

Missassag River 45

Mississippi River 11

_Mohawk_, Sloop 13

_Moira_, Warship 15

Molson, Hon. John 17

Monett, Mr. Henry 175

Moore, George, Chief Engineer 93

Morton, Mr. Robert 142

Mowats Dock 124

Murdock, William 51

Muir's Dry Dock 59

Muir, Mr. W. K. 60

Muir, Capt. D. 72

Mull, Y. Cantire 144

Murney, Captain 15

Murphy, Steve 130

Myers, Capt. 14


Names for Steamers, why chosen 147, 155, 173, 179, 188

Navigation, Upper Lakes, Permitive 52

Navy Hall 13, 120

Nepigon River 45

Newark 84
  Seat of Government, burned by Americans, rises from ashes 85, 86

New Orleans 11

_New Era_, Steamer 37

New York Central Railway 40, 127, 128, 172

New York to Buffalo in 1847 172

Niagara River, Gateway of West 11-12

Niagara River Steamers in 1826 28

_Niagara_, Steamer 28, 29

Niagara Navigation Co.--
  Formed 61
  First Directors 61-62

Niagara Dock Co. 30

Niagara Falls & Ontario Railway 40

Niagara Escarpment, View from 70, 168

Niagara-on-the-Lake 80

Niagara Portal 80

Niagara-on-Lake, Changes in Name 86

Niagara River Line 95

Niagara Dock 104

Niagara Historical Society 119

Niagara Line, Final Supremacy 126

Niagara Falls & Ontario R. K. 135

Niagara River Navigation Co., U. S. A. 166

Niagara Falls Park and River Railway 167

Niagara to the Sea 196-197

Niles Weekly Register 20, 21

North-West Company 13

_Northerner_, Steamer 37

Notable Day (1840) on River 33

Notable Passages to Niagara 187


Oakville, Mills 42

Oakville Church 95

Oates, Commander Edward 16

Observation Cars 151

Ogdensburgh 29

Ohio River 11

Onandaga Salt Wells 35

_Ongiara_, Steamer 155

_Ontario_, Steamer--
  Commenced 14
  Launched 21, 22, 24

Ontario Steamboat Co. 19, 20

_Orion_, Schooner 49

Orr, Capt. James C. 55

Osler, Mr. E. B. 173, 188, 198

Osler, F. Gordon 198

Osler, Miss Niary 174

Oskwego Lake 9

_Ottawa_, Steamer 30

Ottawa River 9

_Ozone_, Steamer 141


_Pandora_, Schooner 49

Parry Sound 53, 56

Parry, W. H. 177

_Passport_, Steamer 36

_Peerless_, Steamer 38

Pellatt, C.V.O., Sir Henry   198

Penobscot, Maine 30

Phelan, T. P. 93

Pioneers of France 11

Plimsoll's Legislation 139

Point Aux Pins 48

Point Ahina 67

Pollard, Capt. & Adjt. 119

Port Dalhousie 32, 72

Port Colborne 62, 63

Port Credit, Mills 42

Port Arthur 51

Pouchot 12

_Powhatan_, Warship, U. S. 158

_Prince Edward_, Sloop 13

Prince Arthur's Landing 50
  Origin of Name 51

Prince Arthur of Connaught 51

Presquile 11, 14

Puchot, Capt. 83


Quebec 12

Quebec Gazette 20

Queenston Heights 10

Queenston Heights, Battle of 169

_Queenston_, Steamer 25, 28, 29

_Queen Victoria_, Steamer 30, 32

Queen Anne, Communion Service 152

Queen Victoria Niagara Park 151

_Queen Charlotte_, Steamer 25

_Queen City_, Steamer 42

Quinte, Bay of 18


Racing, Protest Against 111

Rainy River 11

Rankin, Blackmore & Co. 142

Rathbun, E. W. 145, 151

_Red Jacket_, Steamer 31

Red River 45

_Reindeer_, Schooner 14

Richards, Mr. E. J. 129

Richardson, Capt. James 14

Richardson, Capt. Hugh 26, 37

Richardson, Capt. Hugh, Jr. 34

Riel Rebellion 47

_Rochester_, Steamer 35

_Rothsay Castle_, Steamer 43

_Rothesay_, Steamer 88, 92, 118

Rouge River 26

Route Hudson Bay & North-West Co. 45

Royal Mail Line 37,196

Ruggles, A. W. 177

Running the Blockade on the "Let Her B" 156

_Rupert_, Steamer 125

Russell, Governor 85


Sackett's Harbour 18

Sailing Era Closed 16

Salter, Rev. G. 172

Sault Canal 48

Scott, General Winfield 15

Second Canoe Route to Upper Lakes 11

_Seneca_, Warship 13

_Shickluna_, Steamer 49

Shipbuilding at Niagara 30-38

_Simcoe_, Sloop 14

Simcoe, Lieut.-Gov. 84, 85

Sinclair, Capt. James 30

Six Nation Indians 152

Smith, Hon. Frank, afterward Sir 61, 78, 92, 109, 183

Smyth, Charles 18, 20

Solmes, W. H., Capt. 67

Sorel 78

_Southern Belle_, Steamer 43, 59

_Speedy_, Schooner 14

St. Clair Lake 10, 11

St. Louis 11

_St. Nicholas_, Steamer 42

St. Catharines 32, 60, 71

St. Catharines & Toronto Line 126

Stages to Lewiston 25, 171

Steamboating Era Begins 17

Stoney Point 29

Sutherland, Capt. J. 37

Sullivan, J. M. 197

Sydenham, Lord, Gov.-Genl. 33


Teabout & Chapman 18, 25

Tea in Canada 144

The Old Portage 168

Through the Last Lock 74, 76

Thunder Bay 47

Tillingharst, Mr. 92

Tinning's Wharf 43

_Toronto_, Schooner 14

Toronto citizens given to water sports 114

Toronto Field Battery 119

Tour, Lord Dufferin 53

Towed Across Lake Erie 66, 77

Transfer Coaches at Lewiston 146

_Transit_, Steamer 30, 34

_Traveller_, Steamer 30

Trickett, Edward 114

Troyes, Pierre de 82

_Turbinia_, Steamer Competes 190

Twohey, Capt. H. 36


Underwood, Mr. 177

_United Kingdom_, Steamer 29

_United States_, Steamer 30


Van Cleve, Capt. 20, 21, 28, 29, 146

Vancouver 30

Vanderbilt, Commodore 127

_Victoria_, Steamer 31

Vrooman's Bay 105


Wabash District 99

Washago, Laying Corner Stone 53-54

Wauhuno Channel 56

_Waubuno_, Steamer 56, 57

Weather Bureau, United States 65

Weekes, E. J. 176

Welland Canal 58, 60, 68

Western Railroad 41

West Niagara 84

Whalen, J., Foreman 145

Where the Falls Once Were 181

Whiskey in Scotland 144

White, W. 136

Whitehead, M. F. 15

Whitney, Capt. Joseph 29

_William IV._, Steamer 30, 31

Wilson, Joseph 49

Winter Mail Services 34, 39, 40, 42

Wolseley Expedition 47
  American Obstacles to 50

Wolseley, Col. Garnet 50
  Names Prince Arthur's Landing 51

Woodward, M. D. 60

Wyatt, Capt. Thomas 88


_York_, Schooner 13

York 37, 85

Youngstown 28, 29, 135


_Zimmerman_, Steamer 38

[Illustration: QUEENSTOWN. The NIAGARA RIVER from Queenston Heights. (page




Since ever the changes of season have come, when grasses grow green, and
open waters flow, the courses of the Niagara River, above and below the
great Falls, have been the central route, for voyaging between the far
inland countries on this continent, and the waters of the Atlantic shores.

Here the Indian of prehistoric days, unmolested by the intruding white,
roamed at will in migration from one of his hunting-grounds to another,
making his portage and passing in his canoe between Lake Erie and Lake
Oskwego (Ontario). In later days, when the French had established
themselves at Quebec and Montreal, access to Lake Huron and the upper lakes
was at first sought by their voyageurs along the nearer route of the Ottawa
and French Rivers, a route involving many difficulties in surmounting
rapids, heavy labour on numberless portages, and exceeding delay.
Information had filtered down gradually through Indian sources of the
existence of this Niagara River Route, on which there was but one portage
of but fourteen miles to be passed from lake to lake, and only nine miles
if the canoes entered the water again at the little river (Chippawa) above
the Falls.

On learning the fact the French turned their attention to this new
waterway, but for many a weary decade were unable to establish themselves
upon it. In 1678 Father Hennepin, with an expedition sent out by Sieur La
Salle sailed from Cataraqui (Kingston) to the Niagara River, the name
"Hennepin Rock" having come down in tradition as a reminiscence of their
first landing below what is now Queenston Heights. Passing over the
"Carrying Place," they reached Lake Erie. Here, at the outlet of the Cayuga
Creek, on the south shore, they built a small two-masted vessel rigged with
equipment which they brought up for the purpose from Cataraqui, in the
following year.

This vessel, launched in 1679, and named the "Griffon" in recognition of
the crest on the coat of arms of Count Frontenac, the Governor of Canada,
was the first vessel built by Europeans to sail upon the upper waters. In
size she so much exceeded that of any of their own craft, with her white
sails billowing like an apparition, and of novel and unusual appearance,
that intensest excitement was created among the Indian tribes as she passed
along their shores.

Her life was brief, and the history of her movements scanty; the report
being that after sailing through Lake St. Clair she reached Michilimakinac
and Green Bay, on Lake Michigan, but passed out of sight on Lake Huron on
the return journey, and was never heard of afterwards.

Tiny though this vessel was and sailing slow upon the Upper Lakes, yet a
great epoch had been opened up, for she was the progenitor of all the
myriad ships which ply upon these waters at the present day. It was the
entrance of the white man, with his consuming trade energy, into the red
man's realm, the death knell of the Indian race.

With greatly increased frequency of travelling and the more bulky
requirements of freightage this "one portage" route was more increasingly
sought, and as the result of their voyagings these early French pioneers
have marked their names along the waterways as ever remaining records of
their prowess--such as Presquile (almost an island); Detroit (the narrow
place); Lac Sainte Clair; Sault Ste Marie (Rapids of St. Mary River); Cap
Iroquois; Isle Royale; Rainy River (after René de Varennes); Duluth (after
Sieur du Luth, of Montreal); Fond du Lac (Head of Lake Superior).

From here mounting up the St. Croix River, seeking the expansion of that
New France to whose glory they so ungrudgingly devoted their lives, these
intrepid adventurers reached over to the Mississippi, and sweeping down its
waters still further marked their way at St. Louis (after their King) and
New Orleans (after his capital), annexing all the adjacent territories to
their Sovereign's domains.

The Niagara River Route then became the motive centre of a mighty
circum-vallation by which the early French encompassed within its circle
the English Colonies then skirting along the Atlantic.

What a magnificent conception it was of these intrepid French to envelope
the British settlements and strengthened by alliances with the Indian
tribes and fortified by a line of outposts established along the routes of
the Ohio and the Mississippi, to hem their competitors in from expansion to
the great interior country of the centre and the west. Standing astride the
continent with one foot on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, at Quebec, and the
other at New Orleans, on the Gulf of Mexico, the interior lines of commerce
and of trade were in their hands. They hoped that Canada, their New France,
on this side of the ocean, was to absorb all the continent excepting the
colonies along the shores of the sea. So matters remained for a century.

Meanwhile the English colonies had expanded to the south shores of the
Lakes Oswego and Frontenac, and in 1758 we read of an English Navy of eight
schooners and three brigs sailing on Lake Ontario under the red cross of
St. George and manned by sailors of the colonies.

In 1759, came the great struggle for the possession of the St. Lawrence and
connecting lines of the waterways. Fort Niagara, whose large central stone
"castle," built in 1726, still remains, passed from the French under
Pouchot, to the British under Sir William Johnson; a great flotilla of
canoes conveying the Indian warriors under Ligneris to the aid of the Fort,
had come down from the Upper Lakes, to the Niagara River, but upon it being
proved to them that they were too late, for the Fort had fallen, they
re-entered their canoes and re-traced their way up the rivers back to their
Western homes.

Next followed the fall of Quebec, and with the cession of Montreal in 1760
the "New France" of old from the St. Lawrence to the Mexican Gulf became
merged in the "New England" of British Canada.

The control of the great central waterway, of which this Niagara River was
the gateway, had passed into other hands.

For another fifty years only sailing vessels navigated the lakes to
Niagara, and these, and batteaux, pushed along the shores and up the river
by poles, made their way to the foot of the rapids at Lewiston with
difficulty. These vessels were mainly small schooners with some cabin

After the cession of Canada, by the French, the British Government began
the establishment of a small navy on Lake Ontario. An official return
called for by Lord Dorchester, Governor-General of Canada, gives the
Government vessels as being in 1787, _Limnale_, 220 tons, 10 guns.
_Seneca_, 130 tons, 18 guns. _Caldwell_, 37 tons, 2 guns, and two schooners
of 100 tons each being built. As there was at that time but one merchant
vessel, the schooner _Lady Dorchester_, 80 tons, sailing on the lake, and a
few smaller craft the property of settlers, transport for passengers
between the principal ports was mainly afforded by the Government vessels.
As an instance of their voyaging may be given that of _H.M.S. Caldwell_,
which in 1793, carrying Lady Dorchester, the wife of the Governor-General,
is reported to have made "an agreeable passage of thirty-six hours from
Kingston to Niagara."

In this same year H.R.H. the Duke of Kent [afterwards father of Her Majesty
Queen Victoria] is reported as having proceeded from Kingston up Lake
Ontario to Navy Hall on the Niagara River in the King's ship _Mohawk_
commanded by Commodore Bouchette.

Further additions to the merchant schooners were the _York_, built on the
Niagara River in 1792, and the _Governor Simcoe_, in 1797, for the
North-West Company's use in their trading services on Lake Ontario. Another
reported in 1797--the _Washington_--built at Erie, Pa., was bought by
Canadians, portaged around the Falls and run on the British register from
Queenston to Kingston as the _Lady Washington_.

The forests of those days existed in all their primeval condition, so that
the choicest woods were used in the construction of the vessels. We read in
1798 of the _Prince Edward_, built of red cedar, under Captain Murney of
Belleville, and capable of carrying seven hundred barrels of flour, and of
another "good sloop" upon the stocks at Long Point Bay, near Kingston,
being built of black walnut. A schooner, "The Toronto," built in 1799, a
little way up the Humber, by Mr. Joseph Dennis, is described as "one of
the handsomest vessels, and bids fair to be the swiftest sailing vessel on
the lake, and is admirably calculated for the reception of passengers."
This vessel, often mentioned as "The Toronto Yacht," was evidently a great
favorite, being patronized by the Lieutenant-Governor and the Archbishop,
and after a successful and appreciated career, finished her course abruptly
by going ashore on Gibraltar Point in 1811. The loss of the Government
schooner _Speedy_ was one of the tragic events of the times. The Judge of
the District Court, the Solicitor General and several lawyers who were
proceeding from York to hold the Assizes in the Newcastle District,
together with the High Constable of York, and an Indian prisoner whom they
were to try for murder, were all lost when the vessel foundered off
Presquile in an exceptional gale on 7th October, 1804.

Two sailing vessels, the schooners _Dove_ and the _Reindeer_, (Capt. Myers)
are reported in 1809 as plying between York and Niagara. A third, commanded
by Capt. Conn, is mentioned by Caniff, but no name has come down of this
vessel, but only her nickname of "_Captain Conn's Coffin_." This _j'eu
d'esprit_ may have been due to some peculiarity in her shape, but as no
disaster is reported as having occurred to her she may have been more
seaworthy than the nickname would have indicated.

Of other events of sailing vessels was the memorable trip from Queenston to
York in October, 1812, of the sloop _Simcoe_, owned and commended by Capt.
James Richardson.

After the battle of Queenston Heights, on October 13th, she had been laden
with American prisoners, among them General Winfield Scott, afterwards the
conqueror in Mexico, to be forwarded at once to Kingston. The _Moira_ of
the royal navy was then lying off the port of York and on her Mr.
Richardson, a son of the Captain, was serving as sailing master.

As the _Simcoe_ approached she was recognized by young Richardson, who,
putting off in a small boat, met her out in the lake and was much surprised
at seeing the crowded state of her decks and at the equipment of his
father, who, somewhat unusually for him, was wearing a sword.

The first words from the ship brought great joy--a great battle had been
fought on Queenston Heights--the enemy had been beaten. The _Simcoe_ was
full of prisoners of war to be transported at once to the _Moira_ for
conveyance to Kingston. Then came the mournful statement, "General Brock
has been killed." The rapture of victory was overwhelmed by the sense of
irreparable loss. In such way was the sad news carried in those sailing
days to York.

The _Minerva_, "Packet," owner and built by Henry Gildersleeve, at Finkle's
Point in 1817, held high repute. Richard Gildersleeve emigrated from
Hertfordshire, England, in 1635, and settled in Connecticut. His
great-great-grandson, Obadiah, established a successful shipbuilding yard
at "Gildersleeve," Conn. Henry Gildersleeve, his grandson, here learned his
business and coming to Finkle's Point in 1816 assisted on the _Frontenac_,
and continuing in shipbuilding, married Mrs. Finkle. When _Minerva_ arrived
at Kingston she was declared by Capt. Murray, R.N., to be in her
construction and lines the best yet turned out, as she proved when plying
as a "Packet" between Toronto and Niagara.

Many sailing vessels meeting with varying success, were plying between all
the ports on the lake. The voyages were not always of the speediest. "The
Caledonia," schooner, is reported to have taken six days from Prescott to
York. Mr. M. F. Whitehead, of Port Hope, crossed from Niagara to York in
1818, the passage occupying two and a half days. In a letter of his
describing the trip he enters:--"Fortunately, Dr. Baldwin had thoughtfully
provided a leg of lamb, a loaf of bread, and a bottle of porter; all our
fare for the two days and a half."

These vessels seem to have sailed somewhat intermittently, but regular
connection on every other day with the Niagara River was established by
"The Duke of Richmond" packet, a sloop of one hundred tons built at York in
1820, under Commander Edward Oates.

His advertisements announced her to "leave York Monday, Wednesday and
Friday at 9 a.m. Leave Niagara on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10
a.m., between July and September," after that "according to notice." The
rates of passage were:--"After Cabin ten shillings; Fore Cabin 6s. 6.;
sixty lbs. of baggage allowed for each passenger, but over that 9d. per
cwt. or 2s. per barrel bulk."

The standard of measurement was a homely one, but no doubt well understood
at that time, and easily ascertained. In the expansion of the size of
ladies' trunks in these present days it is not beyond possibility that a
measurement system such as used in the early part of the last century might
not be inadvisable.

The reports of the "packet" describe her as being comfortable and
weatherly, and very regular in keeping up her time-table. She performed her
services successfully on the route until 1823, when she succumbed to the
competition of the steamboats which had shortly before been introduced.
With the introduction upon the lakes of this new method of propulsion the
carrying of passengers on sailing vessels quickly ceased.



The era of steamboating had now arrived. The _Clermont_, built by Robert
Fulton, and furnished with English engines by Boulton & Watts, of
Birmingham, had made her first trip on the Hudson from New York to Albany
in August, 1807, and was afterwards continuing to run on the river.

In 1809 the _Accommodation_, built by the Hon. John Molson at Montreal, and
fitted with engines made in that city, was running successfully between
Montreal and Quebec, being the first steamer on the St. Lawrence and in

The experience of both of these vessels had shown that the new system of
propulsion of vessels by steam power was commercially profitable, and as it
had been proved successful upon the river water, it was but reasonable that
its application to the more open waters of the lakes should next obtain

The war of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States, accompanied by
its constant invasions of Canada, had interrupted any immediate expansion
in steamboating enterprises.

Peace having been declared in February, 1815, the projects were immediately
revived and in the spring of that year a British company was formed with
shareholders in Kingston, Niagara, York, and Prescott, to build a
steamboat to ply on Lake Ontario. A site suitable for its construction was
selected on the beaches on _Finkle's Point_, at _Ernestown_, 18 miles up
the lake from Kingston, on one of the reaches of the Bay of Quinte.

A contract was let to Henry Teabout and James Chapman, two young men who
had been foremen under David Eckford, the master shipbuilder of New York,
who during the war had constructed the warships for the United States
Government at its dockyard at Sackett's Harbor. Construction was commenced
at Finkle's Point in October, 1815, and with considerable delays caused in
selection of the timbers, was continued during the winter.
(Canniff--Settlement of Upper Canada). The steamer was launched with great
eclat on 7th September, 1816, and named the _Frontenac_, after the County
of Frontenac in which she had been built.

A similar wave of enterprise had arisen also on the United States side and
it becomes of much interest to search up the annals of over a hundred years
ago and ascertain to which side of the lake is to be accorded the palm for
placing the first steamboat on Lake Ontario. Especially as opinions have
varied on the subject, and owing to a statement made, as we shall find,
erroneously, in a distant press the precedence has usually been given to an
American steamer.

The first record of the steamboat on the American side is an agreement
dated January 2, 1816, executed between the Robert Fulton heirs and
Livingston, of Clermont, granting to Charles Smyth and others an exclusive
right to navigate boats and vessels by steam on Lake Ontario.

These exclusive rights for the navigation on American waters "by steam or
fire" had previously been granted to the Fulton partnership by the
Legislature of the State of New York.

The terms of the agreement set out that the grantees were to pay annually
to the grantors one-half of all the net profits in excess of a dividend of
12 per cent. upon the investment. On the 16th of the next month a bill was
passed in the Legislature of New York incorporating the "Ontario Steamboat
Co.," but in consequence of the too early adjournment of the Legislature
did not become law.

At this time, (February, 1816) the construction of the Canadian boat at
Ernestown was well under way.

By an assignment dated August 16th, 1816, Lusher and others became partners
with Smyth, and as a result it is stated (Hough--History of Jefferson
County, N.Y.) "a boat was commenced at Sackett's Harbor the same summer."

Three weeks after the date of this commencing of the boat on the American
side, or Sackett's Harbour, the Frontenac, on the Canadian side, was
launched on the 7th September, 1816, at Finkle's Point.

In the description of this launch of the _Frontenac_ given in the September
issue of the Kingston Gazette, the details of her size are stated. "Length,
170 feet; beam, 32 feet; two paddle wheels with circumference about 40
feet. Registered tonnage, 700 tons." Further statements made are, "Good
judges have pronounced this to be the best piece of naval architecture of
the kind yet produced in America." "The machinery for this valuable boat
was imported from England and is said to be an excellent structure. It is
expected that she will be finished and ready for use in a few weeks."

Having been launched with engines on board in early September the
_Frontenac_ then sailed down the lake from Ernestown to Kingston to lay up
in the port.

In another part of this same September issue of the Kingston Gazette an
item is given: "A steamboat was lately launched at Sackett's Harbor."

No name is given of the steamer, nor the date of the launch, but this item
has been considered to have referred to the steamer named _Ontario_, built
at Sackett's Harbor and in consequence of its having apparently been
launched first, precedence has been claimed for the United States vessel.

This item, "_A steamboat was lately launched at Sackett's Harbor_,"
develops, on further search, to have first appeared as a paragraph under
the reading chronicles in "Niles Weekly Register," published far south in
the United States at Baltimore, Maryland. From here it was copied verbatim
as above by the Kingston Gazette, and afterwards by the Quebec Gazette of
26th Sept., 1816.

Further enquiry, however, nearer the scene of construction indicates that
an error had been made in the wording of the item, which had apparently
been copied into the other papers without verification.

In the library of the Historical Society at Buffalo is deposited the
manuscript diary of Capt. Van Cleve, who sailed as clerk and as captain on
the _Martha Ogden_, the next steamboat to be built at Sackett's Harbor six
years after the _Ontario_. In this he writes, "the construction of the
_Ontario_ was begun at Sackett's Harbor in August, 1816." He also gives a
drawing, from which all subsequent illustrations of the _Ontario_ have been
taken. Further information of the American steamer is given in an
application for incorporation of the "Lake Ontario Steam Boat Co." made in
December, 1816, by Charles Smyth and others, of Sackett's Harbor, who
stated in their petition that they had "lately constructed a steam boat at
Sackett's Harbor"--"the Navy Department of the United States have
generously delivered a sufficiency of timber for the construction of the
vessel for a reasonable sum of money"--"the boat is now built"--"the cost
so far exceeds the means which mercantile men can generally command that
they are unable to build any further"--"the English in the Province of
Upper Canada have constructed a steam boat of seven hundred tons burthen
avowedly for the purpose of engrossing the business on both sides of the

All this indicates that the American boat had not been launched and in
December was still under construction.

It is more reasonable to accept the statements of Capt. Van Cleve and
others close to the scene of operations rather than to base conclusions
upon the single item in the publication issued at so far a distance and
without definite details.

It is quite evident that the item in Niles Register should have read "was
lately _commenced_," instead of "was lately _launched_." The change of this
one word would bring it into complete agreement with all the other
evidences of the period and into accord with the facts.

No absolute date for the launching of the _Ontario_ or of the giving of her
name has been ascertainable, but as she was not commenced until August it
certainly could not have been until after that of the _Frontenac_ on Sept.
7th, 1816. The first boat launched was, therefore, on the Canadian side.

The movements of the steamers in the spring of 1817 are more easily traced.
Niles Register, 29th March, 1817, notes, "The steamboat _Ontario_ is
prepared for the lake," and Capt. Van Cleve says, "The first enrollment of
the _Ontario_ in the customs office was made on 11th April," and "She made
her first trip in April."

The data of the dimensions of the _Ontario_ are recorded, being only about
one-third the capacity of the _Frontenac_, which would account for the
shorter time in which she was constructed. The relative sizes were:

                    Length.   Beam.   tons.
      _Frontenac_    170       32     700
      _Ontario_      110       24     240

No drawing of the _Frontenac_ is extant, but she has been described as
having guards only at the paddle wheels, the hull painted black, and as
having three masts, but no yards. The _Ontario_ had two masts, as shown in
the drawing by Van Cleve.

No distinctive date is given for the first trip in April of the _Ontario_,
on which it is reported (Beers History of the Great Lakes) "The waves
lifted the paddle wheels off their bearings, tearing away the wooden
coverings. After making the repairs the shaft was securely held in place."

Afterwards under the command of Capt. Francis Mallaby, U. S. N., weekly
trips between Ogdensburgh and Lewiston were attempted, but after this
interruption by advertisement of 1st July, 1817, the time had to be
extended to once in ten days. The speed of the steamer was found to seldom
exceed five miles per hour. (History of Jefferson County. Hough).

The _Ontario_ ran for some years, but does not seem to have met with much
success and, having gone out of commission, was broken up at Oswego in

In the spring of 1817 the first mention of the _Frontenac_ is in Kingston
of her having moved over on 23rd May to the Government dock at Point
Frederick, "for putting in a suction pipe," the Kingston Gazette further
describing that "she moved with majestic grandeur against a strong wind."
On 30th May the Gazette reports her as "leaving this port for the purpose
of taking in wood at the Bay Quinte. A fresh breeze was blowing into the
harbor against which she proceeded swiftly and steadily to the admiration
of a great number of spectators. We congratulate the managers and
proprietors of this elegant boat, upon the prospect she affords of
facilitating the navigation of Lake Ontario in furnishing an expeditious
and certain mode of conveyance to its various ports."

It can well be imagined with what wonder the movements of this first
steam-driven vessel were witnessed.

In the Kingston Gazette of June 7, 1817, entry is made, "The _Frontenac_
left this port on Thursday, 5th, on her first trip for the head of the

The opening route of the _Frontenac_, commanded by Capt. James McKenzie, a
retired officer of the royal navy, was between Kingston and Queenston,
calling at York and Niagara and other intermediate ports. The venture of a
steamer plying on the open lakes, where the paddle wheels would be
subjected to wave action, was a new one, so for the opening trips her
captain announced, with the proverbial caution of a Scotchman, that the
calls at the ports would be made "_with as much punctuality as the nature
of lake navigation will admit of_." Later, the steamer, having proved her
capacity by two round trips, the advertisements of June, 1817, state the
time-table of the steamer as "leaving Kingston for York on the 1st, 11th,
and 23rd days," and "York for Queenston on 3rd, 13th, and 25th days of each
month, calling at all intermediate ports." "Passenger fares, Kingston to
Ernestown, 5s; Prescott, £1.10.0; Newcastle, £1.15.0; York and Niagara,
£2.0.0; Burlington, £3.15.0; York to Niagara, £1.0.0." Further excerpts
are: "A book is kept for the entering of the names of the passengers and
the berths which they choose, at which time the passage money must be
paid." "Gentlemen's servants cannot eat or sleep in the cabin." "Deck
passengers will pay fifteen shillings, and may either bring their own
provisions or be furnished by the steward." "For each dog brought on board,
five shillings." "All applications for passage to be made to Capt. McKenzie
on board." After having run regularly each season on Lake Ontario and the
Niagara River her career was closed in 1827 when, while on the Niagara
River, she was set on fire, it was said, by incendiaries, for whose
discovery her owners, the Messrs. Hamilton, offered a reward of £100, but
without result. Being seriously damaged, she was shortly afterwards broken

Such were the careers of the first two steamers which sailed upon Lake
Ontario and the Niagara River, and from the data it is apparent that the
_Frontenac_ on the British side was the first steamboat placed on Lake
Ontario, and that the _Ontario_, on the United States side, had been the
first to make a trip up lake, having priority in this over her rival by
perhaps a week or two, but not preceding her in the entering into and
performance of a regular service.

With them began the new method for travel, far exceeding in speed and
facilities any previously existing, so that the stage lines and sailing
vessels were quickly eliminated.

This practical monopoly the steamers enjoyed for a period of fifty years,
when their Nemesis in turn arrived and the era of rail competition began.

[Illustration: The ONTARIO. 1817. The second Steamer on Lake Ontario.

From the original drawing by Capt. VAN CLEVE page 21]

[Illustration: The GREAT BRITAIN. 1830.

By courtesy of Mr. John Ross Robertson reproduced from his "Landmarks of
Toronto." page 29]




The _Frontenac_ was followed by the _Queen Charlotte_, built in the same
yards at Finkle's Point, by Teabout and Chapman, and launched on 22nd
April, 1818, for H. Gildersleeve, the progenitor of that family which has
ever since been foremost in the ranks of steamboating in Canada. He sailed
her for twenty years as captain and purser, her first route being a round
trip every ten days between Kingston, York and Queenston. The passage rates
at this time were from Kingston to York and Niagara £3 ($12.00), from York
to Niagara £1 ($4.00).

In 1824 appeared the first "City of Toronto," of 350 tons, built in the
harbor of York at the foot of Church Street. Her life was neither long nor
successful, she being sold by auction "with all her furniture" in December,
1830, and broken up.

Passenger traffic was now so much increasing that steamers began to follow
more quickly. The Lewiston "Sentinel" in 1824, in a paragraph eulogizing
their then rising town, says:--"Travel is rapidly increasing, regular lines
of stages excelled by none, run daily by the Ridge Road to Lockport, and on
Fridays weekly to Buffalo. The steamboats are increasing in business and
affording every facility to the traveller." The Hon. Robert Hamilton, who
for so many years afterwards was dominantly interested in steamboating,
launched the "Queenston" in 1825 at Queenston. His fine residence, from
which he could watch the movements of his own and other steamers, still
stands on the edge of the high bank overlooking the Queenston dock.

In 1826 there was added the "Canada," built at the mouth of the Rouge River
by Mr. Joseph Dennis and brought to York to have the engines installed,
which had been constructed by Hess and Wards, of Montreal. Under the charge
of Captain Hugh Richardson, her captain and managing owner, she had a long
and notable career. The contemporary annals describe her as "a fast boat,"
and as making the trip from York to Niagara "in four hours and some

Her Captain was a seaman of the old school, dominant, and watchful of the
proprieties on the quarter deck.

On one occasion in 1828, when Sir Peregrine Maitland, the
Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, and Lady Maitland, had taken passage
with him from York to Queenston en route to Stamford, a newspaper item had
accused him of undue exclusiveness on the "Canada" to the annoyance of
other passengers.

To this the doughty "Captain and Managing Owner" replied by a letter in
which he denied the accusation and added: "As long as I command the
"Canada" and have a rag of colour to hoist, my proudest day will be when it
floats at the masthead indicative of the presence and commands of the
representative of my King."

The departure of his steamer from port was announced in an exceptional
manner, as stated in the concluding words of his advertisement to the
public: "N.B. A gun will be fired and colours hoisted twenty-five minutes
before starting."

In another controversy, which arose from the contract for carrying the
mails on the Niagara route having been withdrawn from the steamer "Canada,"
it was developed that while the pay to the steamer was only 1s. 3d. per
trip, the Government postage between York and Niagara was 7d. on each
letter. This charge the captain considered excessive, but as the postmaster
at Niagara now refused to receive any letters from his steamer he regretted
he had to make public announcement that he was obliged (in future) to
decline to accept any more letters to be taken across the lake.

The captain-commander of a lake steamboat in those days was a person of
importance and repute. Unquestioned ruler on his "ship," he represented the
honour of his Flag and obedience to his Country's laws.

Most of them had been officers of the Royal Navy and had served during the
1812 War, having been trained in the discipline and conventions of His
Majesty's service, and similarly on the American boats had served in the
United States Navy.

At the present day on our Muskoka and inland lakes, the advent of the daily
steamer is a crowning event, bringing all the neighbourhood down to the
waterside dock, in curiosity or in welcome. Still more so it was in those
early times when the mode of steam progression was novel and a source of
wonder, and the days of call so much more infrequent.

The captain was no doubt the bearer of letters to be delivered into the
hands of friends, certainly the medium of the latest news (and gossip) from
the other ports on the lake, and was sought for tidings from the outside,
as well as in welcome to himself. In particular evidence of the confidence
reposed in him and in his gallantry, he was the honored Guardian of ladies
and children, travelling alone, who were with much empressment confided to
his care. Being usually a part owner his attentions were gracious
hospitalities, so that a seat at the commander's table was not only a
privilege, but an appreciated acknowledgement of social position.

These were the halcyon days of Officers on the lakes, when the increased
speed of the new method was enjoyed and appreciated, but the congenialities
of a pleasant passage, were not lost in impatient haste for its earlier

There were in 1826 five steamers running on the Niagara River Route. The
"Niagara" and "Queenston" from Prescott; "Frontenac" from Kingston; "Martha
Ogden," an American steamer from the south shore ports and Ogdensburg, and
the "Canada" to York and "head of the lake," presumably near Burlington,
and return.

On this "Martha Ogden," built at Sackett's Harbour, in 1824, Captain Van
Cleve, of Lewiston, served for many years as clerk, and afterwards as
captain. In a manuscript left by him many interesting events in her history
are narrated. In 1826 she ran under the command of Captain Andrew Estes
between Youngstown and York. Youngstown was then a port of much importance.
It was the shipping place of a very considerable hardwood timbering
business the trees being brought in from the surrounding country. Its
docks, situated close to the lake on an eddy separated from the rapid flow
of the river, formed an easily accessible centre for the batteaux and
sailing craft which communicated with the Eastern ports on Lake Ontario.

A considerable quantity of grain was also at that time raised in the
district, providing material for the stone flour mill built in 1840. This
mill, grinding two hundred barrels per day, was in those days considered a
marvel of enterprise. Though many years ago disused for such purpose it is
still to be seen just a little above the Niagara Navigation Company's
Youngstown dock.

In the way of the nomenclature of steamers, that of the "Alciope," built at
Niagara in 1828 for Mr. Robert Hamilton, and first commanded by Captain
McKenzie, late of the "Frontenac," is unusual. This name in appearance
would appear to be that of some ancient goddess, but is understood to be
taken from a technical term in abstract zoology. Possibly it may at the
time have attracted attention, but was evidently not considered
satisfactory as it was changed in 1832 to the more suitable one of "United

More steamers come now in quick succession. The Hon. John Hamilton in 1830
brought out the "Great Britain" (Captain Joseph Whitney), of 700 tons, with
two funnels, and spacious awning deck.

The route of the "Martha Ogden" had reverted back to the lake trip between
Lewiston and Ogdensburgh. It was her ill luck to run ashore in 1830 and
having sought repairs in the British Government naval establishment at
Kingston, Captain Van Cleve mentions, with much satisfaction the cordial
reception given to the American crew by Commodore Barrie, and the efficient
work done for the ship in the Royal Dockyard. The "Martha Ogden" closed her
days in 1832 by being lost off Stoney Point, Lake Ontario.

The sailing times of the through boats from the river at this time are
given as "the steamer _Great Britain_ leaves Niagara every five days, the
_Alciope_, every Saturday evening, the _Niagara_ every Monday evening at 6
o'clock, and the _Queenston_ every Tuesday morning at 9 o'clock for
Kingston, Brockville and Prescott (board included) $8.00."

On the American side the _United States_ and _Oswego_ made a semi-weekly
line between Lewiston and Ogdensburg, calling at all intermediate ports.

In 1832 added "William IV.," an unusual looking craft with four funnels;
1834 "Commodore Barrie," built at Kingston by the Gildersleeves, and sailed
by Captain James Sinclair between (as the advertisement stated) "Prescott,
Toronto (late York) and Niagara." Commodore Barrie, after whom the steamer
was named, had a long and creditable naval career. As lieutenant he had
been with Vancouver on the Pacific in 1792, served at Copenhagen in 1807,
and as captain of "H.M.S. Dragon," 74 guns, had taken part in the
successful expedition at Penobscot Maine in 1814. In 1830 he had been
appointed to the command of the Royal Navy Yard at Kingston.

Ship building on the lake began now to take a more definite and established
position. The "Niagara Dock Company" was formed in 1835. Robert Gilkison, a
Canadian, of Queenston, who had been educated in shipbuilding at "Port
Glasgow, Scotland," returned to Canada and was appointed designer and
superintendent of the works at Niagara.

A number of ships were built under his charge. The first steamer was the
"Traveller," 145 feet long, 23.6 beam, with speed of 11 to 12 miles
followed by the "Transit," "Gore," and the "Queen Victoria," 130 feet long,
23.6 beam, with 50 horse power, a stated speed of 12 miles, and described
as having been "fitted in elegant style." This steamer, launched in April,
1838, and commanded by Captain Thomas Dick, introduces a family which for
many years was connected with steamboating on the Niagara River Route.

In her first season Robert Gilkinson, her builder, noted in his diary, June
29th: "On the celebration of Her Majesty's coronation the _Victoria_, with
a party of sixty ladies and gentlemen, made her first trip to Toronto,
making the distance from Niagara to Toronto in 3 hours and 7 minutes, a
rate scarcely met by any other boat."

"July 2. Commenced trips leaving Niagara 7 a.m., Toronto 11 a.m., and
Hamilton 4 p.m., arrived here (Niagara) 8 p.m. Accomplished the 121 miles
in ten and a half hours, a rate not exceeded by any boat on the lake."

The advertisements of the running times as then given in the press are

"The 'Queen Victoria' leaves Lewiston and Queenston 8 o'clock a.m. and
Niagara 8.30 o'clock for Toronto. The boat will return each day, leaving
Toronto for these places at 2 o'clock p.m."

A further enlargement of the running connections of this steamer on the
route in 1839 stated:

"Passengers will on Monday and Thursday arrive at Toronto in time for the
"William IV." steamer for Kingston and Prescott. Returning. On arrival at
Lewiston, railroad cars will leave for the Falls. On arrival at Queenston
stages will leave for the Falls, whence the passengers can leave next day
by the steamer "Red Jacket" from Chippawa to Buffalo, or by the railroad
cars for Manchester."

The "Railroad Cars" were those of the "Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad"
opened in 1836, then running two trains a day each way between Buffalo and
the Falls, leaving Buffalo at nine in the morning and five in the
afternoon. Manchester was the name of the town laid out in the
neighborhood of the Falls, where, from the abundance of water power it was
expected a great manufacturing centre would be established.

An advertisement in a later year (1844) mentions the steamer "Emerald" to
"leave Buffalo at 9 a.m. for Chippawa, arrive by cars at Queenston for
steamer for Toronto, Oswego, Rochester, Kingston and Montreal."

The "cars" at Queenston were those of a horse railroad which had been
constructed along the main road from Chippewa to Queenston, of which some
traces still remain. The rails were long wooden sleepers faced with strap

During one season the "Queen Victoria" was chartered as a gunboat for Lake
Ontario, being manned by officers and men from the Royal Navy. She
presented a fine appearance and was received with great acceptance at the
lake ports as she visited them.

A more direct route from this distributing point at the foot of the rapids
on the Niagara River direct to the head of Lake Ontario and the country
beyond, instead of crossing first to Toronto, was evidently sought. In 1840
the steamer "Burlington"--Captain Robert Kerr--is advertised to "Leave
Lewiston 7 a.m., Niagara 7.30 a.m., landing (weather permitting) at Port
Dalhousie (near St. Catherines, from which place a carriage will meet the
boat regularly); Grimsby, and arrive at Hamilton about noon. Returning will
leave at 3 p.m., and making the same calls, weather permitting, arrive at
Lewiston in the evening."

The 30th July, 1841, was a memorable day in steamboating on the Niagara
River. A great public meeting was held that day on Queenston Heights to
arrange for the building of a new monument in memory of General Brock to
replace the one which had been blown up by some dastard on 17th April,

Deputations from the military and the patriotic associations in all parts
of the province attended.

Four steamers left Toronto together about 7.30 in the morning. The
"Traveller"--Captain Sandown, R.N., with His Excellency the
Governor-General, Lord Sydenham, on board; "Transit"--Captain Hugh
Richardson; "Queen Victoria"--Captain Richardson, Jr.; "Gore"--Captain
Thomas Dick. At the mouth of the Niagara River these were joined by the
"Burlington"--Captain Robert Kerr, and "Britannia" from Hamilton and the
head of the lake, and by the "Gildersleeve" and "Cobourg" from the Eastern
ports and Kingston.

Amidst utmost enthusiasm, and with all flags flying, the eight steamers
assembled at Niagara and marshalled in the following order, proceeded up
the river to Queenston:--


The sight of this fleet of eight steamers must have been impressive as with
flying colours they made up the stream.

Judge Benson, of Port Hope, says that his father, Capt. Benson, of the 3rd
Incorporated Militia, was then occupying the "Lang House" in Niagara,
overlooking the river, and that he and his brother were lifted up to the
window to see the flotilla pass by, a reminiscence of loyal fervor which
has been vividly retained through a long life. Is it not a sufficient
justification and an actual value resulting from special meetings and
pageants that they not only serve to revivify the enthusiasm of the elders
in annals of past days, but yet more to bring to the minds of youth actual
and abiding touch with the historic events which are being celebrated?

The meeting was held upon the field of the battle, the memories of the
struggle revived and honour done to the fallen.

The present monument was the result of the enterprise then begun.

Much rivalry existed between the steamers as to which would open the season
first, as the boat which got into Niagara first before 1st March was free
of port dues for the season. In this the "Transit" excelled and sometimes
landed her passengers on the ice.

The Niagara Dock Company in 1842 turned out the "Chief Justice Robinson"
commanded by Captain Hugh Richardson, Jr.

This steamer, largely owned by Captain Heron and the Richardsons, was
specially designed to continue during the winter the daily connection by
water to Toronto, and so avoid the long stage journey around the head of
the lake. For this purpose her prow at and below the water line was
projected forward like a double furrowed plough, to cut through the ice and
throw it outwards on each side.

This winter service she maintained for ten seasons with commendable
regularity between the outer end of the Queen's Wharf at Toronto (where she
had sometimes to land passengers on the ice) and Niagara. On one occasion,
in a snowstorm, she went ashore just outside the harbour at Toronto, and
was also occasionally frozen in at both ends of the route, but each time
managed to extricate herself. After refitting in the spring she divided the
daily Lewiston-Toronto Route after 1850 with the second _City of Toronto_,
a steamer with two separate engines, with two walking beams built at
Toronto in 1840, which had been running in the Royal Mail Line, but in 1850
passed into the complete ownership of Captain Thomas Dick.

The steamer "Rochester" is also recorded as running between Lewiston and
Hamilton in 1843 to 1849.



During this decade the Niagara River was more increasingly traversed by
many steamers, and became the main line of travel between the Western and
Centre States by steamer to Buffalo, and thence, via the Niagara River to
Boston and New York via Ogdensburg and Albany, or by Montreal and Lake
Champlain to the Hudson.

Lewiston had become a place of much importance, being the transhipping
point for a great through freighting business. Until the opening of the
Erie Canal all the salt used in the Western States and Canada was brought
here by water from Oswego, in thousands of barrels, from the Onandaga Salt
Wells. Business in the opposite direction was greatly active, report being
made of the passing of a consignment of 900 barrels of "Mississippi sugar,"
and 200 hogsheads of molasses for Eastern points in the United States and

In addition to the sailing craft five different steamers left the docks
every day for other ports on the lake.

A new era was opened in 1847 by the introduction with great eclat and
enterprise of the first iron steamers. The "Passport," commanded first by
Captain H. Twohey and afterwards by Captain Thomas Harbottle, was
constructed for the Hon. John Hamilton, the iron plates being moulded on
the Clyde and put together at the Niagara shipyard by James and Neil
Currie. The plates for the "Magnet" were similarly brought out from
England and put together for J. W. Gunn, of Hamilton, the principal
stockholder, with Captain J. Sutherland her captain. Both these steamers in
their long service proved the reliability of metal vessels in our fresh
water. Both formed part of the Royal Mail Line leaving Toronto on the
arrival of the river steamers.

In the early "fifties" the "American Express Line," running from Lewiston
to Toronto, Rochester, Oswego and Ogdensburg, consisted of the fine upper
cabin steamers "Cataract," "Bay State," "Ontario," and "Northerner."

The "New Through Line," a Canadian organization, was comprised of six
steamers: the "Maple Leaf," "Arabian," "New Era," "Champion," "Highlander,"
"Mayflower." The route they followed was: "Leave Hamilton 7 a.m.; leave
Lewiston and Queenston about half past 8 p.m., calling at all north shore
Ontario ports between Darlington and Prescott to Ogdensburgh and Montreal
without transhipment. Returning via the north shore to Toronto and Hamilton
direct." The through time down to Montreal was stated in the advertisement
to be "from Hamilton 33 hours, from the Niagara River 25 hours."

A good instance of the frequency of the entrances of the steamers into the
harbours is afforded by an amusing suggestion which was in 1851, made by
Captain Hugh Richardson, who had become Harbour Master at Toronto.

The steamers running into the port seem to have called sometimes at one
dock first, sometimes at another, according, probably, to the freight which
may have been on board to be delivered. Much trouble was thus caused to
cabmen and citizens running up and down the water front from one dock to

The captain, whose views with respect to the flying, and the distinctive
meanings, of flags, we have already seen, proposed that all vessels when
entering the harbour should designate the dock at which they intended to
stop by the Following signals:--

    For Gorrie's Wharf--Union Jack at Bowsprit end.
    For Browne's Wharf--Union Jack at Masthead.
    For Maitland's Wharf--Union Jack at Staff aft.
    For Tinnings Wharf--Union Jack in fore rigging.
    For Helliwells Wharf--Union Jack over wheel-house.

It is to be remembered that in those days the "Western" was the only
entrance to the harbour and Front Street without any buildings on its south
side, followed the line of the high bank above the water so that the
signals on the steamers could be easily seen by all. The proposal was
publicly endorsed by the Mayor, Mr. J. G. Bowes, but there is no record of
its having been adopted.

In 1853 there was built at Niagara for Mr. Oliver T. Macklem the steamer
"Zimmerman," certainly the finest and reputed to be the fastest steamer
which up to that time sailed the river. She was named after Mr. Samuel
Zimmerman, the railway magnate, and ran in connection with the Erie and
Ontario Railway from Fort Erie to Niagara, which he had promoted, and was
sailed by Captain D. Milloy.

In this same year there was sailed regularly from Niagara another iron
steamer, the "Peerless," owned by Captain Dick and Andrew Heron, of
Niagara. This steamer was first put together at Dunbarton, Scotland, then
taken apart, and the pieces (said to be five thousand in number) sent out
to Canada, and put together again at the Niagara dockyard. These two
steamers thereafter divided the services in competition on the Niagara
Route to Toronto.

These years were the zenith period for steamboating on Lake Ontario and the
Niagara River, a constant succession of steamers passing to and fro between
the ports. Progress in the Western States and in Upper Canada had been
unexampled. Expansion in every line of business was active, population fast
coming in, and the construction of railways, which was then being begun,
creating large expenditures and distribution of money. The steamers on the
water were then the only method for speedy travel, so their accommodation
was in fullest use, and their earnings at the largest.

The stage routes around the shores of the lakes in those days were tedious
and trying in summer, and in winter accompanied by privations. The services
of the steamers in the winter were greatly appreciated and maintained with
the utmost vigour every year, particularly for the carriage of mails
between Toronto, Niagara, Queenston and Lewiston, for which the steamer
received in winter £3 for each actual running day, and between Toronto and
Hamilton, for which the recompense was £2 for service per day performed.

In 1851 the _Chief Justice Robinson_ is recorded (Gordon's Letter Books) as
having run on the Niagara River during 11 months of the year. The remaining
portion, while she was refitting, was filled by the second _City of

It is mentioned that at one time she went to Oswego to be hauled out on the
marine cradle there at a charge of 25 cents per ton.

In 1852-53 the services were performed by the same steamers. In 1854 the
_Peerless_ made two trips daily during ten months, the _Chief Justice
Robinson_ taking the balance of this service and also filling in during the
other months, with the second _City of Toronto_ on the Hamilton Route.

The winter service to the Niagara River for 1855 was commenced by the
_Chief Justice Robinson_ on 1st January, the steamer crossing the lake on
22 days in that month. February was somewhat interrupted by ice, but the
full service between the shores was performed on 23 days in the month of

So soon as the inner water in the harbour of Toronto was frozen up all
these services were performed from the outer extremity of the Queen's
Wharf, and in the mid-winter months mostly from the edges of the ice
further out, the sleighs driving out alongside with their passengers and
freight. It seems difficult for us, in these days of luxury in travel, to
comprehend the difficulties under which the early travellers laboured and

There was a wonderful and final exploit in the winter business of the
Niagara River Route.

The "_Niagara Falls and Ontario Railway_" was opened as far as Lewiston in
1854 and by its connection at the Falls with the _New York Central Railway_
brought during its first winter of 1854-55 great activity to the Niagara

The Crimean War was in progress and food products for the armies in the
field were being eagerly sought from all places of world-supply and from
America. Shipments were accordingly sought from Upper Canada. In summer the
route would be by the Erie Canal to Albany or by the St. Lawrence and
Montreal, but both routes were closed in winter.

The _New York Central_ had been connected as a complete rail route as far
as Albany, where, as there was no bridge across the Hudson, transportation
was made by a ferry to the _Hudson River Railroad_, on the opposite shore
for New York, or to the _Western Railroad_ for Boston.

[Illustration: The WILLIAM IV. 1832.

From the "Landmarks of Toronto." page 30]

[Illustration: The CHIEF JUSTICE ROBINSON. 1841.

From the "Landmarks of Toronto." page 84]

There was, at that time, no railroad around the head of Lake Ontario so a
Freight Route by steamer across the lake was opened to Lewiston, from where
rail connection could be made to the Atlantic.

In January, 1855, large shipments of flour made from Upper Canada mills
along the north shore of Lake Ontario began to be collected. The
enterprising agent of the _Peerless_ (Mr. L. B. Gordon) wrote to the
Central that he hoped to "make the consignment up to 10,000 barrels before
the canal and river opens." This being a reference to the competing
all-water route via the Erie Canal and Hudson River.

The first winter shipment of a consignment of 3,400 barrels was begun by
the _Chief Justice Robinson_ from the Queen's Wharf on 17th January.

The through rates of freight, as recorded in Mr. Gordon's books, are in
these modern days of low rates, remarkable. Not the less interesting are
the proportions accepted by each of the carriers concerned for their
portion of the service, which were as follows:

          Flour, per barrel, Toronto to New York--

      Steamer--Queen's Wharf to Lewiston         12-1/2c
      Wharfage and teaming (Cornell)              6
      New York Central, Lewiston to Albany       60
      Ferry at Albany                             3
      Hudson River Railroad to New York          37-1/2
      Through to New York                      $1.19

What would the Railway Commissioners and the public of the present think of
such rates!

The shipments were largely from the products of the mills at the _Credit_,
_Oakville_, _Brampton_, _Esquesing_, and _Georgetown_, being teamed to the
docks at _Oakville_ and _Port Credit_, from where they were brought by the
steamers _Queen City_ and _Chief Justice Robinson_ at 5c per bbl. to the
Queen's Wharf, Toronto, and from there taken across the lake by the _Chief
Justice Robinson_ and the _Peerless_.

The propeller _St. Nicholas_ took a direct load of 3,000 barrels from Port
Credit to Lewiston on Feb. 2nd. Shipments were also sent to Boston at
$1,24-1/2 per bbl., on which the proportion of the "New York Central" was
68c, and the "Western Railroad" received 35c per bbl. as their share.

Nearly the whole consignment expected was obtained.

Another novel route was also opened. Consignments of flour for local use
were sent to Montreal during this winter by the _New York Central_,
Lewiston to Albany, and thence by the "_Albany Northern Railroad_" to the
south side of the St. Lawrence River, whence they were most probably teamed
across the ice to the main city.

Northbound shipments were also worked up and received at Lewiston for
Toronto--principally teas and tobaccos--consignments of "English Bonded
Goods" were rated at "second-class, same as domestic sheetings" and carried
at 63c per 100 pounds from New York to Lewiston.

It was a winter of unexampled activity, but it was the closing effort of
the steamers against the entrance of the railways into their
all-the-year-round trade.

Immediately upon the opening of the Great Western Railway from Niagara
Falls to Hamilton in 1855 and to Toronto in 1856, and of the Grand Trunk
Railway from Montreal in 1856, the steamboating interests suffered still
further and great decay. In the financial crisis of 1857 many steamers were
laid up. In 1858 all the American Line steamers were in bankruptcy, and in
1860 the _Zimmerman_ abandoned the Niagara River to the _Peerless_, the one
steamer being sufficient.

The opening of the American Civil War in 1860 opened a new career for the
Lake Ontario steamers, as the Northern Government were short of steamers
with which to blockade the Southern ports.

The "Peerless" was purchased by the American Government in 1861 and left
for New York under command of Captain Robert Kerr, and by 1863 all the
American Line steamers had been sold in the same direction and gone down
the rapids to Montreal, and thence to the Atlantic. A general clearance had
been affected.

The "Zimmerman" returned from the Hamilton Route to the Niagara River,
which had been left vacant by the removal of the "Peerless," but, taking
fire alongside the dock at Niagara in 1863, became a total loss. During the
winter the third "_City of Toronto_" was built by Captain Duncan Milloy, of
Niagara, and began her service on the river in 1864 and thereafter had the
route to herself. In 1866 the "Rothsay Castle" brought up by Captain Thomas
Leach from Halifax, ran for one season in competition, but the business was
not sufficient for two steamers so she was returned to the Atlantic. The
"City" then had the route alone until 1877, when the "Southern Belle,"
being the reconstructed "Rothsay Castle," re-entered upon the scene and
again ran from Tinnings Wharf in connection with the Canada Southern
Railway to Niagara.

Such had been the courses of navigation and steamboating on the Niagara
River from its earliest days--the rise to the zenith of prosperity and
then the immeasurable fall due to the encircling of the lakes by the
increasing railways. The old time passenger business had been diverted from
the water, the docks had fallen into decay, only one steamer remained on
the Niagara River Route, but it was fair to consider that with more vigor
and improved equipment a new era might be begun.

The decadence of trade had been so great, and the prospects of the Niagara
River presenting so little hope that Captain Thomas Dick had turned his
thoughts and energies into the direction of the North Shore of Lake Huron,
where mining and lumbering were beginning, and to Lake Superior, where the
construction of the Dawson Road, as a connection through Canadian
territory, to Fort Garry was commenced. He had several years previously
transferred the second _City of Toronto_ to these Upper Lake waters, and
after being reboilered and rebuilt, her name had been changed to _Algoma_,
commanded at first by his half brother, Capt. Jas. Dick, and in 1863 he had
obtained the contract for carrying the mails for the Manitoulin Island and
Lake Huron Shore to Sault Ste. Marie.

If ever there was a steamer which deserved the name of "_Pathfinder_," it
was this steamer "Algoma." It was said that all the officers, pilots and
captains of later days had been trained on her, and that she had found out
for them every shoal along her route by actual contact. Being a staunchily
built wooden boat with double "walking beam" engines, working
independently, one on each wheel, she always got herself off with little
trouble or damage. One trip is personally remembered. Coming out from Bruce
Mines the _Algoma_ went over a boulder on a shoal in such way as to open up
a plank in the bottom, just in front of the boilers. Looking down the
forward hatch the water could be watched as it boiled up into the
fire-hold, but as long as the wheels were kept turning the pumps could keep
the in-rush from gaining, so the steamer after backing off was continued on
her journey.

When calling at docks the engines were never stopped, one going ahead the
other reversed, until after Sault Ste. Marie had been reached and the
balance of the cargo unloaded, when the steamer, with the men in the
fire-hold working up to their ankles in water, set off on her run of 400
miles to Detroit, where was then the only dry dock into which she could be

After a long and successful career the brave boat died a quiet death
alongside a dock, worn out as a lumber barge.

This transference of Captain Dick's interests to the Upper Lakes was,
strangely enough, the precursor to the events which led to the creation of
another era in navigation on the Niagara River. This "North Shore" route,
although for long centuries occupied by the outposts of the Hudson Bay and
North West fur companies, was so far as immigration and mercantile
interests were concerned, an undeveloped territory. Along its shores was
the traditional canoe and batteaux route from French River to Fort William
on the Kaministiqua River for trade with the great prairies by the
interlacing waterways to Lake Manitoba and the Red River. At intervals,
such as at Spanish River, Missassaga, Garden River, Michipicoten and
Nepigon River, were the outlets for the canoe and portage routes, north to
the Hudson Bay and great interior fur preserves. This ancient rival to the
Niagara River route had remained little varied from the era of canoe and
sail. The secrets of its natural products, other than fur, being as well
kept as were those of the fertility of the soil of the "great Lone Land,"
under the perennial control of the same adventurers of Charles II.

The creation of the "Dominion of Canada" and of the "Province of Ontario"
under Confederation in 1867 and its establishment as the "District of
Algoma" brought it political representation in the Provincial Legislature
and a development of its unoccupied possibilities.

The size of the constituency was phenomenal. Its first representative in
the Legislature of Ontario used quizzically to describe it: "Where is my
constituency? Sir, Algoma, is the greatest constituency on earth, and
larger than many an Empire in Europe. On the east it is bounded by the
French River, on the south by all the waters of Lakes Huron and Lake
Superior, on the west by Manitoba, with an undecided boundary, and on the
north by the North Pole, and the Lord knows where."

Its permanent voters were few and sparsely spread along a line of nigh 500
miles. By the Act of Confederation, Algoma was given a special
qualification for its voters being for every male British subject of 21 or
over, being a householder. Thus it has sometimes been averred that during
hotly contested elections the migratory Indians for a while ceased to
wander, that "shack towns" suddenly arose in the neighborhood of the saw
mills, composed of small "slab" sided dwellings in which dusky voters lived
until election day was over. It may be from these early seedlings that the
several constituencies which have since been carved out from their great
progenitor, have not been unremarkable for eccentricities in methods of
ballot and in varieties of voters.

Further diversion of vessel interests from the Niagara Route to the Upper
Lakes, and the circumstances which, within personal knowledge, accompanied
it, are a part of the history, and a prelude to the return to the river.



The way having been opened by the _Algoma_ between Georgian Bay and the
Sault, with sundry extra trips beyond, N. Milloy & Co., of Niagara, brought
up from Halifax, in 1868, the even then celebrated steamer _Chicora_ to
increase the service to Lake Superior. No finer steamer was there on the
Upper Lakes than the _Chicora_, and none whether American or Canadian, that
could approach her in speed; she could trail out a tow line to any
competitor. She had arrived opportunely and had greatly increased her
renown by carrying the Wolseley Expedition, in 1870, from Collingwood to
the place on the shores of the Thunder Bay where the expedition for the
suppression of the Riel Rebellion at Fort Garry was landed.

It was in the arrangements for the movement of this Wolseley Expedition
that some difficulties arose which were due to a want of harmony between
the local government of the State and that of the National Cabinet of the
Federal Government at Washington, a condition which is liable to occur at
any time under the peculiar provisions of the American Constitution.

Having been compiled in the time of stress for the avoidance of an
autocracy and for the development of the individual rights of the several
component States, the relations between States and Federal authority were
strongly drawn. While in the Canadian Constitution any power which has not
been specifically allotted to the Provinces remains in the Dominion
Government, which is thus the centre of all power, in the United States the
reverse condition exists.

Speedy dealings with foreign nations are thus somewhat hampered on the part
of the United States Federal Government.

The only canal lock at that time at the Sault by which the rapids of the
Sault River could be overcome and the level of Lake Superior be reached
from that of Lake Huron, was on the Michigan side, and owned and controlled
by the State of Michigan. As an armed force could not be sent by rail
through the United States, it was necessary that all supplies and the men
of the Canadian forces for Fort Garry should be forwarded by this water
route to the head of Lake Superior, from where they were to take the
"Dawson Route" of mixed road and river transit to Lake Winnipeg and the
scene of action. A cargo of boats, wagons, and general supplies for use by
the troops had been sent up by the "Chicora" (Captain McLean), leaving
Collingwood on the 7th May, but the steamer was not permitted by the
Michigan authorities to pass through the Sault Canal. Owing to this action
immediate steps were imperatively necessary, pending negotiations, to
obtain additional tonnage to carry forward the expedition.

Col. Cumberland, A.D.C., M.P.P., was sent on a secret duty to Detroit,
where he succeeded in chartering the American steamer _Brooklyn_, which was
at once sent off with instructions to report for orders above the canal at
Point Aux Pins, to Col. Bolton, R.A., Deputy Adjutant General. Being passed
up the canal, without obstacle, the difficulty was immediately relieved.
Fortunately the "Algoma" was at the upper end of the route and on Lake
Superior. The supplies and stores were accordingly unloaded from the
_Chicora_ at the Canadian Sault, portaged across by the twelve miles road
to the wharf at Point Aux Pins, on the Canadian side above the Rapids, and
sent on up Lake Superior by the "Algoma," and "Brooklyn."

A similar course was obliged to be adopted with the cargoes of supplies for
the expedition brought up on the Canadian steam barge _Shickluna_, and on
the schooners _Orion_ and _Pandora_ towed by her.

This was in other ways a remarkable event, as being one in which the
"Coasting Laws of Canada" were for a time, cancelled by the action of a
citizen. The "Brooklyn" being an American boat could not legally carry
cargo between two Canadian ports, such as Point Aux Pins and the Landing,
so Col. Cumberland gave Captain Davis a letter[1] to Mr. Joseph Wilson, the
Collector of Customs at the Canadian Sault, authorizing him to permit the
American vessel to trade between Canadian ports. As Mr. Cumberland was
member of Parliament for the district, the local authorities gave immediate
attention, especially as everyone on the Canadian side was ready to run all
risks and do everything in their power to help the expedition along.

Returning to Collingwood the "Chicora" left again on the 14th May with two
companies of the Ontario Contingest recruited from the Volunteer Militia of
the Province, twenty-four horses and more arms and stores. Refusal was
again given and the same portaging took place as before, the men during the
transfer being encamped near the old Hudson's Bay Fort. Urgent
representations had been made to the local State authorities, pointing out
that the expedition was pressed for time, much loss might be occasioned,
and the rebellion spread if the troops were delayed. The British Minister
at Washington was using every endeavor to obtain the necessary permission,
but without avail. The "Chicora" returned to Collingwood and left again on
21st May with Col. Garnet Wolseley (afterwards Viscount Wolseley), a
detachment of the "60th Rifles" of the Regulars (the Regiment of H.R.H.
Prince Arthur) and the balance of the expedition. In the absence of the
expected permission the same procedure was again followed, and when
everything on board had been unloaded the _Chicora_ was passed empty
through the canal, and reloading the soldiers and all the equipment at the
Point aux Pins proceeded up the lake to her destination.

Canada has since then, for her self control and the protection of her
trade, built a great canal on her own side, through which ever since it was
constructed the United States vessels have been freely allowed to pass upon
exactly the same terms as her own.

Navigation upon the Upper Lakes was in those years in the most primitive

When the "Chicora" landed the Wolseley Expedition at Prince Arthur's
Landing there was no wharf large enough for her to be moored to, so she
had to anchor off the shore, and the men and cargo were landed in small

As Col. Wolseley came ashore in a rowboat he was met by Mr. Thomas Marks, a
principal merchant, and Mr. William Murdock, C.E., who was then in conduct
of the Government Railway Exploration Surveys from the shores of Thunder
Bay to Fort Garry for what afterwards became the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The Colonel, finding on enquiry that the place had no particular name
beyond that of "The Landing," proposed that it should be called "Prince
Arthur's Landing." This was to be in honour of Prince Arthur, Duke of
Connaught, who was then serving in his battalion of the Rifle Brigade at
that time stationed in Montreal. The name was immediately adopted and was
kept unchanged until 1883, when, to mark the eastern end of the Canadian
Pacific and to correspond with "Port Moody," the then accepted terminus at
the western end, it was changed to "Port Arthur." The name and reminiscence
of the Royal Prince is in this way still happily retained.

Rivalries had begun between the long established hamlet clustered around
Fort William, the ancient post of the Hudson Bay Company on the banks at
the mouth of the Kanistiqua River, and the newly created village on the
shores of the Lake at the "Landing." To appease the vociferous claimants of
both, the expedition was divided, one part being sent up by the lower river
from "Fort William," the other by waggon on land from the "Landing," to
join together again at a point on the Kaministiquia above the Falls, from
where they proceeded together by the mixed transport of water and waggon on
the "Dawson Route" to Fort Garry.

There were then few lighthouses on the lakes, and no buoys in the channels.
When a steamer left the shores of Georgian Bay nothing was heard of her
until she came in sight again on her return after being away ten days, for
there were no telegraphs on the North Shore nor even at the Sault.

The hamlets were few and far spread, being mainly small fishing villages.
Bruce Mines with its copper mines, then in full operation, was perhaps the
most important place, with a population of 2,500. The Sault had perhaps
500, Silver Islet, with its mysterious silver mine, 1,500, and Prince
Arthur's Landing about 200 residents, with whatever importance was given by
its position at the head of the lake, and as being the starting place of
the Dawson Road to Fort Garry, and the supply point for the developing
mines of the interior.

Whatever meat, flour, or vegetable foods the people ate had to be carried
up to them from the Ontario ports. Westwards the decks were filled with
cattle, hogs, and all kinds of merchandise, but there was little freight to
bring back east except fish and some small quantities of highly
concentrated ores from the mines.

The business had not developed as had been expected, and the "Chicora" was
found to be too good for the Lake Superior route as it then existed. Her
freight-carrying capacity was light, cabin accommodation in excess of
requirements, and her speed and expenses far beyond what was there needed.
So the boat had to be withdrawn from service, dismantled, and laid up
alongside the docks at Collingwood in the season of 1873.

One splendid and closing charter there had been in the season of 1874, when
the "Chicora" was chartered for the months of July and August to be a
special yacht for the progress of the Governor-General, Lord Dufferin, and
his suite, through what were then the northern districts of Ontario and
through the Upper Lakes.

Col. F. W. Cumberland, M.P., General Manager of the Northern Railway, was
also Provincial Aide-de-Camp to the Governor-General and thus in general
charge of the arrangements for the tour, particularly on the Northern
Railway, through whose districts the party was then travelling. The further
portions of the tour were through the district of Algoma, comprising all
the country along the north shores of Lakes Huron and Superior, which Col.
Cumberland then represented in the Provincial Parliament, being the first
Member for Algoma.

Washago, at the first crossing of the Severn River, was then the "head of
the track" of the "Muskoka Branch," which was under construction from
Barrie. Beyond this point the party were to proceed through the byways and
villages of Muskoka by mixed conveyance of boats on the lakes and carriages
over the bush roads to Parry Sound, where they were to join the "Chicora."

Every minute of the way had been carefully planned out to satisfactorily
arrange for the reception en route, stopping places for meals and rest,
stays over night, and allowance for all possible contingencies, for the
Governor-General insisted that he should make his arrival, at each place on
the way, with royal precision.

There was therefore no room for the insertion of the many special demands
for additional functions and time, which increasingly arose as the days
drew near, for the fervor of the welcome became tumultuous.

The Presbyterian clergyman at Washago had been particularly insistent and
had called to his aid every local influence of shipper and politician to
obtain consent that the Governor-General should lay the corner-stone of
the new church which the adherents of the "Auld Kirk" were erecting at the
village. The ceremony was whittled down until it was at last agreed that it
should be sandwiched into the arrangements on condition that everything
should be in readiness, and that the proceedings should not exceed fifteen
minutes, for there was a long and rocky drive ahead of fourteen miles to
Gravenhurst, where an important afternoon gathering from all the
countryside and a reception by His Excellency and the Countess of Dufferin
had been arranged.

The Municipal and the local Society receptions at the Washage station had
been safely got through when the Governor and party walked over the granite
knolls to where the church was to be erected. The location of the village,
which is situated between two arms of the Muskoka River, is on the
unrelieved outcrop of the Muskoka granite, which, scarred and rounded by
the glacier action of geological ages, is everywhere in evidence.

On the knoll, more level than the others, was the church party expectant.
At their feet, perched upon a little cemented foundation about a foot and a
half in diameter, built on the solid granite, was the "corner stone," a
cube of granite some three inches square. A miniature silver trowel, little
larger than a teaspoon, was handed to the Governor, who, holding it in his
fingers smoothed down the morsel of mortar and the corner stone was duly

The Minister then announced "Let us engage in prayer," and raising his
hands and closing his eyes he at once began.

It was a burning hot noon-day in July. Having got fairly started the
minister seemed to be in no way disposed to stop. At five minutes a chair
and umbrella were brought for Lady Dufferin. At ten minutes motions were
made to pluck the minister's coat tails, but no one dared. The fervid
appeal covering all possible contingencies, and meandering into varied "We
give Thee thanks also" still continued so the Governor and Lady Dufferin
and their Suite quietly slipped away from the group and going to the
carriages, which were waiting in readiness near by, drove away.

Shortly afterwards the minister ceased and, opening his eyes, took in the

He at least had succeeded in having his corner-stone laid by a
Governor-General and was satisfied, even though he had lost that portion of
his audience. There were others also who were satisfied as one of the
devout congregation who said as we walked away, "Wasn't the Meenester
powerful in prayer?"

Lord Dufferin's private secretary and myself, having seen our duties to
this point satisfactorily completed, returned to the cars and proceeded
back by the special train to Collingwood, where the outfit and arrangements
of the "Chicora" for the long cruise were being completed, and active
operations had for some time been going on.

The ship was a picture, resplendent in brightened brasses, new paint and
decorations. The staterooms had been re-arranged and enlarged so that they
could be used in suites with separate dining and reception rooms arranged
for various occasions. Strings of flags of all varieties, and ensigns for
every occasion were provided, including His Excellency the
Governor-General's special flag, to be raised the moment he came on board.
Captain James C. Orr, his officers, and the picked crew were all in naval
uniform, and naval discipline was to be maintained.

About ten o'clock one night we sailed out of Collingwood to make an easy
night run across the Georgian Bay and arrive in the morning at Parry Sound,
where the Governor-General was to join the steamer in the afternoon.

We were naturally anxious that nothing should occur on our part to mar the
arrangements for the much heralded tour, and so I turned out early in the
morning, called up by some indistinct premonition. Of all the evils that
can befall a ship's captain it is that of a too supreme confidence in his
own powers; a confidence which leads him to take unnecessary risks and so
incur dangers which a little longer waiting would avoid. Of this we now met
a most striking instance.

There are two routes from Collingwood to Parry Sound. The outer passage,
outside the islands, longer but through open lake and safe, the other the
inner passage winding through an archipelago of islands, tortuous and
narrow. This latter was also known as the "Waubuno Channel," from its being
the route of the steamer of that name, a vessel of 140 feet and the largest
passing through it. As a scenic route for tourists it is unsurpassable,
threading its way amid many islands with abrupt and thrilling turns.

Captain McNab, one of the most experienced and oldest navigators of the
Upper Lakes, had been engaged as pilot for the tour of the "Chicora."

In the early morning, instead of being as had been expected, out in the
open lake, we were heading into a bay with the shore line expanding far on
each side both east and west.

[Illustration: The ALGOMA. 1862.

The 2nd CITY OF TORONTO. 1840. Rebuilt. page 44]

[Illustration: The 3rd CITY OF TORONTO. 1864.

From an old drawing. page 123]

Going forward, Captain McNab, in reply to questions, said he intended going
through the Waubuno Channel, and admitted that he had never taken a boat as
large as the "Chicora" through the channel, but was sure he could. Amiable
suggestions that he might like to bet $10,000 that he could, being promptly
declined, he accepted instructions and the steamer was at once turned
around to go by the outer channel for which there was plenty of time. He
might have done it, but there was a doubt in it, and supposing he had not,
what then? It is better for a captain to be sure, than to be sorry.

The tour was a great success. Wherever the bonnie boat went, whether in
Canadian waters around the northern shores of Lakes Huron and Superior at
Sault Ste. Marie, Nepigon, Prince Arthur's Landing, or in American waters,
at Mackinac, Lake Michigan and Chicago, her trim appearance, beautiful
lines, and easy speed, won continued admiration.


                                         Detroit, 18th May, 1870.

The Steamer _Brooklyn_ proceeds to Point Aux Pins on special service.

In case you may not have been advised by the head of your department, I am
authorised to inform you that she is to have free access to all Canadian
Ports on Lake Superior, moving under orders from Col. Bolton.

                                       I am, etc.,
                                      (Signed) F. W. CUMBERLAND.

                                       Jos. Wilson, Collector of Customs,
                                       Saulte Ste Marie, Ont.



After the tour with Lord Dufferin had been concluded the "Chicora" was
returned to Collingwood and laid up again to rest her reputation great and
widespread as it was before, having been still more enhanced. At last early
on a gray morning of August, 1877, under tow of a wrecking tug, there stole
gently away from Collingwood the steamer which had been the greatest glory
of the port, her red paddles trailing lifeless in the water like the feet
of a wounded duck.

Where was she being taken to? What had taken place? It was the beginning of
a bold and sporting venture.

As General Freight and Passenger Agent (Oct., 1873 to Jan., 1878) of the
Northern Railway of Canada, the "Chicora" as she lay at Collingwood was
much under my notice, and in travelling to Buffalo on railway business the
water route by the Niagara River was most frequently taken. There was no
route on the Upper Lakes upon which the "Chicora" could be successfully
employed. It was considered that she could not be returned to the Lower
Lakes because it was said that having been brought up the canals from
Montreal, the "guards" added at Buffalo, which made her width fifty feet at
the main deck could not be removed without serious damage in order to
reduce her to the then Welland canal width of only 26 feet. As under the
then trade conditions she could neither be profitably run nor be returned
to the Lower Lakes, the steamer was of little worth to her owners, and
could be readily purchased. It had for some time appeared to me that there
was an opening for a good boat upon the Niagara River route. The "City of
Toronto" plying to Lewiston and the New York Central was getting
insufficient and out of date in equipment. The Canada Southern Railway at
Niagara-on-the-Lake was not satisfied with the "Southern Belle." Why not
get the "Chicora" and strike out for a career of one's own? So I started to
study the position having always had a mechanical turn and had practical
experience in railway and machine construction.

Keeping one's ideas to one's self the boat was examined and careful
scrutiny ascertained that the "guards" could be removed and replaced
without interference with the hull, so that this first obstacle to her
being brought to the Lower Lakes could be overcome.

But there were other obstacles which cropped up. To begin with, a pier of
one of the smaller locks in the Welland (150 × 26) was said to have
inclined inwards so that there was not sufficient width even after the
"guards" had been removed, for the 26-ft. hull to pass through.

Again, _Chicora_ was 230 feet long. If the vessel was brought down in two
pieces through all the locks to Lake Ontario, there was no dry dock on the
lake of sufficient length into which she could be placed so that these
parts might be put together again. A further obstacle and a fatal one. The
only place where the two parts could be put together again her full length
of 230 feet long was Muir's dry dock, at Port Dalhousie, but that was above
the last lock of the canal, which required to be passed to get down to Lake
Ontario, and _this lock was only 200 feet long!_

The game was apparently impracticable. It was not more impossible to put a
quart into a pint bottle, than it was to put the full-sized 230-foot
_Chicora_ into the 200-foot Dalhousie lock and lower her to Lake Ontario.
No wonder other people had given the job up, and the steamer could be
easily bought.

Just about this time I noticed an announcement in the press that in order
to provide for the construction of the lower locks at the Ontario end of
the new Welland Canal, the Canadian Government intended, after the close of
navigation the next autumn, to draw off the whole of the water in the
five-mile level above the Port Dalhousie lock between there and St.

The idea at once arose, why not put the _Chicora_ into the 200-foot lock
with the upper gate open, so that although she would extend 30 feet beyond
the regular lock, she would then be in a total actual lock of five miles

Going over again to Port Dalhousie, the whole position was carefully
surveyed. It was found that on the troublesome lock there was
three-quarters of an inch to spare, so that trick could be turned
successfully. Closer investigation developed that the 200-foot lock problem
at Port Dalhousie was, as will be stated later, more capable of being
solved than appeared on the surface. It was now evident that the practical
part of the work could be done successfully. The next thing was to provide
for connecting support. My first railway service had been in that of the
Great Western Railway in 1872-73 in the divisional office at London, and
afterwards in charge of the terminal yard and car ferries at Windsor, under
Mr. M. D. Woodward, Superintendent.

During that time the General Manager was Mr. W. K. Muir, who had
transferred, and was now General Manager of the Canada Southern Railway,
operating the branch line between Buffalo and Niagara. Enquiry led to an
understanding that a contract could be made for a full service by a
first-class steamer between Toronto and Niagara-on-the-Lake in connection
with the route to the Falls and Buffalo, as the size of the _Southern
Belle_ was not satisfactory.

Armed with all this information, and having made up the estimates of cost
and possible earnings, the whole matter was laid before the Hon. Frank
Smith, who then had a part interest in the _Chicora_. The proposition was
that we should buy out the other owners, bring the _Chicora_ through the
canal and put her on the Niagara Route, where she could earn good money.

One was to do the work and the other to find the backing for the funds
required. In this way for him a dead loss would be revived and a good
future investment found, while the junior would enter into a work in which
with energy he would be able to secure a lasting reward for his enterprise
and ability in transportation business. He agreed and we proceeded to carry
out the project. The purchase was made early in 1877, the original
purchasers and registered owners of the steamer being Hon. Frank Smith and
Barlow Cumberland.

In this way began a partnership which lasted through life. Sir Frank
(knighted in 1874) was a man of quick decision, of great courage, and
indomitable will. Every company with which he became identified felt the
influence of his virile hand. A charter for the Niagara Navigation Company,
Limited, with a capital of $500,000, was obtained from the Dominion

The first issue of the stock of the Company was entirely subscribed by the
Frank Smith and Cumberland representatives and the transfer of the boat to
the new company made in 1878. The first Board of Directors were: President,
Hon. Frank Smith; Vice-President, Barlow Cumberland; Directors, Col. Fred.
W. Cumberland, John Foy, and R. H. McBride; Barlow Cumberland, Manager;
John Foy, Secretary. Preliminary work had been actively in progress at
Collingwood in dismantling the steamer and preparing her for a long and
eventful journey. As the engines had been laid up and would not be required
until after the reconstruction at Toronto, they were not again set up, but
the tug, J. T. Robb, was brought up from Port Colborne to tow the vessel to

Here began the closing era of this century of steam navigation in the
Niagara River. The story of the next and final thirty-five years is the
story of the rise and expansion of the Niagara Navigation Company, its
vicissitudes and competitions, and the final success of the enterprise.
Reminiscence of the series of hot competitions which were worked through
and of the men and methods of the period are set out as matters of record
of an eventful series of years on the route.

The long cabins on the upper deck were removed and parts sent to Toronto,
where they now are the upper drawing room of the _Chicora_.

The cabins on the main deck were left undisturbed to be used by the crew,
while coming through the canals.

Captain Thomas Leach was in charge of the voyage to Buffalo, where Captain
William Manson, of Collingwood, took charge of the crew with some
carpenters and the engineers. Mr. Alexander Leach was purser and
confidential agent. A more faithful officer and devoted servant never was
found. He had been purser of the steamer _Cumberland_ until she was
wrecked on Isle Royale, Lake Superior, 5 August, 1876.

The tow from Collingwood was uneventful and the steamer arrived at Buffalo
and was placed in the Buffalo Dry Dock Company's Works, they having put her
together when brought up from Halifax. Two barges were purchased and put
alongside the guards, unriveted and lowered upon the barges in single

The paddle boxes were removed, the wheels taken to pieces, numbered, and
put on the barges, and everything stripped off the sides of the hull, so
that she was reduced to her narrowest width, cleared of everything, to go
through the canal. The steamer was then put into dry dock, cut in two and
the parts slid apart.

It was intended to take the steamer across Lake Erie to Port Colborne as a
single tow. Two long sixteen-inch square elm timbers were placed on deck
across the opening and strongly chained to smaller timbers; timbers were
also put fore and aft to take the pull and keep the two parts of hull from
coming together. It all reads easily, but took much consideration and time
in working out the problems. And as the enterprise was unusual and not
likely to be repeated the details are given as matters of interesting
record. It was a strange looking craft that came out of dock. Two parts
held far apart from one another by the big timbers, and the water washing
free to and fro in the opening between. It was a tender craft to moor in a
narrow river where heavily laden vessels coming and going banged heedlessly
against one another. We were fortunate, however, in obtaining the
permission of the United States Marine Department that we might lie
unmolested and alone alongside Government wharf on the west side of the
river while waiting for weather. A great deal of public interest was being
taken in the venture and on every hand we received cheerful and ready
assistance. Mr. David Bell, whose daughter had married Mr. Casimir Gzowski,
of Toronto, was especially helpful, doing good work for us in the foundry
and machine shops. The Dry Dock Companies seemed like old friends, the
curious public often visited us, and the enterprising newspaper reporters
kept us well in the readers' view. So we towed out of dock, dropped down
the river and tied up at our allotted berth. The barges with their
strange-looking cargo had been sent separately across to the canal to Port
Colborne at the first opportunity.

It was the beginning of October when the weather was uncertain, the water
restless, and we had to be very careful in selecting a day to take such a
crazy craft as a steamer thus separated in two parts across the thirty-four
miles of the open lake.

Buffalo in the seventies was a very different place from what it is at
present. The lower city alongside the river and Canal Street, crowded with
cheap boarding houses for sailors and dock gangs, reeked in ribaldry and
every phase of dissolute excitements. The vessels frequenting the ports in
those days were mainly sailing vessels, the era of great steam freighters
not having come. The stay of the vessels was much longer, their crews more
numerous, and being less permanent, were easy victims to the harpies and
the drink shops which surrounded and beset them. The waterside locality of
Buffalo had then a reputation and an aroma peculiarly of its own.

Crazy horse cars jangled down the main Main Street to the docks. The
terminus of the Niagara Falls Railway operated by the New York Central, was
at the Ferry Station, the cross-town connection to the Terrace and
Exchange Street not having been put in. The Mansion House was the
principal hotel of the city, and its lower storey on the street level,
entirely occupied by the ticket offices of all the principal railway and
steamship companies of the United States. The business centre of the town
was in the vicinity.

Arrangements had been established with the United States Weather Bureau,
whose office was well up town, to give us earliest advice of when they
thought there would be from six to eight hours of fair weather ahead. Many
a messenger trotted between, and many an hour was spent in their office,
waiting for news, for there were no telephones to convey information.

The elements seemed against us. For a fortnight we had a succession of
blows from almost every direction, one following the other without giving a
sufficiently calm interval between. It was wonderful to see how quickly the
water rose and fell in the harbour. A steady blow from the west would pile
the water up at this east end of the lake and we would rise six feet
alongside the wharf in a few hours, to fall again as the wind went down or
changed, the outgoing water creating quite a rapid current as it ran out of
the river.

It was during this waiting time an incident occurred which came within an
ace of putting an end to one career. The last thing in the evening a visit
was always made from the hotel to the boat to see that all was well. In
front of the face of the Government Wharf there was a continuous line of
"spring piles" for its protection, with the heads cut off to the level of
the dock. One dark and rainy night, when stepping from the deck of the
steamer, mistaking the opening in the darkness for the edge of the wharf
the next step put the leader into the opening and he dropped through into
the river. Soon Manson's voice was heard calling, "Are you there, Mr.
Cumberland?" A lamp was lowered; the distance from the floor of the dock to
the water was some six or eight feet, and many iron spikes projected
through the piles.

A storm was subsiding and the water running out fast, but by holding on to
the spikes a way was worked up until a hand was reached by Manson and the
adventurer was hauled up to the top. Sitting on the edge of the wharf with
dripping legs dangling in the opening Manson's exclamation was heard,
"Sakes alive; he's got his pipe in his mouth still!" They say the reply
was, "Do you suppose I'd open my mouth when I went under?" It was a close
call, and Mrs. Cumberland was always anxious until at last we got the
_Chicora_ safely to Toronto.

At length advice was received from the Bureau that we could start, so the
tug was called and about 6 a.m. we were under way. We had tried to get some
insurance for the run across, but the rate asked was excessive that we
determined to go without any, a determination which added zest to the
enterprise. We didn't want to lose the boat and wouldn't have taken any the
less care or precaution even if the insurance companies would have carried
the risk for nothing. In this connection it is open to consideration
whether the moral hazard of a marine risk is not of more importance even
than the rating of the vessel, and that good owners are surely entitled to
better rates than simply the "tariff schedule" which their vessel's rating
calls for. The prevailing inconsistent system is very much like that of the
credit tailor whose solvent customers pay for his losses on those who fail
to pay their bills.

The morning was cold and calm. We made down the river and rounded out into
the lake, on which there still remained some motion from previous gales. It
was curious to stand on the edge of the deck and see the chips and
floating debris carried along in the wide opening between the two parts.

We had come by a slanting course down and across the lake, reaching in
under Point Abino in good shape and were rejoicing that the larger portion
of the crossing was well over. As we rounded from under the lee of the
Point and passing it, changed our course for Port Colborne, a nasty sea
come down from the northwest with an increasing breeze. We were soon in
trouble, the bow-part began to roll and jump on its own account at a
different rate than the more staid and heavy after-part, sometimes rising
up on end and then seeming to try and take a dive, but held from going away
by the long elm timbers which writhed while their chains squealed and rang
under the strain.

The worst sensation was when the seas, coming in on the quarter, swept
through the opening between the two parts, swishing between the plates and
dashing against the after bulkhead made it resound like a drum, sending the
spray up over the deck while they coursed through the rower side. It was
very exciting, but not at all comfortable. The pace of the tug seemed to
get slower and slower, but all we on board could do was to keep the long
timbers and their fastenings in their places, see that the bulkheads held
their own, and stand by and watch the contest with the waves.

At length, as we got more under the lee of the land, the waves subsided,
the pace increased, and at last we were safe between the piers at Port

Making all arrangements for the next few days, the leader hurried home,
fagged out, but exultant, for the worst part of the journey was over and we
had put the rest of the way fairly under our own control.



The barges with the "guards" on them had been sent down through the canal
as soon as they had crossed the lake, and were now safely moored at the
Ontario level in the outer harbour at Port Dalhousie, there to await the
arrival of the united boat. The men in charge returning up the canal to
join the main expedition.

Starting from Port Colborne, the two parts of the steamer were separated to
go down the canal. The bow part was kept in the lead, but both as near one
another as possible, so that the crews could take their meals on the after
part, on which they also passed the nights. The stern part was taken down
the long upper level by a small tug, but teams were employed in towing for
all the remaining portions of the canalling. Memories of things as they
then existed on the old Welland are in striking contrast to the conditions
obtaining at the present day.

The miseries of human slaves on the "middle passage" of the Atlantic have
been dilated upon until sympathy with their sufferings has abounded, but it
is doubtful if they were in any way worse than those of the miserable
beings then struggling on the canal passage between Lakes Erie and Ontario.

The canal bank and tow paths were a sticky mush, which in those autumn
months was churned and stamped into a continuous condition of soft red mud
and splashing pools. From two to six double teams were employed to haul
each passing vessel, dependent upon whether it was light or was loaded, but
in either case there was the same dull, heavy, continuous pull against the
slow-moving mass, a hopeless constant tug into the collars, bringing raw
and calloused shoulders.

Poor beasts, there was every description of horse, pony, or mule forced
into the service, but an all-prevailing similarity of lean sides and
projecting bones, of staring unkempt coats, gradually approaching similar
colour as the red mud dried upon their hides. Rest! they had in their
traces when mercifully for a few moments the vessel was in a lock, or when
awaiting her turn at night they lay out on the bank where she happened to
stop. It was the rest of despair.

The poor devils of "drivers," boys or men, who tramped along the canal bank
behind each tottering gang, were little better off than their beasts.
Heavy-footed, wearied with lifting their boots out of the sucking slush,
they trudged along, staggering and half asleep, until aroused by the sounds
of a sagging tow line, with quickened stride and volley of hot-shot
expletives, they closed upon their luckless four-footed companions. What an
electric wince went through the piteous brutes as the stinging whip left
wales upon their sides! A sudden forward motion brought up by the twang of
the tow line as it came taut, sweeping them off their legs, until they
settled down once more into the sidling crablike movement caused by the
angle of the hawser from the bow to the tow path.

The new Welland, with its larger size and tug boats, has done away with
this method of torturing human and horse flesh. One wonders whether it is
the ghosts of these departed equines, that, revisiting the scenes of their
torture, make the moanings along the valley, and the whistlings on the
hills, as they sniff and whinny in the winds along the canal.

We had a good deal of difficulty at first in our canalling, especially in
meeting and passing vessels. The after-part took every inch of the locks,
and was unhandy in shape. However, by dint of rope fenders, long poles and
a plentiful and willing crew we got along without hurting anyone else or

It was in one of these sudden emergencies which sometimes arise that
Captain Manson was thought to have got a strain which developed into
trouble later on. He was a splendidly-built fellow, over six feet in
height, in the plenitude of youth, handsome, laughing, active, and of
uncommon strength, the sort of man who jumps in when there is something to
be done, throws in his whole force and saves the situation.

The bow-part, being short and light, went merrily on, its crew chaffing the
other for their slower speed, for which there was much excuse.

One day on a course in the canal below Thorold we rounded the corner of the
height above the mountain tier of locks. It was a wondrous sight to see
laid out before us the wide landscape of tableland and valley spread out
below, through which we were to navigate and drop down 340 feet on the next
four and one-quarter miles. To the left was the series of locks which
circled, in gray stone structures, like a succession of great steps, down
the mountain side. These were separated one from the other by small ponds
or reservoirs with waste weirs, whose little waterfalls tinkled, foaming
and glinting in the sun. Directly in front, and below us, were the houses
and factories of Merritton, with trains of the Great Western and the
Welland Railways spurting white columns of steam and smoke as the engines
panted up the grade to the heights of the Niagara Escarpment from which we
were about to descend.

Beyond these came glimpses of the canal as it wound its way toward St.
Catharines. Still lower down the Escarpment, spires and towers of the city
itself, and yet lower and still further away lay on the horizon the blue
waters of Lake Ontario. How beautiful and hopeful it was!

As the Greeks when emerging from the strife and struggles of their long and
painful homeward march, hailed the sea with shouts of happy acclaim, for
beyond those waters they knew lay home and rest. So, too, it might have
been for us, or at least for one of us, for another link had been gained in
our long and trying voyage. Far away, from the height, we could see Lake
Ontario, the goal of the expedition, the ardently sought terminus of our
labours, and on the other side of its waters lay Toronto and the future for
the bonnie ship. But times to-day are more prosaic, so, taking a hasty but
satisfying look, we turned to negotiate the next lock.

That night at the bottom of the tier, the stern part moored in one pond and
the bow in the next below, a "jubilation" was held in the after-cabin by
the combined crews. We had safely got down all the steps, and had passed
the large boat safely through, so that we might well rejoice.

Beyond this day there was not much that occurred; the way was simple and we
had got the "hang" of things. At St. Catharines half the city came out to
see the strange looking hulk wending its way down the canal, and through
the locks, close to the town.

At length we came down through the five mile level where the "Canadian
Henley" is now held, with its floating tow path to carry the teams, and
arrived at Muir's Dock, just above the final lock at Port Dalhousie, after
five days occupied in coming through the Canal. The two parts were moored
alongside the gate while waiting for the dock to be made ready for our turn
to enter.

The position of the village now known as Port Dalhousie was originally, in
1812 days, being called "Twelve Mile Creek." The creeks, or river openings
being then named according to their distances in miles from the Niagara
River. This name was afterwards changed to "Port Dalhousie," in honour of
Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General at the time the first canal was
constructed. The "Port" in those days of the horse canal when we arrived at
it was mainly a turning place for the canal crews. Its one principal street
facing the canal basin, had houses on one side only, mostly drink shops,
with or without license, with a few junk and supply stores intervening. Its
immediate inhabitants, a nomad collection of sailors and towing gangs,
waiting for another job. Around and in its neighborhood there was a happy
district prolific of fruit and flowers, but in itself, with its vagrant
crews culled from the world over, it was a little haven not far from the
realm of Dante's imaginations. Times, methods and circumstances have all
since changed.

[Illustration: OLD WELLAND CANAL


_Plan of Lock at Port Dalhousie with Upper Gate closed, only 200 ft. long_

_The Lock at Port Dalhousie with Upper Gate open--233 ft. 6 in. long._

_"Chicora" 230 ft. long as placed in Lock and lowered to Lake Ontario
Level._ page 74]

Capt. D. Muir, the proprietor of the Dry Dock, with whom both now and later
many a pleasant hour was spent, was a fine old character, and although then
on the far side of sixty he held himself with square-set shoulders upright
and sprightly. He had sailed the lakes until his face had taken on a
permanent tan; eyes a deep blue with shaggy overhanging brows, a strong
mouth and imperturbable countenance. He was not greatly given to
conversation and had a dry, pawky humour which gave much point to his
slowly spoken words, but when, as sometimes, he was in narrative mood, he
would string off incidents of early sailing days on the lakes the while he
chewed or turned from side to side, some sliver of wood which was
invariably held between his teeth. He had no fancy for metal vessels, or
"tin-pots," as he called them. "Give me," said he, "good sound wooden
vessels, built right," (as he said this you would glean from his emphasis
he meant "as I build them.") "If ye hit against anything in the Canawl, ye
don't dint; if ye go ashore ye don't punch holes in your bottom, and ye ken
pull yer hardest without enny fear uv rippin' it out."

There is this to be said that whatever work was done in his dock, was well

As soon as possible the two parts were put into the dock, the bulkheads
taken out, the parts drawn together on launching ways (very cleverly done
by Muir's men), and the plates and beams rivetted together again by
rivetters brought down from Buffalo. The hull, both inside and out, was
diligently scraped in every part and thoroughly oiled and painted. The main
deck was relaid and _Chicora_ was a ship again.

While all this was going on, Mr. J. G. Demary, the "Overseer" of this
section of the canal, and I, had been carefully looking over the canal lock
and arranging the procedure for putting the boat in for the final lowering
down to Lake Ontario level.

Close examination had proved that the conditions of the Port Dalhousie
lock, under water, were much more favorable than appeared on the surface.
The lock had been built about thirty years previously and there was very
little local knowledge about it.

The lock itself was 200 feet on full inside measurement, with both gates
closed. The upper gates opening to the upper level, instead of being half
the height of the lower gates, were of the same height, and the lock itself
was continued at its full size and depth for 33 feet further beyond these
upper gates until it came to the "breast wall" of the upper level. With the
upper gates open and pressed against the sides, there was thus created an
unobstructed length of 233 feet, into which to place and lower the 230-foot
steamer, as is shown in the accompanying drawing. It was a very welcome and
satisfactory solution which investigation below the water level disclosed.

Like many other problems, it all seems very simple when once the unknown
has been studied out and the results revealed, and so it was in this case.
The project and the plan of the whole enterprise of bringing the _Chicora_
down had been created by close search into conditions, by the adapting of a
sudden opportunity which happened to become available, and thus rendered
practicable that which all others had considered to be, and was,

It was a trying risk and worthy of a good reward.

In an undertaking so exceptional as this was it was unavoidable that
unexpected difficulties should from time to time arise, as they often did,
yet only to be overcome by decision and pertinacity. Another, at this
stage, cropped up which for a time looked most unpleasant and caused much

The 230-foot steamer was to be placed in the 233-foot lock, and the water
run off so as to bring her to the Lake Ontario level, or 11 feet 6 inches
below the upper canal level. It was now found, when trying out every inch
of the proposition, that under the water in front of the breast wall there
was a big boom, or beam, extending across the lock from side to side.

Demary did not know how it was held in position, for it had been there
before he came into the service, but he understood it had been intended to
stop vessels laden too deeply from coming up the canal and striking and
damaging the stonework of the breast wall.

Enquiry at the Canal Office at St. Catharines resulted in learning that
there were no records of it, although Mr. E. V. Bodwell, who was then the
Canal Superintendent, gave us every aid. That beam had to be got out of the
way or difficulty might be caused, so permission was obtained from Ottawa
for its removal at our own expense.

First we thought we would saw it through, but soon found that it was
sheeted from end to end with plates of iron, so we had to begin the long
job of cutting the iron under water. Many a pipe was smoked while watching
the progress, when one day it was noticed that heads of the round rods
which held up the beam in the grooves were square, suggesting screws on the
lower end. So huge wrenches were forged, blocks and tackle rigged up, and
after an afternoon's work with a team and striking blows with sledge
hammers, we succeeded in getting the screws moving and, happy moment, the
beam dropped to the bottom of the lock, where, no doubt, it still remains.
So another kink had been untwisted.

Navigation ceased for the year, the canal was closed for the passage of
vessels and the upper gates of the lock were opened and firmly secured. The
_Chicora_ was brought from her mooring, and placed in the lock with her bow
up-stream. The water in the lock was now the same level as that of the
upper level. On the 5th December, 1877, the process of drawing off the
water of the five-mile level was begun, unwatering the canal as far as St.
Catharines. It took ten days or so before the wider areas of the drowned
lands were uncovered.

We watched the waters falling lower and lower until at length the steamer
began lowering into the lock. Being fully secured, she was held in position
clear of all obstacles. All was going well, but slowly, the time taken for
the last few feet seeming to be interminable. At last suspense was over and
on the 20th December we opened the lower gate and _Chicora_ floated out
into the harbour at the Lake Ontario level! The barges were quickly brought
alongside, the guards were jacked up and fastened back into place to be
completed after we reached Toronto, and the material which had been brought
along in the expedition collected and loaded.

Arrangement had been made with Capt. Hall to keep the tug _Robb_ in
commission to be ready to tow us over. Being telegraphed for the tug duly
arrived, and about noon on 24th December, started out from Port Dalhousie
with _Chicora_ in tow.

Navigation had long been closed and we were the only boats out on the lake.

The air was cold but clear, and we had a fine passage, delighting greatly
when the buildings of Toronto came clearly into view--soon we would enter
the haven where we fain would be. As we crossed the lake a smart and
increasing breeze rose behind. As we came abreast of the shoal near the New
Fort (now called Stanley Barracks), and rounded up to make for the entrance
to the harbour, suddenly the _Robb_ _stopped_. Something had evidently gone
wrong with the engine. Carried on by our way we swung broadside to the
shore under our lee. A quarter of an hour, half an hour, three-quarters of
an hour passed as we were steadily drifted by the breeze nearer and nearer
to the beach. We could not do anything for ourselves--still there was no
movement from the tug--would she never start again? A little nearer and we
would go aground among the sand and boulders, to stick there perhaps
through the whole of the winter which was so close at hand. After working
out our enterprise so far, were we to be wrecked just when safety was less
than a mile away? It seemed hard lines to be so helpless at such a stage.
But fortune had not abandoned her adventurers, for just in the nick of time
we saw the tug moving, the engine had started again and in half an hour the
_Chicora_ was inside the harbour, tied up alongside the old Northern
Railway Dock, her journey from Collingwood ended on this the afternoon of
the day before Christmas Day.

Capt Hall, who was on his tug, had suffered as much from anxiety as had we,
for he knew that every other tug on the lake had been laid up, so there
would have been nothing left to pull the _Robb_ off had she, as well as we,
been carried upon the bouldered shore.

The _Robb_ was the largest Canadian wrecking tug then on the lakes. She had
done service in the Fenian Raid of 1866 at the time of the engagement at
Fort Erie between the Welland Battery and the Fenians, some of the bullet
marks still remaining on her wheel-house. After a long and honourable
career she was grounded at Victoria Park, where her hull was used to form a
portion of the landing pier, and where some of her timbers may still

What a happy relief it was to be back on old familiar ground again, to meet
the cheery greetings and congratulations of the "Old Northerners" of the
yards and machine shops who took the utmost interest in this enterprise of
their President, Hon. Frank Smith, and their General Manager, Mr. F. W.
Cumberland, and formed an affection for the _Chicora_ which is lasting and
vivid to the present day.

Christmas was a happy and well-earned rest. We had completed the first part
of the undertaking, but not for unmeasured wealth would the experience be
repeated. Youth is energetic and looks forward in roseate hope, so the
anxieties and risks were soon forgotten, and all nerves turned toward the
business engagements and profits, which, now that we had her safe in hand,
the boat was to be set to earn.

The balance of that winter, and the spring of 1878 were fully occupied in
rebuilding the upper works of the steamer in their new form adapted to her
service as a day boat and in overhauling and setting up the engine after
their long rest. Not long after our arrival, Captain Manson developed a
severe inflammation, which confined him to his room in the Richmond House.
Here, bright and cheerful to the last, he died on 29th February and was
buried in Collingwood on March 2nd, deeply regretted by all sailorfolk and
particularly by our crew. Five others of that crew, lost with the _Wabuno_
and _Asia_, found watery graves in the waters of the Georgian Bay. The
writer is now the sole survivor, and Mr. R. H. M. McBride, and he the only
remaining members of the original company.

For the interior work a party of experienced French-Canadian ship joiners
were brought up from Sorel, no centre of ship carpentering existing in
Ontario at that time.

The comely main stairway which gives such adornment to the entrance hall
was then erected in all its grace of re-entrant curves, ornate pillars, and
flowing sweep of head-rail and balustrade. When one thinks of the
unnumbered thousands of travellers who have passed up and down its
convenient steps, ones admiration and respect are raised for the
French-Canadian Foreman who designed its form and executed it with such
honest and capable workmanship, that to-day it still displays its lines of
beauty without a creak or strain.

The octagonal wheel-house of the upper lakes which had been brought by rail
from Collingwood was re-erected with its columned sides and graceful
curving cornice under which was again hung the little blockade-running
bell, lettered "Let Her B."



On the south side of Lake Ontario, opposite Toronto, is the Niagara Portal,
where the mouth of the Niagara River, with high banks on either hand, makes
its entrance into the lake, forming the only uninterrupted deep water
harbour on that shore.

Here the rapid waters, outfall of all the gatherings of the inland Upper
Lakes, pour out in fullest volume, enabling entrance even in winter, when
all other harbours are closed in the grasp of ice. It is worthy of its
mighty source, the product of the greatest Fresh Water Lakes in all the

Over the west bank floats the Union Jack on Fort Missasuaga, and over the
east on Fort Niagara, the Stars and Stripes, each the emblem of the British
and United States nationalities, between whose possessions the river forms
the boundary line.

The first port of call on the Canadian side at the mouth of the river, now
known as Niagara-on-the-Lake, had in olden times an importance and a past,
which much belies its present outlook of quiet and placidity. Once it was
the principal and most noted place in the Province of Upper Canada, and the
centre of legislative power, making its surrounding neighborhood full of

The successive changes in the name of this ancient lakeside town, as also
those of the settlement on the opposite shore, are interesting, as in
themselves they form footprints in the paths of history.

The French had entered the St. Lawrence in 1534, and, as we have seen, had
fully established their first route of connection to the Upper Lakes and
the inner fur-trading districts, via the Ottawa and Lake Nipissing. The
Niagara River route, via Lake Erie, had been learned of by them in 1669
under Pere Gallinee, and followed by the enterprise of the _Griffon_ in
1678, but then, and for long after, was too fiercely occupied by hostile
Indian tribes to be greatly available for commercial use. A first advance
from Montreal intending to occupy the route, under Chevalier de la Barre,
was intercepted by the Indians at Frontenac (Kingston) and driven back to

In 1687 another advance for possession of the river succeeded in creating a
foothold and the French erected a wooden fort and palisade upon the
projecting point on the east bank of the river at its junction point with
the lake. This outpost they named Fort Niagara, the name by which the place
has ever since continued to be known.

The little garrison was not long able to keep its foothold. Beset by
Indians and cut off by the failure of food supplies expected from their
compatriots in the east, they were in dire straits, but yet boldly holding
out in hopes that relief might yet arrive. At this juncture, Col. Thomas
Dongan, Governor of the English Colony of New York, then loyal subjects of
James II., made demand that the French should evacuate the fort, as it was
in British territory. The British colonists of New York and New Jersey had
recently joined hands with the Colonies of New England, in a British union,
for united defence against the French. Upon the English Home Government
having indicated to the French authorities its support of the Colonial
demand, the Marquis de Denonville, Governor of Canada, ordered the garrison
to retire. This they reluctantly did, but before leaving raised in the
centre of the fort, under the influence of Pere Millet, their Jesuit
Missionary, a great wooden cross 18 feet in height, upon which they cut in
large letters:

    , "REGN: VINC: IMP: CHRS:"
    _Regnat_; _Vincit_; _Imperat_; _Christus_;
    (Christ Reigns, Conquers, Rules.)

The place was being for a while abandoned as a military post, but by this
they left notice that it was still held as on outpost of their religion.

Here again at Niagara an episode was being repeated exceedingly similar to
that which had been developed at Quebec a century and a half before.

Jacques Cartier and his explorers had entered the St. Lawrence and endured
their first winter at Stadacona (Quebec). Decimated by scurvy and
privations, and in extreme danger from the hostility of the Indians, he
determined to return to France, taking with him the remnants of his
expedition. On 3rd May, 1536, three days before leaving, he raised upon the
river bank a cross 35 feet in height, on which was a shield bearing the
Lilies of France, and an inscription:

"_Franciscus Primus Dei Gratia Francorum Regnat._"

As Cartier had returned and established their strong-hold at tidewater,
near Quebec, so the survivors of the party of Pierre de Troyes at Niagara,
in 1688, hoped they, too, might again return and repossess for their nation
this centre from which they were so reluctantly retiring. These two events
so far separated in time, are striking evidences of the constancy with
which these pioneers of France, even when seemingly overcome, showed their
hopeful fidelity to King and to their religion.

The French in 1721 were, according to Charlevoix, once more in occupation.

The position of Fort Niagara, commanding the route to their series of forts
on the lines of the Ohio and Mississippi, was considered by the French as
second in importance only to that of Quebec, and consequently great store
laid upon its possession. Under Jonquiere they added four bastions to the
fort and erected a stone storehouse, called "The Castle," which is still to
be seen. Further strengthenings were added by Capt. Puchot, of the
Battalion of Bearne.

In 1759, notwithstanding Puchot's gallant defence, the fort was captured by
the British, under Sir William Johnson, and thus both sides of the river
came under British rule.

Three nationalities in succession had striven for its possession, the
Indians, the French and the British, from whom it was never again taken by

At the conclusion of the War of the Revolution the forts along the northern
frontier were, by the Treaty of Paris, 1783, to be transferred to the
United States. Fort Niagara, with some others, was held in hostage for the
fulfillment of the reparations promised by the Federal Government of the
United States to be made by the several States to the United Empire, and
other Loyalists who had stood by the King during the Rebellion.

These reparations were never made, but after the guns had been removed to
Fort George, on the Canadian side, the Union Jack was hauled down, and the
fort handed over on 11th July, 1796.

The Stars and Stripes then remained in possession until the War of 1812,
when in retaliation for the burning of Newark, the fort was assaulted and
taken by storm by the British under Col. Murray on the night of 18th
December, 1813, and the Union Jack was once more raised above it.

Matters remained in this position until in February, 1814, under the Treaty
of Ghent, Fort Niagara was once more gracefully given over and again, and
in peace, the Stars and Stripes took the place of the Red Cross Jack.

The name Niagara appears during the opening period of the British
occupation to have been used generally for all parts of the neighborhood,
but applied particularly to the old village on the east bank close under
the walls of the old French fort.

Population now began to cross the river to the western side, and Abner
Gilbert reports in 1761, the beginning of a village called Butlersberg, on
the west shore, named after Colonel Butler, the Commander of the celebrated
"Butler's Rangers" of the Revolutionary War, and which was afterwards
largely settled by United Empire Loyalists.

This name was early changed to West Niagara in order to distinguish it from
Fort Niagara.

At the advent of Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe, in 1791, and presumably at his
instance, a new name Newark, after a town in Nottinghamshire, England, was
given to this town on the west bank, and in 1792, by royal proclamation,
the name Niagara was officially transferred from the town to the
surrounding township.

Newark then became the seat of Government, and Capital of the Province of
Upper Canada, and the place of residence of the Lieutenant-Governor. This
distinction and advantage it enjoyed unrestrictedly until 1793, when
Governor Simcoe removed his personal headquarters to the north side of the
lake at Toronto, where he again indulged his fancy for changing names, by
changing the then original name of Toronto, to that of York, in honor of a
recent victory of H.R.H. the Duke of York in Flanders. Although Governor
Simcoe had himself removed his residence to York, he received and
entertained the Duc de Liancourt in 1795, at Newark. The Parliaments of
Upper Canada continued to hold their sessions at Newark, and the town to be
the official centre of the Province, until 1796, when Governor Russell, the
successor of Governor Simcoe, finally removed the Provincial headquarters
to York.

The loss of its prestige and official importance so incensed the
inhabitants that they refused to continue the new name imposed upon them by
Governor Simcoe and reverted at once to the name of West Niagara. The
official _Niagara Gazette_, which had hitherto been dated from Newark,
changed its heading to West Niagara, and so continued until October, 1789,
when it was first published from York. Finally in 1798 an Act of Parliament
was obtained by the municipality restoring to the town its old name of

Old names die hard, so we find John Maude, in 1800, mentioning the name of
West Niagara, late Newark. Common usage seems to have generally retained
the name of Newark, at all events as used by strangers. John Mellish,
writing in 1811, says "I came down the opposite side of the river, the wind
was blowing so hard that I could not cross to Newark."

On the 10th December, 1813, when every house in the town, except one, was
burned by the American troops, who had obtained possession in the previous
spring, but were now retreating from it in consequence of the advance of
the British troops under Col. Murray; the American General writing on the
spot to the United States Secretary of War at Washington and describing in
his official report of the position of affairs writes: "The village of
Newark is now in flames." This destruction and the infliction of great
privations upon the inhabitants and children, in the midst of a severe
winter may have been justified under the plea of military exigency, but has
always been considered inhuman. General McLure and his forces, however,
retired so precipately across the river to the United States side that they
left the whole 200 tents of their encampment at Fort George standing, and
the new barracks which they had just completed untouched, so that we may
hope that some of the women and children were not without temporary

With this total destruction in 1813 seems also to have passed away the name
Newark, and the town arose from its ashes as Niagara.

In after times, as the towns and villages in this Niagara district
increased in number, not a few difficulties were occasioned by a similarity
of names, such as Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls Centre, Niagara South,
Niagara, etc. In 1900 the name of Niagara-on-the-Lake was introduced as
being a geographical and distinctive name, appropriate to the lakeside
position. This, while not at first accepted by some of the older citizens,
yet having been authorized by the Post Office Department, is now the
correct address. The name is certainly one expressing the individuality of
the town and its unexampled position as an interesting place of resort, and
perhaps is better than that of Old Niagara, which some people still use in
speaking of it.

It was into this Niagara River Realm, with all its historic past and
passenger possibilities that we were about to enter.

Negotiations for the running arrangements had been continued during the
winter months. The _Chicora_ having been brought to Lake Ontario, and
accepted as satisfactory for the Canadian Southern Railway, a term of years
contract for the performance of the service in its combined rail and water
route between Buffalo, Niagara and Toronto was negotiated, and after much
debate and consideration had been drafted and settled with the officers and
engrossed for final execution. An arrangement was also made by Hon. Frank
Smith with the representatives of the Milloy Estate, the owners of the
_City of Toronto_, that the two steamers, the _City_ and the _Chicora_
should run in concert, dividing the business between them and avoiding

Everything looked well. The steamer herself as she approached completion
increased in approbation, and the details for the traffic working had been
satisfactorily arranged.

The writer resigned his position as General Freight and Passenger Agent of
the Northern Railway of Canada, and received appointment (26th April,
1878), as Manager of the Niagara Navigation Company. In the preceding year
Mr. Robert Kerr had been promoted from the charge of the through grain
traffic to be Assistant General Freight and Passenger Agent of the
Northern, and now succeeded to the full office, a position which he held
with increasing satisfaction until 1884, when he transferred and entered
into the service of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

A ticket office was opened by Mr. Cumberland for the Niagara route and the
Upper Lakes, with Captain Thomas Wyatt of the Inman Line, and C. W. Irwin,
Customs Broker, at 35 Yonge street, under the then American Hotel on the
north-east corner of Front and Yonge streets, now covered by the building
of the Toronto Board of Trade. The agencies of all the ocean and inland
steamship companies were at that time located either on Front or on Yonge
streets, in this neighborhood. Donald Milloy, the agent of the Richelieu
and Royal Mail Lines and the _City of Toronto_ was on the Front street side
of the American Hotel, while this for Upper Lakes and the _Chicora_ was on
the Yonge street front.

In the beginning of May came a bolt from the blue. The opportunities for
another steamer in the Niagara River route had evidently attracted the
attention of other people as well as ourselves. There had been rumors that
Mr. R. G. Lunt, of Fredericton, New Brunswick, might bring his fast river
steamer the _Rothesay_ up to Lake Ontario, or the St. Lawrence River. His
route on the St. John River between Fredericton and St. John had been
spoiled by recent railway construction; he was thus open for a new route.
Mr. Donald Macdonald of Toronto was his brother-in-law, so that he was not
without local advice and influence. The announcement was now made that an
arrangement had been come to between the _City of Toronto_ and the
_Rothesay_ to run together on the Niagara route. The Hon. Frank Smith at
once sent for Mr. Donald Milloy and was surprised to be told that the
undertaking which had been made to run the _City of Toronto_ in connection
with the _Chicora_, would not be fulfilled and that it was not binding on
the owners of the steamer. Needless to say Mr. Smith was enraged, and
bringing his hand down with a decisive smash declared that he would see
them through various places for their perfidy.

[Illustration: The CHICORA on Lake Ontario page 94]

Mr. Donald Milloy was then leaseholder from the Freeland Bros. of the Yonge
street dock, Toronto, and refused to allow us to have a berth in it. The
Milloy Estate owned the dock at Niagara, and at first would not let us in
but satisfactory arrangements were made.

Here we were within six weeks of the opening of business without either
dock or partner.

Arrangements for our connection at Lewiston were next sought. The only dock
was owned by Mr. George Cornell. This was the connecting point with the New
York Central Railway whose station was in the Upper Town about a mile
distant from the landing; the passengers and baggage being transferred in
the bus line run by Mr. Cornell. The _City_ had the exclusive rights of
this dock at its upper end, close to the staircase, up and down which
connection was made between the busses on the upper level and the steamers.

Cornell was not disinclined to favour the increased business which the new
steamer would no doubt bring to his hotel and busses. We were thus enabled
to lease the lower end of the dock, which was at once repaired and
replenished, it not having been in use for many years--in fact, not since
1864-65, when all the large lake steamers were withdrawn and run down the
rapids to be employed in service during the American Civil War.

Then began a permanent and friendly relation with the Cornells, father and
son, which has been continued without a hitch or interruption through all
these intervening years.

At Toronto, Mr. Donald Milloy still refused to allow us to run from his
Yonge Street dock in connection with the other steamers, although we would
have been very glad to do so. This dock is in many ways a much superior
boating point than any other, but as the next best place we secured entry
at the west side of Yonge Street at "Mowat's Dock," afterwards called
"Geddes' Dock," and now the "City Dock," our berth being along the face
fronting the bay.

Another bolt was now to come. All the details of our contract with the
Canada Southern had been settled early in the spring, the documents drawn
and requiring only the signature of the President. Unfortunately at this
juncture a change of control came and the Canada Southern passed into the
hands of the Michigan Central, and under another President, who, on being
interviewed at Cleveland, was quite pleasant, sent for the contract, read
it over, but said decisively that it had not been signed and there would be
no contract! In his opinion it was not desirable to make a term of years
contract, tying his company to any one boat, but under the special
circumstances, agreed to give us a connection. I pointed out that we had
gone to all the risk and expense and had brought the _Chicora_ down on the
faith of that contract, but as he said he wouldn't adopt it, he was at once
assured that we would work just as hard for expansion of the traffic and
would earn and win his company's support, so we parted on friendly terms.

There was nothing else for it. We might just as well take it pleasantly for
it was good to have even half a connection with one of the railways on the
river. It certainly felt a disappointment not to have contract control of
that section of the traffic, but one is disposed to think that it was for
the best, and indeed has so proved. We have built our way up by providing,
at the instance of the railways, all the requirements that that water
traffic needs. It is better to deserve a route and hold it by efficient
service for mutual advantage, trusting to just and amicable endeavor on
both sides, rather than to the rigid terms of a formal contract.

The importance of the ownership of landing places had been so impressed by
the recent events that I availed of an opportunity, which offered to
purchase the dock and water lot at Queenston, although the traffic at that
point was then so light that it could scarcely be considered a port of

This British port at the head of Lake Ontario navigation at this upper end
of "Queen's-ton" was the loyally-named co-relative and partner of "King's
Ton" at the lower end. Its glory had been great, but had long departed,
leaving little but the noted "Queenston Spring," whose pure and running
waters still pour perennially from the side of the bank alongside the dock.

The purchase did not at that time receive much approval by some, but fully
justified itself later on, and was the first step in that policy of
acquiring the wharf properties at all points on our route, which has ever
since been consistently followed by the company.

As we had expected that our intended partner would provide us with railway
connections on the river and with ticketing arrangements for foreign
business, we had not done much except in local preparations. The "City"
refused to present us to the railway companies and tendered the "Rothesay"
as her partner, as the railway companies loyally stood by their old
connection, we were left out to do the best we could on our own account.

We had now to prepare all these matters for ourselves, a pretty
considerable work of organization, but with energy and much overtime it was
at length pushed through. The main difficulty was in the railway
connection via Lewiston, and beyond Buffalo, where the railways would
neither accept tickets for us, nor issue tickets over us. The New York
Central authorities determined to stand by their old connections with the
"City," and would not have any dealings with us. The Hon. Frank Smith
interviewed Mr. Tillinghart, who was Superintendent and in charge of the
Central interests in this district, placing before him the position which
had been anticipated but had been disrupted, with the "City," but to no
avail. It was a serious position and seemed well night unsurmountable. Some
would have quailed and laid down.

The _Rothesay_ arrived. She proved to be quite an impressive looking boat,
about 180 feet in length, good beam, very roomy decks and central cabin; a
more commodious boat than the _City_. She was particularly well arranged as
a "day" boat and was reputed to have a high rate of speed, as she soon
proved she had. The _Chicora_ shortly afterwards moved down the bay from
the Northern docks to her station. The contrast between the two steamers
was most noticeable, the _Rothesay_ with high walking beam engine and broad
skimming dish appearance, with the sea-going ability, and double red
funnels of the _Chicora_. It was evident that the main contest would be
between these two boats.

The _City of Toronto_, as had for many years been usual, a custom coming
down from the time when there were no railways around the head of the lake,
opened the season on April 18th, leaving Toronto at 7 a.m., making only the
one morning trip.

We had made our appointments in March, Captain Thomas Harbottle, the
leading favorite of the Royal Mail Line, was placed in command. A
ruddy-faced, jovial personage, with flowing Dundreary whiskers, inclining
to grey, cordial manners, a good seaman, who held with ever-increasing
respect and confidence the good-will of the Royal Mail Company and of the
travelling public. Mr. J. Ellis, who had a good connection in Toronto and
held full marine certificates, as captain on both Atlantic and Inland
lakes, was appointed First Officer, and George Moore Chief Engineer. Alex.
Leach continued as Purser.

The bookstand and lunch counter on the steamer were leased to a young man
then in the employ of Chisholm Brothers, the proprietors of the similar
privileges on the Richelieu & Ontario, and River St. Lawrence steamers.

As steamers were added by us, T. P. Phelan grew with the line. Subsequently
he was entrusted with all the catering for the company. From this he
advanced to similar business at all the refreshment stations of the Grand
Trunk and Grand Trunk Pacific Railways, so that now the Canada Railway News
Co. (which is T. P. Phelan) is the largest news and catering company in



The work of preparation had been completed and we drifted down to record
the opening day of our first season. Our hats were in the ring.

A complimentary excursion to Niagara, leaving at 2.30 p.m., was given by
the company on May 10th to a large list of guests, an introduction of the
steamer which was much appreciated and approved.

The boat race in Toronto Bay between Hanlan and Ross on 15th May was
availed of for an excursion to view the race.

We were still solving the problems on the Niagara River so our first
business operation was in another direction, and it is somewhat interesting
that this first trip was to Hamilton, being introduced by the following


    24th May, 1878


    Magnificent Steamer


     Will leave Mowart's dock at 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Returning
     will leave Hamilton at 10.15 a.m. and 6.15 p.m.,
     calling at Ocean House, Burlington Beach, each way.

     Splendid Band of the Royal Engineer's Artillery

     For the convenience of passengers the Steamer will call
     at Queen's Wharf on the outward trip in the morning.
     Single Return Tickets 75c. Double Return Tickets $1.00.

    Barlow Cumberland, Agent, 35 Yonge Street.


The results were highly satisfactory, the public being anxious to see the
steamer and interested in its progress. Another charter which was declined
may be mentioned as being the establishing of a principle which was not
departed from. A new Roman Catholic Church had been erected at Oakville,
which was to be consecrated and opened with much eclat on a Sunday. At that
time there were no trains run on Sundays on the Hamilton and Toronto Branch
of the Great Western Railway, and the only way by which any very large
contingent from Toronto could be expected to join in the ceremonies would
be by making arrangements for an excursion by water. There would have been
no legal objection to this, as the rigidity of Sunday legislation had not
then been introduced. The Oakville authorities made application to charter
the _Chicora_, and as the President of the company was a Roman Catholic,
and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto strongly supported the
application, they felt assured of compliance. A goodly offer was made for a
trip on the Sunday afternoon from Toronto to Oakville and back. The matter
was considered by the Board and it was unanimously resolved that the
Chicora would not be run on Sundays. One will not say that this decision
was entirely due to religious considerations, although these, no doubt,
were not without weight, but it was also settled upon plain business

The steamer was entering a considerable contest and would need every care.
In a competition with two steamers we needed to have our men and the boat
keyed up to the highest efficiency. This could not be done if we ran the
steamer across the lake on every day of the week. The maintenance of the
regularity of the steamers and the reputation of the Niagara River Line has
without doubt been considerably gained by confining the running to "week
days only." The increasing requirements for through connections,
particularly from the American Railways on the south shore, where Sunday
trains have greatly increased, may some day bring about a change.

On Saturday, 1st June, _Chicora_ left Toronto dock at 2.30 p.m. for a first
regular afternoon excursion to Niagara, and on Monday, June 3rd, began her
regular double trip service leaving at 7.05 a.m. and 2.05 p.m.

As matters on the Niagara River were still in process of organization we
did not at first run beyond Niagara except on Wednesday and Saturday
afternoons, when the full trip up the river to Lewiston was made.

It was very early found that the trip up the river is the main attraction
to the route, giving, as it does, scenery unusual and without compare, a
respite from the open lake and allowing a stroll on shore, either at
Niagara or Lewiston, while awaiting the return journey.

From the very beginning the competition was a whirlwind. Mr. Lunt was an
adept at steamboat competition and it was our business to go him one
better, and also to have our steamer and facilities made as widely known as
possible to the travelling public.

At Toronto the entrances to the two docks, alongside one another on the
Esplanade, were trimmed with "speilers," who finally expanded up Yonge
Street to Front, and even to King Street. One thing insisted on, so far as
our men were concerned, was that there should be no decrying of the
character or condition of the rival boats.

Our tickets were put into the hands of every Ticket Office, Broker,
Insurance or Real Estate Agent in Toronto, whether up-town or down-town,
who would take them in, provided one thing only, that he had an office
opening on the street. Every hotel porter, with his sisters, his cousins,
and his aunts, was created a friend, and the itinerant cab was just as
welcome as the official bus. We were out to get business from every

The _City_ in previous years had issued a ticket at $10 to members of one
family for ten round trips on any afternoon. We put a general rate on of
$1.00 without any restrictions, and by gradual reductions it reached 50
cents on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. This was a round trip rate
which had been introduced by the _Southern Belle_ in 1877 for the
afternoons of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday on her route from York Street
(Tinning's Wharf) to Niagara and return. We now extended it to Lewiston and
return, giving a view of the really splendid scenery of the river which had
never previously been opened at reduced rates. The public quickly took in
the idea and gave us business. In addition to general business, we
energetically worked up the Society and Church excursions, becoming an
unpleasant thorn in the sides of those who had so summarily thrown us over
and whom we were now obliged to attack. It was in this season that the
Caledonian Society made their first excursion with us, a connection and
comradeship which in all the thirty-four years has never once been

Matters on the other side of the lake were somewhat different. We had no
railway connections to issue tickets over us or direct passengers to our
boat. We had to provide for this entirely of ourselves, having thus to
promote business on both sides of the route. Printer's ink was extensively
used by newspaper advertisements, descriptive folders, dodgers and
timetables. A large and excellent framed colored lithograph of the Steamer
was issued with the lettering:





       President.          Manager.

These being largely distributed to the hotels and ticket offices introduced
the steamer in her new conditions. There was no use running the boat unless
we fully advised the public of herself and movements, but all this
advertising, and introduction, cost much expense in money and energy.

The ticketing arrangements on the south shore were somewhat difficult.
Passenger business thirty years ago was conducted under very different
conditions from such as exist at present. There were no official
regulations, no State or Inter-State, Authorized Tariffs, no Railway
Commissioners. Each railway and each passenger department was a law unto
itself to be guided and regulated by whatever conditions or rates might at
the time be considered most desirable for the promotion of its own business
by the officers in charge.

Ticket "scalping" abounded, being looked upon by the public as a protection
against the uncontrolled ratings by the railways, and a promoter of
competition where combination might otherwise be effectual. There were
several Associations of "Ticket Scalpers," some of much power and
reliability, but all were equally denounced by the railways. Yet there were
in fact not a few instances where the regular issues of some of the (for
the time-favoured) railway companies might be found in an under drawer of
some of these unauthorized servants of the public. These energetic workers
were our opportunity. All the principal Scalping Offices between Cleveland,
Pittsburgh, New York, Albany, Rochester, and Lewiston, were stocked with
books of tickets reading over our steamer, or to Toronto and return. The
rates were, of course, such that they could obtain both profit and
business. There was no use mincing matters, we were in the fight to win
out. Through these sources we managed to get quite a business, being
represented in each town by from two to four scalp offices, in large cities
even more, and, tell it not in Gath, with very friendly arrangements in
some of the regular offices as well.

The amount of personal travelling and introduction was laborious, but was
pleasant, in renewing acquaintanceships and connections formed as General
Passenger Agent of the Northern Railway when working up the new Couchiching
and Muskoka tourist business introduced in the several preceding years.

It was in this season of 1878 that the converging railways in the districts
spreading from the south and southwest towards Buffalo, began a system of
huge excursions for three days to Niagara Falls and return, on special
trains both ways, and at rates for the round trip not far from, and often
less, than single fare. Most of these separate railways have since been
merged into some one or other of the main Trunk Lines, but then they were
independent and each sending in its quota on its own account to make up a
"Through Special." The most successful excursions of these were the series
which came every week from the then Wabash District, from Indiana and the
southwest, and were known as the "Friendly Hand" excursions. The name arose
from a special trade mark which appeared in all the Wabash folders and
announcements, of an outstretched hand with the thumb and fingers spread,
on each of which was shown the line and principal stations of each one of
the contributing railways that fed their excursions into the main stem. The
excursionists were energetic, and although the "Falls" was the focus of
their route, we induced large numbers of them to cross over to Toronto. A
prevailing slogan was:

    "One day to Falls,
    One day to stay,
    Next day Toronto
    And then 'get away.'"

When the long special excursion train slowly came down the curve from the
town station at Niagara to the dock to join the steamers, it was gall and
wormwood to the _City_ or the _Rothesay_, lying in waiting, to see the
crowd of linen duster tourists as they poured out of the train make
straight for the _Chicora_, "The boat with the two red funnels." We got
them all, for we had many and right good friends.

In those early days, before the "Park Commissioners" on both sides of the
river had taken public possession of the surroundings, there were few
places at the Falls from which either the river or the rapids could be seen
without paying a fee. The proprietors of these places issued tickets in
little books, containing coupons for admittance to all, or to a selection,
of these "points of interest," and put them all in the hands of the
managers of the excursions. The advertisement "dodgers" announced:

      Special Inducement for this Excursion to the Falls

                           { Suspension Bridge and Return 25c.
      The regular prices   { Prospect Park                25c.
      for Admission are to { Art Gallery                  25c.
                           { Museum and Operators         50c.
                           { Garden of Living Animals     25c.

One ticket purchased on the train for $1.00
Admits the Holder to all these regular prices.

A good round commission on these sales was a helpful "find" or "side cut"
to the energetic young railway men who personally accompanied these
excursions, through their trains, on the way to the Falls, carrying large
satchels with their selections of "Points of Interest" and other tickets,
and answering the multitude of enquiries made by their tourist patrons. An
extension ticket to "Toronto and Return" was a pleasant addition to their
wares, and a satisfactory introduction to us. Some of these travelling
passenger men, by their energy and successful handling of these excursions,
brought themselves into notice, and afterwards rose to be heads of
Passenger Departments, and even into Presidents of Railways! As a reminder
of their trip each tourist was given by us a souvenir of Toronto, and even
if excursionists struck a rough day and rendered up their tributes to Lake
Ontario, it was of novel interest to many who had never before seen a lake
wide enough to have been "out of sight of land," and sailing over waves big
enough to make a large steamer rock.

In this way began what has since been so greatly developed, the Reduced
Rate Excursions to Toronto, via the Niagara River, and the making known of
the features of the City as a Summer Resort by this advocacy, and the
thousands of dollars which the Niagara Navigation Company has devoted to
its advertising in all parts of the United States.

At Lewiston we took everyone on board that wanted to come; in fact, our
"runners" strenuously invited them. The moment the dusty two-horse "stages"
from the New York Central station unloaded their still more dusty
travellers in front of Cornell's Hotel at the top of the bank at the
staircase, they were appealed to by the rival touts of the competing
steamers, either to take the "black funnel" steamer at the foot of the
staircase, or the _Chicora_, with the red funnels further down the dock. It
was a little bit of pandemonium.

No tickets were collected by us at the gangway--it was "come right on
board," the tickets being collected while crossing the lake after leaving

If the traveller had no ticket, we collected fare from him at full tariff;
if he had a ticket over the other boats we accepted it and graciously
carried him across free; if he had one of our own tickets we almost
embraced him. What difference did it make to us whether the tickets reading
over the other boats were cashed to us or not, we had the more ample space
and better accommodation on ours. Perhaps the passenger might esteem the
compliment and be a paying traveller over us on some other day. Besides,
people like following the crowd, and the larger number helps to make a
show. Times have been known in competitions on the Upper Lakes where the
central cabins prevent both sides of the steamer being seen at once, when
in addition to the available passengers, everyone possible of waiters and
crew have been spread out on the passing side of the upper cabin, when
meeting a rival boat. It gives an appearance of prosperity and suggests the
approval of the public.

Just here let me bear testimony to the ability and fidelity of Purser Aleck
Leach, who had been purser with me on the _Cumberland_, and had now been
transferred to the _Chicora_. Kindly and courteous, yet firm, he never
dissatisfied a passenger. Untiring, accurate, faithful, he never divulged
anything of the company's business, and won and enjoyed the confidence and
good-will of every member of the Board and Staff. A condition which was
only severed by his death. At no time were these abilities more displayed
than in this first strenuous year on this route.

The competition grew hotter as the season progressed. The odds were greatly
in favour of two boats with an established connection against a single boat
without any, yet _Chicora_ was gaining, and every point in the passenger
ticketing game was being played against them by her management.

The acrimony and the rivalry of the contest is fairly indicated by an
advertisement in "The Globe" on 5th August, 1878:


     The Public are warned that spent checks of the Steamers
     _City of Toronto_ and _Rothesay_ of their line,
     collected and issued by the Steamer _Chicora_, will not
     be accepted for passage on either of the steamers of
     this Line.

     Passengers going over by the _Chicora_ on Saturday last
     were furnished with such by the _Chicora_, and were
     consequently deceived, as these checks were refused by
     this Line.

                         D. MILLOY, AGENT.

The galled jade was wincing and inventing stories, for they could not and
did not afterwards refuse their unused tickets whenever we found it
advisable to use them.

As the months passed _Chicora_ improved herself in the good-will of the
travelling public, being admirably handled by Captain Harbottle.

At Niagara it was a ticklish job to get into and away from the lower dock.
The _Rothesay_ always moved down in order to get as close as she could,
frequently we had to warn her to keep further away.

When coming into the river _Chicora_ had to be driven sharp across from the
point at the Fort, on the United States side, to the dock on the Niagara
side, to be brought up, all standing, with her bow only a few feet below
the _Rothesay's_ stern. Often it looked as though she must run into the
other before the way could be stopped, and that a collision must take

Coming down the river it was a less dangerous, but a more difficult
manoeuvre. The steamers always move swiftly in the quick current which
sweeps past Fort George to the docks. As on or each day, both the other
steamers lay at the same time in front of their dock, their hulls extended
far out into the stream, and _Chicora_ coming down had to make a double
curve, like an S, to get her place at the lower dock. It was a pretty thing
to see, but Harbottle always managed it by just skimming, but not touching,
the other boats' side. The harmony between him on the bridge and Monroe in
the engine room apparently being complete, and besides, _Chicora_ steers
like a yacht.

At Lewiston things went easier, yet even here the _Rothesay_ would edge
back down the front.

[Illustration: Niagara Navigation Co. Steamer "spinning" in the Rapids
below Queenston Heights. Page 105]

In order to avoid all possibility of touching the steamer ahead when he was
leaving Lewiston dock, Captain Harbottle, instead of going up-stream and
afterwards turning down-stream, always sprung the stern of his steamer out
from the dock and backed over towards Vroomen's Bay on the opposite side of
the river.

It was from the upper point in this bay that the British battery played
with much success upon the American boats as they crossed the river to
attack Queenston on 13th October, 1812.

From here he turned and went down stream. It is said that this was the
course which had been adopted in olden days by the large steamers
_Cataract_ and _Bay State_ when leaving this Lewiston dock.

Another manoeuvre introduced by Captain Harbottle is still continued. After
making a first call at Queenston the steamer on leaving the dock moves
further up the river keeping in the eddy which here runs up along the shore
to the foot of the Queenston Heights. When close under the Heights, the
steamer turns quickly outward towards the centre of the river and the
engines are stopped. Forging slowly ahead the bow enters into the whitened
boilings and swirls of the surging currents of the rapids pouring out from
the Gorge. The bow is caught by the current and the steamer then rapidly
"spun round" by its swiftness, almost as though on a teetotum, the engines
meanwhile backing up. Just as soon as the bow heads down the river the
engines are at once sent ahead again and the steamer sweeps at an express
train rate past the jutting points of the shore, and makes her landing at
Lewiston. It is a very pretty manoeuvre and surprising to see the rapidity
with which the stern circles round.

On the open lake _Chicora_ by degrees won her way. Being much the faster
boat she could hold or pass the _City of Toronto_ at any time or in any
weather--with _Rothesay_ it was different. On a fine smooth day there was
little between them; on a hot, sultry day, without any wind to assist a
draught for the fires, the _Rothesay_ could beat the _Chicora_ by one, to
one and a half minutes Toronto to Niagara, but if there was even the
slightest motion, _Chicora_ could walk by her, and on a rough day
_Rothesay_ couldn't run at all. She was a very light tamarac hull, built
purely for enclosed river service in perfectly smooth water, and therefore
in no way fitted for outside wave action. We set out by starting behind the
time of the other steamers. When running a competition, it is not a bad
thing to let the other boat get away first. It makes the fellow in front
uneasy. He doesn't know when the boat behind may be going to have a dash at
him, it makes him fretful and it is hard to tell how fast he is going. Both
engineers and firemen feel the strain.

Boats often run better on some days than they do on others; it may be the
character of the coal, the direction of the wind, or the disposition of the
firemen, thus the boat behind can choose her own day for a spin. Watches
are sometimes different, yet from all one hears the fastest trips of boats
are generally made when there is no other boat near. We had determined, and
had given instruction, that there was to be no racing done by _Chicora_. We
were aiming at regularity of service. One presumes the rule as to speed was
kept, but the public generally fancies a race whether there is one on or

One breathless Saturday afternoon trip is remembered. Instead of, as on
most days, giving us a wide berth, on this one being such as suited her,
the _Rothesay_ came over close alongside. For some time it was neck and
neck between the boats but gradually the _Rothesay_ began gaining an inch
or two and, and after see-sawing back and forwards for a while growing to a
foot or more. Sitting in the after deck among the passengers, listening to
Marcicano's orchestra, one could not help noting the relative positions, as
marked by the lines of the stanchions. Just then a little knot of men came
over and one of them bringing out a roll of bank bills said:--"Mr.
Cumberland, we know there is no racing, but if you're keeping down the
speed for sake of the price of coal, we'd like to pay for an extra ton or
two." Of course the kindly offer was declined with thanks, but with much
appreciation. Whether they were more successful on the lower deck where the
firemen cool off, or whether it was a little riffle that sprang up, that
made the difference, I do not know, one cannot say, but the _Chicora_ that
afternoon entered the river first.

So the season waxed and waned. _Chicora_ did her work well and winning, it
might almost be said, the affection of the travelling public. Her
appointments so far exceeded those of any other steamer at that time as to
make her a specialty, but it was through her sea-going qualities which won
their favor.

The regular "pat-pat" of her feathered paddles almost framed themselves
into rhythmic melody with the full mellowed tone of her whistle whose clear
resonance carried its sound for miles through the city every evening, with
such regularity as almost to be accepted in the homes as the signal for the
children's bedtime.

When rough days came the _Rothesay_ stopped in port and the _City_
completed her trips, while the _Chicora's_ fine qualities as a seaboat,
easy on herself, grew more and more into acceptance.

At length the season closed and we made our last trip on 29th September,
having maintained the two trips per day throughout without any cessation.

Every one concerned in the competitive boats, no doubt, glad when the
season's contest was over. It had been, for us, one of intense activity,
and never ending labor and anxiety. A whole system, both within the
steamer, and for outside solicitation, and ticketing arrangements, had been
devised and installed, as well as the sufficient work of the daily running

A new company had to be introduced on an old route. We had fairly succeeded
in getting into it, but it had been at a pretty expense. The _Chicora_ was
laid up at the Northern Railway docks, and accounts for the year were made
up. What the competition had cost the others one does not know, but
_Chicora_ was a long way on the wrong side as the result of the season.
This was a very serious thing for one of the undertakers, for instalments
had to be paid up on the investment and at the same time the losses met.



During the winter of 1878-79, changes came. The _City of Toronto_ had tired
of her partner. The railway companies had recognised the value to their
route of the steamer of the Niagara Navigation Company, and the ability of
its organizers to promote additional business.

Thus in the new negotiation the _Rothesay_ was dropped by the _City_ and
the line for 1879 was to be the _City of Toronto_ and the _Chicora_. We had
lost money but had won our way into the route.

To enable obligations to be fulfilled monies had to be earned elsewhere, so
another position was sought and obtained as General Traffic Manager of the
"Collingwood-Lake Superior Line" to Sault Ste. Marie and Lake Superior, at
the same time continuing the General Ticket and Freight Agency, at 35 Yonge
street. In April, Mr. Cumberland resigned his position as manager of the
Niagara Company, retaining the original position and salary as
vice-president and assistant in passenger and executive work and Mr. John
Foy, the secretary and son-in-law of Sir Frank Smith, was appointed manager
as well as secretary. Sir Frank Smith, recognizing the good work done, in
bringing the steamer down, the organization of the company, and in the
strenuous contest which unexpectedly had been forced on us, but had been
won by active ability, carried the liabilities created, which in course of
time were duly shared and met.

Mr. John Foy, who hereafter gave his whole time to the company, although
not technically educated in the passenger business, had very many excellent
qualities and a genial personality which did much in subsequent years for
the advancement of the company's interests, and in the new connections
which arose. As each new connection developed, he was able to enlist their
good-will, and so harmonize and satisfy them by effective service.

The season of 1879 was a comparatively easy one, so far as executive work
was concerned, for with _City of Toronto_ as a partner we were included in
direct connection with all the railway companies, who therefore provided
all the passenger requirements, and in the regular route with her from the
Yonge street dock, the trips being divided between the steamers, and each
taking its own earnings.

The time tables for the season 1879 were:--May 16, _Chicora_ 7 a.m., single
trips. June 9, _Chicora_ 7 a.m., 2 p.m. June 16, _Chicora_, or _City of
Toronto_, 7 a.m., 1.45 p.m., 3 p.m.

The steamers in summer time tables alternated, the one leaving at 3 p.m.,
remaining over night and making the early trip from the river in the
following morning.

The _Rothesay_ having been dropped by the _City_ still continued running to
Lewiston, but afterwards only to Niagara and Youngstown, communicating with
Lewiston by a small river steamer. Captain Wm. Donaldson was in command;
she sailed at 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Yonge street dock, the same dock as
the other two steamers, a concession in her favor made by Mr. D. Milloy as

From the very beginning Mr. Lunt adopted a policy of rate-cutting, and
created a lively excitement in passenger prices. His opening rates were:--

In books good for all regular trips.

    20 round trips    $ 5.00
    50 round trips     11.00
    100 round trips    20.00

These tickets were unrestricted and were available to any holder.

To this policy of unremunerative prices was developed that of annoyance, by
too close proximity of the steamers both at the docks or when running,
which had in some degree been introduced in the previous season.

So noticeable and dangerous did this become that the directors of the
Niagara Company felt it necessary to make public protest and the following
announcement was published in the Toronto morning papers of August 6th,



     Minutes of a meeting of the directors of the Niagara
     Navigation Company, held Monday, August 4th, 1879:

     President, Hon. F. Smith; Col. F. W. Cumberland, Barlow
     Cumberland, John Foy.

     (1) Captain Harbottle made a full report respecting the
     occurrence of Saturday, August 2nd, and of the
     circumstances in which the _Rothesay_ twice crossed the
     course and bow of the _Chicora_.

     That in the first occasion he was obliged to slow the
     engine, and in the second he stopped in order to
     prevent collision.

     (2) That before the season opened Capt. Harbottle
     proposed to Mr. Lunt, the owner of the _Rothesay_,
     that in order to prevent all possibility of racing the
     first steamer clear of the Queen's Wharf, or Niagara
     river should be allowed to keep her place across the
     lake, but this Mr. Lunt declined.

     (3) That as there seemed to be a determination on the
     part of the _Rothesay_ to provoke racing, the above
     offer was repeated by the directors in a letter dated
     16th June, and then Mr. Lunt in his reply dated 19th
     June, again declined to accept the proposition.

     (4) That under all the circumstances the solicitor be
     instructed to take all known and possible proceedings
     at law to put an end to the dangers arising from the
     action of the captain and the owners of the _Rothesay_.

     (5) That the thanks of the Board are due to Capt.
     Harbottle for the care and skill he has exercised in
     avoiding the _Rothesay_, and that he be requested to
     continue on the principle that safety is the first

     (6) That these orders of the Board be published for the
     information of the public.

     (Sgd) John Foy   Frank Smith,
           Manager     President.

It is to be remembered that the present eastern channel from the harbor did
not at that time exist, but that the western channel, by the Queen's Wharf,
was the only one which was open, and was not then wide enough for two
steamers to pass out together. The proposition was that the first through
this channel should hold its lead.

Toronto had then a population of only 70,000. There were very few steamers
running out of the harbor, lake excursion business may be said to have
been only in its introduction and infancy, so that very much personal and
family interest was taken in the several steamers on the routes, thus
accounting for the public announcement of the regulations proposed.

The publication had the desired effect of preventing the _Rothesay_ from
coming into too close proximity, but did not reduce the monetary
competition, in fact only increased it.

The _City_ and _Chicora_ were running three trips daily, 7 a.m., 1.45 p.m.,
3 p.m., and on Saturdays four trips, the advertisements announcing "_No
overcrowding, as both steamers return in the evening_." On the four trips
being made the alternating steamer left at 8.30 p.m. for Niagara to make
the first trip from there at 8 a.m. on Monday. While other rates were
maintained, a special excursion rate of 25 cents was made for round trip on
Saturday afternoon.

In early August _Rothesay_ put on a return rate at 25c. for every
afternoon, heading its announcements "_Keep down the rates_." The Milloys
were averse to reduction and favored holding up the rates, considering that
better equipment deserved better money. In this mid-summer season the
_Rothesay_ was getting a pretty good batch of passengers every afternoon, a
process which would help her to continue the competition. She was then
running from the Yonge street slip on the west side of Milloy's dock, the
_City_ and _Chicora_ both being on the east side out of sight behind the
buildings. We had the next move under consideration. The Hon. Frank Smith
came down on the dock one hot afternoon when the people were swarming down
the street for the 2 p.m. steamers. We were standing and watching the
streams dividing to go on board the two steamers, the _Chicora_ and the
_Rothesay_, the latter being in sight in the Yonge street slip, the other
further down the dock and behind the buildings.

There was quite a stream taking the _Rothesay_. "By heavens," said the Hon.
Frank, suddenly and decidedly, "there's one of the men from my own
warehouse going on board the _Rothesay_, he's holding down his umbrella, so
that I shan't see his face, but _I know his legs_."

We forthwith called and held a joint meeting with the Milloys in the office
on the dock, when the round trip rate of 25c. for every afternoon was at
once adopted, and all other rates were thereafter to be the same at the

One of the most eventful days in this season was the reception given to
Edward Hanlan on his return from winning the sculling championship of
England from Edward Trickett on the Thames in July, 1879, thus becoming the
champion oarsman of Canada, the United States and England. Many champions
have since been welcomed but never such a welcome as this, for it was the
city's first offence, her first World's Champion.

The Civic Committee headed by Mayor Jas. Beatty, Jr., Ald. A. R. Boswell
chairman Reception Committee and the members of the Hanlan Club, a coterie
of men of standing and sporting instincts, who financed and managed
Hanlan's early career, met the Champion at Lewiston, on July 15th. It was
one of the most wonderful scenes ever occurring on Toronto Bay. The
_Chicora_ had been specially chartered to bring the _Champion_ into Toronto
at 5 p.m.

We were met outside the harbor by a fleet of steamers, _Filgate_, _Empress
of India_, _Maxwell_, _Jean Baptiste_, and many others, crammed with
excited and shouting people. Headed by _Chicora_, the procession entered
the bay, which was covered by a crowded mass of boats of every
description, sailing, rowing or steam, making it necessary to bring the
steamer down to dead slow. Hanlan was put by himself on the top of the
pilot house, where he stood, easily seen, holding one hand on the pinnacle
and waving a return to the enthusiastic greeting of his fellow citizens.
Never was there such a din of welcome. Every steam whistle on the boat and
on shore that could speak, shrilled its acclaim, bells rang, guns fired,
the city, half of which was afloat, hailed its Island born son and Champion
who had brought laurels and renown to both himself and them.

The citizens of Toronto had always been partial to boating and taking their
pleasure in water sports, but these victories of Hanlan gave a renown to
the city and a zest to rowing which greatly increased that interest in
boating and rowing races which has ever since been a dominant feature in
the sports of the city and the pleasurings of its young people.

Yet it is open to question whether in these later and more mechanical days,
the leisure-rowing and paddling section is not somewhat on the wane, under
the influence of the puffing, stench-spreading and lazy-luxury motor boat.
At the same time it is a matter of congratulation that the competitor in
the racing shells and canoes become still more numerous, and in every way
energetic as of yore, mainly under the splendid influences of the Argonaut,
Don, and other amateur boating clubs.

The _Rothesay_ held on through the season. Mr. Lunt being an energetic and
capable opponent, apt in attack and with much experience in the ways of
steamboat competition. He was hard to shake off and while making no money
himself he prevented others from making any. The managers of the _City_
were now reaping the reward of their broken faith and their having
introduced him to the route. Her owners were obliged to make an assignment
toward the close of the season and _Chicora_ finished alone on October

Competitions such as was this, carried on with intention, only, of doing
damage to an opponent's investment, and without any regard as to the number
of passengers who might be induced by low rates to go on board the steamer
cannot be conducted at other than with greatest risk. This was further
intensified by the fact that the Government inspection limited itself to
inspection of engines and boilers and no discrimination was exercised as to
the service in which a boat was to be employed.

Such a condition would seem strange in these present days when all routes
are specified and regulated, but in those days it was different. Once
physical inspection was passed it made no difference as to the passenger
service in which the boat was to be run, whether on the open lake or in
river service, nor was there any limitation upon the number of passengers
who might be taken on board.

This condition was not a fair one, either for the Public, who are not
always discriminating and look mostly at the lowness of the rate, or for
the Owners, who were not being given any consideration for their larger
expenditures in producing steamers fit for the routes upon which they were
to be employed. This gave the _Rothesay_ a good handicap and one which
enabled her to longer continue a contest.

Movements were, therefore, initiated by us for the introduction of
regulations for the limitation of numbers, and restriction of steamers to
appointed routes, but it took much time to bring about any result.

The season of 1886 found the _City of Toronto_ under Capt. Donaldson and
_Chicora_ under Capt. Harbottle, still running together between Milloys
wharf and Lewiston; the _Chicora_ opening the season on 4th May.

The _Rothesay_ opened her season with renewed vigor on the 24th May, 1880.
Mr. Lunt announced:

     "The Steamer _Rothesay_ having been thoroughly refitted
     will on and after Monday the 24th leave Yonge street
     wharf at 7.15 a.m., and 2.30 p.m. for Niagara
     connecting with the Canada Southern Railway for Falls,
     New York and all points.

     "_Quick Time._--Five hours at Falls and return same
     day, arriving at Toronto 7.15 p.m.

     "Picnic parties will be taken by train to Niagara
     Grove. Tickets on sale by W. A. Geddes, Custom House
     Wharf, and Charles Morgan, 64 Yonge street."

In addition to running to Niagara, _Rothesay_ this year dropped over to
Youngstown on the American side, from where connection was made to Lewiston
by a small American steamer. She also worked up an excellent excursion
business for the Youngstown and Fort Niagara Park.

The _City_ and _Chicora_ divided the route as previously with one trip and
a half each, all trips being run the full length of the river to the foot
of the rapids at Queenston and Lewiston.

During this season an opportunity offered for the purchase of a dock
frontage alongside the Lewiston dock. The New York Central had not then
been extended from its upper station to the edge of the river above the
dock, and it was also under consideration whether the railway would make a
new move to reach the bank of the river at Lewiston nearer to the
steamers, or would replace the rails and again operate its seven miles
extension branch to Youngstown. If they should resume this latter route to
the mouth of the river, conditions at Lewiston would be changed. It was,
therefore, considered best to await further developments before making any

The strain of the competition was beginning to tell. The Steamer _City of
Toronto_ was in August advertised for sale at Niagara, "thoroughly
equipped, handsomely furnished and inspected ready for sea."

_Rothesay_ ended her season on 15th of September, and _Chicora_ on the 8th
of October, having run the latter part alone and kept up the connections
for the railways. The public had enjoyed the pleasures of lake travel to
the utmost, but the steamers were none the better off, for the magnitude of
steamboat business is not to be gauged by the crowds carried on the boats,
but by the net results in the purser's accounts.

During the winter 1880-1881 the negotiations for limitation were continued
and met with success, and as the _Rothesay_, in the spring of 1881, could
only get a certificate for "river" work, for which she had been constructed
and was well adapted, she was withdrawn to the St. Lawrence River, where
she ran between Kingston and the Thousand Islands until in 1882 she
grounded and was abandoned.

At length our competitor was gone, having made no money for himself and
having caused much loss to others, including his first partners who had
introduced him.



The _Chicora_ opened the season of 1881 on May 21st, connections being made
with both Canada Southern, and New York Central Railways.

During this season the first "Niagara Camp" was held. On the 5th of June,
the _Chicora_ took over on the morning trip the Toronto Field Battery,
Mayor Gray, Lieut. Beatty, Surgeon McDonald, sixty-five non-commission
officers and men, twenty-seven horses, four guns and five companies of the
31st Battalion, Col. Brown, Major Cameron, Capt. and Adjt. Pollard and
Surgeon Barnhart.

From modest beginnings began this annual gathering of the volunteer militia
of Ontario, which has since assumed such considerable proportions and
greatly extended in its sphere of operations. It has been found by
experience that the attraction of a visit to the "Falls," which is possible
while at this camp, brings more willing recruits, and the coming into
actual touch with the battle fields of the defence of Canada in 1812,
creates a sense of duty and of fervour which is very helpful to the
service. Many lessons are learned from the remarkable collection of relics
of early days, and of stirring times, contained in the Museum of the
Niagara Historical Society.[2] Recently the acreage of the camp has been
largely added to and Fort George the embanked ancient fortress, just above
the steamboat dock has been repaired and renewed.

Just below the ramparts is to be seen a long one story wooden building--the
last remaining portion of the old "Navy Hall," the headquarters of
Lieut.-Governor Simcoe, where the meetings of the first Parliament of Upper
Canada were held in 1792 and where he entertained the Duc de Liancourt in
1795. The other buildings of the group, as shown in the drawings of Mrs.
Simcoe, were destroyed or removed in the construction of the Erie & Ontario

The business on the Collingwood Line had so much increased to Lake Superior
that another steamer was now needed, and the Steamer _Campana_ was
purchased in England. Her career had been a romantic one. While running on
the River Plate in Brazil, she had been chartered to take a cargo of 700
mules to South Africa for the Kaffir War of 1878. The mules were landed at
Capetown, but the supercargo, or purser, who was in charge, collected the
purchase money and the freight earnings and then disappeared. The steamer
was summarily sold to pay the wages of the crew and was then brought to the
Thames, where she was purchased by Mr. A. M. Smith, President of the
company, and brought out to Montreal. As the _Campana_ was 225 feet long,
45 ft. beam, with tonnage of 2000, and all the lower St. Lawrence canals
had not been completed to Welland Canal size, four being still of the old
length of 180 ft. only, Mr. Cumberland was engaged to superintend her
cutting in two and bring up the two sections.

[Illustration: The CIBOLA in the Niagara River off Queenston. page 153]

With a vessel of such size this entailed great difficulties, she being the
largest ship that had been up till then brought up the canals and rapids,
but the novel problems were solved and the way paved for the Canadian
Pacific Steamers, _Alberta_, _Algoma_, _Assiniboia_, built in Scotland,
which next followed on the same methods.

_Campana_ was the first twin-screw iron passenger and freight steamship to
ply on the Upper Lakes, and introduced the system of making a round trip a
week between Ontario ports and Lake Superior.

In this year the _Maid of the Mist_, 72 ft. long, 17 beam, depth 8 ft.,
startled the vessel world. Her business from the elevator stairways to the
foot of the Horse Shoe Falls had fallen off. It was said that behind was
the sheriff, in front the Whirlpool Rapids and beyond on reaching Lake
Ontario a satisfactory sale. Capt. Robinson determined to run the risk and
on 15th June started down the river. The first huge wave of the rapids
threw the boat on her beam ends sending the smoke stack overboard, almost
submerged by the next she righted, and by a quick turn evading the
whirlpool emerged from the Gorge in little over ten minutes. The watchful
collector at Queenston seized the opportunity for fees and had the _Maid_
enter with him the Customs, the first and probably the last steamer ever to
register as having come _down_ from above the Rapids.

In August we met our first loss by the death of Col. F. W. Cumberland,
General Manager of the Northern & Northern Western Railways, and our senior
director. Having taken the utmost interest in the enterprise, his technical
knowledge, energy and judgment had been throughout of infinite value, and
his hearty personality was greatly missed not only in business but in
comradeship. He was a man who had the forceful faculty of engaging the
affection and loyalty of men who worked with or under him; severe but
just, exacting yet encouraging, good service was sure to be noted by him
and to receive his approval and reward.

After his death the employees of the Northern and North-Western Railway,
since absorbed by the Grand Trunk Railway, erected a monument to his memory
at the Junction station at Allandale, presenting an excellent likeness in
bronze of their late chief.

Mrs. Seraphina Cumberland, wife of the Vice President, was appointed to the
vacancy on the Board.

During the winter of 1881-82 further changes took place in the ownership of
the _City_, whereby Mr. Donald Milloy, who had been in charge of her up to
this time, ceased to be her managing agent, and Mr. William Milloy and his
mother, Mrs. Duncan Milloy, of Niagara, came into control.

The new management declined to renew the previous arrangement and
determined to run on their own and separate account on a new arrangement
made with the Canada Southern.

On May 20th, 1882 the _City_ with Mr. William Milloy as captain, opened the
season with regular trips--"_Leaving Niagara on the arrival of the Canada
Southern train 9.45; returning leave Toronto 3 p.m., connecting with Canada
Southern at 5.30 p.m. Tickets from D. Milloy, Agent, 8 Front street,

On Monday 22nd May, 1882, _Chicora_ resumed the usual trips from Toronto at
7 a.m. and 2 p.m., connecting at Niagara with Canada Southern and at
Lewiston with New York Central Railway.--"_Tickets from W. R. Callaway, 20
King street, East, and 25 York street, or Barlow Cumberland, 35 Yonge
street, and 24 York street._"

Mr. Callaway then represented the Credit Valley Railway in Toronto, and on
their company being absorbed by the Canadian Pacific Railway as part of a
through line from Windsor to Montreal, he became its Western Passenger
Agent. His wonderful faculty for attractive advertising and catching
phrases had immediate effect in creating the company's passenger business
against its older rival, and when the "Soo" road was added to the C.P.R.,
Mr. Callaway's genius for developing traffic was transferred to
Minneapolis, where he achieved similar results. The ticket offices at York
street were principally for steerage, and Italian business. Passenger
business toward the west was at that time exceedingly active. The Canadian
Pacific then under active construction around the north shore of Lake
Superior, and to the further west, called for large importations of
laboring men, making the beginning of our Italian population. Manitoba and
our North-West were attracting much attention and the railways beyond
Chicago, not having been merged into large corporations but working
independently, were offering large ticket commissions, each acting on its
own account.

The contest across the lake now created was not pleasant, there being an
introduction of a certain amount of local rivalry which was undesirable.
The season was a rough one and towards its close the _City_ grounded on the
boulders at the entrance to the Niagara River, and was successfully pulled
off, but did not finish out the season. Notices were inserted in the public
papers that the _City of Toronto_ "would be rebuilt for next season and
that work would commence directly navigation closed." _Chicora_ therefore
finished the season alone.

The season of 1883 found the steamers running in the same manner--_Chicora_
under Capt. Harbottle to Niagara and Lewiston: the _City_, Capt. W. Milloy
to Niagara only. The season was an unfruitful one, weather cool and

For sake of notoriety the steamers under the leadership of the _City_ were
often sent across the lake on days when they had better have remained in
port and saved money. It was this mistaken course which led to close of the

A heavy storm from the east was blowing, toward the end of September. The
seas were running heavily on the Island, and even sweeping up on the dock
fronts in the harbor, no business offering and weather cold with sheets of
rain and sleet at intervals. The _City_ had come across from Niagara but
_Chicora_ had not been sent out for the morning trip, nor had we any
intention of sending her out for the afternoon.

About 3 o'clock it was noticed that the _City_ appeared to be firing up. I
was at the time in charge and had given instruction that if the _City_ went
out _Chicora_ was to follow but on no account to pass her. Capt. Harbottle
and self were walking up and down the front of Mowat's dock, where the
_Chicora_ lay, watching the other steamer which was lying at Milloy's Yonge
street dock, from which we had for the third time been ousted at the
beginning of the season. "By the Lord," said the captain, "she's moving;
I'm off."

There were few or no passengers to go, but the _City_ started out down the
bay followed by _Chicora_.

They had a very rough passage and when about two miles out from the river
the _City_ rolled out her mast and was otherwise damaged, but managed to
make her way into port.

This was her end, for she was sent to Port Dalhousie for repairs, and while
lying up in the dock she was burned at 9 p.m., 31st October, 1883, and so
closed a long and eventful career.

1884 found us without any further partners and alone on the route. It had
been a long strife. No wonder we had loved the _Chicora_ for like a good
lass she had always cheerfully responded to whatever she was called upon to

Her seaworthiness gained the confidence of the public to such an extent
that there were not a few families in the city who preferred the rough days
for their outings, and some men, among others, Mr. Wilson of the Bank of
Montreal, who always had notices sent to them when "there was a real heavy
sea on," so that they might make the afternoon 2 p.m. excursion.

Capt. Harbottle having been appointed to a position on shore in the Marine
Department, his place on the _Chicora_ was given to Capt. Thomas Leach, of
Halifax. It was he who in 1866 had brought up the blockade runner _Rothesay
Castle_ and had run her between Toronto and Niagara in competition with the
_City_ under arrangements with the Canada Southern.

The season of 1884 had barely begun before we learned of another intended
competitor. The steamer _Rupert_ was being brought up to run in connection
with the Canada Southern at Niagara-on-the-Lake.

This steamer duly arrived at Milloy's dock and was found a good-looking
sizable boat, with much deck accommodation for many travellers. Going on
board the sand barrels on the broad deck seemed somewhat numerous. One of
these was held at midship at blocks. Taking out the wedge and turning the
barrel a kick set it rolling toward the ship side. As it went the boat
keeled over to it. Without saying or seeing anything more, the
investigator walked off and going up to the office told Mr. Foy, "John, you
needn't be afraid of the _Rupert_. She'll frighten her passengers some day,
she's crank,"--and so she was.

The competition did not last the whole season, but business was increasing
on the route, so the small steamer _Armenia_ was chartered to make an early
morning trip from the Niagara River to Toronto. It was not a success, but
she was useful when the fruit season opened.

This year 1884 began also another route in competition. The Welland Railway
had passed into the hands of the Grand Trunk, and the _Empress of India_
was engaged to make the lake service between Port Dalhousie and Toronto in
connection with a fast train from Buffalo and Niagara Falls. No doubt this
diverted some business from the through route, but the principal earnings
were from its own local district. With the superlative attractions of the
scenery of the Niagara River, this Port Dalhousie route will never
successfully compete for through or excursion travel with the Niagara River
route, but it has the City of St. Catharines and an aggregate of thriving
towns which will give a fine local and paying business with Toronto.

In 1885 we were at last in sole possession, having won the established
connection with both the railways, at Niagara with the Michigan Central,
which had absorbed the Canada Southern, and at Lewiston with the New York

It had been eight long years of anxious and intense application of wits,
energy and expense. One year in bringing the steamer down, and seven in
constant competition, in wearing out competitors and winning the route.

We were now able to turn all our energies to the more pleasant work of
development. The officials of the railways had learned to have confidence
in us and appreciated that we were not only ready to give good service, but
to add to it, and to improve as the traffic needs of the route showed to be

When we entered upon the route, Mr. C. B. Meeker was General Passenger
Agent of the New York Central--a man patterned after the old Commodore's
taste, namely, that there was only one railroad in the world and that was
the New York Central. This faith permeated not a few of the minor
officials, so that in their opinions, to be permitted to travel on the
N.Y.C., was to be considered by a passenger as a high privilege, and the
utmost courtesy was to be used toward the immaculate and superior
conductor, who honored him by taking up his ticket. Yet there was some
reason for it. It was the beginning of great things in railway enterprise
and service, for out of a series of small separated local roads it had been
from between 1853-55, gathered together under a master hand and thereafter
was continuing to be built up into a great and united system, giving the
travelling public facilities they had never dreamed of, advantages which
would have been impossible without the combination.

In the earlier days of steam railroad enterprize, there was little thought
of the possibility of creating communication between far distant centres,
as was afterwards found practicable, when the working of the steam engine
became better understood. Building short local railroads by local
subscriptions joining neighboring towns, appears to have been the method
most prevalent. These railroads were in fact only improved stage routes.
Some idea of the then conditions is afforded by the list of railroads
opened or under construction in 1836 in the State of New York, given in
Tanner's American Traveller, 1836:--"Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad,
14 miles; Mohawk & Hudson Railroad, from Albany to Schnectady, 16 miles;
Schnectady & Sartoga Railroad, 20 miles; Ithaca & Oswego Railroad, 20
miles; Rochester Railroad (now in progress) from Rochester to a point below
the Falls of Geneva; Schnectady and Utica Railroad (now in progress), 80
miles: Rochester & Batavia Railroad (in progress), 28 miles; Troy &
Ballston Railroad (now in progress), 22 miles. Several other railroads are

These and others were gradually brought into combination, in the one
Central System for their mutual advantage and the convenience of the

It seems strange to think that in the sixties there had been no sleeping
cars and no through trains between Buffalo and New York. The trains stopped
and started at Albany, where the passengers either laid over at an hotel
for the night, or leaving the cars walked along the station platforms to
the decks of a large ferry steamer, on which they were taken across the
river to join the connecting trains on the other side. On reaching the
outskirts of New York the railway cars were uncoupled, and then each drawn
separately by six horse teams some miles down Sixth Avenue on the horse car
tracks to the terminus at Twenty-Second street, then only a simple
two-storey brick building. With the construction of the railway bridge at
Albany in 1870, the railway had sprung up at once into a great through
route, the only one landing its passengers in the City of New York, and
thus over-passing and over-topping all its competitors. It is not
surprising, therefore that there was some pride and self esteem in those
employed upon it.

When sleeping cars were first introduced on the New York Central it was in
the most primitive fashion. The cars were the same coaches in which the
passengers rode during the day. The whole of one corner was occupied by a
great pile of mattresses and blankets and a number of posts and cross bars.
When sleeping time came the posts were brought out, the berths built up and
bolted together before the eyes of the passengers. It can be well
understood how these improvised constructions creaked and groaned during
the night. They supplied a need, but were soon supplanted by the Pullman

With Mr. Meeker we had the most personally pleasant relations, but when we
had made our application to him for a connection, he was staunch to the old
steamboat connections of his company and would only deal with us through
them, even if he did think we had been hardly treated, but when we had won
and deserved our way into an official connection he was equally staunch
toward us; recognizing the continuous interest which the steamboat lines
have in the mutual business which they have aided the rail in building up.
To him succeeded in May, 1883, Mr. E. J. Richards, his highly efficient and
much younger assistant, whose knowledge of the passenger business of his
railway was unsurpassed by any. From this time began an association with
the principal officers of the New York Central, which has widened and
deepened with years.

This year, 1885, Capt. McCorquodale was appointed to the _Chicora_,
succeeded Capt. T. Leach, whose business engagements rendered it necessary
for him to return to Halifax.

Having come into assured position the railway officers willingly
co-operated with us when we spent considerable time and money in sending
out travelling representatives and distributing advertising matter
respecting the route and Toronto, to all parts of the United States. Mr.
Steve Murphy being the efficient Travelling Passenger Agent since 1888. I
question very much whether the City and the Citizens of Toronto have any
conception of the wealth of advocacy in advertisement and expense which the
Niagara Navigation Company has given to the City and its attractions, and
particularly to its "Exhibition" during the past twenty-five years.

One after another the, then separate, railways were induced to put lines of
tickets on sale reading over the Niagara River Line to Toronto, the list of
these having been added to each year. In mentioning this it is to be
remembered that in these early years, in the "eighties," there were a very
large number of minor railways operating on their own and separate account.
The great consolidations into the fewer hands and control of the main trunk
lines had not then been effected, and yet more, the system of general
traffic associations, joint rate meetings and combined agreed traffic
associations had not been devised.

The officers of each railway did what each thought was best for the
interests of his own line, and were controlled only by their being open to
the possibility of adverse competition from some other line.

The grand field day was the _Spring Meeting_ usually held in Buffalo, to
consider "Summer Excursion Rates." As there were many more independent
roads the attendance was considerably greater and perhaps there was more of
conviviality and social intercourse than in the more staid and business
meetings of these subsequent days. Moreover it was a battle of wits between
the newer and weaker roads striving to create and attract business from
their more longly established competitors.

Will anyone who was present at them, forget the mental activity and agility
of the General Passenger Agent of the Ogdensburgh and Lake Champlain
Railway, then a little one "on its own," striking into the middle of its
great competitors; a menace, ambitious, and played with a free hand. Its
able representative was like a little terrier snapping in the midst of a
surrounding crowd, and he frequently got his way.

The claims for "differentials" by some roads not so well established as
others, or where representatives thought their earnings might be thus
increased, were perennial, and the demands for more Special Excursions at
"cut rates" voluminous. The discussions were lively and well worth hearing.

In the hours of relaxation of this annual gathering which brought men of
the fraternity from distant places into friendly contact, there were men
who since have risen into the restraining influence and stateliness of
highest offices, but who in those younger days did not disdain to dance a
can can in a night shirt, or snap fingers in a Highland fling, with an
elderly but active steamboater from Montreal. All could sing in a chorus or
join in a rout. The foundations of the present great lines of passenger
trade were laid in those days, but the railway world to-day does not find
quite so much fun in its work as it used.

The days of individuality of minor roads have gone, and for all railway
officers those of over pressure against increasing costs of expenses have
come. The demand of the public of the day is not only for lower rates but
for greater facilities, so that the increasing strain of business needs
absorbs all time and attention, although at the same time much pleasant
intercourse prevails.

Gradually the scope of our courses of traffic leading to the Niagara River
were thus widened but not with ease; what in these present days can be done
in a single joint meeting, or by the issue of a single joint rate sheet,
required in those days, years of work, visiting the distant parts, and much
personal address. It was in these last that Mr. John Foy particularly
shone. He had a happy way of gaining and keeping new friends and allies.

In our own local and home city sphere we began working for new business.
"Book Tickets" for families, with coupons for the trips, were introduced,
an entirely new development, enabling citizens of Toronto to live at home
during the summer and yet give their families lake travel and fresh air at
remarkably cheap rates.

In this we received the aid of the medical profession. One doctor is
remembered as putting it this way: "I tell my people," said he, "that when
they want to wash their hands clean they must use clean water, and
similarly if they require, as I wish them, to clear out their lungs, they
must get fresh air where the clearest and freshest air is to be got, by
crossing the lake on your steamers to Niagara."

Another doctor with a large family practice said: "When I find the
digestion of the children of any of my families getting out of order I
prescribe a 'book ticket on the Niagara route.' It provides in such cases
a splendid natural emetic." There is many a well grown citizen in Toronto
whose vigor has been promoted or life saved in infant days by the pure air
gained by these trips across the lake. Excursions by societies, Sunday
schools, national and benevolent bodies were sought out and encouraged to
devote their energies to providing outings for their associations and
friends. Every possible method was employed to get new business. We
certainly needed it, as we certainly had not, so far, a very profitable

Gradually the business on the route showed signs of growth until we saw
that if we were to deserve our position with the railway companies and meet
the increasing traffic we must add to our equipment. The railway officials
had also expressed their opinion that another steamer would soon be needed
and stated that in adding it the Navigation Company would receive the
continued support of their companies. The first year of peace closed
satisfactorily, and 1885 was marked in white upon the milestones of our


[2] Which in itself is a monument to the energy and years of faithful
service of Miss Janet Carnochan, the valued Historian of the District.

[3] Passenger Train Schedules--

                _Local Railways, 1843._
         Albany.         Syracuse.          Buffalo.
    Lv. 6.00 a.m.    Arr. 5.15 p.m.    Arr. 7.00 a.m.
        1.30 p.m.         2.00 a.m.         3.00 p.m.
        7.30 p.m.         8.00 a.m.         9.00 p.m.

               _New York Central, 1855._
         Albany.         Syracuse.          Buffalo.
    Lv. 6.30 a.m.   Arr. 12.00 noon.   Arr. 7.00 p.m.
        7.30 a.m.         1.25 p.m.         7.00 p.m.
        9.00 a.m.         3.50 p.m.         1.00 a.m.
        6.00 p.m.        12.30 a.m.         6.30 a.m.



The original terminus of the Lewiston branch, after it had emerged from the
cuttings in the Gorge, was at the upper end of the town, about a mile and a
half from the steamboat dock at the shore of the river. During the season
of 1886 the New York Central began again to consider the advisability of
extending their rails so that the trains might be brought to the steamer's

This location had been a relic from the earliest travelling days. The rills
of travel from all parts of the West converged at Niagara Falls and then
passed on to join the steamboats for Lake Ontario.

Davison's "Travellers' Guide," published at Saratoga Springs in 1834,
says:--"A stage leaves Buffalo every morning at 6 o'clock, passing through
the village of Black Rock, 3 miles; Tonawanda, 9 miles; Niagara Falls, 11
miles. Fare $1.60. This line, after giving passengers an opportunity of
witnessing the Falls for two or three hours, proceeds to Youngstown, or
Fort Niagara, passing through Lewiston."

The _Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad_ had been organized and surveyed,
and the first steam trains commenced running in 1836 with a speed of 15
miles per hour, a rate which was considered notable. The track was laid on
wooden sills faced with scrap iron, and during the first winter was so
heaved by the frost, that the steam engines had to be taken off, and horses
used to haul the cars, these being only little ones with four wheels each,
modeled largely after the stage coaches of the period. In 1839, this
railway having been equipped with all-iron rails, had grown to two steam
trains per day each way, between Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

A further extension followed when another small railway company, the
_Niagara Falls and Ontario R.R._ was organized in 1852 to build a railway
of 14 miles from the Falls to the shores of the Lake at _Youngstown_, where
the steamers would be joined. Benj. Pringle, president; John Porter, vice
president; Bradley B. Davis, secretary. The company, at an expense
relatively much greater in those days than at the present, excavated the
rock cuttings and cut the shelf in the side of the cliff upon which the New
York Central Railway now runs through the Gorge, alongside the courses of
the Niagara River, and the railway was graded and opened to Lewiston in
1854. Construction was continued further to Youngstown and the track laid
in 1855, but only one train was run down to the lower port. It has been
said that this was necessary in order to complete the terms of the charter,
and appears to have been a final effort. The means of the company were no
doubt impaired, so that shortly afterward all further work on this
extension was suspended, the track taken up, and thus in 1855 the balance
of the line being leased to the New York Central, the Lewiston station had
become the terminus of the railroad, where it had ever since remained. As
the transfer to the steamers was originally intended to be made at
Youngstown, there had been no need, at that time, for the station at
Lewiston being constructed any nearer to the River bank.

From the very first the break in connection between train and boat had been
found inconvenient, and in the fall of 1855, Mr. Gordon, of the steamer
_Peerless_ wrote to the superintendent of the New York Central Railway,
saying:--"You must get the road down alongside the water at once."

This unpleasant transfer of passengers and their baggage in both directions
by road and bus had existed all these years. The extension now proposed,
would, it was expected, certainly be of advantage both to railway and to
steamboat, as facilitating travel. It would mean a considerable expenditure
to the New York Central Railway, yet they stated that if we would undertake
to put on another boat, they would build the extension. The Michigan
Central at Niagara-on-the-Lake, which had now become one of the New York
Central lines, had had quite enough trial of their "any boat" arrangement
and now desired a permanent service, which the putting on of another boat
would supply.

Decisions had, therefore, to be come to by both parties. "The first thing
for us to decide," said the Hon. Frank, "is whether _Chicora_ is good
enough to build a partner for her. This settled, we will then do our share
on the water, for advancing the traffic of the route while the railways do
theirs on the land."

[Illustration: The CORONA leaving N. N. Co. Dock at Toronto. page 178]

Immediately on the season closing in October, 1886 the steamer was put into
Muir's dry dock at Port Dalhousie and every atom of lining in her hull
removed so that the plates could be seen from the inside as well as from
the outside. The Government hull inspector, and W. White of Montreal,
shipbuilder, were brought over to make the inspection. From the beginning
and throughout as well as assisting in traffic matters the charge of the
hulls and engines had been my particular care. Led by Webster, the chief
engineer of _Chicora_, we entered the hull. Webster was a quiet sort of
fellow, sometimes nervous and at times excitable, perhaps a bit
over-intense in his work. He was lean and with a loose waistcoat. It has
been said by some that a steamboat engineer, to be successful, should have
a decent sized stomach to help steady him through the changing conditions
in his running days. The suggestion is well founded.

We went under deck. Webster was striking somewhat lightly on a plate which
showed some signs of inner scale when White broke out at him. "Mon ar' ye
feart o' goin' through? Gie ma t-hammer." Whereupon he rained his forceful
blows upon the plate with such vigor as to make the din ring. "Hoot," said
he as he stopped, "I'd 'a got through gin 'a could, but 'a couldn't."

At the end of the afternoon the inspecting party came out. "Well, White,"
was asked, "what's the verdict?"

Wiping the sweat off his forehead with the sleeve of his shirt he answered:
"Wull, ye may tell Mr. Smith that when he, and I, and you are 'a in our
graves _Chicora_ will still be runnin' gin ye keep her off the rocks."

We therefore accepted the position set out by the railway companies and
undertook to build a new steamer to be ready for the season of '88, and run
the risk of profit on the investment while waiting for more traffic to grow
up. We determined that speed was the essential requisite. First to perform
the service with ease and regularity. Second to meet any competition which
might afterwards arise.

There were then in Canada no builders of fast marine engines of the size we
required. These were only to be found on the Clyde, so Mr. John Foy and I
sailed the next week on the _Lahn_ of the North German Lloyd for

We inspected the principal day boats on the lower Thames, and English
Channel, making notes and enquiries. Thence to Liverpool for Isle of Man
steamers. Here we called on the head office of "Lairds," the builders of
the _Chicora_, and made enquiries of her from the manager. "Chicora:
Chicora, I don't remember any steamer of that name--Ah: did you say the
_Let Her B_? Yes, she was the best ship of her class we ever built. There
she is," and raising his hand he pointed to the model of the _Let Her B_,
still hanging on the wall. He said they had built several steamers for
service in blockade running into the ports of the Confederate States during
the American Civil War. Three of these were named _Let Her Go_, _Let Her
Rip_, _Let Her B_. Of all the steamers which they had built the last named
and the last turned out was the most successful. Fast, seaworthy, of a
model which was a thing of beauty, she had not been surpassed. He was quite
enthusiastic about her and added "She had a stronger frame than usual, so
that she would be worth replating should it ever be desirable.[4]" He gave
us every attention and much information and for the requirements which we
detailed to him, advised us to go to the Clyde, giving us letters to some
of the best yards there.

In travelling one makes strange acquaintances. On the day express between
Liverpool and Glasgow when we were running at high speed down the grades
into Carlisle and the carriage was banging from side to side a gentleman,
the only other occupant with us, who had never said a word since we started
suddenly broke into speech, at the same time throwing his feet up on the
seat opposite to him. "Pit yer legs up! Quick!" The necessity for doing
this he explained by adding "Gin we leave the line yer legs might be cut
off by the seats comin' tegither." A good laugh at his fears and
earnestness dispelled the silence which had previously reigned. He was a
Scotch shipowner, and finding we were in the same line became

How earnestly he blamed Plimsoll for his legislation in putting his "mark"
for load line on British ships but leaving the foreigner free, with all the
privileges of trading between British ports, and of loading as deeply as he
pleased. The effect, he said, on the British coasting trade was, that as
the foreigner could load as far as he liked, and therefore carry larger
cargoes, he could accept lower rates. Many British vessels were in
consequence of this competition sold out, and transferred to foreign

"I suppose he thinks it's not his business to keep the furriner from bein'
drooned, yet he ties our hands and helps him take our trade, and noo he's
at it agin."

Mr. Plimsoll was just then introducing a new Bill into the House of Commons
at Westminster, proposing to make it illegal for Marine insurance companies
to insure the hulls of vessels for more than two-thirds of their value.

With this legislation our Scotch friend was very irate.

"Does the man think I want to lose my vessels. I'm in the business as my
fayther was, and I want to stay in the business. As things are I can insure
for full value. If I meet an accident either I get my vessel back again,
fit for her service, or I get the money and build a new and larger one. If
every time I have a total loss I am to be docked of one-third of my
capital, then it wouldn't be long before I'd be out of business. Ye never
can keep up the British merchant marine that way."

But wouldn't it be better for the insurance companies?

"No, not at all. The insurance companies make their money, not on the
ships' hulls, but on the cargoes which the ships carry. A single ship in
one season will carry dozens of cargoes. We are the shuttles which carry
backwards and forwards the cargo values on which the companies earn their
rates. In fact, we help to earn their money for them. Where would be the
cargoes without the ships? 'Gin Plimsoll had his way he'd wipe all the
British ships off the seas, but we're no so bad as he wad paint us."

There was a good deal of truth in what he said, for given that the repute
and moral hazard is good, it matters little so far as the owners exercise
of care for the avoiding of loss is concerned, whether the insurance
carried is for total value or only partial.

Needless to say the Plimsoll Bill did not carry. As evidence of our faith I
may mention that in the early days, when the Niagara company was simply a
family ownership, we insured only against fire and collision, carrying the
whole of the marine risk ourselves. But we watched with infinite closeness
the ships and our men, as is equally done now when the company insures for
a portion of the value.

November in Glasgow! A mixture of smoke, fogs and grime. Never was such
gloomy weather experienced. A soot of blue murkiness seemed to pervade the
atmosphere. We visited and consulted with the builders of the fast steamers
particularly the Fairfield Co. at Govan and the Denny's of Dunbarton.
Nothing could exceed the freedom with which the fullest information was
laid before us.

We also inspected the fast day steamers of the David Mactryne and the
Caledonian S.S. companies among them the _Columba_ and _Lord of the
Isles_, whose repute as day steamers for speed and equipment stood on the
highest scale and are still (1912) performing their regular service.

While there was much to admire in them, yet we found they were lacking in
many things in both exterior and interior fittings which our summer lake
passengers would consider important.

For instance--in making a trip one day on one of these steamers there was a
nasty drizzling rain. It dribbled down the main stairway which was open to
the sky, and there were no awnings or coverings over the upper deck. As a
result the passengers, who wished to have fresh air, sat along the deck
seats, either huddled together under umbrellas, or wrapped up in the Scotch
plaids with which almost everybody seemed to be supplied.

"What for why?" said the captain in reply to a suggestion that a deck
awning might be a good thing. "To keep off the rain," was the reply. "Ah
mon," said he, "it wad keep aff the sun."

Perhaps in the contrast between the Scotch climate and ours in Canada, he
was right, for they cannot spare any of the glimpses of the sun so
sparingly vouchsafed to them.

After fullest enquiry and consideration, we came to the conclusion that the
best thing we could do was to repeat a highly successful day passenger
paddle steamer, the _Ozone_ which had been built on the Clyde, and sent out
to Australia a year and a half previously, and had there obtained a
splendid record for speed and commercial success.

She was just the size we wanted, 250 feet long, 28' 6" beam in hull, or 52
feet over guards, draft 6 ft. 6 in. Compound engines with two cylinders of
47 inches, and 87 inches, developing 2000 horse power, and sending the
steamer at the officially certified speed of 20 miles per hour on the
Scotch trials on the Clyde between the _Cloch_ and the _Cumbrae_.

This would be a step larger and a step faster than _Chicora_. We arranged
with Mr. Robert Morton, the designer and supervisor of the _Ozone_, for a
set of plans and specifications for the hull, which, constructed of Dalzell
steel, would be put together on the shores of Lake Ontario, where the upper
cabin works would be added according to our own requirements.

They offered to deliver a fully completed steamer at Montreal in four
months, but we would have had to cut her and take off one of the guards to
get her up through the canals. For my part, I had had quite enough of
bringing steamers in parts up the St. Lawrence River on which the smaller
canals were still incompleted, so we decided to erect our new steamer on
the shores of Lake Ontario.

The engines would be built by Rankin, Blackmore & Co., of Greenrock, from
whose shops had come some of the fastest engines on the Clyde. These would
be a repetition of the engines which had been so successfully built by them
for the _Ozone_ and would be shipped out in parts to Montreal by the first
steamer in the spring.


[4] _Chicora_ was put in dry dock at Kingston in the winter of 1904 and
largely replated at an expense of $37,000.



After decisions had been made it still took some time for the arranging of
tenders and completion of contracts.

During this wait we whiled away the time by seeing football played in seas
of mud, and half lost in fogs, women by the thousands with heads uncovered
except when they pulled their shawls over them, and children innumerable
with feet entirely bare. Poor kiddies how they suffered when on one day
there was a fall of snow. Such snow, damp, heavy clots, which moistened as
they touched anything, exuding cold, and slobbering over the stone

The children wrapped their red frosted feet with rags, or bits of carpet,
to keep them off the stones, while their elders hunched themselves together
and shivered. No wonder these people feared the snow and cold of Canada,
for they thought that if they felt such suffering in a temperature only
just at the freezing point, what must it be when the thermometer went below

Yet did they only know it, as many have since learned, the dry salt-like
winter snow of Canada is pleasant for the children to play in, and the
sensation of cold not to be measured by the figures on the thermometer. It
is the dampness which brings the suffering, which, needing to be met by
heat from within, inclines to the suggestion, expressed by some, that
whiskey is a natural beverage for Scotland. That it is a usual one I
learned in actual experience.

In our "steamboat samplings" we had made a trip through the "Kyles of Bute"
and to Tarbert, where we took carriage across the Mull of Cantire to the
outer sea. Stopping for lunch at a neat little inn about half way across.
The mid-day meal was being served in a large room with one long table down
the centre. At this all the company sat, one, apparently a commercial
traveller, occupying the seat at the head and doing the carving. A large
open fireplace with glowing fire gave comfort and pleasant radiance.

The one maid, a cheery looking young girl, did all the serving and was busy
in her attentions to the guests. When she had got them all served I asked
her, as she passed by, if she would please get me a cup of tea. Pausing for
a moment she gave me a searching look and then without speaking passed on.
A little while later I again caught her attention and suggesting that
perhaps she had not understood me, said that I would like to have a cup of
tea. Bending forward over me with a puckering of the forehead she said
abruptly, "Where do ye coom frae?" "From Canada," I answered.

"Dye ye hae tea 'i the noon in Canada?" "Yes," said I in my most pleasing
tone, "we have tea three times in the day in Canada--at morning, mid-day
and evening."

With a sniff she retorted, "Wull, y're no in Canada the noo, y're in
Scotland. Y' cannot hae tea i' the middle o' the day in Scotland--ye can
hae whiskey."

I didn't so I'm afraid Canada fell greatly in her estimation.

[Illustration: Sir Thomas Lipton on CHICORA. page 175]

[Illustration: H.R.H. the Duke and Duchess of York going on board CORONA.
page 183]

The contracts were at length completed and we hastened for home, taking the
Guion Line _Alaska_ as the fastest ship on the Atlantic. She held the
"record" for the then fastest passage, 6 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes from
Queenston to New York.

We had a frightful passage, during one 24 hours making only 52 miles. When
the captain of a first-class Atlantic liner enters on his log, as ours did
next day, "_dangerous sea_," one may feel satisfied that something unusual
had been going on.

Instead of not over eight days, as had been expected, we took twelve days,
much to the alarm of our families, and reached Toronto only three days
before Christmas.

So _Chicora_ and her successor had twice run the home-coming festival
pretty close.

In 1887 the services were opened by _Chicora_ alone, with Capt.
McCorquodale in command.

Construction of the new steamer was begun early in April in the yards of
the E. W. Rathbun Company, at Deseronto on the Bay of Quinte, there being
then no other shipyard on the shores of Lake Ontario. The facilities here
were excellent, in convenience of access by rail to the waterside, and in
complete iron and wood-working factories for the cabin construction.

The hull was erected by W. C. White, of Montreal, who also had built the
steamer _Filgate_, and the wood-work done by ourselves and the Rathbuns
under the charge of our foreman carpenter, Mr. J. Whalen.

The engines arrived in good shape and were erected in the hull by Rankin,
Blackmore & Co., who sent out men for this purpose.

The cabin work was being made in sections in the workshops, so that it
could be erected as soon as the decks were ready.

In the early part of the season of 1887 the New York Central completed the
extension of its tracks to the shore line at Lewiston, just above the
steamer dock. The relief to the traffic was welcome and immediate. The
passengers were saved the weary jolting for the mile and a half transfer
through enveloping dust, or of red bespattering mud, according to the
varying conditions of the weather, and the through time between Niagara
Falls and the steamer was also much shortened.

Ever since the branch railway had emerged from the Gorge this trial of
temper and nerves had continued just in the same state as it had when
Lewiston was the focus centre for the quickest routes to Rochester,
Ogdensburgh, and to Albany and New York, via Lake Champlain, and the only
route to Toronto, Kingston and Montreal.

At length, after a meritorious service of so many years, their duty being
over, the lumbering old Transfer Coaches, which looked as though they had
never felt another coat of paint since their first, were consigned to the
retirement of broken bottles and old tins. No traces of them are now to be
found. There are, however, some notable memorials still left in the old
town of its earliest days of tourist and travel activities.

On the old road between Lewiston and the dock, once traversed by the
transfer coaches, and part of the main road from Bataira when the village
was known as "Lewis-Town," is the "Frontier House," built in 1825, and for
many years considered the "finest hotel west of Albany." It was once the
stopping place of many early celebrities, and with its broad stoop and
great pillars is still a very prominent building. The residence of Captain
Van Cleve, one of the earliest navigators on the lakes, and who sailed
from the port on the _Martha Ogden_, is on the hillside not far from the
present terminus of the railway.

At last the railway and the steamers had been brought alongside. This
facility of interchange, and the shortening of the schedule time much
improved the volume of traffic in both directions and a start was made
which indicated that, when made more fully known to the general public,
would justify the expenditures being made by both the railway and the
steamer interests.

A new era was being opened for the Niagara River route. We had brought
about the first steps, had taken part in the bringing of the railways and
the river together, and now were to add the new steamer.

Consideration of what should be the name of the new addition was much
occupying the attention not only of ourselves but of many others.

It was conceded that the name must begin with a "C," and end with "A," and
not exceeding eight letters in length, so that proper balance in
advertising display might be preserved. A good deal of public interest was
taken in the matter and many names suggested.

A number of these were selected, and a somewhat novel method adopted for
coming to the final decision.

The members, both male and female, of the two families interested in the
company, were invited by Hon. Frank Smith, to dine at "Rivermount," his
residence on Bloor street. We sat down about twenty-five in number, being
all the adult members of the Frank Smith, Foy and Cumberland connections,
and at a splendid repast good fortune to the new steamer was heartily

I had had some twenty posters printed in the same size and wording as we
then used for street advertising purposes. On each of these was displayed
the name _Chicora_ together with one of the new names which had been
suggested. These posters were then set in a line along one side of the
spacious hall, so that the exact effect of the contiguity of the two names
could be seen.

After dinner a sort of Dutch auction was held. The adherents of each name
stated the reasons for their preference, promoting some amusing discussion.
Each of the posters was then voted on in succession and with varying
majorities ordered down until finally the one with _Chicora_ and _Cibola_
gained the preference.

There would seem good reason for this selection, for in addition to the
suitability in appearance and emphony of the two names, a very interesting
historical connection between them had been unearthed in the archives and
annals in the beginning of Spanish-American history, after following up the
exploits of Pizzaro in South America.

The early Spaniards had made a foothold in the island of Cuba.
Ponce-de-Leon had visited the shores of Florida, but it was not until 1539
that Hermando-de-Soto, heading an expedition from the Island, established
the first permanent occupation upon the mainland for the Spanish nation.

A settlement was formed and a fortress built at Ste. Augustine. Spanish
influence thereafter gradually extended around the northern shores of the
Gulf of Mexico toward the Mississippi and inland through the intervening
Indian country which was then called the _Chicora Country_--"_The land of
pretty flowers_."

Beyond this and on the other side of the far shores of the Mississippi lay
the widespread grazing territories where the Spanish adventurers conceived
would be opportunity for further exploits.

Somewhere about the year 1580 a coterie of these venturesome ones carried
over with them to Spain a party of the native Indians including among them
the principal Chief of the Chicora Indians, the occupants of the country
between Florida and the river. These they presented at their sovereign's
court as visible evidences of their travellings and enterprises.

In those early days of discovery on this Western hemisphere, and for long
years afterwards, it is noticeable in how lordly a manner the Sovereigns
and Magnates of Europe parcelled out the new found territories, making
wholesale grants of land to their own followers with or out the leave of
the original Indian occupants. In this case the representative Chief was
present. The King created him "Don Francisco de Chicora," and a grant was
confirmed to his introducers of all the country lying adjacent to the Gulf
of Mexico, on the far side of the Mississippi.

Returning with this authority the Spaniards extended their enterprises to
their new opportunities. As they advanced westward they found on the
terraces of the great plains, and on the foothills of the mountain ranges,
the countless "Cibolos," or Buffalo, ranging in mighty bands over the
nature pastures.

It was in consequence of this that when giving a name to the new Province
which was being added to their previous domain, they named it "_Cibola_,"
"the Buffalo coun_try_." This name is still preserved by a ranching hamlet
in a part of that territory now in the State of Texas.

As another steamer was to be added in partnership with _Chicora_ "the
pretty flower," what more appropriate name could we give to her than that
of "Cibola," "the Buffalo," in reminiscence of the old time territorial

So _Cibola_ it was to be. There was also a further propriety in the
selection that this "Buffalo boat" was to be one of the line of steamers
which were to form the greatly improved connection between Toronto, and the
great and modern city of Buffalo.

On 1st of November the steamer was successfully launched in the presence of
a large party brought down by special train from Toronto, the name _Cibola_
being given, and the traditional bottle of champagne smashingly broken on
the bow, by Miss Constance Cumberland, the youngest sister of the
Vice-President, and who subsequently married Mr. A. Foy, a brother of the

The firms engaged on the construction were:--Designer, Robert Morton,
Glasgow; steel hull, Dalzell Co., Dalzell, Scotland; erection of hull, W.
White & Co., Montreal; marine engines, Rankin Blackmore & Co., Greenock;
wood-work, Rathbun Co., Deseronto; interior mahogany and decoration, Wm.
Wright & Co., Detroit; electric lighting, Edison Co., New York.

The _Chicora_ season of 1887 had been exceedingly active. The opening of
the New York Central to the bank of the river largely increased the
facilities and the movement of traffic.

The steamer _Hastings_ was chartered to make the early trips from Niagara
and late from Toronto, and to carry the increasing fruit business. We had
acquired the rights of the International Ferry between Queenston and
Lewiston and chartered the small steamer _Kathleen_ to perform the service
and to transfer passengers to the main line steamers.

A new excursion feature in connection with the extension of their line was
introduced by the New York Central by "shuttle trains" with _observation
cars_ run frequently between the Falls and Lewiston. These cars were open
on the side next the river and the passenger seats set length-wise, facing
the view, were raised in tiers one above the other, securing an unimpeded
view of the scenery of the wonderful rapids and Niagara Gorge.

The Kathleen ran in connection with these trains, giving the tourists the
full length of the Lower River to Niagara and also calling at Youngstown
for the Fort and Town passengers.

Business at Queenston, where we had improved the dock, was much increased,
due to our working up the excursions which were rendered more attractive by
the great improvements made by the Queen Victoria Niagara Park
Commissioners in the park upon the Queenston Heights and around Brock's

An excellent season closed without further incident.

During the winter of 1887-88 the cabin work had proceeded assiduously on
_Cibola_. During this period we came much into personal contact with Mr. E.
W. Rathbun, the head of the Rathbun Co., and, one might say, the physical
embodiment of Deseronto and of everything within its borders. In the prime
of life, genial, incisive, he was the focus centre of vibrant energies.

It seemed to be his ambition that no by-product in his enterprises should
escape undeveloped.

He was interested in every public and benevolent project in the vicinity
and although not himself entering into parliamentary duties, his opinion
was much sought and valued in political development. With intense devotion
to his work, and much continuous strain on his energies it was not to be
wondered that his years were not many.

At length the spring of 1888 had come. The work was well advanced but, as
usual, the carpenters and painters lingered on in possession.

_Chicora_ had opened the season and it was absolutely necessary that
_Cibola_ should be on hand to take part in moving the troops to Niagara
Camp on 10th June.

The only thing to do was to bring the whole working force away with the
steamer. Capt. McCorquodale was in command, Capt. McGiffin having been
appointed to the _Chicora_.

A small party of friends had come down for the trip up, among them Alderman
John Baxter, of Toronto a genial soul, whose girth was not far from
equalling his height, he was the very embodiment of merriment and was a
most excellent singer. As the most elderly member we dubbed him The
Chaplain, although perhaps he was not the most sedate. Mr. Ross Hayter, a
Tea Planter cousin, lately Come from Assam, and who was the first to
introduce Indian package tea to Canada, was installed as the Doctor, and
Mr. Gus Foy, brother of Mr. John Foy, ably acted as Steward.

We left in the morning with the decks encumbered by every description of
material for all trades.

As each rounded point, and changing turn of this island-studded channel
came in view one could not but recall that along these waters once came
from Montreal, and Cataraqui, the fleet of canoes carrying the families of
the Six Nations Indians to the new homes, which had been given them by the
British Government, to replace those in the State of New York, which they
had lost by their loyal adherence to the King's cause during the War of the
Revolution. One party under Chief Deseronto had determined to stop at a
reservation which had been selected on the shores of the Bay of Quinte.
Before leaving _Cataraqui_, the communion service which had been given to
their ancestors by Queen Anne in 1712, for their chapel in the Mohawk
Valley in the Colony of New York, had been divided between the bands, the
larger share being given to the more numerous party under Chief Brant,
which separating from their Deseronto companions went onward up Lake
Ontario to their reservation upon the banks of the Grand River.

[Illustration: The CHIPPEWA in Toronto Harbour. page 174]

These reservations are still occupied by their descendants, who are ardent
militia men, serving with intense activity in the Indian companies of the
37th Haldimand Rifles, one of the most efficient in the Canadian Militia.
All Canadians, should remember that these quiet featured men are the lineal
descendants of those steadfast ancestors, who gave up their homes and all
for the British cause, and were the first United Empire Loyalists to come
to Canada.

Later after 1783, other migrations came up these inner channels.

These were the United Empire Loyalists, descendants of the British pioneers
and settlers who had founded the English colonies in America, but who
having fought on the King's side in the Revolution were driven out of their
homes and their property confiscated, but who chose, rather than foreswear
their allegiance, to come north into the forests of Canada where they could
live beneath the British flag under which they and their fathers had been

It was a meeting, too, with the first steamboat ventures of Upper Canada,
for on "Finkle's Point," which we passed, the _Frontenac_, the first
steamer to sail on Lake Ontario, had been built in 1815.

_Chicora_ and _Cibola_ together carried the troops to camp and performed
the services of the route for 1888. The leaving times from Toronto were 7
a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 4.45 p.m., the _Chicora_ taking the morning trip
from Lewiston.

This was a very considerable increase, being in fact a doubling of the
previous service, and although the traffic did not at first justify it, the
trade soon began to show signs of building up, the new steamer proving
herself a valuable addition by her higher speed, larger capacity for
passengers and with running expenses practically the same.

The arrangements for the militia at the camp at Niagara in these early days
were in the charge of Lt.-Col. Robert Denison, one of the Denison family,
who have taken so large a part in the military annals of the country, and
an uncle of Lt.-Col. George T. Denison.

Col. "Bob" as he was most frequently called, was the Brigade Major for the
Western District with his headquarters in the "_Old Fort_" at Toronto in
the original "Officers Quarters" building which had been military
headquarters for the Province since 1813. This old building is still in
existence and is to be preserved as part of the restoration of the Old

Unconventional and breezy in his ways, he used, referring to the fact that
he had entirely lost one eye, to say that he "had a single eye to Her
Majesty's Service," and sitting straddled, as was his habit, on a
four-legged saddle shaped sort of seat that "he was always in the saddle,
ready for a call to action."

In 1889 _Cibola_ and _Chicora_, continued their usual services with
satisfaction and regularity.

The Observation Train service of the New York Central Railway increased
much in importance as also the transfer between Lewiston and Queenston. A
smart little steamer was purchased to specially fill these services.

Following our habit we searched for some name which would be appropriate to
the conditions.

The "Relations des Jesuits" are the reports sent back to France between
1616 and 1672 by the devoted Jesuit priests who had come over in the early
French Regime and worked among the Indians for their Christianization. Much
information is given in these conditions among the tribes, and concerning
the geography of the country.

One of these, _Pere Lallement_, reports that in 1642 an "_Onguiaara_" tribe
of Indians were living between the two lower lakes on a river bearing the
same name as the tribe. Later on the Great Falls on this river are
mentioned as the "_Ongiara Cataractes_." This name of _Ongiara_, which was
the earliest by which the river was known among the Indians, has since been
transmuted by the whites into its present name Niagara.

We therefore named the little steamer _Ongiara_ as being appropriate to the
history of her surroundings, and to her duties between the original portage
routes of Indian and historic periods at the landings at Lewiston and



During 1889 we had the pleasure of a visit from Captain George B. Boynton,
the former owner of _Chicora_ in her blockade running days, who was
delighted to renew acquaintance with his early ally. He gave us many
reminiscenses of that stirring period, the narration of them cannot be done
better than by giving extract by courteous permission of the publisher from
his narrative as afterwards contained[5] under the heading "Looking for
Trouble." Copyright, 1911, by _Adventure Magazine_, the Ridgway Company.

After giving an account of his earlier life and share in the American Civil
War, and of a project to join some adventures in Cuba he says, "While I was
wondering how I could get into communication with Cespedes, my interest was
aroused by a newspaper story of the new blockade runner _Let Her B._ The
_Let Her B._, whose name was a play on words, was a long, powerful,
schooner-rigged steamship, built by Lairds on the Mersey. Though classed as
a fifteen-knot ship she could do sixteen or seventeen knots (19 miles)
which was fast going at that time. There was so much money in
blockade-running that the owners of one could well afford to lose her after
she had made three successful trips.

"In five minutes I decided to become a blockade-runner and to buy the new
and already famous ship, if she was to be had at any price within reason. I
bought a letter of credit and took the next ship for Bermuda. On my arrival
there I found that the _Let Her B._ had been expected in for several days
from her second trip and that there was considerable anxiety about her. A
fresh cargo of munitions of war was awaiting the _Let Her B_, and a ship
was ready to take to England the cotton she would bring.

"I got acquainted with the agent for the blockade-runner, and offered to
buy her and take the chance that she might never come in. He wanted me to
wait until the arrival of her owner, Joseph Berry, who was expected daily
from England.

"After waiting several days I said to him one morning, "It looks as though
your ship had been captured or sunk. I'll take a gambler's chance that she
hasn't and will give you $50,000 for her and $25,000 for the cargo that is
waiting for her; you to take the cargo she brings in. I'll give you three
hours to think it over."

"It looked as though I was taking a long chance, but I had a "hunch" that
she was all right, and I never have had a well-defined "hunch" steer me in
anything but a safe course, wherefore I invariably heed them. At the
expiration of the time limit there was not a sign of smoke in any direction
and the agent accepted my proposition. In half an hour I had a bill of sale
for the ship and the warehouse receipts for the cargo of war-supplies.

"At sunset that day a ship came in from England with her former owner. He
criticized his agent sharptly at first, but when two more days passed with
no sign of the anxiously-looked-for ship, Mr. Berry concluded that he had
all the best of the bargain, and complimented his agent on his shrewdness.

"On the third day the _Let Her B._ came tearing in, pursued at long range
by the U.S.S. Powhatan, which proceeded to stand guard over the harbour,
keeping well off shore on account of the reefs and shoals that were under
her lee.

"The _Let Her B._ discharged a full cargo of cotton and was turned over to
me. I went over her carefully while her cargo of arms was going in and
found her in excellent condition. She was unloaded in twelve hours, and all
her cargo was safely stowed in another forty-eight hours. I took command of
her, with John B. Williams, her old captain, as sailing master, and
determined to put to sea at once.

"I knew the Powhatan would not be looking for us so soon, and planned to
catch her off her guard. There was then no man-of-war entrance to the
harbor and it was necessary to enter and leave by daylight. With the sun
just high enough to let us get clear of the reefs before dark, and with the
Powhatan well off shore and at the farthest end of the course she was
lazily patrolling, we put to sea.

"The Powhatan saw us sooner than I had expected, and started but she was
not quick enough. The moment she swung around I increased our speed to a
point which the pilot loudly swore would pile us up on the rocks. But it
didn't and when we cleared the passage we were all of four miles in the
lead. As I had figured, the Powhatan did not suppose we would come out for
at least a week, and was cruising slowly about with fires banked, so it
took her some time to get up a full head of steam. She fired three or four
shots at us, but they fell far short.

"At sunrise we had the ocean to ourselves.

"I started in at once to master practical navigation, the theory of which I
knew, and to familiarize myself with the handling of a ship. I stood at the
wheel for hours at a time and almost wore out the instruments taking
reckonings by the sun and stars. Navigation came to me naturally, for I
loved it, and in three days I would have been willing to undertake a cruise
around the world with a Chinese crew.

"We arrived off Charleston late in the afternoon and steamed up close
inshore until we could make out the smoke of the blockading fleet, which
was standing well out, in a semi-circle. Then we dropped back a bit and
anchored. All of the conditions shaped themselves to favor us. It was a
murky night, with a hard blow, which came up late in the afternoon, and
when we got under way at midnight a good bit of a sea was running.

"With the engines held down to only about half speed, but ready to do their
best in a twinkling, we headed for the harbor, standing as close inshore as
we dared go. We passed so close to the blockading-ship stationed at the
lower end of the crescent that she could not have depressed her guns enough
to hit us even if we had been discovered in time. But she did not see us
until we had passed her. Then she let go at us with her bow guns and, while
they did no damage, we were at such close quarters that their flash gave
the other ships a glimpse of us as we darted away.

"They immediately opened on us, but after the first minute or two it was a
case of haphazard shooting with all of them. The first shells exploded
close around us, and some of the fragments came aboard, but no one was
injured. When I saw where they were firing I threw my ship farther over
toward Sullivan's Island, where she could go on account of her light
draft, and sailed quietly along into the harbor at reduced speed. At
daylight we went up to the dock and were warmly welcomed.

"Before the second night was half over we had everything out of her and a
full cargo of cotton aboard, and we steamed out at once. I knew the
blockaders would not expect us for at least four days, and we surprised
them just as we had surprised the Powhatan at Bermuda. It was a thick
night, and we sailed right through the fleet at half speed, but prepared to
break and run for it at the crack of a gun. Not a shot was fired or an
extra light shown.

"As soon as we were clear of the line we put on full speed and three days
later we were safe at Turk's Island, the most southerly and easterly of the
Bahama Islands, off the coast of Florida, which I had selected as a base of
operations. These islands were a haven and a clearing-house for the
outsiders who were actively aiding the Confederacy for a very substantial

"Most of the blockade-runners, including the _Banshee_, _Siren_, _Robert E.
Lee_, _Lady Sterling_, and other famous ships, were operating out of
Nassau, which had the advantage of closer proximity to the chief Southern
posts, being within 600 miles of Charleston and Wilmington, while Turk's
Island was 900 miles away, but I never have believed in following the
crowd. It is my rule to do things alone and in my own way, as must be the
practice of every man who expects to succeed in any dangerous business. The
popularity of Nassau caused it to be closely watched by the Federal
cruisers that patrolled the Gulf Stream, while the less important islands
to the south and east were practically unguarded.

"Though precarious for the men who made them so, those were plenteous days
for the Bahamas, compared with which the rich tourist toll since levied on
the Yankees is but small change. The fortunes yielded by blockade-running
seemed made by magic, so quick was the process. Cotton that was bought in
Charleston or Wilmington for ten cents a pound sold for ten times as much
in the Bahamas, and there were enormous profits in the return cargoes or
military supplies. The captains and crews shared in the proceeds and the
health of the Confederacy was drunk continuously and often riotously.

"By the time I projected myself temporarily into this golden atmosphere of
abnormal activity, running the blockade had become more of a business and
less of a romance than it was in the reckless early days of the war.

"Before leaving Bermuda I had ordered a cargo of munitions of war sent to
Turk's Island. We had to wait nearly a month for this shipment to arrive,
but the time was well spent in overhauling the engines and putting the _Let
Her B_ in perfect condition.

"My second trip to Charleston furnished a degree of excitement that exalted
my soul. While we were held up at Turk's Island the blockading fleet had
been strengthened and supplemented by several small and fast boats which
cruised around outside of the line. Without knowing this I had decided--it
must have been in response to a "hunch"--to make a dash straight through
the line and into the harbor. And it was fortunate that we followed this
plan, for they were expecting us to come up from the south, hugging the
shore as we had done before, and if we had taken that course they certainly
would have sunk us or forced us aground.

"We were proceeding cautiously, but did not think we were close to the
danger zone, when suddenly one of the patrol ships picked us up and opened
fire. Her guns were no better than pea-shooters, but they gave the signal
to the fleet, and instantly lights popped up all along the line ahead.

"In the flashing lights ahead I saw all of the excitement that I had been
longing for, and with an exultant yell to the helmsman to "Tell the
engineer to give her ----l," I pushed him aside and seized the wheel. I
fondled the spokes lovingly and leaned over them in a tumult of joy. It was
the great moment of which I had dreamed from boyhood.

"I had anticipated that when it came I would be considerably excited and
forgetful of all of my carefully-thought-out plans for meeting an
emergency, but to my surprise I found that I was as cool as though we had
been riding at anchor in New York Bay. The opening gun cleared my mind of
all its anxieties and intensified its action. I remember that I took time
to analyze my feelings to make sure that I was calm and collected and not
stunned and stolid and that I was silent from choice and not through
anything of fear.

"As though spurred by a human impulse, the little ship sprang forward as
she felt the full force of her engines and never did she make such a race
as she did that night. In the sea that was running and at the speed that we
were going we would ordinarily have had two men at the wheel, but I found
it so easy and so delightful to handle the ship alone that I declined the
assistance of Captain Williams, who stood behind me.

"Though I am not tall, being not much over five feet and eight inches,
nature was kind in giving me a well-set-up frame and a powerful
constitution, devoid of nerves but with muscles of steel, and with a
reserve supply of strength that made me marvel at its source.

"The widest opening in the already closing line was, luckily directly in
front of us, and I headed for it. The sparks from our smokestack gave the
blockaders our course as plainly as though it had been noon-day, and they
closed in from both sides to head us off. Shot and shell screamed and sang
all around the undaunted _Let Her B._

"First the mainmast and then the foremast came down with a crash, littering
the decks with their gear. A shell carried death into the forecastle. One
shot tore away the two forward stanchions of the pilot-house, and another
one smashed through the roof, but neither Captain Williams nor I was
injured. All of our boats and most of our upper works were literally shot
to pieces.

"From first to last we must have been under the terrific fire for half an
hour, but it seemed not more than a few minutes, and it really was with
something of regret that I found the shots were falling astern. When we got
up to the dock we found that five of our men had been killed and a dozen
more or less injured. The ship had not been damaged at all, so far as speed
and seaworthiness in ordinary weather were concerned, though she looked a

"The blockaders expected we would be laid up for a month. Consequently when
we steamed out on the fourth night, after making only temporary repairs,
they were not looking for us and we got through their line without much

"We refitted at Turk's Island, where we laid up for three weeks.

"I made two more trips to Charleston without any very exciting experiences,
though we were fired on both times, and then sold the ship to an
enterprising Englishman at Turk's Island. I made a comfortable fortune with
her and sold her for more than I paid for her."

The _Let Her B._ was never captured, but the war closed the year after her
arrival and upon its conclusion she was brought North and registered as a
Canadian vessel at the Port of Pictou, Nova Scotia, and her name at the
same time changed to _Chicora_.


[5] "Adventure Magazine," New York, Jan. 1911.



No wonder that after his recital of her prowess, much as we had esteemed
the bonnie ship, we now thought all the more of her, for as ill the times
of her previous owners, so now in ours, there appeared to be a sort of
living sprite within her frames, evidencing a spirit of life, and
consciousness, as that of a fond friend, as well as a faithful servant.
Perhaps it is this very affection which arises between a man and his ship
that has led to all vessels being spoken of in the feminine, and familiarly
as "she." Perhaps, however it may be that it comes from their kittenish
"kittly-cattly" ways, for you never know what a vessel will do, until you
have tried her.

1890 brought us still further on the way to success. The business was fast
increasing, under the more frequent services and the spread of advertising,
and solicitation. So much was this the case that the possibility of placing
another steamer on the route began to be debated, not only by ourselves,
but by other people who were looking on.

A small American steamer had been running between Lewiston and Youngstown,
and there was some talk of putting on another. Rumors also spoke of an
electric line to be built between these points to more closely connect the
troops of the American Garrison at Fort Niagara with the forces of the
State of New York. We thought, therefore, it would be as well to obtain the
dock at Youngstown, to which rail connections could be made, and also to
create an American company, under which American steamers could be owned
and operated by us, should it at any time be thought well to do so.

The "Niagara River Navigation Co., Limited," was then formed under a
charter obtained from the State of New York, and the stock subscribed and
paid up by members of the Niagara Navigation Co. families, the Board
being,--John Foy, President; Barlow Cumberland, Vice-President, and three
gentlemen of Buffalo, directors.

The Youngstown Dock, which had been privately purchased, and is the dock
down to which the railway track of 1885 ran, was taken over by this
American company, and some people, whom it had been suggested might put on
American steamers to run in competition with the Niagara Navigation
Company, were informed that we were empowered, and quite ready to meet them
under their own condition, so they drew in their horns and nothing more was
heard of the matter.

A policy was formulated which has ever since been maintained, of adding
steamers as the traffic, and new developments showed might be required and
to add them even in advance of actual requirements.

From the position of its ports, and the variable requirements of the
connecting lines, the Niagara River Line can be best handled by one stable
company, in full control of docks at all the landing places, and with a
number of steamers sufficient to meet all possible emergencies of sudden
demands of travel as they arrive at different times on the several railway
connections on both sides of the lake. The very flexibility of the service
ensures adequate provision to keep the largest excursion business moving
without delay, and with convenience from whatever quarter or connection it
may at any hour come.

In 1891 Captain McGiffin was promoted to command of _Cibola_ in succession
to Captain McCorquodale, who after having given fullest satisfaction and
faithful service, had died during the previous season. Captain W. H.
Solmes, of Picton, was now appointed to _Chicora_.

In this year began the project for the construction of the _Niagara Falls
Park and River Railway_ on the Canadian side, following the bank of the
river from Niagara Falls to Queenston and being the first electric railway
to be built in this vicinity on either side of the river.

Electrical traction was then in its infancy. No better evidence of this can
be given than the fact that although the Canadian Electric Railway Company
had ample surplus power in their development at the Horseshoe Falls, yet
the electrical engineers of the day, reported that the cost of wiring and
the loss in transmission of power for the only seven miles to Queenston,
would be prohibitive to commercial economy. An additional equipment for
development of electricity by steam was therefore installed on the river
side at Queenston to help the power current from the Falls in operating the
cars up the zig-zag to the top of the Queenston Heights.

This power house is shown in the view taken from the Heights and continued
to be used until 1898, when the improvements in electrical transmission
enabled it to be abandoned and full power brought from the company's water
power house at the Falls.

The zig-zag series of curves by which the double track railway winds its
way up the face of the Niagara escarpment from the dock to the summit at
Brock's Monument is considered one of the achievements of Mr. Jennings,
who was the engineer for the construction of this Canadian Power and
Electrical R.R. Company, and had previously done some notable work for the
Canadian Pacific Railway on the Fraser River and Rocky Mountain sections.
As the cars wind up and approach the summit, a splendid and far distant
landscape is opened to the view, one which the Duke of Argyle considered to
be one of the "_worthy views of the world_." Below are the terraces and
color-chequered fields of the vineyards, the peach and fruit orchards of
this "Garden of Canada." Through these variegated levels the Niagara River
curves in its silvered sheen to Lake Ontario where the blue waters close in
the far horizon.

From Queenston Heights this electric railway skirts the edges of the cliffs
above the great gulf in the depths of which the Niagara rapids toss and
foam, and then circling around the sullen swirlings of the fatal Whirlpool,
lands the tourist within the spray of the great Cataract itself.

Our ownership of the dock and the waterfront at Queenston, purchased so
many years before, now proved its foresight and facilitated the making of
arrangements with the new Electric Railway for an interchange of business.
As a result it was now determined that a fourth steamer should be added to
the Niagara River Line, and thus provision was made for the new connection
and the increased business which would arise from its introduction.

This new connection apparently to the river was, after all, but the revival
of the old _Portage Route_ on the Canadian side, which had so long existed
between Chippawa and the head of navigation at this point, but not exactly
on the same location and had passed away upon the diversion of business to
other routes.

[Illustration: The CHIPPEWA in Drydock at Kingston, Bow. (page 184)]

[Illustration: The CHIPPEWA in Drydock at Kingston, Stern.]

As the steamer lies at the Queenston Dock, the eye naturally sweeps upward
over the cedar clad slopes of the Niagara escarpment toward the striking
monument which crowns its heights. The reminiscences are those of martial
strife, when on the 13th of October, 1812, contestants met in mortal
conflict. In fancy we can see the foemen moving upon the slopes, the
American forces gain the Heights, the heroic General Brock leads his men in
bold attack to regain possession, and falls at their head mortally wounded.
Reinforcements under General Sheaffe come from the west along the summit of
the cliffs, the contest is renewed; Indians are seen gleaming among the
trees, they drive the invaders over the brink to fall into the rapids
below, and at length the American forces with two Generals and seven
hundred men lay down their arms and are taken prisoners. But there are
other phases much more ancient of this head of navigation and its portages.

Under the hill there can be discerned beneath the shadow of the Height the
old road leading up from the lower level of the dock to the upper level
upon which, what is left of the Town of Queenston stands. It is marked and
scarred with the ruts of many decades and full of memories. Upon these
slopes the Indian made his way to the waterside at the Chippewa creek. Here
came the trappers with their bales of furs brought down from the far
North-West. Here came the _voyageur traders_ of France with beads and
gew-gaws for barter with the Indians, and later the English with blankets
and firearms.

In the earliest days two portages were available, one on each side of the
river, but during the French period and for long, long after the one on the
past side from Lewiston was mainly used, its terminus at Lake Erie being
called _Petite Niagara_ as distinctive from the great _Fort Niagara_ at
its lower end.

With the end of the war of the Revolution, Capt. Alexander Campbell of the
12th Regiment, was sent by Lord Dorchester to report on the portages. In
reporting in 1794 he mentions that the American portage was at a steep bank
just below the rapids, to the foot of which the batteaux were poled with
difficulty and the contents raised by winch and hawser to the upper level
some 60 feet above. On the Canadian side at Queenston the eddy was more
favorable and there were, he said, four vessels waiting to be unloaded and
sixty waggons working on the portage. In consideration of the expected
transfer of Fort Niagara he thought it would be better to improve the mouth
of the Chippewa Creek and adopt the all-Canadian side instead of sending up
supplies on the Fort Niagara side to _Schlosser_ to be boated across to
_Fort Erie_.

Mr. Robert Hamilton, afterwards Hon. Robert, sized up the situation and
built a new dock and storehouse on what afterwards turned out to be
Government property at the _Chippaway River_. He had early appreciated the
value of the portage and had established a large transfer business across
it. Becoming the chief personage of the neighborhood he had in 1789 changed
the name of its northern terminus to _Queenston_ instead of the _West
Landing_ by which it had previously been known.

With these increased facilities and to his own great profit he in time
secured the bulk of the portage trade.

In 1800 John Maude mentions that three schooners and 14 teams were lying at
the dock at Queenston on one day, and that from 50 to 60 teams a day passed
over the Portage, the rate for freight being 20 pence New York currency per
hundred pounds between Queenston and Chippewa.

When the great _trek_ from Maine and Massachusetts began to the Western
States of Michigan and Illinois, this Queenston road was mostly taken by
the wandering land seekers, it being adopted by them then as the short cut
across the Peninsula to the Detroit River instead of the long detour along
the south shores of Lake Erie, just as at present the Michigan Central,
Wabash and Grand Trunk Railways cross from the Falls on this shortest route
to the west.

The waggons with their horses, having come to Lewiston from Albany and
Rochester by the Ridge Road, were placed upon the batteaux to cross the
river, and although at first carried far down by the current on the eastern
side were easily taken by the eddy up the west shore to the landing place
at Queenston. Up this inclined road to the upper tier, in imagination one
can see the lines of immigrants, with their teams and canvas topped wagons,
in long extended line seeking the far West for their new homes and great

So great was the traffic in this direction that, in 1836 a "horse boat" was
employed on the ferry and the first Suspension Bridge at Queenston was
promoted in 1839 to accommodate the movement from the East towards the
West. At present except when a Niagara Navigation Co. steamer is alongside,
all is so quiet it seems scarcely possible that this landing place could at
one time have been the centre of such busy movement.

The re-opening revived also the memories of an oft told narrative of a
little family, which years before had arrived over the portage route, at
this same dock at Queenston, and made their first acquaintance with the
Niagara River and its navigation.

Mr. Fred W. Cumberland, our late Director, and his wife had come to the
opinion that the position which the held on the Engineering Staff, in Her
Majesty's dockyard at Portsmouth, did not represent such a future as they
would desire, and therefore they determined to emigrate to Canada. In the
spring of 1847 they took passage on a sailing ship, bringing with them
their ten-months-old baby. After a voyage of six weeks they reached New
York, from where they came by Hudson River steamer to Albany, where they
spent the night. From here they came by steam railroad at the unexpected
speed of "twenty miles an hour." And again, as was usual, for there were no
night trains, broke their journey and stayed over night at Syracuse, 171
miles, where there was a fine large hotel, and the following day leaving
8.00 a.m., arrived at Buffalo at 9.00 p.m. Leaving Buffalo next morning
they came by steamer down the Niagara River to Chippawa, where they took
the "horse railroad" for Queenston to join the steamer for Toronto.

The terminus at Queenston of the horse railroad was at the end of the
"stone road," near the hotel above the road leading down to the steamer.
Just when arrived at this, the car went off the track, and while Mr.
Cumberland was endeavoring to extract their belongings, Mrs. Cumberland,
the baby, and a young clergyman, the Rev. G. Salter, who had crossed the
Atlantic on the same ship with them, were carried off on the steamer for
Toronto, and the father was left behind. It was amusingly told, how, after
they had landed at the foot of Church Street, and were walking up into the
town, Mr. Salter, who had been consigned to an appointment under the Rev.
Dr. John Strachan, then Bishop of Toronto, wondered what his Bishop would
say if he should chance to meet his new curate with another man's wife and
carrying a baby as he entered his Diocese. The baby was Barlow Cumberland,
who then made his first steamboating on the Niagara River, on which he was
afterwards to be so actively engaged.

It was determined that the new steamer should be a further advance in size
and equipment to prepare for the increased traffic now to be fed from both
sides of the river. Additional capital was therefore required, of which
part was provided by the Niagara Company, and part by the introduction of
new stockholders, including Mr. E. B. Osler, and Mr. William Hendrie.

Here, in 1892, the purely family relationship of the first members of the
Company closed, the stock holdings being more widely spread and the Board
increased from five members to seven.

The services of Mr. Frank Kirby, of Detroit, the most accomplished designer
of passenger steamers, were engaged, the plans made, the tenders of the
Hamilton Bridge & Shipbuilding Co. accepted for the hull, boilers and
upper-works, and the engines contracted for with W. Fletcher Co., of New
York, the builders of the fastest marine engines on the Hudson and the
Upper Lakes. Mr. Geo. H. Hendrie left the next day for Scotland to arrange
for the materials.

_Cibola_, Capt. McGiffin, and _Chicora_, Capt. Solmes, conducted the season
1892 with good success. Work on the new steamer was commenced at Hamilton.

Again the question of a new name arose, and this time it was considered
that the name should still be Indian, but of Canadian origin. Thus the name
_Chippewa_ was selected as that of a renowned Canadian tribe of Indians
which had flourished in the Niagara River District, and also as a renewal
of the name of H.M. sloop _Chippewa_, upon which General Brock had sailed
on Lake Erie. It will be noted that the name is not that of the village
and postoffice of Chippawa, but is spelled with an "e," being that of the
Indian tribe. A fine carving of a Chippewa Chieftain's head, taken from
Catlin's collection of Indian portraits, is placed on the centre of each
paddle box, similarly as a rampant Buffalo had previously been placed on
those of the _Cibola_. On 2nd May, 1893, the steamer was successfully
launched in the presence of many of the citi-townsman, Mr. William Hendrie,
and of a number of visitors from Buffalo, Toronto and Montreal. The name
was given and the bottle gallantly broken by Miss Mary Osler, daughter of
Mr. E. B. Osler, and Miss Mildred Cumberland, daughter of Mr. Barlow
Cumberland. _Chippewa_, the _Indian Chief_, was the first of our vessels to
be constructed of steel. Her tonnage is 1,574 tons. Length, 311 feet; beam,
36, and is authorized to carry 2,000 passengers in lake service. The
interior arrangements were more convenient and spacious than any
previously, and an innovation was the addition of a hurricane deck, upon
which ample space for passengers is provided. The _Chippewa_ had
satisfactorily passed through her trial trips, and in May, 1894, the
steamer, completed in every respect, sailed from Hamilton to take up her
station on the Niagara Route. A goodly number of railway and steamboating
officials and friends were on board under the leadership of Sir Frank

Our steamers were that year running from Geddes' (now the City) Dock, as we
had again, for the fourth time, been turned out of Milloys. Mr. William
Fletcher, the builder of the engines, had come up from New York and was in
charge of the motive department. It was a Saturday afternoon. _Chicora_ was
occupying the face of the dock, so _Chippewa_ had to come in on the west
side. By some mischance she was not stopped soon enough and made her entry
into Toronto by driving her nose some five or six feet into the wooden
timber of the side of the Esplanade. The steamer seemed scarcely in motion,
yet cut into the heavy timbers as though they had been matches. When backed
out no damage was done excepting the loss of a little paint on the bow. The
party landed, the Buffalo and New York visitors with Mr. Fletcher going off
on _Chicora_ amid hearty exchange of greetings.

The introduction of a third boat on the Main Line made an exceeding
difference in the frequency of the services, and again was at first a good
deal in excess of the demand, or of business offering.

A new trip was introduced by the _Chicora_ leaving Toronto at 9 a.m.,
staying over at Lewiston and returning in the afternoon, making one round
trip. The whole departure being five trips; 7.00 a.m., 9.00 a.m., 11.00
a.m., 2.00 p.m., 4.45 p.m. This 9.00 a.m. trip was not a success during its
early years, but gradually gained in importance.

_Chippewa_ (Capt. McGiffin), _Cibola_ (Capt. W. H. Solmes), _Chicora_
(Capt. Jas. Harbottle), closed the season of 1894, in which much more
activity was produced, and good evidences given of growth to be expected in
the future.

In effecting its growth the route continued to be exceedingly assisted by
the energies and assistance of the connecting Railway Company's officers.
_Mr. D. M. Kendrick_ had succeeded Mr. Meeker, and he in turn, in 1887,
followed by _Mr. Henry Monett_. A most notable advance was begun during
this regime, an entirely new idea being evolved. The reputation of the New
York Central Railway for the regularity and character of its trains and
service had been well created, but up to that time the Erie Railway, by
persistent advertising, had been established in the minds of the public as
"_the only scenic_" route between Buffalo and New York. Mr. Monett
instituted a series of descriptive and illustrative announcements
developing the _Mohawk Valley_, through which the New York Central runs, as
being "_the really most beautiful_" route, passing through the scenery of
the romantic valley of the Mohawk and the mountain heights of the Hudson
with all the advantages of _"a water-level line" following the coursings of
the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers_, and so giving a perfect night's rest.

It was a novelty and an inducement which caught the public idea, and added
attraction to efficient service.

Owing to the early death of Mr. Monett in 1888, _Mr. E. J. Richards_
followed as Acting General Passenger Agent to 1889, with his intimate
knowledge of the passenger requirements he gathered in and secured the
business which Mr. Monett's methods had begun to attract. During his period
_Cibola_ was added to our line.

With the career of his successor _Mr. George H. Daniels_, (1889 to 1905)
there was a still further expansion of the advertising method of attracting
business to the great railway, whose train service was of the highest
development. The celebrated pamphlets known as the "_Four Track_" series
under Mr. Daniels led the way in railway advertising publications,
introducing methods which since then have been so extensively followed and
applied by all the principal railways. As an instance of widespread
advertisement, no less than four millions of the one issue of the "Four
Track" series which contained "_The Message to Garcia_" were distributed to
the public, the demand for copies exhausting edition after edition.
_Chippewa_ and _Corona_ were both added during Mr. Daniel's term.

During the later changes in the Head Offices the local passenger
representation in the Buffalo and Western district had been held in
succession by _Mr. E. J. Weekes_ and _Mr. H. Parry_. No railway was ever
better served, nor its patrons more firmly secured in friendship.

Equally successful assistance was given by _Mr. A. W. Ruggles_ and _Mr.
Underwood_ of the Michigan Central Railway, which with its quickest route
to Buffalo direct from Niagara-in-the-Lake was specially developed.

Thus in a series of years, steamer after steamer had been added, each of
the highest capacity, so that by mutual energy the good reputation of the
route had been advanced and traffic gradually created, for, as each steamer
was put on it created at first a surplus of accommodation, and an increase
of running expenses until later the passenger trade had again worked up to
the capacity. It is beyond question that the character and satisfaction of
the steamers provided on a combined rail and water route have more to do
with the attracting of business than even the land facilities on the
railways. It is to produce this result that the railway companies steadily
support the established steamboat lines in private ownership which have
been developed in connection with them, as being the best way to secure
fullest facilities for the public, and efficient service for themselves.



With three "Line" steamers and five trips a day, the route kept on steadily
developing, the service being attractive, and the line kept well before the
public, but the season's traffic produced nothing of particular notice.

During 1895 came a set-back, and unfortunate loss, by _Cibola_ taking fire
one night when lying alongside the dock at Lewiston. The upper works were
entirely burned off and the hull, having been set adrift, floated down the
river as far as Youngstown, where it was secured and brought to the dock.
_Cibola_ during her career had proved herself an efficient steamer, fast,
economical, and satisfactory in all weathers.

Business had not so greatly increased that the remaining two main line
steamers could not continue to sufficiently meet the service, so far as it
then required, but immediate steps were taken to replace her loss and make
ready for the requirements of the new electric railway then contemplated on
the American side from the Falls to Lewiston. Mr. Angstrom, who had already
done some excellent work as a marine architect, made the new design, and a
contract was let to the Bertram Engine and Shipbuilding Company, Toronto,
for a steamer 272 feet in length, 32 ft. 6 inches beam, 2,000 horse-power,
with a capacity for 2,000 passengers, being larger than the _Cibola_. There
was not this time so much difficulty in the selection of a name, as that of
_Corona_ suggested by Lady Smith, was readily adopted. This name was all
the more appropriate from the fact that the "halo of bright rays" which are
shot out and appear on a total eclipse of the sun is called the "Corona of
the Sun." In this instance the new steamer _Corona_ was succeeding the
eclipse of the _Cibola_, and represented the hopes and new conditions of
the "_bright sun ray_."

The steamer was successfully launched at the yards at the foot of Bathurst
street, on the 25th May, 1896, the sponsors being Miss Mildred Cumberland,
daughter of the Vice-President, and Miss Clara Foy, daughter of the General

The season of 1897 with three steamers all making double trips brought the
introduction of the six trips a day, a service which fully provided for the
new connection then opened, and for the increases which gradually came in
several subsequent years.

The _Niagara Falls Park Electric Railway_, then already in operation on the
Canadian side between the Falls and Queenston running on the upper level
follows the river banks of the Gorge, overlooking it from these heights and
adding views of the far vistas of the surrounding country and up and down
the river.

The new Electric Railway, on the American side, put into full working
operation in this year, and known as the _Gorge Line_, was constructed far
down in the Gorge, just a little above the waters edge, following the
curvings of the river, beneath the cliffs, and giving opportunity for
coming into immediate proximity with the tossing rapids on this lower part
of its torrents.

The construction of this railway from the Falls to Lewiston was the work of
Messrs. Brinker & Smith, of Buffalo, and in boldness of conception, and
overcoming of intense difficulties in construction, is a record of great
determination and ability.

[Illustration: How the FALLS have cut through the GORGE.]

A round trip on both these lines, going up on one and returning by the
other, and crossing the river on the cars at the Upper Bridge, reveals all
the glorious scenery of the Niagara River between the Falls where they now
are and the Niagara Escarpment at Queenston Heights, where the geologists
tell us the Falls once fell over the cliffs to the lower level. It is
estimated that from this place of beginning of the chasm which they have
cut out of the strata of the intervening rocks, from 16,000 to 25,000
years, according to different views, have been spent in reaching to their
present position and they are still continuing to cut their way back
further up the river.

The process by which this has been done can be clearly seen by noticing on
the sides of the cliffs that the several layers of limestone strata lie
flat above one another, with large softer layers and deposits between each.
The waters of the river at the upper level pour over the edge of the
topmost rock ledge, and the reverberations and spray then wash out the
intervening sand and softer layers, so that the rock strata becoming
unsupported break off, and fall down into the gulf. In this way the chasm
has year after year been bitten back.

When leaving the dock on the Niagara River Line steamers at Lewiston, or
coming up the river from Niagara-on-the-Lake, it is enthralling to look up
at these great cliffs, and in imagination casting the mind back into the
centuries, see the mighty river as it once poured its torrents direct in
one concentrated mass from the edge of these heights into the open river
lying at their feet.

What a stupendous spectacle it must have been; yet, though wondrous, not
more beautiful than the distant glimpses now gleaming through the shadowed
portal between the cliff-sides clad with verdure and cedar, dominated by
the shaft of the monument to the heroes of the _Queenston Heights_.

The acquiring of landing terminals on the Niagara River was further
expanded in 1899, by the purchase from the Duncan Milloy Estate of the
docks at _Niagara-on-the-Lake_. In addition to the wharves this property
includes the shipyard of the old-time Niagara Dock Company, whose
launching slips for the many steamers which they constructed are still in
evidence. On the doors of the large warehouse alongside the wharf, there
were then still to be traced the faint remains of the names of some of the
vessels, which of old time used to ply to the port. The ground floor of the
building appears to have been divided into sections, in which space for the
freightage or equipment of each of the several vessels was allotted. Over
the door of each section were the names for the occupants, as originally

_Schooners--Canada_, _Commr. Barrie_, _Cobourg_, _United Kingdom_, _St.
George_, _William IV._, _Great Britain_.

These names were now carefully restored. The steamers which ran regularly
on the Niagara route have already been mentioned, these others used the
port as convenient for laying up for the winter, with the advantage of the
proximity of the dockyard for repairs. The _Cobourg_ built at Gananoque in
1833, ran between Toronto and Kingston, with Lieutenant Elmsley, R.N. in
command. The _St. George_ was built in Kingston in 1834, and was mainly
occupied between lake ports on the North Shore Route.

These doorways and the names now easily read above them bring us into
immediate contact with the early enterprises on the river and form
connecting links between the navigation interests under the opening
conditions and those of the present time. The route has the charm of a
constant unravelling of history.

Another wraith there is in connection with this Niagara dock which cannot
be omitted. For many years a passenger on the incoming steamers would see a
man in conductor's uniform standing on the dock watching the arrival. This
was Mr. Miles, conductor of the Mail Express train, which ran on the Erie
and Niagara branch between Buffalo and Niagara-on-the-Lake twice each day;
on which with never failing regularity he made his double round trip each
day for almost twenty years. Through three changes of ownership and several
passenger agents "Paddy" Miles, as he was generally called, held his
position and so dominated conditions that the train came to be known as
"Paddy Miles' train," and the Branch as "Miles' Railway." He was
superintendent, train dispatcher, and general passenger agent, in his own
opinion, all moulded into one, and acted accordingly. As he stood on the
dock with hands thrust deep into his breeches pockets and a scowl upon his
forehead, he seemed to consider it was rank treason for anyone to pass up
the river and not get off and use his train. Yet this was only on the
surface, for Paddy was at heart a good soul, who took a very personal
interest in the earnings of his Branch.

The _Buffalo Exposition_ of 1900, bringing together as it did tourist
business from all parts of the continent and of the world, threw
exceptional business over the line. It may be said with certainty that
every tourist who visits the American continent visits without fail the
Niagara Falls, as one of the great wonders of the world. With the expanded
facilities which have been given him, a very large proportion also visit
the Niagara River and its water attractions, and cross the lake to Canada
at Toronto. This was clearly evidenced at the Buffalo Exposition, and the
largely increasing traffic then arising, all of which was satisfactorily
dealt with, without any shortcomings or mishap.

In January, 1901, Sir Frank Smith died, being the second of the original
Board to pass away. His judgment, forceful determination, and large
capital, had been main-springs in the creation and establishment of the
line of steamers whose beginnings he had promoted. Mr. J. J. Foy was
elected President in his place.

It was during this year, (1901) that their Royal Highnesses the _Duke and
Duchess of York_ (now King George V. and Queen Mary) made their remarkable
tour through the overseas part of the British Empire. One portion of their
visit to Canada included the Niagara district, and a rest of several days
in privacy and quiet at Niagara-on-the-Lake, the _Queen's Royal_ being
specially set apart for their use. On October 10th, they visited the
Queenston Heights, Brock's Monument, and the Niagara Falls, by special cars
of the Niagara Falls Park Electric Railway. The _Corona_ was used by the
Royal visitors as a private yacht from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Queenston and

It is a fact worthy of noting that both here and during the whole of their
nine months of travel around the world, their Royal Highnesses never placed
foot on any other than British ship or British soil.

During the time the _Chippewa_ was under construction in 1891, the Dominion
Government had become proprietors of the dry dock at Kingston, and were
making considerable improvements. The attention of the department was drawn
to the fact that if completed as then designed, the dock would not be of
sufficient length to take in the _Chippewa_, which would, when launched, be
the largest steamer on Lake Ontario. Further construction had therefore
been made, by which the pontoon gate which closed the entrance, could be
moved fifteen feet further out when required, to enable the steamer to be
taken in.

[Illustration: The CAYUGA in Niagara River off Youngstown. page 188]

In the spring of 1902 the time had come for the _Chippewa_ to be placed in
dock for the usual inspection. It was then found that the outer place for
the gate had never been used, the local authorities stated that they could
not change its position and that, therefore, the _Chippewa_ could not be
taken into the dock. This was a poser for the steamer was too long for the
dock as it existed. With Captain McGiffin I visited Ottawa to see if any
influence could be brought up on the local authorities to get them to
furnish us with the full length. We here met with a reception which was a
specially valued reminiscence of an able parliamentarian. The Hon. Israel
Tarte, a French-Canadian, had recently been appointed to be Minister of
Public Works, and here he fully sustained the wide reputation he had
elsewhere acquired for quick decision and immediate instruction. We
suggested that if the gate could not be moved back, a space could be cut
out of the stone steps at the inner end of the dock, so as to enable the
prow of the _Chippewa_ to extent between them.

On hearing our request, Mr. Tarte called in his Chief, asked if it could be
done, being assured that it could added "_Can you go to Kingston to-night
and arrange for it?_" The next morning work was begun in the dock so that
the steamer could be taken in. Vessel men who had been accustomed to the
slow and deliberate methods which had previously existed, greatly
appreciated the changes which for the improvement of our local business
from the City of Toronto.

It has often been noted that a Saturday half holiday is almost universally
taken by the citizens of Toronto. In fact not a few of the travelling men
from the United States have said that there is no use coming to Toronto to
do business on Saturday, as everyone is closing up for their afternoon
trip. In the attaining of this condition the Niagara Navigation Company has
had much to do, as the result of persistent advocacy.

With the increasing steamers we had abundant deck room which we desired to
fill, particularly for the afternoon trip. This might be effected by
getting the employers of some of the specific lines of business to close
their establishments at 1 o'clock on Saturdays.

An "_Early closing movement_" was quietly inaugurated, groups engaging in
the same business were canvassed and agreements arranged for simultaneous
closing. The retail music stores were the first to put up the notices, and
were followed by other lines of trade, as the public took gladly to the
idea, until in four or five years the practice became well nigh universal
and a "_Saturday afternoon for Recreation, Sunday for rest_" had been
obtained. That it has been a boon to many is without doubt, and the City is
the better for the many outings which are now available for the Saturday
afternoon holiday.

Thus do great things from little movements grow.

Mr. John Foy was appointed President in February, 1902, and Mr. B. W.
Folger, who had done splendid service in the steamboating interests in the
Thousand Islands and St. Lawrence River was appointed General Manager. With
him began a whole series of improvements and of expansion, which has
continued with increasingly good results.

The regularity with which the steamers of the Niagara Line have made their
passages has always been proverbial, contributed to by the seaworthiness of
the vessels and the seamanship of their officers. From earliest days, but
since somewhat modified, we had adopted the principle learned from the
_Kingston_ and _Holyhead_ mail steamers, whose route was somewhat analogous
to ours, a quick run across open water with a narrow entrance at each end,
that it was best to run the steamer at a regular gait and even in fog
except in the vicinity of other vessels to hold her course, and when off
the port to stop until certain.

Sometimes there have been longish passages. One Saturday morning in August,
1903, the _Chippewa_ left Toronto at 7 a.m. during a strong gale with a
heavy sea from the east. A thick fog was found enveloping the south shore
extending some five miles out. On gaining the Bell Buoy off Niagara and not
being able to see anything, Captain McGiffin, rather than run any risk,
determined to keep close to the buoy ready to run in should the fog lift.
Here during all day and evening he remained within sound of the bell,
coming up to and dropping away again under the heavy sea, until at last the
lights on the land could be seen and _Chippewa_ came alongside the dock at
11.50 p.m., 16 hours from Toronto! No other steamer was on the Lake that
day. McGiffin kept his passengers well fed and for his carefulness and
judgment was advanced to position of "Commodore."

A similar episode of carefulness had taken place in 1886, on the _Cibola_
under Captain McCorquodale, when he similarly held his place off the port
in a fog from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Both considered it was better to be sure
than to be sorry.

In those early days the engines of the Michigan Central, would in emergency
be placed with their head lights facing out on the river, and their
whistles blown to guide the steamers in, but since then the large range
lights have been installed by the Government, and made entrance easier.

It was under the leadership of such men as these that the officers of the
company were trained up, its rules and traditions formed, and stability of
service encouraged. There are not a few officers and men who have been
from ten to twenty years in the service, earnest in their profession,
careful of the public and loyal to the company, which from the time of its
inception has endeavored to treat them as members of a family gathering.

On the death of Mr. John Foy in December, 1904, he was succeeded in the
Presidency by Mr. E. B. Osler (knighted 1913), who ever since he had
entered the company, had always taken a very active interest in its
progress and hereafter took a still more intimate share in directing its
policy and development.



Under virile management the business on the route kept fast increasing and
it became evident that more accommodation should be supplied even before it
might become absolutely necessary. It was therefore determined to build
another steamer, which in speed and size would be a still further step
forward and would be ready for any adverse competitors should any happen to
arise. Mr. Folger visited Great Britain to make inquiries and on his return
Mr. Angstrom was again engaged to prepare the designs for the new steamer.
Contracts were let to the Canadian Ship Building Co., of Toronto, for a
steamer 317 feet long, 36 feet beam, 4,300 horse-power to carry 2,500

We were again faced with the necessity of a choice of a new name. Requests
were made for suggestions, and "Book Tickets" offered as a prize to those
who might send in the name which might be accepted. Two hundred and
thirty-three names beginning with "C" and ending with "A" were contributed
to us by letters and through the public press. Out of these names the name
_Cayuga_ was selected in recognition of the Indian tribes on the south
shore of Lake Ontario, the district of the inner American lakes, in the
State of New York, one of which bears the name of Lake Cayuga.

It is also the name of an old and flourishing town in Ontario, near the
shores of Lake Erie, adjacent to the land reserved for the Mohawks under
Brant, and still occupied by their descendants. A very interesting annal
was at that time exhumed, being the record kept by the first Postmaster of
this town of _Cayuga_, of the spellings of the name of his post office as
actually written upon letters received there by him during a period of some
twenty-five years. The list is curious. It seems strange that there could
have been such diversity of spelling, but it is to be remembered that in
the "thirties" there were not many schools, and by applying a phonetic
pronunciation to the names in this list, and particularly by giving a K
sound to the C and splitting the word into six syllables and pronouncing
each by itself, some appreciation may be acquired of a similarity in sound,
although the spelling is so exceedingly varied. The adherents of spelling
reform will perhaps be heartened by the result of everyone spelling as they

    List of Mr. Isaac Fry, the Postmaster at Cayuga, in the
    County of Haldimand, giving 112 ways of spelling
    Cayuga, "everyone of which" he wrote "have been
    received on letters at this office."


The steamer was successfully launched in the company's yards at the foot of
Bathurst street, Toronto, on the 3rd of March, 1906. Miss Mary Osler,
daughter of the President, conferring the name.

After the completion of the steamer, the speed trials which were of a most
interesting and important character, were engaged in. The contract was that
the steamer, under the usual conditions for regular service, should make
the run between Toronto and Charlotte, and return, a distance of
ninety-four miles each way, at an average speed of 21-1/2 miles per hour. A
further condition was to make a thirty-mile run, being the distance between
Toronto and Niagara, at a maintained speed of 22-1/2 miles per hour. Both
conditions were exceeded, greatly to the credit of the designer and of the

When put upon the route in 1907, the _Cayuga_ received the commendation of
the travelling public, her weatherly capacity and speed enabling the
leaving hour to be changed from 7 a.m. to 7.30.

A competition which had been anticipated now developed itself, and the fast
and able steamer _Turbinia_ was in 1908 placed by her owners upon the
Lewiston-Toronto route, making two trips per day. She put up a gallant
fight, but, against a company making six sailings at each end of the route
per day, there was no room left into which she could squeeze without
finding a competitor alongside. It was found, too, that although her speed
was greater than that of any of the other steamers on the lake, she was
exceeded in speed by the _Cayuga_. Her attack upon the route was met, as
the Niagara Navigation Company intended it should be, by frequency of
sailings and strict fulfillment of service, leaving no room for any
competitor to find an opening, and by the high average speed maintained by
all its steamers and particularly the new one. After keeping up a gallant
struggle until the end of the mid-summer season, the _Turbinia_ retired to
her previous route between Toronto and Hamilton.

Another addition to our dock properties was now effected. We had for many
years been lessees of the dock at Lewiston, but now, in 1908, became its
full owners by purchasing the whole frontage from Mr. Cornell, our lessor,
with whom we had for so many years been in cordial working. The dock had
fallen somewhat out of repair and very considerable improvements were
requisite for the convenience of the increasing numbers of our passengers
and for their comfort. Fortunately the larger part of these improvements
were postponed to the next season, for during the winter 1908-09, which was
exceptionally severe, an extraordinary freshet and piling up of ice on the
river occurred.

The lower Niagara River rarely freezes over in all places, much running
water being left in evidence and as a rule the ice which has anywhere been
formed during the winter goes out into the lake in the spring without any
trouble. There are records of two great "Ice Jams" which had happened
during the previous history of the river. The earliest of these was in
1825. During this winter the steamer _Queenston_ was under construction in
the ravine on the Canadian side which opens up from the river just below
the Queenston dock. In the spring the preparations were being made ready
for the launching when an exceptional ice jam suddenly formed, causing the
waters of the river to rise. The pressure of the floes which were now
carried by the water up against the steamer became so great and dangerous
that it was necessary to block her up and by extending the ways inland to
move her further back into the gully, from here, after the waters had
subsided, she was successfully launched.

[Illustration: The ICE JAM. 1906, at Lewiston. page 192]

[Illustration: The ICE JAM. 1906, at Niagara-on-Lake. page 193]

Another instance was in 1883, when the waters and ice rose exceptionally,
but beyond sweeping the sheds off the Lewiston docks no exceptional damage
was done.

This latest ice jam of 1908-09, was according to past records, and the
traditions of the oldest inhabitants, the worst that had ever been
experienced. The winter had been severe and much ice had formed in Lake
Erie and on the upper river. This was brought down in successive rushes in
the spring during alternating frosts and thaws, so that, the river between
Lewiston and the mouth had become jammed from bank to bank with huge floes
of ice, heaving and heaping up on one another, and binding together with
_serracs_, and _crevasses_ much like the ice river of an Avalanche. As the
successive ice runs came down they were driven under the floes until at
length the masses grounded on the shallows at the mouths below

The river being now blocked up, the waters gradually rose fully twenty feet
higher than usual bringing the ice floes with them. With the exception of a
few places where small sections of water could be seen, the whole Rapids
from the Whirlpool to the outlet of the Gorge at Lewiston was packed with
ice and the rapids eliminated, a condition never previously known. As the
spring thaws came, the ice mounds, being unable to get exit below, mounted
still higher with mighty heavings and struggles, rounding up in the centre
of the river, as had been noticed to some extent in 1883, and pushing and
piling up on the banks but not making any progress down the river, until it
became evident that Nature was unable to break the barrier and immense
injury was likely to occur.

At that juncture the Engineer Corps of the United States Regular Army, at
Buffalo, initiated a series of explosions of dynamite, by electric mines,
in the main blockade down near the river mouth opposite Fort Niagara. After
several days of very difficult and dangerous work, as much as 4,000 lbs. of
dynamite being exploded at one time, the blockade was broken, the seven
miles of ice began to move in alternate rushes and haltings, until at
length the river was clear.

The situation had been at times alarming. At Lewiston the docks were
completely engulfed under 60 feet of ice, the ice pinnacles sweeping up
high above the level of the swollen water and carrying away a portion of
the gallery of the hotel. On the Queenston side a mark has been placed
about thirty feet above the usual water level showing the height to which
the ice hummocks rose. At Niagara-on-the-Lake the ice mounted high above
the level of the dock, but by happy fortune a good sized iceberg had
grounded in the channel at the end of the dock leading into the inner
basin. Here it held out as a buffer outside the line of the "piling" along
the bank, withstanding all the attacks from above, and thrusting the floes
out into the stream, thus preserving the dock, lighthouse and buildings
from destruction.

When the waters subsided the shores of the river for twenty to thirty feet
above the usual level were found to have been swept clear of every bush and
tree from the rapids to the lake, a condition from which they have
scarcely yet recovered. It was not until the end of May that the river was
entirely free from ice. In reconstructing the dock we were able to
introduce new improvements which would not have been previously possible.

1909 brought no further changes in the steamers, but a gradual increase in
the travelling due to increased energy in the cultivation of new business
and careful attention to the convenience and comfort of passengers by the
management and efficient staff.

For many years, from time to time, the company has been endeavoring to
purchase the Toronto docks which were the Northern terminal of their
system. Four times we had been turned out of its occupation and obliged to
find landing berths elsewhere. The necessity of holding their Toronto
terminal was constantly before the Company and was the only and complete
sequence of the holding of the several terminals at the ports upon the
Niagara River. At last, in 1910, the opportunity of purchase arose and was
immediately availed of. With this purchase the Company completed the policy
which had been initiated from its very beginning. This Yonge Street dock
property, extending from Yonge Street to Scott Street, has ever been the
steamshipping centre of the city, for traffic to all ports on the lake. Its
facilities can be still more expanded so that, for the convenience of the
public, all the lake passenger lines can be concentrated at its wharves to
the mutual advantage of all, a policy which the Niagara Company desired to
promote and which has been contributed to by the purchase and concentration
of the steamers of the Hamilton Line. This, effected in 1911, concentrates
into one management an important passenger business and brings direct
connection, as of old, between Hamilton, the Head of the Lake, and the
Niagara River. These, together with the opening of a new route to the south
shore by service between Toronto and Olcott, in connection with the
International Electric Railway, will open a new era of contributing

Beginning with one steamer, the "_Mother of the Fleet_," the Line from one
trip a day has, in its 35 years of endeavour, grown to be nothing short of
"The Niagara Ferry," served by swift steamers, of increasing size, making
six trips from each side, leaving every two hours during the day, and by
persistent advertising and increasingly reputable service, the Company has
made the "_Niagara River Line_" known throughout the travelling world, and
created a business and carrying capacity which has risen on heavy excursion
days to no less than 20,000 to 26,000 passengers moved on one day. What the
"_Kyles of Bute_" route is to the tourist public of Great Britain and
Europe, the _Niagara River Line_ is to the tourist public of America.
Toronto has trebled its population and in great industrial enterprises is
forging ahead of all other cities in Ontario. Niagara Falls, with its
wonderfully increasing factories created by the concentration of the
electric power in its midst, has grown from being solely a summer hotel
town to a great manufacturing community. Buffalo, with a population at
present of 500,000, is expanding marvelously. The Richelieu & Ontario
Company, for which the Niagara Company collects the passenger business of
the south shore through the gateway of the Niagara and places it for them
in Toronto, has exceedingly increased their accommodation and made known
their service as a contributor to the route from the St. Lawrence to the

Whatever success there has been in the past, the prospects of the future
shine brighter still.

In 1912, while these pages were being written, has come the final phase.

It will be remembered that in the early days the steamers for Montreal
sailed direct from the Niagara River and that the guiding minds of the
Royal Mail Line were at Queenston in 1847 and for subsequent decades.

In the slump of steamboat traffic and the decadence of the river business
the Montreal steamers had shortened their route, and had made Hamilton, for
some time, and afterwards Toronto, the starting point for their steamers
for Montreal.

The introduction of the Niagara Navigation Company had produced a change of
conditions on the river, and by energy and bold investment, had created an
effective local organization, as has been detailed in this narrative.

Gradually passenger business had been attracted and centralized until
Niagara Falls had been created in their Annual Rates Meetings by the
Railway Companies as the starting point of all "Summer Rates Excursions,"
and "The Niagara Portal" as the nucleus basing route for all summer tours.

At the same time the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co., which succeeded to
the Royal Mail Line, has grown in scope and equipment to be the premier
steamboat organization of Canada, the controller of the passenger lines of
the St. Lawrence system of river, lakes and rapids, and operating the
longest continuous route of any Inland Navigation Company in the world. In
all, this interval of years its old advertising heading of "_Niagara to the
Sea_" had been continuously maintained, it was not unreasonable therefore
that there should be a desire to make the old caption a present fact and by
acquiring the local organization restore the old-time conditions.

Negotiations had for some time been in progress and at length in June,
1913, at a Board meeting, presided over (in the absence of the President,
Sir Edmund Osler in England) by Vice-President Cumberland, the originator
of the company, and its continuous Vice-President during all its existence,
the Niagara Navigation Co. was formally transferred as a working enterprise
in full operation to the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co. The directors
of the company at this time and for several years previously were:
President, Sir Edmund Osler; Vice-President, Barlow Cumberland;
Directors--Hon. J. J. Foy, K.C.; Hon. J. S. Hendrie, C.V.O.; W. D.
Matthews, F. Gordon Osler, J. Bruce Macdonald. These in succession
transferred their seats to the nominees of the new owners and Sir Henry
Pellatt, C.V.O., became President of the company.

The two systems were thus joined into one. The Company operating the St.
Lawrence system came back to its old starting point at the head of
navigation on the Niagara River. With this is completed the century and
this story of the early days of passenger movement on the river, and of the
origin, rise and establishment of the Niagara Navigation Company in its
contribution to the records of sail and steam on the Niagara River.

Another cycle of steamboat navigation has passed, another era has closed
and a new one has begun, and once again there is one Company and one
Management under the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Company for the Niagara
River and the St. Lawrence Route, from _Niagara to the Sea_.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Century of Sail and Steam on the Niagara River" ***

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