Chapter 16
The Iron Age
Table of Contents

Title Page
1 A place called Hamilton.
2 Public Works and Private Enterprise
3 Port Hamilton
4 1837-1839
5 Ericsson Wheels
6 1844-1847
7 Good Times in Port
8 Boom Town Days
9 Depression Years
10 Better Times Ahead
11 1867-1870
12 Prosperity for the Shipbuilders
13 The Second Railway Building Era
14 1884-1888
15 The Electric Era
16 The Iron Age
Table of Illustrations


Coal Oil Inlet was in the news again on the 6 January, when a report by City Engineer Haskins, on the improvement of the sanitary condition of Sherman Inlet was presented. The engineer advised that a flume should be built out into the Harbour, at a cost of $13,500 and that the byres, fertilizer works and other fragrant establishments in that vicinity be connected with this flume. Also, that the upper end of the Inlet be filled with the contents of the scavenger carts. He advised against the building of intercepting basins at the upper end of the flume and felt that, if necessary, these could be built at the lower end, in the future, if required. It was decided to request that Messrs. Lawry,Freeman,Rowlin and Stroud connect their premises to the main sewer. An arrangement was to be made with the property owners, permitting the City to enter their lands, where necessary, in order to fill the two arms of the Inlet, on either side of Lawry's packing house. As soon as this was done, the east end scavenger carts would dump their garbage there three days a week.

The Hamilton Spectator copied an item from the Toronto World, on the 8 January, stating that a company had been organized under the title of United States & Ontario Steam Navigation Co., to conduct the business of transferring cars between Conneaut, Ohio and Port Dover, Ontario. The capital was $350,000 and the Craig Shipbuilding Co. of Toledo, would build two wooden car-ferries. The Grand Trunk Ry. would spend $50,000 on terminal facilities at Port Dover.

The ice was good. in the Harbour that winter and Capt. Lundy of the MAZEPPA had some ice-boats in service. One of them went from the James St. Slip to Dynes' Hotel on the Beach, in nine minutes.

A news item on the 21 March, reported that considerable work was being done on MacKay's three propellers. The ST. MAGNUS,Capt. Clifford was having painting and general repair work done, while the ACADIA,Capt. Towers, was having her passenger accommodation increased from 60 to 80 berths. The LAKE MICHIGAN was receiving a new Scotch Marine boiler, 10'6" x 10'6" and her engine was rebuilt as a steeple compound. 20/34 x 34. The ACADIA was also acquiring a generator and electric lighting throughout. It was expected that approximately $15,000 would be spent on these vessels.

The Hamilton Bridge Co. announced that they had obtained the services of J. W. Schaub, as chief engineer. He had been with the

Carnegie Steel Corp in Pittsburgh and latterly with the Detroit Bridge Co.

The Harbour was still frozen over on the 4 April and in fact, the ice did not break up until the night of 14 April. Most of it was driven into the south-west corner and some piled up along the Beach. On the following afternoon, Capt. John Corson set sail in the W. J. SUFFELL for Charlotte, to load coal for Myles.

The MACASSA began her season on the 20 April, when she cleared for Toronto with cargo and 40 passengers. While she was in Toronto, the steamer HAMILTON arrived in port. This was the old MAGNET, which had been rebuilt at Sorel during the winter. The next arrival was the OCEAN, from St. Catharines, on her way to Montreal. She tied up at Browne's Wharf for a week or so, until the lower canals opened. The first schooner to arrive was the faithful old W. J. SUFFELL, with 475 tons of coal. She got aground in the Burlington Canal, drawing a mere 10'6", but her crew succeeded in getting her off the mud. The LAKE MICHIGAN departed for Port Dalhousie that night for a visit to Muir's dry dock. The ACADIA and the ST. MAGNUS were expected to start their Cleveland-Montreal service in about a week.

The propeller OCEAN finally got away to Montreal on the 4 May and in her cargo hold were 13 rowing and sailing boats, built at H. L. Bastien's boat works for a customer in Montreal.

The schooner WAVE CREST,Capt. W. A. Corson, brother of Capt. John Corson of the W. J. SUFFELL, was loading lumber at the Grand Trunk Ry. Wharf on the 9 May, for Oswego. The MODJESKA left that night for Port Dalhousie, to have her bottom scraped and painted. The ACADIA was booked to go on the dry dock next.

Over the week-end of 19 & 20 May, the CORSICAN arrived. from Montreal and cleared for that port, while the propeller PERSIA came in from Montreal and cleared to St. Catharines.Myles' Wharf was a busy place, with the schooners W.J. SUFFELL,L. D. BULLOCK and TRADE WIND all in from Charlotte, as well as the SINGAPORE from Fairhaven.

The propeller ST. MAGNUS met with a serious accident on the 7 June while loading pig iron and wire at the Pennsylvania R.R. dock on the east side of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland. When she berthed, her port-side fender came to rest on an 8 inch projection on the face of the dock. As the cargo was being taken on, she began to develop a list to starboard and to counteract this, more cargo was placed on the port side. When a passing steamer's wash dislodged the ST. MAGNUS from the dock, she moved out and fell over on her port side with her mast and funnel on the dock. The Michigan Salvage & Wrecking Co. was engaged to raise her and they began work two days later.

These were not the best times for the partnership of R. O. & A. B. MacKay. With the ST. MAGNUS out of service, they were now confronted with another disaster, this time to the propeller OCEAN, in which they held shares. A report from Cornwall, dated 19 June, gave this information:

"One of the worst accidents in the history of the Cornwall Canal occurred here this morning. The OCEAN arrived at the entrance to the Canal at 8:00 a.m., passed through Lock 15 and entered Lock 17. Her speed was unusually high and efforts to snub her were in vain. She struck the upper gates with sufficient violence to displace them and the rush of water carried them away. One of the lower gates was also torn from its mountings. The OCEAN was carried back out of the lock and driven violently against the stone wall on the south side of the basin. She seemed to bend like a whip. A hawser was made fast on shore and she was prevented from being carried down to Lock 15. Badly damaged in the bow, she began to fill and settle. Passengers and crew were all got ashore and in twenty minutes she listed over until the windows of her cabins were in the water. Her cargo shifted and burst a hole in her side, after which she righted herself and lay diagonally across the basin with the water about five feet above her main deck. The tug SARAH DALEY was tied up above Lock 17 and when the accident happened, she was torn from her moorings and flushed through the lock, stern-first. Her crew managed to get a line ashore and she was brought-to before reaching the stricken steamer."
The canal superintendent was faced with a rather complex problem, since the whole reach up to Lock 18 was drained and he had no immediate way of getting spare gates or his gate-lifter, up to the scene of the damage. This was ultimately solved. by removing one upper gate from Lock 15 and floating it through the basin to Lock 17. It was then hauled up and hung in place of the lower gate carried away by the force of water from the reach. The accident happened on a Wednesday and the superintendent optimistically stated that the canal would re-open the following Monday.

The work did, in fact, move very fast. The OCEAN was pumped out and refloated on the 21 June and towed to Montreal for repairs on Cantin's dry dock.

The Hamilton Iron & Steel Company had been given an extension to the 1 October, but on the 22 June, it was realized that the Philadelphia Engineering Co. was going to be unable to make that dead-line. Consequently a further extension to 31 December was sought. It was pointed out at this time, that the project had become almost exclusively a Canadian enterprise and that it would, be completed and operated by Canadian capital.

The subject of sewage came to the attention of the editor of the Spectator on the 24 June and he wrote as follows:

"An important matter will come before the City Council this evening and it should receive the best attention of the aldermen. The sewage of the City is carried into the Bay and that beautiful sheet of water is gradually, but certainly becoming a magnificent cesspool. Something must be done to stop the pollution of the water in the Bay, something must be done to preserve the health of the people at large and more particularly of those living near sewer outlets at Sherman Inlet, at Ferguson Ave. and in the neighborhood of the cemetery, at which latter place, the filth of the Asylum and of the west end of the City is poured into the stagnant waters of the marsh. This makes a pestilence-breeder of the most potent kind.""

The propeller PERSIA was placed on the Montreal-Hamilton run until the OCEAN was repaired and on the 2 July she made a call at Hamilton. Also in port that day was the American schooner ST. LAWRENCE from Cleveland with coal for the Hamilton Gas Light Co. The R. & O. steamer HAMILTON arrived from and cleared for Montreal and the schooner WAVE CREST arrived from Brighton to load lumber for Oswego. The schooner DAUNTLESS,Capt. Johnston, formerly of the UNDINE, came in with coal for Murton. Word was received from Cleveland that the ST. MAGNUS had been righted and the salvage company was about to pump her out. Once refloated, she would be towed to Muir's dry dock at Port Dalhousie. The schooner W. J. SUFFELL came in with coal from Charlotte for Myles and the ACADIA arrived from Cleveland and unloaded 1,600 coils of wire for the Ontario Tack Co. The schooner SINGAPORE cleared, light, for Charlotte. The continuing low lake-level was causing some concern to vessel-men.

The steamer GARDEN CITY was due in Hamilton on the morning of the Glorious 12th of July, to embark the Hamilton District Orange Lodge and take them to St. Catharines. They would board the steamer at the Hamilton Steamboat Co. Wharf.

The Ocean House, just south of the Burlington Canal was burned down on the 17 July along with the Grand Trunk platform and telegraph office. The Burlington Fire Dept. managed to save another hotel to the south of the Ocean House. The hotel had been built by the late N. F. Birely in 1874 and enlarged in 1876. Some years later, an annex was erected. The property was owned by the Birely Estate and the hotel was managed by the Birely Brothers.

The steamer J. W. STEINHOFF brought a large excursion party from Toronto on the 18 July and the return fare was .25

The schooner ERIE STEWART,Capt. Armstrong, formerly of the ELLA MURTON, arrived on 20 July with coal from Cleveland for the gas works.

There was dense fog in the vicinity of Toronto on the 22 July and the MODJESKA went aground on a sand bar off Hanlan's Point, about 10:30 a.m. After the fog had lifted somewhat, the GARDEN CITY came out on her way to Whitby and seeing that the MODJESKA was in trouble, attempted to pull her off. Several tow-lines were broken before the captain of the GARDEN CITY gave up and took the MODJESKA's passengers into Toronto. The steamer LAKESIDE was then sent out and at 3:00 p.m. she finally refloated the MODJESKA.

The propeller LAKE MICHIGAN was chartered for the Lighthouse Supply service and called at Hamilton on the 23 July, taking on oil at the Grand Trunk Wharf. The MYLES was also in port, en route from Montreal to Chicago. She berthed at Myles' Wharf.

The Cornwall Canal was again out of service after the barge GLENORA took the gates off Old Lock 17. The force of water tore loose a pontoon which crashed into Lock 16, effectively draining the reach up to Lock 18. The Canal Superintendent was caught with only two spare gates, since those damaged by the propeller OCEAN, had not been repaired. Some fast patching jobs were required. The steamer HAMILTON was tied up below the locks and her passengers had to be sent up to Prescott by rail, where the CORSICAN took them aboard for the voyage to Toronto and Hamilton. This took place on the 26 July.

On the 2 August, low water levels were again causing trouble. The

schooner ERIE STEWART, inbound, from Cleveland and drawing ll'6" got stuck east of the railway bridge and the W. J. SUFFELL grounded near the west end of the piers. She had to be lightered.

Monday, 5 August saw the steamers J. W. STEINHOFF and GARDEN CITY in port to take excursion parties, the former to Queenston, the latter to Toronto. On the same day, word from Toledo told of the launching of the car-ferry SHENANGO No. 1, at the yards of the Craig Shipbuilding Co. The crowd was estimated. at 25,000. The ferry had cost $175,000 and would connect the Pittsburgh, Shenango & Lake Erie R. R. at Conneaut with the Grand Trunk Ry. at Port Dover.

The canal ferry was out of service as there was not enough water in the ferry slips to float it.

George Luxton, grain shipper, died at his residence, 307 John St. South on the 11 August. He was born in Devonshire and had come to Canada in 1858. For three years he had worked for Alex. Harvey and had then gone into the flour and feed business with his brother, John.

The Hamilton Iron & Steel Co. received word on the 12 August, that 1,800 tons of fire brick had been shipped from New Jersey and that the blowing engines would shortly be on their way. About 100 tons of rails were delivered for yard trackage.

George E. Tuckett resigned as president of the Hamilton Steamboat Co. on 14 August and M. A. Kerr was appointed to succeed him.

The citizens of Port Dover had their first look at the new carferry SHENANGO No. 1, when she arrived on the 20 August on a trial trip.

The propeller MYLES, a rather unfortunate vessel, was in trouble again on the 21 August. She was tied up in the Lachine Canal, having blown a cylinder-head.

On the 28 August, plans of the new bob-tailed swing bridge were exhibited. The cost was estimated to be $40,000.

R. O. MacKay left for Port Dalhousie on the 5 September, to view the smouldering remains of the propeller ST. MAGNUS which was destroyed during the night by a fire originating in the sheds alongside Muir's Dry Dock. The only person aboard the vessel was Capt. David Becker of Cleveland, aged 73 and he subsequently died as a result of burns received in his escape from the vessel. The ST. MAGNUS was a total loss. Her engine and boiler were later sold and placed in the tug MAGNOLIA, built at Midland in 1898.

There was some frantic track-laying going on at the Hamilton Iron & Steel Company's premises. To quote the Spectator on 5 September, "Yesterday 12 carloads of fire brick arrived for the stack-lining and this morning advice from Buffalo states that three canal boats of fire-brick and fire-clay are awaiting trans-shipment by rail, making about 65 cars. They would carry 249,000 bricks and 140 tons of clay. The balance of the iron-work for all parts of the plant, amounting to six car-loads has been shipped and will be here within a week and the blowing engines, which make up a train of 15 ears, are on board the cars, ready for shipment. The work of lining the furnace stack will begin in a few days.

The new lock in the St. Mary's River at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. was given a trial work-out on Saturday, 7 September, when the steamer MAJESTIC, crowded with about 700 people, made a short excursion from the city up to Pointe aux Pins Wharf and back. She was accompanied by the tugs E. P. SAWYER,J. C. INGRAM and O. W. CHENEY. The MAJESTIC was selected for the honour, as she was the newest Canadian passenger vessel on the Upper Lakes, being completed at Collingwood in 1895.

Capt. Campbell received word on the 10 September, that the scow ferry, which went astray on the Lake in the big blow in 1894, had been found ashore on Thirty Mile Point, N.Y.

Major Gray, of the Dept. of Public Works, visited the Beach on the same day and decided upon the location for the new bridge. It was to be just west of the ferry landing and Mr. Webb, the contractor, had been instructed to begin work immediately. It was hoped to have the bridge completed before the opening of navigation in 1896.

An unusual visitor arrived in port on the 14 September. This was the little steam barge ABERDEEN which was built in 1894 at Picton by J. Tate, for Arthur W. Hepburn of that port. Her dimensions were 99.6 x 22.0 x 8.7; Gross 142, net 87. She was powered by a steeple compound engine 13'/26 x 18 and a fire-box boiler 6'6" x 12'0".

Plans for the new swing bridge were received at the Customs House by the 17 September and tenders were to be submitted by the 15 October. The bridge was to have an over-all length of 260 feet with the turntable on the south side of the canal. The counter-weighted end, 100 ft., would extend south to an approach. When opened, the span would come to rest over the south pier, immediately in front of the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club house. The structure was to be of steel and would be swung by hand.

On the 18 September, the MacKays received word that the propeller LAKE MICHIGAN had grounded at Ogdens Island in the St. Lawrence River while bound up from Montreal, but that she had been refloated. She was tied up at Morrisburg. In port on that day, were the schooners L. D. BULLOCK, with coal from Oswego, for McIlwraith, the F. C. LEIGHTON from Milwaukee with pig iron and the ERIE STEWART with coal from Cleveland.

Low water caused some trouble in the Long Sault Rapids on the 21 September. The R. & O. steamer BOHEMIAN had come up to Dickinson's Landing in the morning and started down the rapids in the wake of the steamer ALGERIAN, but had the misfortune to knock her rudder off. Then started a hair-raising trip with the steamer going sideways for a while, before she was turned by the currents and continued stern-first. At the head of Barnhart's Island, they let go an anchor and she swung into Murphy's Bay and comparative safety. The steamer CULTIVATEUR was sent up to take the BOHEMIAN in tow, but ran hard aground before reaching her. The tug SARAH DALEY was then procured to make an attempt to get both steamers out of trouble.

Capt. James Johnston, who used to make some pretty fast trips with the UNDINE, sailed his schooner DAUNTLESS out of Hamilton on Friday the 20 September, went to Charlotte, loaded coal and was back in Hamilton on Monday evening.

Robert Moodie, of the Eagle Knitting Mills in Hamilton, surprised the yachting community on the 23 September by demonstrating a motor-launch propelled by kerosene. It was a cedar boat, 18 feet long and moved at a speed of 8 miles per hour.

Feverish activity were the words used by the Spectator on the 25 September to describe what was taking place on Huckleberry Pt. The previous day, 29 cars of material had arrived, and on the day of reporting, another ten were received. It was in fact, taxing the energy of the local Grand Trunk crews. Nearly 150 men were employed on construction and arrangements were being made to put on night gangs the following week. Their tasks would be made possible by rigging up ten electric arc lights

"to dispel the gloom"
. Erection of three hot-blast stoves was proceeding, the boiler house required only its roof and the engine house would be finished in a fortnight. J. J. Morehouse, who had to be everywhere at once, was scurrying around looking for supplies of iron ore.

There was an International gathering of some size in Cleveland on the 24 September for the purpose of discussing the possibility of establishing a navigable depth of 26 feet from Duluth to tide-water on the St. Lawrence. In November of 1895, a depth of 21 feet would be available from Duluth to Buffalo. One wonders if any of the Canadian delegates were asked why their Government had just completed a huge look at the Soo with an available depth of only 16 feet.

The Canadian Marine Association, driven to the point of desperation by the continuing low water levels in the St. Lawrence Canals, descended on Ottawa on the 26 September to pour forth their grievances on John Haggart, Minister of Railways & Canals. Included in this delegation were David G. Thompson of the Montreal Transportation Co.,Wm. Stewart of the Kingston & Montreal Forwarding Co.,H. A. Calvin, M.P., Capt. John Gaskin and Wm. Leslie, all of Kingston. From Hamilton went Adam B. MacKay and Capt. J. B. Fairgrieve, while St. Catharines was represented by Capt. Sylvester Neelon.Capt. Crangle and W. A. Geddes, president of the Association, went from Toronto.

The schooner WAVE CREST,Capt. W. A. Corson, bound from Oswego to Hamilton with a cargo of coal for McIlwraith, was caught by a westerly gale on the night of 29 September and lost her jib boom. She put in to Port Dalhousie to make repairs. This same gale detained the steamers HAMILTON,ACADIA and PERSIA at the lower end of the Lake.

The schooner DAUNTLESS,Capt. Jas. Johnston, foundered 10 miles north of Thirty Mile Point on the morning of 4 October. She had loaded 300 tons of coal for Murton & Co. and soon after she sailed from Charlotte, she was found to be leaking. The crew was unable to control the water and at about l:00 a.m. the schooner CLARA YOUELL came up with her and lay-to about a mile off. This was the third attempt Capt. Johnston had made to start this voyage, with the heavy weather that had prevailed for several days. The DAUNTLESS went down in 400 feet of water. The crew consisted of the mate, Geo. Guy and seamen Henry Fowel,Walter Elsoury and Arthur McCarthy and all hands were taken to Toronto by the CLARA YOUELL.

Mr. Webb was busy with the preliminary work for the bridge foundations at the Canal and on the 5 October, the steam barge ABERDEEN was expected with 500 bbls. of Portland cement. The Government engineer, Geo. E. Perley, had taken up residence on the Beach to supervise the job.

The propeller AFRICA, originally owned by John Proctor of Hamilton and Capt. Francis Patterson of Kingston, foundered with all hands in Lake Huron, while on a voyage from Ashtabula to Owen Sound, with the schooner SEVERN in tow. Both vessels were coal-laden. An account of this voyage, related by Capt. Silversides of the SEVERN, was published at Toronto on the 12 October. It reads in part,

"We left Ashtabula in tow of the AFRICA about 5 o'clock on Friday (4 Oct.) and the weather was favourable, remaining so, with the exception of some fog, until Monday (7 Oct.) morning, when we reached Sand Bay on Lake Huron. The weather was threatening and by noon a stiff breeze was coming out of the west. We were making bad weather a couple of hours later and at 4 o'clock the wind changed and blew a gale from the north-west. At 4:20 p.m. the SEVERN's foresail blew out of the bolt and the main gaff breaking away shortly afterward, caused the main sail to go by the board. We were still making headway, though we were rolling heavily in the trough of the sea. Something must have gone wrong with the AFRICA for at about 6:20 she let go the tow-line without any warning. We then set our staysail and mizzen to try and work her into Boat Cove, where there is a harbour. The seas were very heavy and we were making water.

The AFRICA had dropped to leeward and we last saw her astern of us about half an hour after she let go our tow-line. My crew kept the schooner afloat by using the steam pump. The weather was getting worse and worse. I was unable to steer for Boat Cove and we were driven ashore on a reef at 10 o'clock. The SEVERN soon began to break up and we took our places in the rigging, remaining there, I don't know how long. It was bitterly cold and we were all wet through. Every time a sea struck us, we thought our time had come, as huge parts of the vessel, which had been broken off, were washed back aboard with terrific force. Faint hope entered our hearts when the hatch covers were washed away, as there was then an opportunity of getting some shelter from the elements. One by one, we dropped into the hold and, having a box of matches, the centre of which were dry enough to light, we started a fire on the coals. We then made a meal of some food we found and although soaking wet, we were glad to get it.

Words cannot express how glad we were at 7 o'clock in the morning to see a fishing boat from Stokes Bay making for us at a great risk to themselves in the terrible seas that were raging. Our clothes were frozen stiff and we were in an awful condition. Mr. Bradley, the fisherman who, with his mate, came to our rescue must have had nerves of iron to run the risk he did for us. Why, man, you don't know what the danger was to fetch that small boat up to a wreck, threatening to go to pieces at any moment and on a reef at that. I have been sailing now for 35 years and I was never more glad to see anyone in my life than I was to see Mr. Bradley and his mate. They got us all off without any mishap, although some of the crew were hardly able to help themselves.

On Tuesday, the gale had moderated to some extent and we went out to the SEVERN. The AFRICA's lifeboat and a package of papers were found that day and one body was found on Wednesday." Capt. Silversides remarked that the lifeboat had not been used and then departed for Stokes Bay to pay off his crew, who were patrolling the beaches in search of bodies from the AFRICA.

A letter was sent to City Council on the 7 October, requesting that body to do something about having the Burlington Canal dredged. It was signed by the Hamilton Iron & Steel Co.,T. Myles & Son,Capt. John B. Fairgrieve and R. O. & A. B. MacKay.

A government dredge and scow were working on the new bridge site and a 20 foot deep cofferdam was being built.

On Huckleberry Point, 200 men were now employed on construction and the bricklayers were working a night shift. Ninety carloads of firebrick had already been used.

The City was informed that Sewage Treatment Works would cost $270,000 and City Engineer Haskins recommended that the sewage be piped into the Harbour. It was much cheaper.

The demand for coal was very good and on the 24 October, the schooners E. A. FULTON,SINGAPORE and ERIE STEWART all arrived from Oswego for McIlwraith,Murton and MacKay, respectively.

The steamer MACASSA ended her season the 2 November. She had made 492 trips to Toronto and had missed only one sailing. That was on the 14 May, when there was a gale raging and the water in the Canal was too low. Capt. A. W. Crawford was busy laying her up for the winter.

The ARABIAN was detained at Duluth by legal negotiations relating back two years to a collision with the barge MINNEDOSA in the Welland Canal. The Canadian Marine Association was going to intercede on her behalf.

R. O. & A. B. MacKay were toying with the idea of having a vessel of about 1,200 tons built, either steel or composite, if they could get it for $60,000. By the 6 November, there was nothing definite.

Four schooners arrived from Oswego on the 9 November. They were the VIENNA,FLORA CARVETH,ERIE STEWART and WHITE OAK. The last named vessel, under command of Capt. Jas. Quinn, had made her last two voyages to Oswego and back in 84 hours each.

The available depth of water in the Welland Canal was down to 11'11" by the 12 November and it was pretty hard to make a profit under those conditions. Up at Port Dover, the car-ferry SHENANGO No. 1 went aground, trying to reach her slip.

The schooner ELLA MURTON, which had been sold to John Saunders, of Kingston, in 1892, was re-purchased by Murton on the 13 November.

By the 19 November, stone was being shipped from McIlwraith's Wharf to the Canal for the building of the roadway approaches to the new bridge. Capt. John Corson was stripping the W. J. SUFFELL for winter lay-up.

The schooner W. T. GREENWOOD, on a voyage from Oswego to Toronto with coal, was wrecked 12 miles west of Charlotte on the 19 November. She was built in 1867 at Port Dalhousie by S. Andrews and registered 144 Tons.

On the 25 November, Harbour traffic included the propeller MELBOURNE at MacKay's Wharf. She had come in from Montreal and cleared for St. Catharines. The schooners WHITE OAK,VIENNA and FLORA CARVETH were all unloading coal from Oswego.

The month of November ended with the schooner traffic still heavy. The dredge, having finished work in the Canal, was moved across to the site of the Hamilton Iron & Steel Co. wharf.

The propeller MYLES would winter at the Kingston dry dock where certain repair work was to be done.

A report from Port Dover stated that the car-ferry SHENANGO No. 1 since entering service in August, had carried 1,354 cars of coal, totalling 3,520 tons, 2,550 tons of which writ, for the Grand Trunk Ry., 78 cars of iron ore and manufactured iron, 1,480 tons, 2 cars of stone, 40 tons, 3 cars of pumpkins, 2 cars of walnut logs, 1 car of lumber and 1 car of coke. Her sister-ship SHENANGO No. 2 was expected, to be in service in a week.

Navigation closed on the 11 December with the arrival of the ARABIAN,Capt. Oliver Patenaude. The season had opened on the 15 April and there had been 729 entries. This was down considerably from 1894, when there were 946 entries. Nearly 60,000 tons of coal had been imported, during the season.

The schooner W. J. SUFFELL had been laid up at Mathews Bros. Wharf at the foot of Simcoe St. and during a high wind on the 12 December, she broke her moorings and went adrift. The following day the Harbour west of Browne's Wharf froze, trapping her in the ice.

An editorial in the Spectator on the 14 December, had this to say:

"For some time there has been considerable friction between the Canadian and American stockholders in the Hamilton Iron & Steel Co. and as a natural consequence, the completion of the works has been delayed. Now, however, the U.S. stockholders have been bought out and the whole concern is in the hands of Hamilton men. J. J. Morehouse, treasurer and general manager, has sold his stock and has resigned, A. T. Wood, having been appointed to replace him. The furnace will be blown in by the 1 January and the bonus will be earned. The company is to be congratulated upon having got rid of an incubus which seriously retarded the work. Morehouse resigned at a meeting yesterday afternoon."

Monday, the 30 December, was a day of considerable importance to the City and its Harbour. The gain to the City would be immediate and would accrue from the operations of the Hamilton Iron & Steel Co., while the Harbour would have to wait 36 years for a rebirth, that would be made possible by the construction of the Fourth Welland Canal. On this memorable day, a train left the Grand Trunk station at King and Ferguson Streets at 2:00 p.m. with some 600 invited guests and half an hour later, pulled into a siding on the company's premises. As the crowd stepped off the cars, they were greeted by the cheers of the employees and by a thunderous salute, produced by men high on the stack of the furnace, pounding on the reverberating iron work. The Union Jack floated proudly above their heads. After marveling at the multitude of sidings, with strings of ore and coal cars, the visitors were led to the cast house, where they were welcomed by J. H. Tilden, president of the Company, who said:

"The Company had considered the blowing-in of the furnace an event of sufficient importance to interest the citizens and large manufacturers and had consequently extended the invitation for them to be present. Iron has been made by primitive methods in Canada before, but this is really the first properly equipped blast furnace that has been put in operation. As you will see, the plant is first class in every respect, equal to the best furnaces in the United States and we will have a daily capacity of 150 to 200 tons of pig iron."

Mrs. Tilden, accompanied by a party of ladies, was present and to her fell the honour of lighting the great furnace. A piece of tow soaked in flammable material and placed on the end of a rod, was ignited and handed to the lady who deftly inserted it into the furnace. The crowd cheered heartily and in about a minute the crackle of flames inside indicated that the fire was alight. It will burn for some time to dry out the brickwork. A move was then made to the boiler house, where the visitors were shown the 12 boilers, 6 of which could produce sufficient steam to operate the plant, the other 6 being for stand-by. The next point of interest was the engine house with two great 1,200 HP vertical blowing engines. Here vice-president John H. Milne gave the guests a brief talk on the machinery required for such an enterprise and he was followed by director A. T. Wood, who was unable to attend the banquet to be held that evening. After the speeches, Mr. Milne started one of the engines for the benefit of the guests. Half an hour later, the visitors were taken back to the City.

The banquet held at Newport's took up most of the night, what with the usual succession of toasts and responses thereto, plus many good-natured jibes and thrusts of a political nature. All finally departed with the satisfaction of knowing that a new era of prosperity had been well and truly launched.


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This volume is copyright The Estate of Ivan S. Brookes and is published with permission of the Estate. The originals are deposited in the Special Collections of the Hamilton Public Library.