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Chapter 245
The Royal Mail Line, 1840 TO 57

Table of Contents



Title Page
203 The Island Lighthouse.
204 Two Western Piers.
227 The Island in the Forties.
236 Front Street of Old.
237 Canadian Lake Navigation
238 1766 to 1809.
239 Six Eventful Years, 1809-15
240 A New Era, 1816 to 1819
241 A Progressive Enterprise, 1819 to 1837.
242 The Rebellion of 1837-38
243 Complaining Travellers
244 The Trade of the Lake Still Continues to Expand
245 The Royal Mail Line, 1840 TO 57
246 Storms and Shipwrecks -- Great Destruction of Life and Property -- The Commercial Distress in 1857.
247 Gloomy Anticipations for the Spring Trade
248 The Niagara Steamers, 1874-78.
249 Niagara Falls Line - 1883 to 1893.
250 Hamilton Steamboat Co. '87-'93
251 The General History of the Lake Shipping Continued
252 New Steamers
253 Lorne And Victoria Parks.
254 Toronto Ferry Co. 1890-93.
255 Royal Canadian Yacht Club.
256 Canadian Pacific Steamers.
257 The Rochester Route -1889-'93
258 The Ottawa Steamers, 1864-93
259 The R. & O. Company.
260 Tabulated Statements of Various Vessels from 1678 to the Present Time.
Table of Illustrations
Index

How the Company was Formed and where -- Notable Steamers and their Captains -- Well Remembered Officials.

In 1840 a joint stock company was formed at Niagara, called the Niagara Harbour and Dock Company, and under their auspices several new vessels were built, out of which was formed the " Royal Mail Line of Steamers "These began to run as soon as navigation opened in the following year, being widely advertised under the heading;--

ROYAL MAIL STEAMERS.
LAKE ONTARIO AND RIVER ST. LAWRENCE.

The public are informed that the following are the arrangements for this season:

LAKE ONTARIO.
BETWEEN KINGSTON AND TORONTO.

St. George, Capt. Twohy; Niagara, Capt. Sutherland; City of Toronto, Capt. Dick.

FROM KINGSTON.

At half-past 7 o'clock evening, Sunday and Thursday, the St. George.
At 8 o'clock evening, Tuesday and Friday, the Niagara.
At 8 o'clock evening, Wednesday and Saturday, the City of Toronto, and arrive at Toronto early next day. The above steamers await the arrival of the Montreal mail at Kingston.

FROM TORONTO.

At 12 o'clock noon, Monday and Thursday, the Niagara.
At 12 o'clock noon, Tuesday and Friday, the City of Toronto.
At 12 o'clock noon, Wednesday and Saturday, the St. George, and arrive at Kingston early next morning. The above boats call at Cobourg and Port Hope each way.
And the City of Toronto will leave Toronto for Niagara and Lewiston every Monday morning at 8 o'clock, and return to Toronto in the afternoon.

RIVER ST. LAWRENCE.

Between Kingston and Dickinson's Landing.

BROCKVILLE, Capt. Maxwell.

From Kingston at 9 o'clock morning -- Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.
From Dickinson's Landing at 4 o'clock morning, (or on the arrival of the mail from Montreal)--Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

H. GILDERSLEEVE, Capt. Bowen.

From Kingston at 9 o'clock morning-Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
From Dickinson's Landing at 4 o'clock morning, (or on the arrival of the mail from Montreal)--Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

H. GILDERSLEEVE, Capt. Bowen.

From Kingston at 9 o'clock morning-Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
From Dickinson's Landing at 4 o'clock morning, (or on the arrival of the mail from Montreal)--Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
From arrangements which have been made with the Upper Canada Stage and Steamboat Company of Montreal, passengers between Montreal and Kingston arrive at those places on the afternoon of the second day.
The above boats call at Gananoque, Brockville, Maitland, Prescott, Ogdensburgh, Matilda and Williamsburgh each way.
Baggage and parcels at the risk of the owner, unless booked and settled for as freight.
Lake and River Steamboat Office, Kingston, 1st May, 1841.

Of these steamers the St. George has often been mentioned and fully described. The Niagara belonged to the Honorable John Hamilton, She was built at Niagara and was of 475 tons burthen. On her trial trip from Niagara to Kingston she accomplished the distance in 16 hours, a remarkably high rate of speed.

THE CITY OF TORONTO

was built at the same place, and was of somewhat larger dimensions than the former vessel, having 500 tons burthen.

For the season of 1842 another new steamer of 500 tons, also built at Niagara, named the Princess Royal, supplanted the St. George, Captain Colcleugh being in charge.

On the NiagaraCaptain Elmsley displaced Captain Sutherland, and the City of Toronto was commanded as formerly. There were no other changes, and the steamers ran as in 1841, connecting with the Brockville and Gildersleeve at Kingston for Dickinson's Landing.

In 1843 the Niagara had become the Sovereign, remaining under her former captain, and there were no other alterations, excepting that the steamers connected at Kingston for the first time with vessels running direct to Montreal. Their advertisement ran thus:--

MONTREAL DIRECT.
The New Low-Pressure Steamboats,
CHARLOTTE AND BYTOWN,

Will leave Kingston for Montreal, descending all the Rapids of the St. Lawrence: and Montreal for Kingston, calling at ail the intermediate ports.

These boats being strongly built, expressly for the navigation of the River St. Lawrence, and having low-pressure engines, afford a desirable conveyance to persons wishing a safe, comfortable and speedy passage.

Apply to the captains on board, or to

MACPHERSON & CRANE.

Kingston, July 4th, 1843.

In the next year, 1844, the Royal Mail Steamers recommenced their trips early in May, there being no alterations whatever between Toronto and Kingston, either in the vessels or their commanders, but a third steamer, known as the Caledonia, was added to those running between Kingston and Montreal. Three of these steamers also began to run in 1844 between Kingston and Coteau du Lac, namely, the Highlander, Captain Stearns; the Canada, (2nd) Captain Lawless, and the Gildersleeve, Captain Bowen. The latter the year previously had run with the Brockville from Kingston to Dickinson's Landing. The Canada above mentioned was a large vessel of 450 tons burthen, built at Prescott. Her master, Captain Lawless, had previously been in command of the Kingston.

The Highlander, built at Coteau du Lac in 1841 or 1842, was a very much smaller vessel. Captain Stearns, who commanded her, was her first master.

There was also a forwarding line of steamers between Kingston and Montreal, consisting of the Favorite, Britannia and Rob Roy, under Captains Jones, Maxwell and Dickinson respectively.

On July 1st the Royal Mail Line reduced their fares in consequence of the opposition they experienced from the Frontenac, (2nd) Captain Ives. Cabin was $3, deck $1 50 on the latter; whereupon the mail steamers made their fares $2 and 50 cents for each class respectively. The original fares had been $3 50 and $1 50.

The next season, 1845, saw a good many changes in the Royal Mail Line, Captains W. and Henry Twohy superseding Captains Elmsley and Colcleugh on the Sovereign and Princess Royal respectively.

In 1846 there was no change in the vessels comprising the mail line between Toronto and Kingston. They remained as they were the season previously, and the changes in the steamers connecting with them at Toronto and Kingston were very slight.

Running in connection with the R. M. steamers between Toronto and Niagara, as well as between the former port and Hamilton, were the steamers Chief Justice Robinson and Eclipse, and excellent accommodation they afforded the public.

The following year, 1847, the same steamers were employed in the Royal Mail service as in 1846, but the new steamer Magnet was added to the list.

These continued to ply in 1848, and in connection with them, between Montreal and Kingston, were the Passport, Highlander, Canada. (2nd) and Henry Gildersleeve, commanded by Captains Bowen,Stearns, Lawless and Maxwell respectively.

Next year, under the heading "Telegraph Line, Fares Reduced," the steamers of the Royal Mail Line are thus advertised for the season:--

DAILY LINE OF OPPOSITION STEAMERS.

From Kingston to Montreal.

The fast-sailing steamers Fashion, Captain Wells; Lord Elgin, Capt. Farlinger,

In connection with the Royal Mail Steamers Sovereign and Princess Royal, leave Kingston every morning (Mondays excepted) for Montreal, at a quarter past six o'clock, and go through same day.

Passengers by this line will arrive at Montreal in thirty-two hours from Toronto.

The steamers Sovereign and Princess Royal leave Toronto for Kingston every day (Sundays excepted) at twelve o'clock noon.

Cabin passage--Toronto to Montreal, (meals included,)1 0 0.

Deck passage--Toronto to Montreal, (without meals,) 0 5 0.

Royal Mail Office,

Toronto, June 26th, 1849.

The river steamers were the same as in 1848.

In 1850 there were again changes in the R. M. line, it consisting once more of three steamers from Toronto to Kingston, namely, the Princess Royal under her former captain, the Magnet, Captain James Sutherland, and the City of Toronto, also under her old master. For a very short time in the beginning of the season the Sovereign, Captain Neil Wilkinson, formed one of the line to Kingston. This was while the City of Toronto was employed elsewhere. In 1851 the Passport displaced the Sovereign, Captain Henry Twohy being in command of her, there being no change in the other steamers.

In 1852, though there were few changes on the lake steamers, the vessels indeed with their commanders remaining the same, there were many minor alterations The arrangements for the season were as follows:--

LAKE ONTARIO.

The steamer Magnet, Captain J. Sutherland.

The steamer Princess Royal, Captain J. Dick.

The steamer Passport, Captain H. Twohy.

DOWNWARDS,

Magnet--On Mondays and Thursdays, leaving Hamilton at 7 1/2 a. m., and Toronto at l/4 to 1 p. m.. for Kingston.

Princess Royal--On Tuesdays and Fridays from Toronto to Kingston, at a 1/4 to 1 p.m.

Passport--On Wednesdays and Saturdays, from Toronto to Kingston, at a 1/4 to 1 p.m., arriving at Kingston next morning, in time for the river mail boat, which reaches Montreal early same evening.

Calling at intermediate ports, (weather permitting.)

UPWARDS.

Passport--On Mondays and Thursdays, from Kingston to Toronto and Hamilton, at 3 p.m., on the arrival of the river boat, arriving at Toronto early next morning, and leave there for Hamilton at 8 a.m., and return from Hamilton to Toronto at 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Magnet -- On Tuesdays and Fridays, from Kingston to Toronto and Hamilton at 3 p. m. on the arrival of the river boat, arriving at Toronto early next morning and leave there for Hamilton at 8 a.m.

Princess Royal--On Wednesdays and Saturdays, from Kingston to Toronto and Hamilton, at 3 p.m., on the arrival of the river boat, arriving at Toronto early next morning; and leave there for Hamilton at 8 a.m., and return from Hamilton to Toronto at 3 p.m., on Mondays and Thursdays.

RIVER ST. LAWRENCE.

The steamer Ottawa, Captain Putnam. The steamer Lord Elgin, Captain Farlinger.

The steamer St. Lawrence, Captain Howard. UPWARDS--From Montreal to Kingston daily, leaving every week day at noon, and on Saturdays at 10 1/2 o'clock, arriving at Kingston at 2 p.m. the next day.

DOWNWARDS--From Kingston to Montreal, daily, at 5 1/2 a.m., arriving at Montreal the same evening.

Calling at Coteau du Lac, Cornwall, Dickinson's Landing, East Williamsburg, West Williamsburg, Matilda, Prescott, Maitland, Brockville and Gananoque.

Royal Mail Steam Packet Office, Front street, Toronto, May, 1852.

Many as were the alterations in the smaller details of the R. M. Line in 1852, they were small as compared with those effected in 1853.

The Steamer Arabian
This season saw four steamers on the lake, and also four on the river, instead of three, as in the preceding season. Those on the former waters were the Arabian, Captain Colcleugh; the Maple Leaf, Captain James Dick; the Magnet and Passport, commanded as in 1852.

Of the river steamers connecting with them at Kingston, the New Era was added to the three already upon the route from there to Montreal.

The next season, that of 1854, saw changes again, the R. M. Line once more consisting of but three steamers, their route being direct from Hamilton to Kingston.

The three steamers were the Magnet, Arabian and Passport, the two former still under their old commanders, while the last was under Captain Harbottle, in place of Captain Twohy, the former remaining in command of her for many subsequent years.

That is now (1893) thirty-nine years ago, and Captain Harbottle in a green old age, is still living, while one of his sons, like his father before him, worthily to himself and with credit to his principals, commands a lake steamer.

No changes occurred in the vessels or their captains in the season of 1855, but in 1856 there were very many.

The boats ran through from

HAMILTON TO PRESCOTT

direct, and there were four packets as there were in 1853.

It was described as the quickest and most direct route from Hamilton to Toronto, Darlington, Port Hope, Cobourg, Kingston and Montreal.

The following were the arrangements of this line for the season:--The River Line, composed of the Banshee, Capt. Howard; New Era, Capt. P. G. Chrysler; St. Lawrence, Capt. Maxwell; Ottawa, Capt. Kelley, left the canal basin, Montreal, daily, at nine o'clock a.m., and Lachine on the arrival of the twelve o'clock (noon) train from Montreal (except Sundays, when they left on the arrival of the nine o'clock train), calling at all intermediate ports, arriving in Kingston early on the following day, where they met the Lake Ontario steamers Kingston, Capt. Hamilton; Passport, Capt. Harbottle; Arabian, Capt. Sclater; Magnet, Capt. Twohy, for Cobourg, Port Hope, Toronto and Hamilton, connecting at Hamilton with the Great Western Railway for London, Chatham, Windsor, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, and all ports on Lake Michigan; and at Lewiston for Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and all ports on Lake Erie. Passengers taking the evening train of the Grand Trunk Railway met the steamers at Coteau Landing, thereby avoiding hotel expenses at Brockville. The lake steamers also connected at Brockville with the morning express train, and was the only direct line for Kingston, Cobourg, Port Hope, Darlington, and Toronto. To tourists this line afforded a most comfortable, pleasant and expeditious conveyance, the steamers being fitted up with elegantly furnished saloons and state rooms, passing through the beautiful scenery of the Lake of the Thousand Islands and all the rapids of the St. Lawrence by daylight.

In 1857 there were yet more changes, the line being advertised as being " the only line without transhipment," and being made up of the following first-class steamers, viz: --Kingston (iron), Captain Kelly; Banshee, Captain Howard; Passport (iron), Captain Harbottle; New Era, Captain Maxwell; Champion, Captain Sinclair; Magnet (iron), Captain Twohy--built expressly for lake and river navigation, commodious, staunch, and well found with every requirement for safety, and fitted and furnished with every modern convenience and comfort.

One of these steamers left the canal basin, Montreal, every day (except Sundays) at 9 a.m., and Lachine on the arrival of the noon train from Montreal, for Hamilton and intermediate ports, direct, without transhipment, connecting as follows:--At Hamilton, with the Great Western Railway for London, Chatham, Windsor, Detroit, Chicago, Galena, St. Paul, Milwaukee, etc.; at Toronto, with the Northern Railroad for Mackinaw, Green Bay. and all ports on Lake Michigan; at Niagara, with the Erie & Ontario Railroad for Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Cincinnati, etc.

To families moving west the advantages were unequalled, the steamers running through without transhipment direct to the railway depots at Toronto and Hamilton.

The Royal Mail Line had now lost its distinctive character, the bulk of the mails being at this time carried by the railways, but it is impossible to conclude this description of the line without a brief reference to some of its leading officials and ship owners.

Among the former no one claims, and claims more worthily, a place, than the

SECRETARY AND TREASURER

for no less than fourteen years -- Mr. G. B. Holland.

George Burton Holland, Formerly Secretary Royal Mail Line of Steamers.
Mr. Geo. B. Holland was born at Montreal on the 8th of March, 1816, and was the oldest representative of the Holland family who settled in the city of Hull, Yorkshire, England, some time during the sixteenth century. His father, Mr. Ralph B. Holland, was born in Hull, Yorkshire, in 1764, and his mother, Miss Reylance, a descendant of the De Prendergast family, was born at Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland, in 1780. Many of Mr. Holland's ancestors were engaged in shipping and some held high rank in the Royal Navy. The father of Mr. Holland was brought up to no profession, having on his coming of age ample means. He was, however, induced to engage in speculation and lost thereby most of his fortune. Through the influence of his friend, Col. O'Neil, of the 14th Light Dragoons, he obtained a supernumerary official position in the same regiment, with rank and pay of major, and saw service in Ireland during the disturbed state of the country after the rebellion of 1798, On the breaking out of the war of 1812 with the United States, Mr. Holland, senior, exchanged into the 19th Light Dragoons, which regiment was under orders for Canada The headquarters of this regiment were stationed at Montreal. On peace being proclaimed he left the service and settled there in 1820. He then, with his family, went to the United States. In 1828 he returned to Canada and took ill at Port Hope and died at his son-in-law's house, the late Dr. Hutchison. The family then settled in York, now Toronto. Mr Geo. B. Holland, the subject of this notice, was educated at Peterboro, Ont., under the late Rev. Samuel Armour, rector of Cavan, with the view of following the profession of medicine. On the breaking out of the Mackenzie rebellion in 1837, Mr. Holland went to Toronto and joined the First Incorporated Dragoons, and was about three years in that service as Acting Quarter-Master.

In 1841 he was appointed purser of the Royal Mail Steamer Sovereign, under command, first, of Captain Sutherland, and then of the Honorable Captain Elmsley.

In 1843 he was appointed secretary and treasurer of the Mail Line owned by Donald Bethune, Andrew Heron and Captain Thomas Dick, all now deceased. In 1857 he embarked in the hardware business. In 1866 Mr. Holland was appointed superintendent of the London and Lancashire Insurance Company and the Phoenix Life of Hartford, and in 1870 became manager of the Ontario Branch Agency of the Equitable Life. In 1880 he assumed the management of the Union Mutual Life of Portland, Maine, and in 1884 was assistant manager of the Etna Life. In September, 1887, he took the responsible post of special agent to the Canada Life of Toronto, and held the same position until his death in 1889.

Mr. Holland married in 1843 Miss Cowan, only daughter of the late Alex. Cowan, senr., of Pittsburgh, County of Frontenac, Ont., grand-niece of the late Capt David, of the Royal Navy. Mr. and Mrs. Holland had six daughters and three sons born to them. The eldest and youngest of the latter died.

CAPTAIN WILLIAM GORDON,

Of the captains and other officers who sailed on the steamers of the R. M. Line, or on those directly connected with them, the following reminiscences may possibly be read with interest:--

There were in the fleet several old salts, originals in their way, brought up as regular seamen, having navigated nearly all quarters of the globe in sailing vessels. One in particular, Capt. Wm. Gordon, a brother-in-law of Capt. Thos. Dick, was a noted sailor of the old school, and had all the feelings and prejudices of his class against any innovation of established rules of all sailing crafts, and had a most thorough contempt of steam as a means of propelling power, which he said was a humbug, "a delusion and a snare." Mr. Bethune was at the time Capt. Gordon made his appearance in Toronto building at Niagara the steamer Admiral, and arrangements were made that Gordon should command her. In fitting it out he had the steamer rigged as much like a sea-going sailing craft as possible, two masts, large main and foresail, foretopsail, square sail, jib and flying jib, and a four-pound carronade mounted on the bow. The vessel was painted black, with a narrow streak of white around above her guards. All the Royal Mail steamers on the lake when built were rigged in the same way. The City of Toronto and Princess had three masts, but after a time this rigging was found in the way and caused accidents, so they were changed, and reduced to only one mast and jib, and soon Gordon had the mortification of seeing his favorite rigging removed. He said " the owners were a set of lubbers, for what did they know about it, and who ever heard of a ship without masts!" Capt. Gordon was one of the finest and best hearted men possible, and a great favorite with the travelling public. He bad always a funny story to relate. He was very partial to his cabin waiter, a colored man, known as Harney, well advanced in years and most faithful. He trusted him with the key of the locker, and when he asked his friends into the cabin, to taste some particularly fine brandy, Harney always attended to their wants. One day he told Harney to bring on some biscuits, a morsel of old cheese, and "the trimmings." The captain looked at the bottle, and said " Harney, how's this I Where is the brandy I left yesterday ? Who has been drinking it?" Old Harney quietly replied, "I don't know, Sar, 'spect it must be either you or me." The Captain then said: " Look here, you old black rascal, I don't want your assistance in drinking my own brandy, and if this occurs again I will stop your grog, so now take a horn, and put the rest away." " Thank you, Captain," said Harney, " I won't take no more till you give me leave." Poor Capt. Gordon ! During the cholera of 1849 both he and his excellent wife were carried off. In appearance he was a fine-looking man, about six feet in height, well built, perhaps rather too corpulent. He was every inch a sailor, and in listening to his yarns one would be reminded of that splendid character portrayed by Dickens in his "Dombey & Son," Captain Cuttle.

Some of Captain Gordon's anecdotes required quite as much verification as Captain Cuttle's quotations. It would have been as interesting as amusing to attempt the task. When they were found the searcher might very reasonably " make a note of it."

Captain Henry and William Twohy, Capt. Thos. Dick and Capt. Jas. Dick, Capt. Taylor and Capt Neil Wilkinson, were all thorough seamen and gentlemen. Henry Twohy was perhaps a man possessed of more general information, at least he had the faculty of amusing his passengers on almost all subjects. He was well read and informed. Capt. Colcleugh, of the Princess, and late of the Arabian, was another eccentric man. Although not bred to the sea, he was a most careful and painstaking officer. He prided himself on his skill in bringing in his steamers to the wharf without even " scratching the paint," but it was a long process. He was a great snuff-taker, and on occasions when he had completed anything he thought clever the snuff-box was frequently used. He was a man highly educated, and a most popular and agreeable companion.

SOME TRUSTED CAPTAINS.

One of Mr. Bethune's most trusted and faithful officers, and a great favorite (who shall be nameless), one time committed the great mistake of starting from Toronto to an American port an hour before the advertised time. It was supposed that he had been indulging too freely that morning, (which was most unusual), as he was practically a total abstainer, and although the mate and engineer remonstrated with the captain, it had no effect. The consequence was that he left his purser ashore and others of the crew, and what was worse, an Englishman and his wife, who intended to go with the steamer on their way to England, and who had sent the nurse and children, including a young infant, to the boat in advance, discovered, when too late, that the steamer had left. One can imagine their feelings on learning the facts. Mr. Bethune, the proprietor, on being told the state of affairs, got ready another steamer which was in port, and started in pursuit of the runaway, overtook her, and transferred the crew and passengers. Fortunately the boat arrived at her port in time, and no harm came of the affair. The captain was suspended for the trip, but on returning to Toronto was reinstated, and such was the confidence reposed in him from his general unexceptionable conduct that his own promise was deemed a sufficient guarantee that the offence would not occur again, and it never did.

Both the public and the owners of the steamboats were fortunate in obtaining the services on the different routes of men who were both popular with the former and who efficiently discharged their duties towards the latter.

There are few of those who travelled in days now long since gone by who have not a pleasant recollection of the captains referred to, and also others thus affectionately written of by one who knew many of them most intimately:

"Capt. Ralph Jones, steamer William IV.; Capt John Cowan, steamer William IV., chief officer old Frontenac, built in 1816-17; Capt. Edward Harrison, steamer Queen of the West; Capt. Thos. Miller, steamer Union; Capt. Harbottle, steamers Passport and Chicora; Capt. Chas. Perry, steamers Highlander, Bowmanville and Her Majesty; Capt. Duncan McBride, steamers Admiral and Princess Royal; Capt. Duncan Sinclair, steamers Passport, Algerian and Bavarian; Capt. Arch. Sinclair, steamer Monarch: Capt. Thos. Leach, steamers Chief Justice, Arabian and Chicora; Capt. Chas. Charmichael, steamer Kingston, burnt, captain and some of the crew and passengers lost; Capt. Duncan Milloy, steamers Zimmerman and City of Toronto; Capt. Wm. A. Milloy, steamer City of Toronto; Capt, Hon. Jno. Elmsley, steamer Sovereign; Capt. George Schofield, steamer Maple Leaf.

"And the captains on the river steamers were equally popular men, in fact all the captains in the fleet were justly so. One captain in particular is well worthy of notice, Capt. Robt. Kerr. He was one of Mr. Bethune's first, and one of his most faithful, officers, and one of the pioneers on the Rochester route, a man of very few words, always at his post, and punctuality was deemed by him of great importance. In appearance he was, as compared with most men, a giant: his height was about six feet five inches, and built in proportion, in fact, a splendid specimen of a man. His strength was immense, and yet he was one of the most quiet and inoffensive men possible, a strict disciplinarian on duty, and would allow no undue familiarity from his chief officer or crew, courteous and polite to his passengers, which rendered him a great favorite with all who knew his real worth. His son, Robt. Kerr, jr., a most promising and rising man, and the pride of the old captain, was all through the American civil war when quite a youth, and now holds some good position of trust in one of the chief railways.

"Some captains, although good seamen, are not expert in bringing a steamer to the wharf. It requires a particular sort of knack,with firm, good nerves. A clumsy man, which was the exception rather than the rule in Bethune's fleet, would run great danger in breaking fenders and lines and damaging the sides of the vessel, injuring the wharf, and running into other vessels. The most expert captain at this duty was the much-respected and popular commander, John Gordon, who was master of several steamers on the Hamilton route extending over many years. His last steamer, the City of Hamilton, was a swift boat, and it was a sight well worth witnessing to see him bring the vessel to the wharf. He would come in full speed within about two boat lengths of the wharf, and when one would fear by appearances that he would dash into it, he would ring the bell to stop, then a turn or two of the wheel to reverse, and he would lay her close alongside as quietly as a skiff coming in, without (in calm weather) using a line or injuring the paint. Many others were very expert. Those not wishing to run the risk of approaching too swiftly would use their spring lines, which only made a difference of a few minutes, but of course much depended on the weather, and how the vessel was laden. Capt. John Gordon, when the writer had the pleasure years ago of his intimate acquaintance, was a sterling good man. In appearance he was about five feet ten inches, a model in build, and a most courteous man, and in strength herculean. He was highly connected socially. His brother, a captain in one of the Highland regiments, was stationed here. Capt. John Gordon's boat was famous for the splendid table he kept, known well in those days by the travelling public. He gave up sailing many years ago, and at last accounts had turned his attention to farming near Guelph, and was prosperous and happy."

In concluding this account of the Royal Mail Line a reference must be made to some of the pursers, engineers and stewards of the fleet. Among some of the best known of these were:

PURSERS

Isaac Stanton, subsequently in the Government at Ottawa, dead.

Duncan McBride, subsequently Captain, dead.

John Berry, dead.

George Schofield subsequently Captain, killed, being run over by railroad engine at Rochester.

Thomas Miller, subsequently Captain, dead.

Thomas Leach, subsequently Captain. He died in Toronto in the early days of 1893, a man whom to know was to esteem.

Chas. Carmichael, subsequently Captain, drowned at burning of steamer Kingston.

Isaac Cowan, resided in Toronto for many years.

Anthony Hawke, dead.

Edward Hawke, residing at New York.

Geo. M. Hawke, resides at Toronto.

Geo. B. Holland, subsequently Secretary and Treasurer of the line, since deceased.

Josias Bray, and

William Schofield, of Walkerton and Toronto respectively.

ENGINEERS

Mr. McBride, Jno. Torrance, John Young, Geo. Monro, Alex Starke, David Smith and Jno. Boxall.

STEWARDS

William Whitlaw, a farmer near Guelph, and a man of influence.

John Quinn, subsequently a butcher in St. Lawrence Market, and Sergt.-Major in the Royal Grenadiers, now dead.

John Smith was an alderman of the city; now dead.

Dennis Hurley, subsequently proprietor of Terrapin saloon.

Wm. Brennan, became a well-to-do farmer at Frenchman's Bay.

James Smith, now sole owner of the Walker House.

The mortality amongst our steamboat men has been great.

None of the owners alive in 1840 now survive, and very few, if any, of the captains or other officers, but it is more than fifty years ago, and we know that in this, as in all other things, the Latin proverb Tempus edax rerum is but too true.

 


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This electronic edition is based on the original in the collection of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston.