We have been most gratified by the reader response to our February feature concerning the famous Beatty Line passenger and freight steamer UNITED EMPIRE. We had hoped to be able to put together an interesting piece on "Old Betsy", but we had no idea that the finished article would be more than seven pages in length!
In this month's feature on the steamer CITY OF OWEN SOUND will be found some further information touching on UNITED EMPIRE. The Canadian Pacific Railway had Smith and Keighley's iron-hulled steamer CAMPANA under charter from the time of the loss of ALGOMA in November of 1885 until the railway's new MANITOBA appeared in 1889, and then CAMPANA was chartered to the Northwest Transportation Company Ltd. She appears to have operated for the Beatty Line for the remainder of the 1889 season and also into 1890, when the N.W.T.Co. took delivery of its newly-built steamer MONARCH.
It is a coincidence that we learn that the 1891 schedule for UNITED EMPIRE and MONARCH which we quoted in our feature was, apparently, the last that ever called for the Beatty Line boats to stop at the ports on the east shore of Lake Huron. The "Wiarton Echo" of October 23, 1891, reported that the N. W.T.Co. had temporarily suspended service to Goderich, Kincardine and Southampton as a result of low water conditions. Then, on May 19, 1892, the "Owen Sound Times" reported that the N.W.T.Co. had completely withdrawn from service to the east shore ports, leaving the ships to call only at Sault Ste. Marie and Port Arthur on their regular run from Sarnia to Duluth. Needless to say, other operators jumped in to fill the void left when the Beatty Line boats stopped calling regularly at Goderich, Kincardine and Southampton. We had always wondered when the N.W.T.Co. gave up the east shore service, and thanks to the researching of Ron Beaupre, we now have the answer.
Rev. Raymond M. Donahue of Algonac, Michigan, appears to have solved the question of what was happening in the smoke-shrouded photo of W. L. KENNEDY and the steamer C. H. GREEN. His notes contain an item by one John Guba of Lake-port, Michigan, to the effect that on May 19, 1921, the KENNEDY was downbound in the St. Clair River, in tow of C H. GREEN, when the barge caught fire. The vessels drifted down to the St. Clair Middle Ground, where both were anchored. It apparently took three hours to extinguish the fire, but the crew did manage to put it out without extensive damage to the KENNEDY, which then lasted until her abandonment near Amherstburg in 1924. The note about the KENNEDY fire mentions that the information came from "C. Holland's booklet", which Fr. Donahue believes to have been a commemorative booklet on the town of St. Clair, Michigan. We do not, ourselves, have a copy of this publication, so we cannot comment on its authenticity or accuracy, but the facts as reported do appear to be consistent with what appears to be happening in the most interesting photo of the KENNEDY and the GREEN. We have in our possession two different prints of the photograph in question, and we believe that the original came to us from the collection of the late William A. McDonald.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.