Chapter 3
Port Hamilton
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


A notice was placed in the Gore Gazette on 3 March 1827, reading as follows:

"All persons indebted to the Subscriber, either by note or book account, are hereby requested to make immediate payment; and all those who neglect this notice will be proceeded against according to law, after the 1st day of April next, without discrimination. Cash paid for wheat." Wm. B. Sheldon,Hamilton, U. C.

Sheldon needed money not only for wheat, but also to pay for his new wharf on the North West part of Nathaniel Hughson's waterfront property. He retained title to this part of Lot 14 until 1832, when it was transferred to A. N. MacNab. Two years later it reverted to Hughson.

An item in the United Empire Loyalist, published at York and dated 21 April 1827 stated that Wm. Chisholm's three vessels, MOHAWK CHIEF,GENERAL BROCK and REBECCA AND ELIZA passed through the Burlington Canal, having wintered in Hamilton. Each were partly laden. The topsail schooner JANE, owned by Col. Crooks, was in Hamilton, loading flour brought from Dundas. On 1 May, Wm. Chisholm notified the public that he had received from Oswego, a cargo of Onondaga Salt, and this was for sale at his store on Burlington Beach.

During the first week of the navigation season, the unfinished canal had seen vessels leave the harbour with 46 bbls. potash, 70 bbls. pork and 7,100 bbls. flour. Chisholm was again advertising in the Gore Gazette on 26 May, as follows:

"...that he now had in service, four schooners, viz.: MOHAWK CHIEF,Capt. Daniel Campbell,REBECCA AND ELIZA,Capt. Edward Zealand,GENERAL BROCK,Capt. Wm. Kerr and TELEGRAPH,Capt. Philo D. Bates. That he has taken every precaution in the selection of sober and industrious men to be Masters and crews of said vessels. That they were all built since 1822 and are now plying between the Head of Lake Ontario and Kingston and Prescott, regularly."

The United Empire Loyalist of 26 May 1827 noted that high water had delayed work on the Desjardins Canal, but construction was now under way. It was estimated, with unbridled optimism, that the canal would be usable by the Spring of 1830. It was noted also that Lt. Col. John By had commenced work on the Rideau Canal, and, that the Welland Canal Company was offering work to seven or eight hundred labourers. "Canal Fever" was indeed rampant in the land and unfortunately, was not always guided by wisdom. The contractor on the Burlington Canal was building timber cribs and filling them with beach gravel, in the hope that they would hold the sides of the channel. The Lake had no trouble at all undermining them and playfully shifting them out of line.

Relative to this, the following notice appeared in the Niagara Gleaner at the end of July:

"Proposal for completing the works at the Burlington Bay Canal will be received by the Subscriber until Friday, the 24th August (proximo) agreeable to the annexed schedule - and in conformity with the several Acts of the Legislature of this Province made in reference thereto. Plans and Specifications may be seen by intending contractors on application to me.
By order of the Commissioners,
W. J. Kerr, Secretary.
Burlington Beach, July 27, 1827.
Work to be done to complete the Burlington Bay Canal,
11 Cribs of timber, to complete return pier head in L. Ontario, south side - including all materials such as piles, planking, workmanship, stone and everything else necessary.
7 Cribs, ditto, south side, Burlington Bay. Additional crib work to improve south pier in L. Ontario.
37 Oak Piles, for return pier head, 30 feet long and 15 inches diameter, 2,610 cu. ft.
88 Oak Piles, for south pier in L. Ontario, 8,640 cu. ft.
75 Oak Piles, ditto.
18 Oak Piles, to put beneath the south abutment of the bridge.
10 Oak Piles, to repair breaches in south pier.
10 Oak Piles, for south pier head in Burlington B.
12 Oak Piles, for south pier head in L. Ontario.
114 Oak Piles, for abutment of bridge north side; to repair breaches in north pier, in the Lake and the Bay, and to repair head of breakwater.
Pointing, driving and shoeing with iron such of said piles as may be necessary.
97 Bollards, or mooring posts, of oak; pointing and driving same.
35,000 feet of 3 inch pine plank for covering the piles.
7,000 cu. ft. pine timber, squared, for building the old work up to the required height.
700 feet of hand rail on outer side of south pier, L. Ontario.
40 cords of heavy stone for backing up the return pier head.
20 cords, ditto, for pier head.
Excavating channel to 12 feet depth, throughout - 3,000 cu. yds.
One swivel bridge, complete.
One Lighthouse on return pier head, with Argand oil lamp, complete.
One Capstan, on pierhead.


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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.