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


The WILLIAM IV entered the Lake trade in 1832 and an advertisement dated 29 August that year listed her ports of call as follows: Brockville,Gananoque,Kingston,Cobourg,Port Hope,York and Burlington Bay or Hamilton before ending her run at Niagara. Her master was Charles McIntosh and her agent was Alpheus Jones, of Prescott.

In March 1832, the Niagara Gleaner reported that the schooner GENERAL BROCK,Capt. Kerr, had sailed from the Burlington Canal, with whiskey, pork, and passengers for York.Hamilton Harbour was still locked tight in winter's grip, the ice being 30 inches thick. In fact, the week before, a house 20 x 28 ft. was drawn across by 10 yoke of oxen, without any apparent danger. The same paper reported on the 16 June that Robert Hamilton's steamboat UNITED KINGDOM, now on the stocks on the beach in this town (Niagara), formerly the ALCIOPE, would be launched next week. She was in fact, launched on Wednesday, 20 June. The previous week, Robert Hamilton's new Upper Lake steamboat ADELAIDE, was launched at Chippewa.

In Kingston, on 24 May, Robert Drummond's little steamboat PUMPER, renamed RIDEAU, for this auspicious occasion, left for Bytown with Lt. Col. John By, his family and friends. The Rideau Canal was now open. The PUMPER, as her name indicates, had been built for the de-watering of coffer-dams and lock chambers during the construction of the canal. Robert Drummond, stonemason and contractor, had built Locks 43 and 44 at Brewers Mills, Lock 45 at Lower Brewers (or Washburn), and Locks 46 to 49, at Kingston Mills. In addition, Drummond operated a shipyard at Kingston, and here he had built a steamboat which he named JOHN BY, and which he intended to use for the inaugural voyage to Bytown. Much to his embarrassment, she would not fit the locks, being a little too deep of draught.

In December 1832, an advertisement was placed in the Canadian Correspondent by James Lockhart, Sec.-Treas. of the Niagara Harbour & Dock Company stating that

"...arrangements have been made lately by the company to encourage and facilitate ship building and repairing at the Harbour, upon moderate terms. That the management of the shipyard and exclusive superintendence of the building of steam vessels, or craft of any description, will be committed to Mr. Jesse Wood, Engineer of the Company, whose professional experience abroad and in this province has given general satisfaction to the employer, and ensured him a character as a scientific man. Rates of charge per day for Mr. Wood's superintendence, the employer or owner providing all materials on the ground, and the Works at the Harbour, are as follows, viz.: For steam vessels, l.10.0 and for schooners and other craft 1.0.0."


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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.