Chapter 14
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 Canadian Marine Association was organized on the 18 February 1885 with J. H. G. Hagarty of Toronto as president, Capt. John B. Fairgrieve of Hamilton as vice-president and W. A. Geddes of Toronto as secretary-treasurer.

On the 7 March, death came to a Hamilton shipbuilder. Dominique Pierre Lavallée was born on the 16 July 1825 at Berthier, Que. and had come to Hamilton in the 1850's to work for James Whyte, shipbuilder.

Robertson's Shipyard was the scene of a launching on the 27 April when G. I. Cooper of Mayville , N.Y., launched the steam-launch OUIDA for Capt. T. Thornton and D. A. Mitchell. This vessel was renamed LILLIE before completion and measured 70 ft. long and 14 feet beam. She was powered by the high-pressure 10" x 12" engine, built by Barker & Shannon of Picton and lately removed from the CLARA LOUISE. A new boiler was fitted.

That same day, the Grand Trunk Ry. crew in charge of the swing bridge over the Burlington Canal were informed that navigation would not open for several days and that they could go home. The following morning at 11:00 a.m. the small schooner LILLIE of Port Credit came rollicking into the canal with a strong north-east wind. The schooner had no brakes and the bridge didn't swing, so the obvious happened. She was dismasted.

As the opening of navigation drew near, the ship-owners were optimistic, as usual, and, the work of fitting out was going ahead. The schooner ELLA MURTON had wintered at Murton & Reid's Wharf along with the GULNARE which had been painted bright green, with white trim and the UNDINE, now owned by Johnston & Irwin, was lying at Myles'. The GULNARE was due to be towed to Pt. Dalhousie by the propeller MYLES, to have two new masts stepped. The MYLES would go on Muir's dry dock to have her wheel changed. At MacKay's Wharf, the CELTIC had new furnaces installed. She had been again chartered for the Lighthouse Supply work and Capt. Cavers would be in command. The LAKE ONTARIO was having a new funnel fitted. Capt. Patenaude, mate on the CELTIC in 1884, would be in command this year.

Capt. Fairgrieve'sCANADA wintered at McIlwraith's Wharf and was all set to go as soon as the canals opened. In the vicinity of Zealand's Wharf, the LAKE MICHIGAN was undergoing repairs under the supervision of Capt. W. Zealand. The ACADIA,Capt. Malcolmson and the ST. MAGNUS,Capt. Woods, were both ready to go. The reporter who checked on these vessels, also noted that the remains of the old steamer OSPREY were lying in the Rush Bed, east of MacKay's Wharf.

An advertisement on the 1 May by the Merchants' Line stated that the CELTIC was now receiving cargo for Kingston,Gananoque,Brockville,Prescott,Cornwall,Valleyfield and Montreal, She was expected to sail on or about the 6 May.

The steamer SOUTHERN BELLE was advertised on the 23 May as sailing from McKay's Wharf for Oakville and Toronto. On the same day notice was given that the

"powerful new side-wheel steamer CANADIAN,Capt. Angus G. Stanton, would make hourly trips from the James St. Wharf to the Beach. She could carry 500 passengers and would run during the season in connection with the Street Railway. This vessel had been built at Toronto in 1882 and measured 122.0 x 18.9 x 5.5 with a gross tonnage of 231, net 145. Her managing owner was John A. Clendenning of Toronto."

Tuesday, the 4 August, brought the news of a great fire on the Toronto waterfront. It started in the sugar refinery on the east side of the Princess St. Slip and the resulting damage to buildings and vessels extended west to the Scott St. Slip. One steamer which received much damage was the MAZEPPA, which would later be familiar in Hamilton.

A waterfront fire occurred in Hamilton on the 3 October at the old Beckett Wharf, causing the destruction of the steam-launch SHAMROCK and the new excursion barge ENTERPRISE which had just been built this year by John Wakeham.

The old steamer INDIAN, once owned in Hamilton, was destroyed by fire at Kingston on the night of 28 October.

The propeller MYLES was in trouble on the 29 October at Duluth. She had left her berth and, was starting across the harbour when the high-pressure cylinder burst, killing the Chief Engineer, Thomas Hickey of Hamilton and his second, who was not named in the report.


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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.