Chapter 250
Hamilton Steamboat Co. '87-'93

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

A Modest Beginning -- An Enterprising and Progressive Policy.

The Hamilton Steamboat Company was founded in 1887 by several enterprising business men of that city with the view of developing both the freight and passenger traffic between the "Ambitious" and the "Queen" cities of the west.

Their first venture was on the most modest scale. They contented themselves by running a small steamer built by Simpson, of Toronto, known as the Mazeppa, from Hamilton to Burlington Beach. This steamer has been on the same route ever since, and is under command of Captain Lundy.

Steamer Macassa
In the following year, 1888, business was commenced in earnest and the well-known and capacious steamer Macassa began her daily journeys from Hamilton to Toronto and vice versa.

The Macassa is a steel vessel built on the Clyde in 1888 by Hamilton & Co., of Glasgow, and on her completion brought out here. Her engines are of 600 indicated horse power, and were made and supplied by Kemp, the well-known mechanical engineer of Glasgow.

Her length over all is 155 feet, her width 24 feet and her depth 11 feet 6 inches.

She was brought out to this country by Captain Hardy, who commanded her for the first season she ran upon the lake. Since then, with a short interval, she has been under command of Captain William Zeeland, a grandson of one of the best known of the early commanders of lake vessels, Captain Edward Zeeland, whose name has repeatedly been mentioned in this history.

In her first season the Macassa proved a great success, not only financially, but also as a seaworthy and quick sailing vessel. Emboldened by this success her owners decided to bring out another vessel, and a larger one, and with this end in view the Modjeska was placed upon the stocks.

Steamer Modjeska
She, like the Macassa, was also built on the Clyde, though by another firm, Messrs. Napier, Shanks & Bell, of Glasgow, whose fame as ship builders is known throughout the world. She was constructed in her entirety of steel and fitted with watertight compartment. Her length is 185 feet, her beam 30 feet and her depth 11 feet 6 inches.

Messrs. Dunsmuir and Jackson, engineers of Glasgow, supplied her engines, which are of no less than 1,800 indicated horse power.

The first commanding officer of the Modjeska was Captain Malcolmson, who safely brought her across the Atlantic from the Old Country. He remained in command that season. Since then she has been under charge of Captain Adam Middleton Sharp,of Burlington.

The chief engineer for both the Macassa and Modjeska, and the man who had most to do with the selection of their powerful engines and machinery is Mr. James Smeaton, in whom the steamboat company's manager and directors deservedly place the most unreserved confidence. Mr. Smeaton, after serving his articles as engineer's pupil in England, was some years in the employ of the Allan line, being at the time he entered the service of the Hamilton Steamboat Company engineer on board the Norwegian.

He is a direct descendant of John Smeaton, the famous engineer who designed and built the Eddystone Lighthouse in the English Channel. Of this Smeaton it is recorded that he "for a large portion of his life was in constant attendance on Parliament, which in difficult or important engineering schemes invariably demanded, and almost always followed, his advice." Substitute "Hamilton Steamboat Company "for "Parliament" in that sentence and it is an apt description of John Smeaton's descendant, James Smeaton's, relation with his employers.

Mr. M. Leggatt is acting president of the Hamilton Steamboat Company, the president, Mr. T. B. Griffiths, having died in August (1893). Mr. J. B. Griffiths is the managing director, and Mr. Fergus Armstrong, assistant manager. Mr, G. T. Tuckett is the secretary and treasurer. The officers of the company are in Hamilton, with a branch in Toronto. At the present time (1893) each of the company's steamers make during the season two trips daily between Hamilton and Toronto, and vice versa, with the prospect, in the future, of more frequent journeys with an increased fleet of steamers.


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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.