Chapter 35
Table of Contents

Title Page
1 Introductory
2 Geological
3 Poetry of the Lakes
4 Description
5 The Aborigines
6 French Discovery and occupation
7 Story of La Salle and the Griffin
8 Struggle for Possession
9 Under English Rule
10 Beginnings of Lake Commerce
11 War of 1812
12 War of 1812, Continued
13 War of 1812, Concluded
14 Growth of Traffic
Commerce Through St. Mary's Canals
15 Early Navigation on Lake Superior
16 The Convention of 1847
17 A Half Century Ago
18 Lake Canals
19 Lake Canals, Concluded
20 Harbors
21 Lighthouses
22 Life Saving Service
23 Development of Lake Vessels
24 The Lake Carriers
25 The Sailor
26 Navigation
27 Lumber Traffic
28 Grain Traffic
29 Coal Traffic
30 Iron Ore and Iron Industries
31 Miscellaneous
33 CHRONOLOGY.The Beginnings
33 After the War of 1812
34 1821-1830
35 1831-1840
36 1841-1850
37 1851-1860
38 1861-1870
39 1871-1880
40 1881-1890
41 1891-1898
42 List of Lake Vessels
Table of Illustrations


On January 28, 1831, an Act of the Legislature was passed, constit- uting Joseph Denison and his associates a corporate body under the name of The Ontario and St. Lawrence Steamboat Company, with a capital of $100,000 and limited to May 1, 1850. The owners of the Martha Ogden and the Ontario, theretofore engaged in navigating the lake and river, were entitled to the amount of the appraised value of those boats, and the affairs of the company were required to be managed by fifteen directors. The stockholders were jointly and severally liable for the contracts of the company, and persons having demands against the corporation might sue any stockholder or director for the recovery of the same. The place of business of the company was to be fixed at Oswego and its transactions were limited solely to Lake Ontario and the river St. Lawrence. The company built at Ogdensburg the steamer United States, which for size and amount of accommodation far exceeded any boat that had previously been run by an American on Lake Ontario. She was launched in November, 1831, and came out on her first trip July 1, 1832, under command of Elias Trowbridge. Her dimensions were as follows: length, 142 feet, beam 26 feet, and she was 55 feet wide over all. Her depth of hold was 10 feet. Her engines were low pressure, with a 40-inch cylinder and 8 feet stroke. Her cost was $50,000.

Traffic between Buffalo and Port Robinson. - For several years considerable traffic was carried on between Buffalo and Port Robinson via Chippewa, commencing in 1831, by steamboats. Of those thus early employed were the Perseverance, sailed by Capt. Sam Vary; the Victory, Capt. John Hibbard; Caroline, Capt. James Ballantine; Emerald, Captain Van Allen; and Clifton, Captain Willoughby. The construction of a railroad on either side of the Niagara river in later years, made it no longer a paying business, when it was discontinued.

Steamer Ohio Comes Out. - In 1831 the steamer Ohio, 187 tons, built at Sandusky, was added to the Buffalo and Detroit line, and was commanded by Capt. W. Cahoon. The Thompson also came over to the majority. The Peacock was withdrawn from this line, and was trans- ferred to a shorter route between Buffalo and Erie.

Superior Goes Over the Falls. - A rather unusual event transpired in September, 1831, by the fitting out and sending over Niagara Falls of an old hulk called the Superior, which had served well her time on the lakes. A large concourse of people were attracted from all parts. She struck an island a short distance above the precipice and there remained for one month, when high water floated her.

Other Events of 1831. - March: Congress appropriated $25,412 for Buffalo harbor improvements. April: Schooner Henry Clay, in command of Captain Brown, driven ashore at Maumee bay; schooner Prescott driven from her moorings, and foundered at the mouth of York bay; schooners George the Fourth, Lady Colborne and Lady Hillier driven ashore at York bay; steamboat Wm. Peacock driven from the wharf at Erie, and went ashore. May: Navigation opened at Buffalo by the schooner Gen. Cass departing in command of Captain Whitaker. June: Steamboat Sheldon Thompson damaged by collision with the steam- boat Ohio, near Ashtabula. July: Schooner Henry Clay, bound from Oswego to Cleveland, capsized near Port Dalhousie; several lives lost. October: Sloop Olive Branch, bound for Ashtabula, wrecked at the mouth of Grand river; crew saved; valuable cargo lost; schooner Marshall, of Conneaut, wrecked on Lake Erie. December 31: Two thousand, four hundred arrivals and departures at Buffalo during the season.


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Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.