Algerian Revisited

Table of Contents

Title Page
The Editor's Notebook
Marine News
Lakers on Videotape
Winter Lay-Ups Thirty-One Years Ago
Birchglen Unloaded
Ship of the Month No. 160 Bruce
Ship of the Month No. 161 Paul Manion
Algerian Revisited
St. Clair River Shipwrecks
Table of Illustrations

As a follow-up to our November Ship of the Month No. 158, ALGERIAN, formerly KINGSTON (I) and BAVARIAN, we are pleased to include in this month's photopage some very interesting views. We still have never found any photo or drawing of the sidewheeler as BAVARIAN, and it is unlikely that we ever will, for she served so very briefly under that name before being gutted by the second major fire of her career.

Drawing of KINGSTON (I) by H. Walker appeared in an 1870 travel guide. Courtesy Gerald Girvin and Rev. E. J. Dowling, S. J.
In our feature, we hazarded a guess as to what the steamer looked like as KINGSTON, for we never had seen a likeness of her. As it turns out, we were not far wrong, as confirmed by a drawing of the ship at Montreal by one H. Walker. This drawing first appeared on Page 45 of "Chisholm's All Round Route and Panoramic Guide of the St. Lawrence", published by Chisholm & Co., Montreal, in 1870. We wish to thank both Gerald T. Girvin, Rochester, and Rev. E. J. Dowling, S.J., Detroit, for sending us copies of this drawing.

We might have questioned the accuracy of Walker's drawing in respect of the odd six-pointed star on the paddlebox as well as the solid metal walking-beam, but then we look at an amazing photograph of the wreck of KINGSTON as she lay on Grenadier Island after the fire of June 11, 1872. There, indeed, is the six-pointed star on the port paddlebox, which somehow was not burned. Also visible are the remains of the large radial wheel on the starboard side, the walking-beam, and the two tall stacks, the port one still standing while the starboard funnel has fallen inward with the spreader bar gone.

Only known photo of KINGSTON (I) shows her burned-out hull at Grenadier Island, June 1872, with BRUCE alongside. Courtesy Gerald Girvin.
The small steamer BRUCE (our feature this issue) lies alongside KINGSTON'S port quarter and it is possible that she may have assisted at the scene during the fire. A small boat in the foreground of the photo may well be one of KINGSTON'S lifeboats. We most sincerely appreciate the kindness of member Gerry Girvin in providing this photograph for our use.

Re the burning of BAVARIAN, we lacked space to use the full quotation from the "Oshawa Vindicator" of November 8, 1873, which appeared in Willis Metcalfe's Canvas & Steam on Quinte Waters, published in 1968. To remedy this situation (and correct a small error in our feature), the full report follows.

"At 8:00 p.m. on the evening of Nov. 5, 1873, the sidewheeler BAVARIAN could be seen moving in an easterly direction, approximately 8 miles from shore, midway between Port Oshawa and Port Darlington. A series of explosions occurred in her boiler room, and she quickly became a blazing inferno. Many passengers were trapped on the stern of the vessel when the lifeboat capsized while being launched. Many also perished in the flames and others were lost after jumping overboard into the icy water. The fire was fought all night long by boats from Oshawa and other points along the lakefront. She eventually burned down to her waterline. The charred hull was towed into Port Oshawa the following day, where a government inspector examined the hull."

Metcalfe seems confused as to the actual quote, for although the rest of the item was contained in what purported to be the same quotation, it could not be so due to the time frame involved, and what follows may be Willis' own information. "It is understood that the company owning the steamer BAVARIAN prosecuted the officer in charge of the pilot's boat for 'inhuman conduct'. The body of Captain Carmichael, master of the BAVARIAN, was found near Oak Orchard, a short distance from Port Charlotte, on the south shore of Lake Ontario, a distance of some 25 miles from the scene... some 31 days later."


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