Cobourg Harbour Ore Cars, post 1869                                                                                                                                                              photo provided by george parker

cobourg harbour  1874

By 1868,  production of iron ore in Blairton was in full swing,  with a American plan to ship it by rail to  Trent River Narrows, where it would be unloaded into 60 ton barges. The barges would be hauled by the railway's steamship - the Otonabee (later the lsaac Butts) - from Trent River Narrows through the new lock at Hastings, to the wharf at Harwood. At Harwood, the ore would be transferred via "steam elevator" back into ore cars for the journey to the Cobourg harbour. At the harbour, the ore would be dumped directly from a raised trestle into waiting lake schooners for the trip across Lake Ontario to Rochester or Erie.

This is what we know about those schooners.  Our thanks to Walter Lewis and his website  for much of this information

Click on the Schooner's name for full details

Mary Taylor -  Built 1866  

In 1867,  the Kingston Business Directory made the following reference regarding the "Mary Taylor" - 

SHIP BUILDING. Marine Railway Ship Yard—established in 1839.—This is the only Marine Railway at present in operation in Canada. Foster, Jenkins de Co., are now the proprietors. Fifty men are kept in constant employnient in the building and repairing of vessels of every description. The schooner Mary Taylor, 200 tons, was built and furnished at this yard last Spring.

In 1871,  it was reported by Capt. J.W. Hall that the Schooner,   Mary Taylor,  collided with the Elvina in the Welland Canal,  losing her jib boom,  bowsprit and foremast.  


In the "Tale from the Great Lakes:  Based on C.H.J. Snider's "Schooner days",  written in 1946,  we find a great description of what can happen when a schooner is overloaded:

On  May 29,  1869,  the Hamilton "Spectator" wrote a description of schooners servicing the Blairton Iron Ore Mine:

"Schooners were engaged in the iron ore trade from Cobourg to Lake Erie ports.  The ore from the Blairton Mine is being brought forward and shipped in considerable quanitites.

The Blairton Mine or the "Big Ore Bed" as it was known locally, was situated, on the south shore of Crowe Lake and mining was commenced in 1865. The ore was handled over a stretch of railway to Trent River, thence by barge up through the Hastings Lock and up Rice Lake to Harwood, where it was again loaded in cars and hauled over old Cobourg & Peterborough Ry., which had been bought by the mining company."

The Launch of the hercules  in Hamilton  1863-1869                                  Photo: Frank Woods


The schooner Henrietta P. Murray  Built 1867 in Oakville, Ontario                                                                From the Collection of:C. Patrick Labadie


Schooner Trader wind - built in Port Colborne, Ontario  in 1853   and burned in a fire in Kingston, Ontario in 1909      Sketch by I.S. Brookes

We can add to that list:

  • Pintago
  • Fullerton
  • Eureka
  • John L. Cross
  • Anil Henry

Picton, Ont., Nov. 14. -- The schooner ANNIE FALCONER, owned and sailed by Capt. Murney Acker of Picton, went down in the gale of Saturday night, between the false Duck Islands and Timber Island. The FALCONER was on her way from Sodus Point, N.Y., to Picton with a load of soft coal for A.W. hepburn, Picton. 
      The crew took to the boats, and after an hour's suffering and hardship reached shore at Emerald on Amherst Island, 20 miles from the scene of the wreck. James Sullivan, the mate, after reaching land, wandered away, and when found by his mates had perished from cold and exposure. His body was brought here this morning for buriel. The crew all belonged to Picton. 
      Buffalo Evening News
      November 14, 1904

SWEET HOME, 218 tons, 1853-1872 CLICK HERE 

Schooner SWEET HOME  Owned Kingston by McClelland & others. Bound from Kingston to Montreal, sunk in the St. Lawrence River, September 1872. Loss to ship $2,600. Loss to cargo $13,000. Insurance on ship $2,000. Insurance on cargo $10.000. 
 Marine Casualties of the Great Lakes
 1863 - 1873 Records of the U. S. Coast Guard

HENRIETTA  P. MURRAY, 1867-1893   255 tons, CLICK HERE  See sketch at left

NETT WOODWARD,   1864-92   277 tons, CLICK HERE  Capsized near Southampton   Two drowned; other crew rescued by lightkeeper, Chantre Island.     For newspaper clippings   CLICK HERE

 UNDINE, (Brig)  300 tons, 1868-1890  Struck bottom & holed in storm      CLICK HERE

NORTHUMBERLAND, 300 tons      1853-1876       CLICK HERE

It is reported that the schooner NORTHUMBERLAND went ashore on Saturday Night near Wheatley's dock on the Canadian shore of Lake Erie and went to pieces. The schooner HARRIET ROSS was also driven ashore there and is high and dry on the beach, where she will remain probably for some time to come. 
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Tuesday, September 12, 1876

TRADE WIND, 300 tons   1853-1909