From Outlet to Canal

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,532
84
48
The Beach Strip
#41
The First Ferry Across Burlington Canal; The Swing Bridge And The Old Ship Inn

The Burlington Gazette
October 30th, 1957

The funeral of the late Mrs. Shaw, as It passed over the B.B. Canal, a few days ago brought to mind the few survivors of the early days of the Beach, reminiscences of things connected with that locality of more than seventy years ago. Mrs. Shaw had passed her childhood at the canal (1828 onward). Her father, Philip Magee, like many other adventurers, was attracted to the great work of opening a passage for vessels through the sand bar which separated the hay from the lake.
"Philip" as he was familiarly known, was a steady, Industrious Irishman, and took the opportunity of opening near the works a small boarding house, which soon became known as the Ship Inn. A fine picture of a full-rigged ship was kept hanging over the bar at which we poor boys of the day gazed with blank wonderment. Sailors were also attracted by the name, the picture and whiskey, which went cheerily hand in hand. Philip lost no opportunity of turning an honest penny. He kept the ferry when the excavation had advanced as far as to make a ferry necessary. This ferry was of very simple construction.
30-Foot Scow
A scow about thirty feet in length and say three feet in depth, without dock, and having long sloping ends to allow teams to he driven Into it, made up the outfit with the addition of a line stretched from side to side. by which the scow was hauled over. As the length of the scow was about half the width of the canal. 72 feet, no great effort was required to work It.
Drowning accidents were not infrequent. One of the most singular was the backing off the ferry scow of a team of horses attached to a wagon. In which sat a man and his wife. Before sufficient assistance could reach them all were drowned, and as everything that could float drifted away with the current, a bundle came near a schooner tied up in the canal, when a sailor hastily caught up a spear and was about to throw it at the mysterious object, but changing his mind, he took a boat and to his amazement picked up a sleeping infant thickly swathed in flannels rocked on the ripples of the moving waters. Now, Philip, in order to lose no time, and being a shoemaker by trade, set up a small stall In a corner of the ferry scow and devoted his spare time to the practice of the heeling art. As boots and shoes ground out fast in the sand and water, Philip captured many a snug dollar In addition to his pay for running the ferry.
He prospered. The Ship Inn was enlarged, and he also built a small schooner of about 80 tons and named it Daniel O'Connell. who had been recently elected M.P. for County of Clare, Ireland. After the Canal was completed and business became dull he sold his schooner for about $3.000, and lived a lonesome life for several years, and was ultimately frozen to death while crossing the Bay on the Ice. The Perry House now stands on the site of the noted Ship Inn.
Canal Cribs
If tales of the Beach do not tire, I may add a few items connected with the times mentioned. When the canal cribs were sufficiently advanced to admit of the mounting of a swinging bridge, one, Nathan Goodall, was engaged to construct one fit for the ordinary travel, in which he succeeded so well that it lasted a number of years or until the canal was enlarged, when a scow ferry was again adopted.
This bridge, the small end of which crossed a span of seventy two feet, was light and strong, and could be swung, in ordinary weather by one man. The long end tapered from the turntable to a small size to the excanal; while the land, or opposite end was weighted with a large oak treme end, which reached across the timbers, Increasing in size outward from the pivot, and overlapping each other as the three layers of timber were built up on either side.
Prominent Contractors
Over the pivot, and on a line with the sides of the bridge, were two strong posts, with a cross beam on which rested several long Iron pulling braces, with turnbuckles reaching to different parts of the bridge. In connection with the construction of the canal, I must not omit to mention a few prominent names; Mann & Spohn, Contractors, Henry Lutz, assistant to Nathan Goodall, S. B. Goss, and Tom Kilday, blacksmiths, Morris Corey, lately from New Brunswick, provided most of the timber In the cribs, and Henry Van Wagner, supplied the sawn lumber. Engineer Kerr son-in-law of Chief Brant, was supposed to superintend the construction.
(The Beach, Jan. 8th, 1902).
(Editor's Note: This is one of a series of historical papers presented to Hamilton Historical Society by the late Mr. W. D. Flatt. They have been loaned to The Gazette by Mrs. V. H. Emery of Northshore Boulevard.)
 

Drogo

Moderator
Feb 8, 2005
405
1
18
#43
Actually loved the story of The Ship Inn. They just torn down one pub and built another over it time after time. As they say "There'll Always Be An England" and apparently "There'll Always Be A Tavern At The Canal".
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,532
84
48
The Beach Strip
#44
More history on the Corey's and the article does answer a few questions, what happened to the first bridge being one. It wasn't hit by the P.E. Young, that was another bridge (from your article find) and some more history on the early taverns.
I wonder if the Emery family is still around?
 

Drogo

Moderator
Feb 8, 2005
405
1
18
#45
I can track down Aldershot Emery's but I don't know what the line was with the Beach Emerys. Could have been kith and kin but maybe not. I don't have time to run the genealogy at the moment.
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,532
84
48
The Beach Strip
#46
I can track down Aldershot Emery's but I don't know what the line was with the Beach Emerys. Could have been kith and kin but maybe not. I don't have time to run the genealogy at the moment.
(Editor's Note: This is one of a series of historical papers presented to Hamilton Historical Society by the late Mr. W. D. Flatt. They have been loaned to The Gazette by Mrs. V. H. Emery of Northshore Boulevard.)
Flatt could be Mrs. Emery's father, so that name could come up as well.


http://www.cedarspringscommunity.com/books-by-wd-flatt.html

http://images.burlington.halinet.on.ca/7000/data?n=19

http://images.burlington.halinet.on.ca/9155/data

http://images.halinet.on.ca/7799/data?n=1


No mention of "Emery" in his obit;
http://images.halinet.on.ca/70404/image/170233?n=6
 
Last edited:

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,532
84
48
The Beach Strip
#47
Just to add, the attached map shows the Emery property which would be located on Northshore. And the name could be related to the author of the book, Pathway to Skyway, Claire Emery.
 

Attachments

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,532
84
48
The Beach Strip
#48
I have found a little more information on the building of the piers in a book by Marjorie Freeman Campbell, the book is named A Mountain and a City
__________________________________________________________

Maps also indicate the rapid development of the town. In 1830 a Hamilton map by Lewis Burwell shows a hundred acres surveyed. Six years later one by Alexander Mackenzie shows eight hundred acres.
This increase in population and extension of boundaries was due largely to the building of the Burlington Bay canal. On March 19th, 1823, an act of parliament authorized construction of a navigable waterway to replace the shallow natural outlet which provided passage only for small schooners and the flat bottomed batteaux used widely at that time in the carrying trade. With larger vessels, cargo was unloaded on the Lake Ontario side of Burlington Beach and trans-shipped. The new canal was built in its present location, south of the natural inlet which was later filled in.
Although reports show a "drudge" was used in construction of the canal, the work was done mainly by hand with pick and shovel and required an army of labourers. From far and near workmen flocked in, many bringing their own wagons, teams and tools. Hamilton became their headquarters and to accommodate them, dwellings, storehouses, barns and wharves sprang up along the bay shore-unpretentious frame homes mostly, with a sprinkling of better class residences. In the resultant boom, land and water lots were at a premium, capital was attracted, and wharf building flourished.
Simultaneously receiving attention was the project of Pierre (Peter) Desjardin7 to cut Coote's Paradise by a canal which would permit ships entering Burlington Bay to proceed by the natural navigation route- across the bay and north of the present Valley Inn-into the marsh and by canal to Dundas. On November 1st, 1820, Desjardin's petition for land and water rights was granted. Not until January 30th, 1826, however was the Desjardins Canal Company (capital, £10,000) incorporated to construct a canal three to four miles in length, including natural naviga¬tion within the marsh. Unfortunately Peter Desjardin did not see his dream realized. His death on September 7th, 1827, postponed the opening of the canal for another decade.
Simultaneously John Gait, founder of the Canada Land Company, after whose family Gait, Ontario, is named, determined to profit in the new mercantile era. Applying for land adjacent to the Burlington canal, Gait planned to establish a depot where immigrants and cargo might be unloaded and forwarded overland to Guelph and other hinterland points. His plan was confounded by the impossible roads of the day.
In the meantime the Burlington canal had gone its own way. In 1829 Hamilton's first steamer, the John By, a barge equipped with engines and paddles and drawing only two and one-half feet of water, is reported as running between Hamilton and Toronto, taking a day and night for the trip. In keeping with the times her first cargo was whiskey.
Accounts of the canal are conflicting but pieced together provide a fairly accurate overall story. "The Burlington canal," wrote George E. Mason, "was commenced in 1823 and completed in 1826 by Captain John McKeen and James G. Strowbridge, both of whom are buried at the southeast corner of King and Wellington Streets.9 The width of the canal was originally only 30 feet. Prior to the digging of this canal Ancaster . . . (had) in 1818 twenty prosperous stores; but many of her most enterprising business people, such as Edward Jackson, Richard and Samuel Hatt, &&, removed to Hamilton on the opening of the canal."
Contractors of the canal we find listed as Spohn & Mann; while Inspector J. H. Smith, county historian, gives the complete cost of the project as $94,000.
By an act, dated February 17th, 1827, the provincial legislature provided for a survey of works at the Burlington canal and further aid to complete the same. Autumn and spring gales and winter ice undoubtedly took heavy toll of the channel. In a report submitted in the autumn of 1828 to the canal commissioners-William Chisholm, William Applegarth and John Aikman-William Johnson Kerr, superintendent, gives a graphic picture of canal renovation of that day with the tools available.
I ... put the Drudging Machine in repair, and commenced deepening the Canal about the l0th May . . . and by the l0th June I discontinued the Drudge, having a depth of water averaging twelve feet through.
I then began repairing the South Pier which was in a very Shattered State-I carried it out 800 feet upon the foundation laid by Mr. Hall (first superintendent) 200 feet of it had been washed away six feet below the surface of the water and the other 600 feet I took down principally to the water level-which I have tied with timber of one foot square fastened with two inch treenails 22 inches long.
The whole 800 feet are perfectly filled with heavy stones, 700 feet of this pier I have decked over with 2 and 3 inch plank, crossing the top ties at every four feet-well spiked with seven inch spikes-with heavy oak gunwales on both sides . . . secured with treenails and iron bolts, 22 and 18 inches long. To protect the foundation of the pier 40 cords of larger boulders from the Islands below Kingston were deposited on the south side, thus giving the ground swell an easier ascent upon the pier. The north pier was similarly repaired and 100 feet that had been washed away renewed.
In concluding, the superintendent suggested the need of bridging the canal after navigation closed, for the convenience of travellers and because of the expense of the ferry, which cost five pounds per month in wages to the ferryman who attended "late and early as well as on Sunday." That the suggestion bore fruit seems proved by an item which appeared in the Gore Balance, Vol. 1, 45, October 1, 1830: "The Swing Bridge over the Burlington Bay Canal will be opened October 2, 1830."
 

Drogo

Moderator
Feb 8, 2005
405
1
18
#49
What happened to the rest of the story?? I printed it before and after where is ends here it goes on to tell the story of the man who died at the outlet after they cut off his leg. Even that one had ended "Unaware of what the keg contained in addition to the...."

The next line after what is above is "In another part of his report Mr. Kerr refers to the "Stone Scowman" employed on the canal. From this section of workers comes the gruesome story, "The Ghost of the Canal." told by Peter Spohn Van Wagner half-brother of Mr. Spohn, canal contractor."

Now that whole thing is missing from here.
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,532
84
48
The Beach Strip
#50
What happened to the rest of the story?? I printed it before and after where is ends here it goes on to tell the story of the man who died at the outlet after they cut off his leg. Even that one had ended "Unaware of what the keg contained in addition to the...."

The next line after what is above is "In another part of his report Mr. Kerr refers to the "Stone Scowman" employed on the canal. From this section of workers comes the gruesome story, "The Ghost of the Canal." told by Peter Spohn Van Wagner half-brother of Mr. Spohn, canal contractor."

Now that whole thing is missing from here.
I have added it below;

In another part of his report Mr. Kerr refers to the "Stone Scowmen" employed on the canal. From this section of workers comes the gruesome story, "The Ghost of the Canal," told by Peter Spohn Van Wagner, half-brother of Mr. Spohn, canal contractor.
Between the Burlington canal and the northern mainland lies a stretch of dry barren sand, an almost treeless waste, part of which covers the original outlet to the bay. This no man's land is said to be haunted by the ghost of an unfortunate and neglected boatman injured by having his leg crushed as he helped unload a heavily laden stone boat when it was caught between the boat and the timber crib into which the stones were being thrown. The injured man was carried to an old house standing on a narrow strip of land beside the outlet, a former tavern, where he received scant attention or sympathy, he having been noted for his roughness.
Finally his unceasing cries and groans attracted a gentleman passing who sent to the village of Hamilton for a surgeon—the well known Dr. Case—who was forced to amputate the leg. This the doctor gave to a fellow scowman, named Wheeler, with instructions to bury it. After unbelievable suffering Jem Horner died, an enquiry was called and Dr. Case instructed Wheeler to disinter and produce the leg as evidence. Wheeler however had not buried the leg. He felt that if Jem Horner died, as seemed likely, he should have his leg placed in the coffin with him for fitting burial. To preserve the leg for this eventuality, he now admitted, he had placed the appendage in a keg of whiskey. He departed to bring this. Shortly Wheeler returned carrying the keg. His face was puzzled: his burden was unaccountably light. An examination quickly provided the explanation. The keg produced a highly colored, highly odorous leg but the preservative whiskey had vanished.
Finally the story came out. Three of Wheeler's boon companies had seen him disappear with the keg and upon search had found it hidden away. Unaware of what the keg contained in addition to the liquor, they had considered it an excellent joke to visit the hiding place several times, remove the bung and empty Wheeler’s keg for him, gleefully anticipating his surprise and chagrin when he made the discovery. It was unnecessary for the for the court of enquiry to seek beyond the culprit who had confessed, for the guilt of the other two was plainly written on their blanched and horror-stricken faces.
 

Drogo

Moderator
Feb 8, 2005
405
1
18
#51
Thanks Scott
Amazing how sometimes bits and pieces go missing. Like a ghost gets in and discabobbaltes everything. BOOOOOO!
 

Drogo

Moderator
Feb 8, 2005
405
1
18
#52
Any thoughts as to which hotel it was at the outlet. The above story states "was carried to an old house standing on a narrow strip of land beside the outlet, a former tavern, where he received scant attention or sympathy,". Any idea which tavern that would have been. I can remember the 1833 map or drawing of the canal. The only one I'm thinking of on the north side and not really at the outlet was The Ship's Inn. At least I think that was the name.
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,532
84
48
The Beach Strip
#53
Any thoughts as to which hotel it was at the outlet. The above story states "was carried to an old house standing on a narrow strip of land beside the outlet, a former tavern, where he received scant attention or sympathy,". Any idea which tavern that would have been. I can remember the 1833 map or drawing of the canal. The only one I'm thinking of on the north side and not really at the outlet was The Ship's Inn. At least I think that was the name.
The house did stay standing for many years;

"Until the house was razed, years later, wayfarers who passed in the night swore that had heard echoing from the dark dilapidated abode the bloodcurdling moans and cries of the dying scowman."


Might take some research to find a name of the old tavern, but I would think that John Chisholm would of owned it.

I don't recall where I got these from, so I don't know who to credit.
This hand drawn map shows one house;


Another showing Chisholm's property with some buildings;


And this from 1822 showing property but no buildings;
 

Drogo

Moderator
Feb 8, 2005
405
1
18
#54
Seen these but I went to photobucket and there were alot of other things. This is example. Do you have this right across the beach??
Are having a busy day and were you working when the proverbial poop hit the fan yesterday?
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,532
84
48
The Beach Strip
#55
Seen these but I went to photobucket and there were alot of other things. This is example. Do you have this right across the beach??
Are having a busy day and were you working when the proverbial poop hit the fan yesterday?
I will have a look to see if I do, I recall that it is attached to a bigger map.
And yes I was below the Skyway yesterday just in time to take some pictures, but from the ground, they aren't that good. The Spec ones are great shots.
 

Drogo

Moderator
Feb 8, 2005
405
1
18
#56
I'll have to go and look at the spec. You have a few bits of that map on photobucket. It is a time when the railway and radial were there and I might be able to find a couple of the houses I'm looking for. I appreciate the look. Thanks.
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,532
84
48
The Beach Strip
#57
I'll have to go and look at the spec. You have a few bits of that map on photobucket. It is a time when the railway and radial were there and I might be able to find a couple of the houses I'm looking for. I appreciate the look. Thanks.
Look at post #7 and see if these are what you are looking for, I can email you bigger sizes if you see something.
http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/showthread.php?t=298
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
457
2
16
#58
Drogo
12-15-2013, 10:26 PM
“David
Cribs are gravity walls. They aren't pile driven into the ground. You can dig and set them in and they will finish "settling" themselves. Living on Fifty Point for 35 years you can trust I have helped build my share of retaining walls. Today gabion walls do the same thing. Pre cut wire fence that you wire together and fill with stone. Sit them on the beach and wave action settles them to clay base. Their weight and length stop them from rolling over.”

Drogo

“A crib is a box. Square or rectangle. Usually filled with stone or sand. I'm not an engineer but I don't think you can pile drive a box into the sand. It's hard enough to drive pilings which they might have done to establish a line. I think you are forgetting that as they took the sand away across the sandbar they eventually got to the point that the lake and bay were coming in from both sides. The farther down they got the more current they would be dealing with. This would be trying to fill the canal back in it they didn't establish a wall on either side. Eventually that wall had to extend into the lake and the bay to form piers. We know they were using cribs because we know they were stonehooking to get rock to fill the piers. Then they were capped off with a wooden walkway. So the cribs on dry land ended up outlining the canal itself. The lake came to them they didn't go to the lake.”

Drogo,

If the cribs settled on ‘the clay base’ (and they must have settled, otherwise they would have continued to sink) then the ‘clay base’ must have been the origenal lake bed/bay bed, that was there, long before any of the sand that formed the sand bar (the beach) ever began to acumulate. So this would seem to mean that the canal builders either knew the depth of the sand bar, before they built the cribs, (and the height of the cribs was equil to the depth of the sand bar) or, as the cribs settled in to the sand and their tops came ever closer to the level of the sand, more timbers were added, thereby increasing their height. And this of course would require that more stone be added.

I think that Fred told me that the foundation of the lighthouse gos down twenty feet below the level of the sand. The foundation must have been built on a clay base, because sand wouldn’t have supported such a heavy structure.
________________________________________

________________________________________
 

Drogo

Moderator
Feb 8, 2005
405
1
18
#59
Drogo,

If the cribs settled on 'the clay base' (and they must have settled, otherwise they would have continued to sink) then the 'clay base' must have been the origenal lake bed/bay bed, that was there, long before any of the sand that formed the sand bar (the beach) ever began to acumulate. So this would seem to mean that the canal builders either knew the depth of the sand bar, before they built the cribs, (and the height of the cribs was equil to the depth of the sand bar) or, as the cribs settled in to the sand and their tops came ever closer to the level of the sand, more timbers were added, thereby increasing their height. And this of course would require that more stone be added.

I think that Fred told me that the foundation of the lighthouse goes down twenty feet below the level of the sand. The foundation must have been built on a clay base, because sand wouldn't have supported such a heavy structure.


Hi David
I was beginning to thing you didn't love me any more. Nice to hear from you. Anyway I think when we were going over this before I mentioned that you make a crib and it will settle and you add another. That is exactly it. Yes it has to make it to the clay and if the lighthouse has to go 20 feet to have a solid base then I'm sure the designers of the canal knew that fact. You can't build a structure in a bottomless pit. I also think I mentioned when we lived on Fifty Point we had gabion cages. These are wire cages that you fill with rocks then wire a top on it. You build it on the sand and when the waves come the sand washes out from underneath and they gradually settle to the clay. On the point the grey clay was at 4'.
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
457
2
16
#60
Drogo
11-09-2013, 02:03 PM
“Appeared in the Spectator Jan. 28, 1881

THE BURLINGTON CANAL

Incidents Attending Its Construction
(Written for the Spectator)

The building of the Burlington Canal was a big event, and the inquisitive inhabitants for many miles round about, as curiosity or Business called them, did not lose an opportunity of watching the progress of the work. Small spritsail boats and bateaux had passed occasionally through the natural outlet from the bay, when the mouth was not closed up with sand by easterly storms: but when an artificial passage through the beach was contemplated it was considered the eighth wonder of the world. How was it possible for so great a work to be accomplished? How was the drifting sand to be kept in check, or how could it be dug out?”

Drogo
11-09-2013, 02:03 PM

….“The commencement of the work was very simple; wagons and carts were used to remove the sand above the water level; then a huge scow with gearing driven by relays of four horses, scooped up the sand by means of endless chains revolving on drums, to which buckets were attached in such a way that, on rising to a certain height they cast their contents into false-bottomed scows, which, alternately were loaded and discharged their burden in deep water in the bay. When a sufficiently large opening was made, cribs of timber only twelve feet in width were sunk and filled with stones gathered along the shore of the lake.”

Drogo, when the concrete piers replaced the timber cribs,do you know if they were built on the inner, or outer sides? If they were built on the outer sides, do you know what the method was to prevent the sand from falling in to the excavated trench? And do you know when this work took place, and if the canal was widened at that point?
 
Top Bottom