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WRECK INFO: Ship Type: Wooden Passenger Lifespan: Built 1855, Burnt and Sank 1856 Length: 135ft Depths: 40 - 50ft Location: Cedar Island, St Lawrence, Kingston, Ontario GPS Ship Type: Steel Passenger & Car Ferry Lifespan: Built 1946, Scuttled 1985 Length: 164ft Depths: 70-80ft Location: Lake Ontario, Kingston, Ontario GPS N 44'13.422 W 76'27.018

Ship Info

Tinto (1855)

Year of Build: 1855 CONSTRUCTION AND OWNERSHIP Built at: Sorel, Quebec POWER Propulsion: Screw FINAL DISPOSITION Final Location: Near Kingston, Ontario, Canada How: Burnt HISTORY Approx. 135×23. Owned by Gibb & Ross, Montreal. Built by D. & J. McCarthy, Sorel and launched 19/11/55. Engines (2) 22½x30 working at right angles on same shaft (i. e. “V-2”) by Miln & Miln (Dock Engine Works), Montreal, to “Avon”. Used Montreal-Lake Erie. Destroyed by fire 11/06/56 near Kingston, 8 killed. Nothing official on this one.

Selection of News Articles

Propeller TINTO, (C), burned off Kingston, C.W.

    Buffalo Commercial Advertiser 
    January 31, 1857 (1856 casualty list) 
    . . . . . 
    The Propeller TINTO owned by Gibb & Ross of Quebec, built at Sorel in the fall of 1855 by McCarthy, has a 4 bladed prop. of 10 feet and 18 feet pitch. 
    Toronto Globe 
    May 28, 1856 
    . . . . . 
    KINGSTON, C. W. July 18. - The propeller "TINTO," was burned last night off Nine Mile Point, and is a total wreck. About twelve persons are lost, among them Capt. Campbell and a Mr. Henderson. The purser and twelve of the crew were saved. 
    Buffalo Daily Republic 
    Friday, July 18, 1856 
    . . . . . 

The new Propeller TINTO, Capt. Campbell, caught fire off Nineteen Mile Point and burned to the waters edge, bound from Kingston to Toronto and Hamilton. 18 persons missing.

    Toronto Globe 
    July 19, 1856 
    . . . . . 

A Propeller Burnt. - We learn from Capt. Ledyard, of the BAY STATE, that the new Prop. PINTO [sic Tinto] was burnt to the water's edge on Thursday night. She took fire about nine miles above Kingston, and floated down the river, and lodged against an island a few miles below Kingston, where she lay burning when the BAY STATE came up yesterday morning. Two steamers went to her assistance, after she was discovered, but no person was found on board and the small boat was gone. It was supposed the crew deserted her in the boat and went to one of the Islands. Capt. Ledyard states that she was burning briskly as he passed her, and was quite down to the water's edge. The cause of the fire was unknown. The telegraph states that twelve passengers are lost by the casualty of the PINTO. Among them Capt. Beel, and a Mr. Henderson. The purser and 12 of the crew were saved.

    Oswego Palladium 
    Saturday, July 19, 1856 
    . . . . . 
    The Propeller TINTO drifted ashore on Cedar Island, and burned to the waters edge. 
    Toronto Globe 
    July 21, 1856 
    . . . . . 
    LAUNCH - Propeller AVON of about 400 Tons Burden built for Messrs. Hooker & Pridham, was launched at Kingston June 12, the engines and boiler are from the Propeller TINTO burnt last summer. 
    Toronto Globe 
    June 17, 1857 

The Tinto - There is to be a legal investigation, as there ought to be, into the circumstances connected with the melancholy loss of the steamer Tinto. We have heard that the pilot has stated, that when the fire occurred, there was only one small boat on board, which may be the case, but Captain Charles Armstrong, agent for the New York board of underwriters here, assures us that when he inspected her, previous to her leaving port, there were three new boats on board, built at the Island of Orleans - one more than the law required. It seems curious that the master of the Tinto should have put away two of his boats after the steamer had left Quebec. The above is from the Quebec Gazette of Thursday, 26th, and we beg to remark, that the purser of the ill-fated Tinto informed us distinctly that Capt. Chambers had sold two of the boats, on his former trip, at Toronto, the one being 24 (21?) feet long (too large for his davits), and the other eighteen feet long. The latter, it was stated, was not in very good condition. After he sold them, he telegraphed immediately to the owners at Quebec to order a new boat forthwith, and have it ready by the time he returned there; and when he did so, the boat was not quite finished, and so he left, on his last trip, without it. These circumstances we should have mentioned in the hurried account we gave of the calamity but they were inadvertently omitted. The St. Catherines Post says that the late Chief Engineer of the Tinto, Mr. Alexander Henderson, “was a native of Roxburghshire, Scotland, and brother to Andrew Henderson, Merchant, of this town, who is now employed in the melancholy duty of endeavoring to recover the body. Deceased leaves a wife and four children to deplore his loss, but we believe they are left in comparatively comfortable circumstances, as Mr. H. owned a valuable farm in Sorel, C.E., and other property in Montreal besides being a partner in the ownership of the unfortunate vessel. The new Perry Engine, ordered for the “Young Canada Company,” was also on board, and our spirited juveniles will thus be deprived for a longer time of the use of an effective Engine, which they so richly deserve.” Life Saved - Wm. McMillan, one of the crew of the steamboat Tinto, burnt near Kingston, who was reported amongst the killed, has been picked up near the scene of the disaster, by the schooner Independence. The vessel came into port yesterday morning. He managed to get clear of the burning wreck, and by clinging to a piece of the furniture drifted from the vessel, and kept afloat until found by the schooner. [Colonist 25th]


INQUEST The readers of the News will remember that on the night of Thursday, the 17th day of July, the propeller Tinto was destroyed by fire near to the light-house at Nine Mile Point, and that on this occasion upwards of twenty persons lost their lives. The subject is recurred to, inasmuch as the bodies of two females, evidently victims by the burning of the ill-fated steamer, having been picked up in the River St. Lawrence by the “look-out party” belonging to the garrison, and brought to the city, has led to an official enquiry into the cause of the said burning. An adjourned meeting of the Coroner and Jury was held (Monday the 11th) in the Court House, when the mate of the Tinto, the only witness present, was fully and thoroughly examined. The Coroner (Dr. Barker) stated that he was disposed to go fully into the merits of the case, and he requested the witness to be particular, to be positive, and to take his own time, in giving his evidence. Moreover, before he would ask him to sign the book on which his evidence was to be taken down, he, the Coroner, would read the evidence over again, and an opportunity would thus be afforded for amending or altering it. The Jury, with Douglas Prentiss, Esq., as foreman, could not have been better selected. On it were to be seen steamboat owners, steamboat captains, wharfingers, etc.; in fact every member of it was more or less acquainted with the ways and means of steamboats, and therefore it is not a common-place expression to say, the Jury was a highly respectable and intelligent one. We understand that prior to this occasion, the evidence of two soldiers with respect to the finding of the bodies in question, and of the mate of the Tinto identifying those bodies, was given; the latter deposing that the said bodies were those of the cook of the Tinto, and of a Miss Benton, daughter of a passenger, and that her age was from twelve to fourteen years. (Our reporter is accountable for what follows.) Mr. Robert Delaney, mate of the propeller Tinto, on his examination, said: - I was mate and river pilot of the Tinto. We left Montreal on the evening of Monday, July 14th. The crew amounted in all to twenty-two persons. There were on board ten passengers, and we received one additional at Prescott. Four of these were women, three were children, and the rest men. The cargo consisted of oil, codfish, iron, nails, tea, one fire-engine, two horses and a carriage, and one small barrel of gunpowder, in all twenty-five to thirty tons. We took in wood at Fiddler's Elbow; on receiving which we had about sixty cords on board. This was piled part on deck and part in the hold, convenient to the boilers. Question by the Coroner - In your opinion do you consider that a proper place to stow wood? Witness - Yes. It is so stowed in all the steamers. Passed Kingston harbor about 9 p.m. on Thursday, 17th July. Whilst steaming past Garden Island, went to bed and slept until awoke by the screams of women and children on board. On coming on deck saw the vessel on fire. Looked out and saw the light-house at Nine-mile Point, distant about five miles ahead. The casing round the funnel was on fire, through the kitchen, aft the funnel. Looked into the pilot-house. The steersmen had done their best. The smoke and flame now enveloped them. It was impossible for them longer to remain, so they had to relinguish their post. The fire was extending forward from the funnel to the pilothouse. Saw the Captain, who stood forward on the deck. He looked confused. Did not speak to him. Had no conversation with him then or since. Did not hear him give any orders. To a Juror - He might have given orders without my knowledge of the fact. Examination resumed - Saw the Engineer, who told me to hoist out the boat for the women and children. Got two deck hands and complied with the order. We had but one boat, an eighteen-foot yawl, which could carry about fourteen persons. It was blowing fresh at the time. The boat was swung on the tackles at the stern. Put the women and children into it. Told the men in charge to hang on to the tackles as long as possible. During this time some people jumped overboard; seeing which I threw overboard all the pieces of wood which I could find, and elevated the hatches; but to no purpose, for the flames burst up. The men at the tackle being afraid, said they could hold on no longer; so they lowered away the boat. The steamer having been brought about, was under full headway for Kingston - the breeze light from the Southwest. When the boat was lowered to the water, saw the women and children in it. The painter was held on board by a man named Ward. Three or four of the firemen slid down the tackle into the boat. A little sea running at the time. When the boat touched the water, the tackle not having been unhooked, the steamer continued to drag the boat along, the flames burnt the tackle, and finally the boat capsized. Of those who remained on board, some clung to the fenders for a while. I saved myself on a piece of board which I picked up on deck. I leaped overboard, having nothing on but my shirt. All that I have stated occurred in the space of six minutes, and about 10 o'clock p.m. The Engineer was in charge of the vessel at the time of the fire. Asked him could he stop the engine? He said No. After jumping overboard, I was on the plank in the water for two hours, and was picked up by the boat of one of the schooners and landed in Kingston. Believes the fire originated in a spark which fell between the funnel and the boiler. The wood was piled near to the boiler, and on the main deck. The powder was kept forward in the bows of the propeller. Has no reason to think the Tinto more unsafe from fire than other steamers. On coming on deck first, met the Purser, who asked me could I get at the powder and throw it overboard? I said it was impossible. It is my opinion that the Captain and some of the crew might have made more exertions, and have remained longer on board. (The witness thought the last sentence rather strong; it was therefore qualified by the Coroner, but remained the same in substance. - Reporter) The Captain remained forward all the time. Most of the people were aft. Here a discussion arose as to whether this fact was evidence that the Captain regarded the safety of the vessel, or the fate of the people committed to his charge. Witness - The Captain, Engineer, and all of the crew which I saw were sober. The language of this expression was objected to by one of the Jurors (Mr. M.L. Greene) as unfair to the parties named, inasmuch as an inference might be drawn that they were not so on other occasions. This was overruled by the other Jurors, as there was no insinuation that at any time any officer of the boat had been intoxicated. Question - It has been stated that the Engineer had an interest in the Tinto. Now, did he use more authority on board than other engineers; did he give, and you take, orders from him as from the captain.? Answer - Yes; but these orders related to freight, and not to the sailing of the vessel. On one occasion I asked the Captain whether or not I should obey such orders? He said Yes; the Engineer being part owner, had a right to be obeyed. The Engineer kept the cash. The Tinto had her wheelhouse smashed in this season. She had one large and two small boats; two of which, including the large one, were left by me at Brown's wharf, Toronto, previous to last downward trip, by order of the Captain. These were capable of holding forty or fifty persons. As a seaman of at least ten years standing, I did not consider the Tinto to be seaworthy, having only one small boat and no life-preservers. Remonstrated with the Captain against the impropriety of leaving the two boats behind. He said he hoped there will be no use for them, and that the owners were having a large and strong one built to replace those left behind. We were to get the latter at Montreal, but did not. Question - If the boats had been on board at the time of the fire, what would have been the result? Answer - They would have held all the people. No lives need have been lost, as they would have given such confidence as to restrain the people from leaping overboard. The boats could have been swung, so that they could have been made use of at once. The witness here repeated the names of the saved, but we could not hear him distinctly. There was no accommodation for cabin passengers on the Tinto, and the engineer stated that the orders from the owners were to carry no passengers. Has no recollection of carrying passengers except on this trip, save on one occasion, from Quebec to Montreal. The foregoing was the substance of the mate's evidence. The Coroner and Jury having agreed to an adjournment, it was decided upon to summon the purser, 2nd engineer, one of the firemen, Captain Armstrong, Inspector of Boilers, etc., and that the Inquest be resumed at 3 o'clock, p.m., on Monday, the 18th August, inst.

tinto.txt · Last modified: 2019/07/17 09:38 by tom
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