Transcribed by T. W. Stewart We regret to inform you that Tom passed away in Ottawa, Ont. Monday, October 16, 2006 at the age of 84.
SHIPYARDS OF SUMMERSIDE
From the Summerside Progress, July 23, 1866.
Ships, by making it practicable for distant nations to come together for purposes of trade, have, in all ages been the most effective agents of man's civilization. The most powerful nations of the ancients became so, either directly or indirectly through marine commerce. Egypt, Tyre, Phoenecia, Greece, were all maritime to a greater or lesser extent. The ships of Tarshish and Tyre were famous ling ere Europe arose from its barbaric repose. The expedition of the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece, which was in ships, has been made the subject of heroic verse.. Solomon procured the gold, and ivory, and precious woods with which to adorn his temple from ships which traded to the then distant nations of the earth. Carthaage, the rival of Rome, resulted from an expedition of Phoenicia, and long held sway in the Mediterrean, until the Romans, judging rightly that the power of the Phoenicians arose from their marine, - created a navy and sailors, and the superiority which their energy and warlike character, coupled with other natural advantages gave them from that time forward, assumed a mastery of success which ended in the extinction of the Carthadeian navy, and shortly after of Carthage itself as a nation.
Later we see the Portuguese discovering the passage to India by the way of Cape of Good Hope. This stimulated the adventurous of the old world, and we find in succession the expedition of Columbus which was the means of discovering the great continent of which we are a part.
To Great Britain, perhaps more than any other modern nation ships have been a source of wealth and power. "The wooden walls of England" and "ye mariners", have in times past, raised her glory and power above that of any nation.. Descended in part from the Vikings of the North, the hardy sons of Britain have carried into distant climes their fondness for maritime adventure, and we find the new nations springing up beyond the broad Atlantic seeking to emulate their fathers in the art of building ships.
In this Island, small comparatively as it is, our memory can trace back the construction of many noble vessels upon its shores.. The material was once abundant and was used with so prodigal a hand, that we have now left only what is fit for building vessels of comparatively small tonnage. But energy and enterprise accomplishes a great deal, and despite the fact of their having to look to New Brunswick for their large spars and much of the planking material, our shipbuilders readily overcame these difficulties, and we include at the present time an array of ships on the stocks that would convince the beholder that the industry of this place was pushed on with praiseworthy and enlightened energy of which any community might well feel proud. There are now on the stocks eleven vessels in various stages of construction. Eight have been launched since the opening of navigation. Of these latter two were launched last week - one a fine brigatine of over 200 regular tons, named the LENNORA, built by Mr. James Grady for Hon. J.C.Pope, and the other the ALBYN - a well built brigatine owned by Colin McLennon, Esq., M.P.P., and built by Mr. Obrien.
In visiting the shipyards, we commenced at the western end of the town. We found those in charge of the construction generally polite and ready to communicate all the information desired by us, especially were they so when they fully understood our object in visiting them
We first visited the shipyard where Mr. Nicholas Helartson is building for Chas. Green, Esq., a very finely - modelled bark of 350 tons regular - spruce frame - to rate A 1 for five years and intended for the home market. She is 115 feet keel, 28 feet beam, and 15 depth of hold. We believe she was draughted by Donald Ramsay. Everything about this vessel looks strong and compact, reflecting credit upon her builder. She is in a forward state and will be launched about the 20th of August.
We next visited the yard where Mr. John Ramsay is building for the same party as above, a spruce-framed brig of 250 tons register, intended for the home market. She is 100 foot keel, 25 1/2 feet beam, and 13 1/2 depth of hold, and will rate A 1 for 5 years. The same general features of substantial workmanship which attracted our attention on the first vessel, also claimed it on this one. She has a trim shape, and, so far as our limited judgment will serve, will make a good carrying craft. This vessel is also in a forward state, and will be launched in September, after which Mr. Ramsay will lay the keel of another vessel.
In the next yard Mr. Donald Ramsay is building for Hon. J.C.Pope, a spruce-framed brigatine to rate A 3 for 5 years and intended for the home market. She is 107 (?) Feet keel, 25 feet beam, 13 feet hold, and registers 207 tons.
Mr. Thos. Humphrey is building for Capt. Richards, a fine brig of 200 tons register. Length of keel 113 feet, bredth of beam, 25 feet; depth of hold 15 feet. To be launched sometime in September.
Mr. Angus McDonald is building for Richard Hunt, Esq., a well - modelled spruce-framed vessel of about 240 tons register. She is 96 feet long, 24 feet beam, 13 feet depth of hold and is built to rate A 1 for 5 years. Intended for the home market and will be launched in two months.
The next is a fine ship of about 800 tons register that is being built by John Mackinnon for Hon. J.C.Pope. John is also the draughtsman. We believe Mr. McK has draughted nearly all the other vessels on the stocks at this place except the first three mentioned in this account. The ship we have reference to at present is 102 feet keel, 23 feet beam, and 19 1/2 feet depth of hold. She is to be copper-fastened, iron-kneed and strapped, to rate A 1 for 7 years, but will not be launched until the spring.
Mr. Michael McIntyre is planking a brigatine of 200 tons register for James Muirhead, Esq. She is built of hackmatack, - or juniper - is 96 feet keel, 22 beam, 13 depth of hold, is to be copper fastened; to rate A 1 for 7 years and it is intended for the home market.
Mr. Alex, Grady is building for J.T.Holman, Esq., a brigatine of 200 tons register, 105 feet keel, 25 feet beam, and 12 feet depth of hold. She will rate A 1 for five years, and will be launched about the middle of September.
Mr. Robert McLauron is building for H.T.Holman, Esq., a fine brig intended for the West Indian trade. She measures 113 1?2 feet keel, 25 1/2 breadth of beam and 12 ft.8 inches depth of hold. She will have a round stern, frame of spruce, and will rate A 1 for 5 years.
Mr. John Grady is building for James Campbell, Esq., a fine barque of about 650 tons. Her frame is of hackmatack, - and she measures 128 feet in length of keel, 30 feet beam, and 17 feet depth of hold; is to be copper fastened, will rate A 1 for 7 years, and is intended for the home market
Mr. Lawrence Hibbbit is also building for Mr. Campbell a fine brig of 250 tons register her frame is of spruce, her length of keel is 98 feet, breadth of beam 25 (?) Feet, depth of hold, 12 feet 11 inches, will rate A 1 for 5 years, and is intended for the home market. The vessel is in a forward state and will be launched about the 1st of September.
And so ends the chapter, and a good one it is, speaking volumes for Summerside and for the Island at large. But not alone to the master-builders is all the credit due. The mechanics - the men who wield the axe, the adze and the mallet - to these also belong a portion of the praise. All countries are proud and boast of their native mechanics. This Island need not be ashamed of her's. To those hard-working and ingenious men she owes a very large share of her prosperity - would that her business were such as to induce them all to stay at home, and not seek in other lands, to enrich by their labor and skills an alien people. But we have hopes yet to see the time when there will be work and money here for all who make this Island their home, and when the hum of machinery will waken the echoes and join in concert with the hum of human voices in our busy hives of industry.
We are told that mechanics are scarce and readily command from 7 to 10 pounds per month. We like to see this as it is an unfailing sign of prosperity.