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The propeller steamer Aletha (1901)


Port of Kingston Registry, Number : 2 of 20 May 1901

Name: AlethaType: Steamer, screw
Official Number: 107748
Tons (gross): 171.17 Tons (net): 89.98
Where Built: KingstonPort of Registry / Hail: Kingston
Build Year: 1901Value:
Builder’s Name & Date of Certification: Davis Drydock Co. Ltd, 20 May 1901
Master’s Name: Capt. Roys Subscribing Owners: Mrs. Aletha Roys
Length; 107 feet and 4/10ths. Breadth; 20 feet and 0/10ths
Depth of Hold; 5 feet and 5/10ths Masts:
Stern: round Bowsprit: none
How Built: carvelHow Rigged: unrigged
Figure-head: noneDecks: 2



The propeller steamer ALETHA. Click for enlargement.

  1. List of Vessels on the registry Books of the Dominion of Canada on December 31, 1905 : Steam screw ALETHA. Official Canada No. 107748. Of 171 tons gross; 90 tons Reg. Built Kingston, Ont., 1901. Home port, Kingston, Ont. 107.4 x 19.7 x 5.5 Of 25 horsepower. Owned by Mrs. Aletha Roys, of Kingston, Ont.
  2. 1909, Apr Sold by Mrs. Roys of Kingston to Quinte Navigation Co. of Picton, under charter to Lake Ontario and Bay of Quinte Navigation Co.
  3. 1911, Ontario and Quebec Navigation Co. recently incorporated has been organized to take over business of former Quinte Navigation Co.
  4. Part of A.W. Hepburn's interests from 1909 to 1914, then transferred to C.S.L.
  5. 1919 broken up, but appears (one last time) in Green's Marine Directory of the Great Lakes, 1920, p. 122, as belonging to the Richelieu and Ontario Division of Canada Steamship Lines

See also the entry for the steamer Aletha in our ships Database.

Newspaper and other transcriptions

  1. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 30 May 1901 : Brings Weekly Excursions Here - Beginning on Thursday, June 6th, the new excursion steamer Aletha will run excursions from Ogdensburg to this city every Thursday. Every Wednesday she will carry excursions from Kingston to the burg and return. The vessel is allowed by the Canadian government to carry 360 passengers, and by the American government 420 passengers. She left port today to take an excursion out of Cornwall tomorrow.
  2. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 1 Jul 1901 : Incidents of the Day - The steamer Aletha, bound for Jones' Falls this morning with an excursion party aboard, found the bottom of the Rideau River too close to the surface nearly opposite the Grand Trunk station. She struck fast in the mud, but was easily released by the steamer John Milne, passing at the time.
  3. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 28 Nov 1902 : The Aletha Released. The Calvin wrecking outfit released the steamer Aletha, ashore below Adolphustown, on Wednesday afternoon. The steamer was taken to Deseronto, and is now hauled out on the marine railway. Her wheel was broken, and she was leaking slightly. Mr. Gildersleeve expects to have her on the route again by Monday. The Aletha is a staunch little boat, and was built at Davis' shipyard two years ago.
  4. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 15 Jan 1904 : Day's Episodes - The steamer Aletha has been hauled out on the Kingston foundry marine railway for repairs.
  5. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 28 Jul 1908, p.8 : NEW STEEL STEAMER. Will Be Built By Capt. Roys. Capt. Roys, of the steamer Aletha, has had a most busy season. In fact, he has had more requests for excursions than he could book. The Aletha has been plying in Bay of Quinte waters a great deal this season, with an occasional trip down the St. Lawrence. The genial skipper has had large crowds, too, on every excursion. "Belleville is a great excursion centre," he told the Whig on Monday. "Three boats took excursions out of that city one day last week, and still there were scores of people left on the dock. Each boat had its full complement of passengers." "This winter," declared Capt. Roys, "I am going to build a larger boat. It will be constructed of steel, and will be as safe and sound as human skill can make it. I will have a steamer capable of carrying 500 passengers, and will then be in a position to handle the excursion trade to better advantage." Regular prices and a genial skipper have made the Aletha a favorite boat along the Bay of Quinte and the St. Lawrence river. The captain knows every inch of these waters, and his passengers are always sure of a safe trip when he is at the helm.
  6. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 23 Sep 1908 : CHARGE AGAINST CAPTAIN. Belleville, Sept. 22nd - Capt. Roys, of the steamer Aletha, was on trial here today, charged with taking his boat into Lake Ontario without a permit, she having the right to go on the Bay of Quinte and River St. Lawrence only. Steamboat Inspector Davis testified that the Aletha had gone to Cobourg without permission. It was also charged that the Aletha on three occasions carried more passengers than the law allowed. After some evidence had been submitted the magistrate dismissed one of the latter charges, and the case was then enlarged for a week.
  7. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 1 Dec 1908, p.2 : Cancelled Their Trip - Owing to the rough weather last night, the steamer Aletha was unable to make her regular trip, but will clear tonight if the weather is favorable. The Aletha went over to the Cereal Works' elevator for shelter during the night.
  8. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 22 Feb 1909, p.6 : Steamer Aletha Sold - Capt. Roys has sold the steamer Aletha to E.E. Horsey, general manager of the Lake Ontario & Bay of Quinte Navigation company. It is understood the price paid was about $7,900. Capt. Roys has again gone south to remain till the spring. Quite a number of parties were after the Aletha but Mr. Horsey made the highest bid.
  9. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 4 Sep 1909, p.6 : Aletha Not Damaged - The steamer Aletha, which ran aground some time ago and which was hauled out on the Hepburn ways at Picton this week, was found to be without a scratch on her hull as the result of the accident. Some minor repairs were made to the engine while the boat was pulled out, and it now is as good as new.
  10. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 3 Dec 1910 : The steamer Aletha, that plucky little vessel that ever since navigation opened has braved the seas of the upper and lower gap, made her last trip of the season today. Through an error it was stated that she would run once a week from this time on, but this is positively her last trip. Last year she ran a once-a-week trip after the daily trips ceased, but this year it is not her intention to do so. The Aletha has been very fortunate in not getting into trouble. Every day, unless the weather was too rough, she plowed her way through to Kingston and back, only being laid up once during the latter part of the season, owing to a minor injury to her wheel. Two or three times during the fall she had to lay over here, owing to the condition of the weather, but whenever the bay has been navigable she has been out.
  11. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 2 May 1911 : The steamer Aletha, of the Bay of Quinte Navigation Company line, which plies between here and Picton, is in very bad shape on the rocks in Navy Bay, as the result of an accident to her machinery last night. The fog, which hung over the harbor all day, kept her here until late in the evening. Two or three times the crew decided that they would not attempt to go out in the night. At eleven o'clock she pulled in at Swift's wharf, took on freight for Bay ports, and coaled up preparatory to making a start. Somewhere in the neighborhood of one o'clock, she left the wharf. She had only gone as far as the locomotive works wharf when her main steam pipe burst. This left her at the mercy of the high wind, which was blowing at the time. She was powerless to do anything to assist herself. She could not even give a signal to any boats which might be in the harbor as her steam escaped so quickly as to render that impossible. Her rudder was useless as it was of no assistance with no steam on. She drifted across the harbor, driven before the wind, until she struck on the rocks in Navy Bay.
    The Aletha went over a rock and is lying on her beam's end with her bow out quite a distance. The crew were able to step from the deck to the shore.
    The Aletha is under charter by the Lake Ontario and Bay of Quinte Navigation Company, from the Hepburn Co., of Picton. She recently came off the marine railway at Picton where $2,000 was spent in rebuilding her hull. It is hard to say just what the damage to her will be, but the marine men think it will be heavy. The steamer will have to be put into dry dock after being released.
    The only one who was hurt at all was a man named Ryder, who was a passenger on the boat. He was standing watching the engines working when the accident happened. He was scalded about the neck and hands. Dr. Hanley attended him when he reached the city.
    When seen this morning Edwin E. Horsey, general manager of the L.O. and B. of Q. Steamboat company, said the damage would not be heavy. The Aletha struck broadside and as the hull was rebuilt last winter it would sustain no serious injury. As soon as she hit the rocks along the shore the crew got the life boat out and rowed to shore. The Donnelly Wrecking company is working to release her now and it is not anticipated that much trouble will be experienced. A new steam pipe was installed this morning and steam was gotten up during the forenoon. As soon as employees of the company reached the boat the seacocks were opened and her hold filled with water to prevent the boat from rolling.
  12. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 2 May 1911 : At the time of going to press the steamer Aletha was still aground, but it was expected that she would be released before night. She was lying easily as the wind had shifted soon after she struck.
  13. Buffalo Evening News, Friday, May 5, 1911 : TWO STEAMERS ASHORE IN LAKE ONTARIO. Steam Pipe On One Bursts And She Drifts Onto Rocks, Other Driver Out Of Her Course By Wind. Ogdensburg, May 5. - Two lake vessels are hard and fast aground in Lake Ontario today as a result of severe wind storms during the past 24 hours. From one of the boats, the passenger steamer ALETHA, the passengers and crew escaped in the lifeboats, taking with them a man named Ryder, who had been terribly scalded by the bursting of a steam pipe. The bursting of the pipe disabled the ALETHA's machinery, and she drifted about until she struck on submerged rocks near Kingston, Ont., a big hole being driven in her bottom.
  14. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 2 Jul 1913 : The steamer Aletha, which had its crank shaft broken, is at the Davis' dry dock.....temporarily repaired.
  15. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 12 Aug 1913 : The steamer Aletha brought a crowd from Belleville and took on many more from here [Kingston] en route to the orphanage at Picton. The 15th band of Belleville was on board.
  16. Canadian Shipping and Marine Engineering, May 1916, p. 109 : Aletha Released. – The Donnelly Wrecking Co. had no difficulty in releasing the steamer Aletha, which ran ashore near Bath on the night of May 1, while en route to Picton on her first trip up the Bay of Quinte this season.
  17. References to the steamer Aletha appear in C.H.J Snider's work:
    Schooner Days 861 "Quinte Idyl Of A Hundred Years, 21 Aug 1948" (minor).

References and source notes

(6-22) Many of the contemporary newspaper cuttings can be found at Maritime History of the Great Lakes, Newspaper Transcriptons
(22) C.H.J. Snider Schooner Days index, Naval Marine Archive.

Picton built ships

The research and preparation of many of these data sheets was carried out by K.C. We extend our thanks to him.

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Source notes are listed at the end of the data.


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