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The steam screw Armenia (1876)

1. General

Port of Picton Registry, Number : 6 of 1876

Name: ARMENIAType: Steam screw
Official Number: 71209Tons (Reg.) 84.71
Tons (gross): 99.99Tons (net):
Where Built: Picton, Ont.Port of Registry / Hail: Deseronto
Build Year: 1876Value:
Builder’s Name & Date of Certification: David McMurchy of Picton
Master’s Name: Subscribing Owners: The Rathbun Co. of Deseronto
Length; 100 feetBreadth; 18 feet
Depth of Hold: 7 feetMasts:
Engine-room: 25 feet in length
Stern: RoundBowsprit:
How Built: Carvel, woodHow Rigged: Steamer
Figure-head: NilDecks:



Armenia on the Rathbun ways
Click for enlargement

See also the entry for the steam propeller ARMENIA in our ships Database.

  1. ARMENIA Canadian New Tonnage: 117 Where Built: MillPoint By Whom: McMurchies Built When: 1876 Owner: McQuaig & Others. Port of Hail: MillPoint Value: $7,500 Class: A2. Lake Hull Register of the Association of Lake Underwriters, Page 5, 1879
  2. Propeller ARMENIA New Tonnage: 127 Where Built: Picton By Whom: McMurchy Built When: 1876 Owners: Rathbun Port of Hail: Picton Remarks: Bay & River ONLY, Repairing. Inland Lloyds Vessel Register, Page 2, 1886.
  3. Official Number: 71209 Port of Registry: Picton Rig: Steamer Built When: 1876 Build Location: Picton, Ont. How Propelled: Screw Dimensions: 100’ X 18’ X 7’ Gross Tons: 109 Registered Tons: 85 Owner: S.S. Hutton, Toronto. Sessional Papers, Dept. of Marine. 1887. Page 33.
  4. Prop Vessel Name: ARMENIA New Tonnage: 127 Built Where: Picton Built By: McMurchy Built When: 1876 Owner: Rathbun Co. Port of Hail: Picton Value: $5,000 Class: B1 Remarks: River & Bay. Lloyds Vessel Registry of Canadian Hulls, 1890. Page 4.
  5. Prop ARMENIA New Tonnage: 127 Built Location: Picton Built By: McMurchy Built When: 1876 Owners: D.N. Company Port of Hail: Picton Remarks: River & Bay, Repaired 1890, to be repaired. Inland Lloyds Lake Vessel Register, Canadian Hulls, 1897, Page 4.
  6. ARMENIA Gross Tons: 110 Where Built: Picton Built Of: Wood Built When: 1876 Port of Hail: Deseronto Value: $5,000 Class: B1 Owner: Deseronto Navigation Company. Remarks: River & Bay. Inland Lloyds Lake Vessel Register, Page 5, 1902.
  7. Propeller Gross Tons: 110 Where Built: Picton When Built: 1876 Rebuilt: 1889 Bottom Caulked: 1901 Last in DryDock: 1906 Owner: Deseronto Navigation Company Port of Hail: Deseronto Remarks: River & Bay, requires repairs. Inland Lloyds Vessel Register, Page 1, 1907.
  8. Engine: One High Pressure built in Kingston 1876 by John Brokenshire Dia. 16" by Stroke 18, 50 H.P.
  9. Broken up during the last year, in our ship yard. Signed: Rathbun Co. [Note: 1899]
  10. Register closed Nov. 25, 1909. Transferred from Picton Register Aug. 29, 1894


11 July 1876, Registered Picton, Ont.
March 19 1877, owned by McQuaig & Smith, Picton, 169 gross tons.
1878 109 gross tons / 85 net tons.
1879, owned by McQuaig et al, Mill Point, Ont.
27 October 1880, owned by the Deseronto Navigation Co. Ltd.
18 November 1882, owned by William J. Browne.
8 October 1883, owned by the Desoronto Navigation Co. Ltd.
15 April 1884, owned by William Geo. Shaw, Toronto, Ont.
20 June 1884, owned by Samuel S. Hutton, Toronto, Ont.
1886 - Licensed for 271 passengers
1889 Rebuilt 110 net tons.
23 June 1894, owned by the Rathbun Co., Desoronto, Ont.
1909 Broken up.

Newspaper and other transcriptions

  1. The new Mills List, Canadian Coastal Inland Steam Vessels, 1809-1930 states the ownership of ARMENIA in1877 was R. Johnston, and Hutton of Toronto from 1883-1886, and the Rathbun Company from 1895-1907. Vessel was licensed for 271 passengers in 1886.
  2. Kingston Daily News May 15, 1876 p. 3. Picton May 13th. A new propeller, the ARMENIA was launched from Redmond’s yard yesterday. She is owned by McMurchie Bros., and will be fitted up in first class style for passenger travel. She will run from Picton to Alexandria Bay and the camp meeting ground daily. She is 100 feet keel, 18 feet beam, and 21 feet overall; with a 7 foot hold. Her engine is at 90 horsepower, manufactured at Brokenshire’s foundry, Kingston. She will be ready for business around the middle of June.
  3. Kingston British Whig May 17, 1876 p. 2. ARMENIA arrived at Portsmouth to receive machinery built by Brokenshire.
  4. Daily News July 4, 1876 p. 3. A NEW STEAMER The steamer ARMENIA, which was launched at Picton in the beginning of last May, left Kingston this afternoon for Picton. The ARMENIA is a very fine boat, owned by Messrs. D & W McMurchy of Picton. She has an elegantly fitted up cabin and a fine roomy deck, being especially suited for excursion parties. The deck allows plenty of room for dancing and other amusements. The engine and machinery were manufactured at the Atlantic Foundry, the work being superintended by Mr. John Crawford.
  5. Daily News July 15, 1876 p. 2. STEAMBOAT SUBSIDY : A public meeting of the ratepayers of Picton was held at the town hall there on Monday evening last to take into consideration the granting of a subsidy to the steamer ARMENIA. The Mayor presided and the following resolution was carried: “Moved by A.I. Corkindale, Esq., seconded by W. Ross Esq. M.P. That in the opinion of this meeting it is expedient that a bonus of the sum of $400 be granted to the proprietors of the steamer ARMENIA on condition that they run the said steamer from Kingston to Picton for three years leaving Kingston every morning (Sundays excepted) at on a hour so as to arrive in Picton not later than 10 a.m., and return in the afternoon, not earlier than 3 p.m. and that the Town Council be requested to meet at as early a date as possible for the purpose of granting the said amount and entering into final arrangements with the parties.” An amendment to raise the bonus by private subscribers was lost, the vote standing 14 for the main motion, 7 for the amendment.
  6. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 17 Jul 1876, p.3 Subsidy - Picton might subsidize prop Armenia to run daily to Kingston.
  7. Daily News (Kingston, ON), Aug. 11, 1876, p.2. The Armenia - The steamer Armenia is making for herself a very fair share of patronage on the Bay of Quinte route. By advertisement in another column it will be seen that she will have daily trips to the Campmeeting while it remains in session, and also excursion trips three times a week up the Bay. We have no doubt she will be largely patronized in this last respect.
  8. Kingston Daily News August 17, 1876. Kingston Daily News August 17, 1876. THE ARMENIA - The steamer ARMENIA made her first trip down to the Camp Meeting Ground last night and will make trips every evening during the meeting. This will be a good opportunity for visitors to go down the river and spend a couple of days. Marine Notes: James Swift’s; Arrived, ARMENIA, from Picton.
  9. Daily British Whig September 18, 1876 p.3. Broken Shaft: in steamer ARMENIA.
  10. Daily News (Kingston, ON), April 5, 1877, p. 2. Navigation Items: The Armenia has become the property of B. Johnston, Esq., and will make daily trips between Belleville and Picton.
  11. Daily News May 23, 1877 p. 3. Marine Notes: The ARMENIA: After some difficulty in deciding upon which route to place her, the ARMENIA has resumed her route between Belleville and Picton and will continue it for the balance of the season. Captain Porter, for many years purser of the old ST. HELEN, and well known on the Bay route, is commander.
  12. Daily News September 11, 1877 p. 3. Marine Notes: The ARMENIA. It is stated that the steamer ARMENIA, which has been plying between Belleville and Picton since the opening of navigation is to be taken off on Saturday and placed as a daily boat between Ganonoque and Picton, connecting with the UTICA at noon for Bellville and Trenton. The present captain, Mr. Johnson is to be transferred to either the PICTON or EMPRESS OF INDIA and will be succeeded by Mr. Wm. Porter.
  13. British Whig February 15, 1878 p. 3. IMPROVING: Capt. Collier intends to move engine further aft in the ARMENIA so as to shorten shaft; raise it a foot and put on a larger wheel. Upper works to be overhauled, upper cabin & saloons built. [Picton New Nation]
  14. Daily News March 26, 1878 p. 3. Marine Notes: Picton, March 25th. The steamers SHANNON and ARMENIA commenced running today, the SHANNON to Napanee and the ARMENIA to Kingston. Navigation is now open on the Bay of Quinte.
  15. British Whig March 30, 1878 p. 2 AD: ARMENIA, Capt. Jas. Bollier, Master, for Picton, Belleville, and Trenton.
  16. Daily News April 5, 1878 p. 3. The Steamer ARMENIA: This fine boat, the first on the Bay of Quinte this season is well deserving of patronage. Since last season she has been entirely refitted and her machinery moved more towards the stern. This adds greatly to the accommodation of the boat, which is now very comfortable. The great advantage of her running on the Bay is that she leaves for Picton in the morning and returns to Kingston in the evening, thus saving a day. We hope that the proprietors will meet with the encouragement their enterprise deserve.
  17. Daily News April 8, 1878 p. 1 SPEED: The most sanguine expectations as to the increased speed of the steamer ARMENIA, as a result of the recent improvements and changes in her machinery has been realized, as we understand that 21/2 miles per hour have been added to her running qualities.
  18. Daily News April 22, 1878 p. 3. CHANGE OF TIME: The steamer ARMENIA is making good such splendid time that her proprietors have decided to leave Kingston one hour later (at 8 a.m.) on and after this date in order to accommodate those who are anxious to have a daylight trip up the Bay. During the season, a weekly excursion will be given at a low rate and season tickets, good to points on the Bay and Wells Island during the Camp meeting and for moonlight excursions, will be issued shortly.
    ACCIDENT: Yesterday morning, while getting up steam on the ARMENIA, Mr. W. F. Robertson was severely scalded by the bursting of a steam pipe in which there appears to have been some defect.
  19. British Whig April 22, 1878 p. 3. Marine : The Bay steamer ARMENIA: ACCIDENT: Yesterday the steamer ARMENIA intended to run to Cape Vincent with a herd of cattle. Steam was raised to the amount of about 20 lbs., when some part of the boiler gave out and the escape of boiling water and steam was such as to scald the engineer about the right side in a very serious manner. He is now in the hospital receiving medical treatment. The accident was occasioned by some joint not being properly made. Had there been a greater pressure of steam the engineer might have been killed.
  20. Daily News June 25, 1878 p. 3. THE ARMENIA. The ARMENIA is now said to be the fastest boat on the Bay, the experiments with her wheels having been entirely successful. Passengers by the ARMENIA can make the round trip the same day and have a few hours for business in Picton or at any of the intervening ports.
  21. Daily News July 8, 1878 p. 3. The ARMENIA: The steamer ARMENIA, while on her way down, broke her rudder and had to be towed down by the LADY FRANKLIN. She will be made all right again in a day or two.
  22. Daily News July 9, 1878 p. 3. The ARMENIA. The ARMENIA’s captain, N. Hudgin, of the steamer ARMENIA, writes to say that he resumed his regular trips today, the rudder having been fixed. He purposes having a moonlight excursion this evening, which will no doubt be well patronized.
  23. Daily News October 3, 1878 p. 2. Picton County Show: The steamer ARMENIA will leave Swift’s wharf for Picton on Friday morning 4th inst., at 6 o’clock arriving in Picton at 10:30, giving good time for passengers to visit the show held there on that day. To Picton & Return, 75 cents
  24. Daily News, October 14, 1878 p.2 CHANGE OF TIME: Steamer ARMENIA, Capt. Collier. Hereafter, the steamer ARMENIA will leave Picton daily at 6 a.m. for Kingston, calling at all intermediate ports. Returning, will leave Kingston at 3:30 for Picton. For freight or passage, apply at James Swift: Office at wharf
  25. Chicago Inter Ocean December 2, 1878 Kingston, Ont, Nov 28th. We experienced a heavy gale on this lake last night, accompanied with snow and sleet. The steamer ARMENIA went ashore on the head of Amhearst Island.
  26. Daily British Whig October 15, 1879 p. 3. WIND WAFTS: A mortgage having been foreclosed, the steamer ARMENIA has been laid up at Mill Point.
  27. Daily British Whig October 31, 1879 p. 3. STEAMBOAT ROUTES: Messrs., Rathbun & Sons having secured the steamer ARMENIA have placed her on the route between Mill Point and Trenton.
  28. Daily British Whig December 5, 1879 p. 3 . Navigation. The Bay of Quinte was closed by ice last night. The lower ferry of Belleville was obliged to stop today. The upper ferry is still running. The steamer ARMENIA has ceased running, having to turn back of account of heavy ice. She has been laid up at Mill Point.
  29. British Whig April 6, 1880. THE BAY OF QUINTE Navigation is now fully open on the Bay. The first arrival of the season was the steamer ARMENIA, from Picton.
  30. Kingston Whig-Standard October 6, 1880. The prop ARMENIA ran on the shoal at Ganonoque at 2 o’clock this morning. The steamer PRINCESS LOUISE pulled her off.
  31. Whig-Standard October 7, 1880. The prop ARMENIA left here yesterday for Toronto. Near the Ducks her boiler tubes gave out. Info was brought to the city respecting the accident and the tug CHIEFTAN was dispatched to pick her up and bring her here.
  32. British Whig December 11, 1882 p. 3. Marine News HERE & THERE: It is not the steamer VARUNA that has been sold to Messrs. Rathbun, but the steamer ARMENIA, known as the little ARMENIA.
  33. British Whig July 9, 1883 p. 2. NEWSY ITEMS: Rathbun’s own six vessels; QUINTE, PURITAN, DESERONTO, ARMENIA, PILGRIM, and RELIANCE. Also building another for the Oswego trade.
  34. British Whig April 28, 1886 p. 3. Marine Intelligence: The ARMENIA is doing the route of the QUINTE (between Deseronto and Trenton), while she undergoes repairs. Once the work on the QUINTE is finished, the ARMENIA will commence regular trips between Kingston and the Bay of Quinte ports.
  35. British Whig September 25, 1886 p. 8. Marine Intelligence The steamer ARMENIA is carrying large quantities of apples and fruits from South Bay to Kingston. The steamer will carry passengers to the Kingston fair at greatly reduced rates.
  36. British Whig January 4, 1888 p. 3. District Dashes --- The following vessels winter in Deseronto; . . . Steamer ARMENIA. Several steamers including the ARMENIA have been hauled up on the Marine Railway to receive extensive repairs.
  37. British Whig (Kingston, ON), Feb. 13, 1888, p. 8. Personal Mention - Capt. G. O'Brien has been appointed by Calvin & Son captain of their new str. Armenia.
  38. British Whig December 6, 1890 p. 1. Marine Intelligence The steamers ARMENIA, ELLA ROSS, and DESERONTO were hauled out for repairs during the winter.
  39. British Whig August 9, 1893 p. 1. Marine Intelligence The steamer ARMENIA will go into the government dry dock today to have some caulking done. She is leaking somewhat.
  40. British Whig (Kingston, ON), 24 Sep 1898, p.2. The steamer Armenia was also built in 1873, receiving repairs in 1883 and 1886.
  41. British Whig March 29, 1900 p. 2. Incidents of the Day: The Deseronto Navigation Company will have the following commanders for 1900. ARMENIA; Capt. S. Anderson.
  42. References to the steamer Armenia appear in C.H.J Snider's work:
    Schooner Days, CMIII (903) What Happened To The Bavarias Eight?, 11 Jun 1949
    Schooner Days, CDLXXXV (485) Wind Wagon's Lucky Friday, 1 Mar 1941

References and source notes

(12-53) Many of the contemporary newspaper cuttings can be found at Maritime History of the Great Lakes, Newspaper Transcriptons
(54) 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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