Robertson’s Landmarks excerpt – Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

Robertson’s Landmarks of Toronto – A Collection of Historical Sketches – excerpt Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

  • Created by: J. Ross Robertson, Toronto Telegram
  • Date: 1908
  • Provenance: Scanned by Ted English from an original copy; PDF by Eric Zhelka
  • Notes: Excerpt: pages 363-391. CHAPTER LXXV. The LIGHTHOUSE ON THE ISLAND, The Story of the Life of the Light and Its Keepers for the Past One Hundred Years.

Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottages:

From 1792 until 1837
Toronto from 1834 to 1908
Three Hundred and Thirty Engravings of Places and Scenes
in Toronto or in Connection with the City.
Entered according to the Aot of the Parliament of Canada in the year one thousand nine hundrel and eight, by J. Ross ROBERTSON, at the Department of Agriculture. Dilawa.
A LIGHTKEEPER’S WORK. All inland lighthouses
lighthouses are pretty much alike. There is not much of life around them if they are away from the centres of population, but if close to a large city, town or village. there is always a chance for the light- keeper to have pleasant hours with others of humankind.
True, the great gales that sweep the Atlantic seaboard are monsters in madness compared with the storms of our inland sea. The lightkeeper on the seacoasts housed in his granite bome, or in his ocean-tossed light-ship, may well shudder as
as the worried waters roll mountains high and send ships to their port or to their doom.
But the duties of our inland light- keepers are on more favored lines, for
THE LIGHTHOUSE ON THE ISLAND their labor is not for more than nine
The Story of the Life of the Light and Its Keepers for the Past One Hun- dred Years.
Hundred years of history in record of Island light. Memorable events of past century seen from ancient bea- con Tower that guards Toronto Har bor. Mariners of countless voyages owe much to kindly glare of old stone lighthouse. Many storms have raged beneath this rugged pile, while more than once wreckage has been littered along the Island sands.
Yes, just a landmark-but the land. mark of all the landmarks, for it is the first and only example of stone and mortar, the first structure that re- mains intact of the skill of the pion- eers who used the twenty-four inch gauge, the common gavel and the chisel the stonemasons and their helpers-the stone-setters and mortar- mixers-Who worked when this city was Little York, one hundred years ago.
A landmark, well, whatever of re. gard we have for other landmarks not so bronzed with age, there is none that sail back into the memories of long ago so quickly as that of the light house, which has some Httle of dignity about it as it stands at the south-west angle of Toronto Island within sight of the great fresh-water sea that is known the world over as “Lake On tario.”
months in the year and oftener of that number four may fairly be reckoned as blessed with summer weather.
The duties of these men are not heavy, and save and except the duty of lighting the lantern at sundown and extinguishing it at sunrise, and that the lantern and all the property he kept in good order and condition, there is nothing much to vary the diary of the day’s doings in the life of a keeper.
But old Ontario can set the pace
when the wind is in the right humor, and it’s an odd summer that the mer maids. if there be any in these waters, don’t raise their graceful hands and say to the sailormen: “Back to your homies to-day, for this is our day, and we want Ontario for ourselves.” Yes, more than once in a season har
steamers and other craft that were built to bid defiance to the elements. to laugh at disaster, to play with the vind had to retreat in their attempt wind and the water and tl. whirl-
to cross the lake or take the chances of wreck and all its terrors.
A POINT OF VANTAGE. Stand with the writer on the gallery of the lighthouse lantern at the Point on an October or November day. Just listen to the moanings of the wind. For days it has been doing the cyclone act down in Texas, and having cleaned up everything in sight in the “Lone Star State,” promptly sprints north at a fifty mile an hour gait, and says
good morning” to Lake Ontario, Just at its south-west angle.
Then the water begins to move about and the rollers come thundering down and across the lake, battering the sand shores at the Lighthouse Point, and simply scooping in a morn- Ing’s work from fifty to a hundred- yes, a couple of hundred feet of shore, and sweeping it away as fast as the water will carry it.
A SOU-WESTER AT WORK. Then this sou-wester looks for a change of route, for it is a tourist wing in a way, but not “personally conducted.” It turns to the north-east, and then loops the loop and rakes the south and west shores of the lake which are better able to stand the racket than the sand covered front of Toronto Island.
Then there is an east gale, and wind from that direction is not healthy, for either man on sea or man on shore, On Lake Ontario it simply starts its journey in the east-perhaps it has played pranks on the north part of New York State opposite Kingston, and then, when the full power is on, it takes a running jump up the lake and chops off an acre of sand from Scar- boro Beach, and deposits it at the eastern gap, where the piers catch it, and after this it works its way west and does the south shore of the island 10 great amount of good.
It is the sou’-west and east storms that put a scare into the steamer or sailor men, especially the former, for when the wind is the south-west or east steamer men have to be careful, east steamer men have to be careful, for crossing the lake means that their crafts are in Le trough of the sea, and roll to the limit, just as if they were in a cradle created by the storm. A north gale does no great damage, and even a strong gale from the sonth, does not worry the mariners.
But Toronto Bay suffers from an east gale, for the bay is narrow at its east end and wide at its west end. In a strong east gale the water piles up and starts to run west at a rapid rate and dashes against the west sandbar that has formed south of the western entrance, and so the bay is to a certain extent dangerous for small craft when the wind is in this direction. But on the other hand, with
a gale from the west the bay is never rough, for it has the protection of the western sandbar, which year after year appears to increase in width, the gain, of course, being on its western shore.
But the Toronto Bay is a good bay for boating, for it is recorded that there are at least 200 yachts, 125 ding- bies,
skiff 200 sailing skiffs. 400 rowing
skiffs, 200 motor boats,
motor boats, 10 steam yachts, and, about 50 steamers. that from one end of the summer to the other are navigated in and out of the harbor.
A BOOKFUL OF STORY. What a bookful of story, pleasant and otherwise. for mariners. could the old beacon at the Point relate if it bad the gift of speech.
How it saw Lieut-Governor Gore. who was appointed 25th August, 1806 on the 17th Oct.. 1811, embark in the “Toronto Yacht and attempt to leave the harbor for Niagara, but for a sou-‘wester that was doing past mas ter’s work, so that the Governor spent the night with the commandant of Toronto garrison.
How it saw the same Governor sail round the Point in 1811 in the Lady Gore,” on his way to Kingston on a four years’ leave of absence in Eng land-He returned in 1815.
How it saw in the summer of 1812 the famous “Toronto Yacht” that did such good service between Toronto and Niagara wrecked off the south shore of the then peninsula and near to the position of the light. the Lighthouse through a mistake as
Point on board the ”
How it saw Gen. Brock pass the Point on board the “General Simcoe,” a transport, which also carried 12 guns, June the 27th, 1812, for war had been on his way from York to Niagara on June the 27th, 1812. for war had been declared on June 19th and the news came to Canada on the evening of June 25th.
How it saw the “Toronto Yacht”
with General Brock on board sail from York for Niagara on the 7th July, 1812. after having received word that war had been declared.
How it saw the American fleet. un- der Commodore Chancy, on the morn ing of the 27th April. 1813 lie off the Humber Bay and coming west to
wards the Old Fort, bombard the fort special striped signal flag that was al- and town of York.
ways hoisted by the lightkeeper when- ever the “Richmond Packet” hove in ‘sight.
How it saw the American fleet ap pear off the Lighthouse Point about 7 a.m. on the 27th July, 1813, and bom. bard the Town of York.
How it saw on the afternoon of July 31st the American fleet round the point for the second time and pay a visit to York.
How it saw the “Simcoe” transport return to York on the 14th October, 1813, filled with prisoners taken at Queenston Heights, and one of the number, Winfield Scott, afterwards the distinguished American general.
FIRST ONTARIO STEAMER. How it saw for the first time on Friday, 6th June, 1816, smoke pour-
How it saw on the 5th December, 1820, the “Lady Sarah Maitland” schooner pass into the harbor in
safety, after a perilous voyage from Prescott to York.
How it saw the “Frontenac” steam- er, with all flags flying, enter the bar- bor on 9th June, 1826, with the 70th Highland Regiment on board.
How it saw the steamer “Canada” plying between York and Niagara, with Hugh Richardson As master struggle with а great southeast storm in July, 1827, breaking her main shaft, and remaining listless in mid- lake, while on the way to York.
The original bouse of the Lightkeeper, erented 1908.
Durnan’s Workshop.
ing from the funnel of the “Frontenac,” the first steamer that plowed the waters of the lake, on her way to York harbor.
How it saw the “Richmond Packet,” a sailing vessel, which had “excellent accommodation for ladies, gentlemen, and other passengers,” salute the lighthouse as it passed on its first voyage from York to Niagara on July 24th, 1820,
How it appreciated on the same day the presentation of a set of colors to Captain Oates, and the receipt of a
How it saw on the night of the 29th September, 1827, the sky across the lake reddened by the flames that burned the pioneer “Frontenac.” as she drifted she drifted from Niagara
from Niagara dock and river into the lake waters.
How it saw in June. 1828, the “Al ciope” steamer, built at Niagara, tc succeed the “Frontenac” salute the Hghthouse flag and enter York Har bor for the first time.
How the beacon was puzzled as it read the name “Alciope” on the paddle- box as the steamer passed the Point.
“Surely,” thought the beacon, “it is a ship painter’s misinterpretation of the word “Alcyone,” for there’s no such word as “Alciope” in any standard dic- tionary that I have ever seen.” The beacon was right, for “Alcyone,” and not “Alciope,” was the daughter of the King of the Winds, Aeolus, who mar- ried Ceyx, who was drowned when go- ing to consult the oracle of Apollo at Claros. Alcyone, when she found her husband’s body washed on the sea shore, threw herself in the sea. To reward their mutual affection, the gods metamorphosed them into halcyons or king fishers, and decreed that the sea should remain calm while these birds laid their eggs in nests that floated on the sea, and to have the power of eharming the winds and calming the waves during incubation, so that the owner of the “Alciope” thought that the name would charm the waters of Ontario even if his painter had “miss layed” in the spelling.
How it saw the “William Fourth,” built at Gananoque in 1832, the only four funnel steamer on the lake, make, in 1833, her first trip from
Prescott to York.
How it saw Sir Peregrine Maitland on board His Majesty’s yacht “Bull. trog,” while on his way from Kings ton to Niagara in Oct., 1828, obey the commands of a south-wester, and seek safety in York Harbor.
How it saw the first “Chief Justice Robinson,” built by Capt. Hugh Rich- ardson for the Niagara route, enter Toronto Harbor in 1842.
How it saw the Magnet of the old Royal Mail Line-the only one built iron-making her first trip in the spring of 1847 to Niagara.
How it saw the “Ocean Wave” leave Toronto on the 28th
28th April, 1853, to be burned off Kingston, with many passengers early on the follow- Ing day.
How it saw the “Citizen,” a ferry steamer, sail on 6th May, 1853, through the Eastern Gap, the first steamer to go through, and then jour- ney to the Humber and back to Toronto.
How it saw the “Peerless” make her Arst trip on 5th June, 1853, to Niagara and leave Toronto harbor on 10th May, 1861, on her last trip en route for service fn southern waters, which
she never reached, for she was lost off Cape Hatteras.
How it saw the steamer “Queen City,” formerly “Lady of the Lake,” in flames at the Queen’s Wharf about 10 o’clock p.m. on January 25th. 1855.
How it saw the great south-west gale of 18th April, 1855, which wreck- ed the schooner “Defiance” and many others of lake craft.
How it saw on July 16th, 1855, the “Canada,” the sister
sister ship of the “America,” the two magnificent steam- ships of the Great Western Railway, both built at Niagara, enter Toronto harbor on its first journey between Hamilton, Toronto and Oswego. A TORONTO SHIP FOR ENGLAND.
How it saw the three-masted sail- ing vessel, “City of Toronto.” built at what is now the foot of Lorne street, opposite Knox College, 110W the Queen’s Hotel, and sail around the Point for England in 1855.
How it saw the “Chief Justice.” held by a foot of ice. cut out of Toronto Ray with saws, and plough its way through the ice in the winter of 1855, as tng writer stood by.
How it saw the boiler of the pro- pellor “Inkerman” blow up as the ves- Brown’s wharf on the afternoon of sel was backing out from Upton & 29th May, 1857.
How it saw the “Peerless” on 13th Oct., 1859, take the veterans of the War of 1812 to Queenston Heights to the inauguration of the Brock’s Monument.
How it saw the steamer “Kingston” of the Royal Mail Line, on 7th Sept.. 1860, with the Royal Standard at its masthead, round the point with H. R. 11, the Prince of Wales on board, and land him at the foot of John street.
How it saw in July, 1861, the pre- sent lighthouse on the Queen’s wharf built and installed.
How it saw the terrific storm of 2nd Nov., 1861, when many schooners were lost, and the propellor “Bay State” went down with all on board.
How it saw just before daybreak on 21st Aug., 1863, the sky blackened over on the Niagara side of the lake as the steamer “Zimmerman” was de- stroyed by fire.
How it saw the “Chicora” come up the lake in 1866 after its service as the “Letter B,’ a Confederate block-
ade runner in the United States Civil War, and how it heard “eight bells” struck, for it was high noon just when the steamer was due west of the
of the Richelieu line, make her first trip for Prescott, 5th July, 1901.
How it saw the tug “Mary” towing the dredge Sir Wilfrid round the Point on the morning of the 9th Oct., 1902, on its way to Kingston, and heard of
Civil War, round the Point
Hope at ning
How it saw the “Rothesay Castle,” built in 1864 for a blockade runner in the U. S. Civil on the evening in the summer of 1866, and enter the harbor, and take the Niagara route as the “Southern Belle.”

How saw on the evening of 1st June, 1866, the steamer “City of To ronto” take the Queen’s Own Rifles, 350 strong, under Lt. Col. Gilmour, for active service during the Fenian In- vasion.
How it saw the “Monarch” steamer wrecked on the 17th August, 1875, just a mile east of the lighthouse, and the shore strewn with wreckage.
How it saw all steamers on 2nd Aug., 1870, enter the harbor with flags at half-mast in token of respect for Capt. Hugh Richardson, Harbour- master, who died that day in Toronto, in his 87th year.
How it saw the lightning in 1879 strike the weather vane on the lantern cage, travel down the stairway, clean all the whitewash off the inner walls, knock the steps so that the keeper couldn’t get up to the lantern, and then disappear through the transom over the entrance door.

How it saw the reflection of the fames of the fire that consumed the second steamer, “City of Toronto,” on a summer night in 1882 at Port Dal- housie.
How it saw the steamer”
on 5th July, 1883, land at the Point, 56 sick children, the first that ever occu- pied The Lakeside Home for Little Children, the convalescent home of the Hospital for Sick Children.
How it saw the Cibola make her first trip to Niagara in 1888.
How on 13th Nov., 1866, it saw the waters of the lake at boiling point as the huge rollers came ashore and cut away yards of the south front of the Island, when the “Caspian” schooner was wrecked, and also vessels of Ham- ilton, Toronto, Port Hope and King.
How it saw the “Toronto” of the Richelieu line make her first. trip to Prescott in the season of 1899.
How it saw the steamer “Kingston.”
of the same day.
How it saw the steam barge Re- solute go down in a south-west gale west of and near the harbor during the night of 22nd Nov., 1906.
How it saw the “Cayuga” of the .agara line, make her first trip on 8th June, 1907.
And many other events that would fill volumes.
When John Graves Simcoe, the first Governor of Upper Canada, “set out” with his suite on the 3rd of May. 1793. “in boats from Niagara to Toronto round the head of the Lake Ontario by Burlington Bay.” as stated in the Upper Canada Gazette of 9th May, 1793, he declared on arrival at Toronto that in the near future a lighthouse to guide mariners, would have to be es- tablished on the western end of the peninsula opposite York. In 179% the present Toronto Island was a penin sula on which one could walk from
west and south shores to the point Gibraltar or Hanlan’s Point along the where the peninsula joined the main- land, just east of the Woodbine race track.
The suggestion of the Governor istration. Indeed eight years elapsed never materialized during his admin-
before the shaft from the Queenston quarries reared its head on the barren. sands and carried the beacon that has welcomed and warned the thousands of sailormen who, in calm and storm. have watched the flashing of its rays as they darted from the lantern to the blue waters of the great lake. LOCATION OF GIBRALTAR POINT.
And here let it be noted in the lit erary log book, that the name “Gib- raltar Point.” as applied to the pre- sent location of the lighthouse. is mis- applied. It was never so named. deed, some of the old inhabitants 1818-20, one, the late William Helli-
The lettering on this official plan has the words “Gibraltar Point” at the site of Hanlan’s, and also that on the east and west shores at this point, the depth of water averaged three feet, and that in Blockhouse Bay here was only one spot, about 300 feet south of Durnan’s boathouse and east a couple. of hundred feet, where the greatest depth of water was six feet.
well of Highland Creek, says it was and extended for the Toronto Ferry known as “Grindstone Point,” but for Company. what reason no one knows. That name was certainly inappropriate, for of stone there are no examples on that vast acreage of sand. The truth is, and this is the story at Wolford, the family home of Simcoe in Devon, that the Governor when he named the north spit of the west sand bank, Gibraltar Point, had in his mind the relative positions
of Gibraltar, the fortress on the Mediter- ranean, and Cape Spartel and Ceuta, on the shores of Africa on the south shore of the straits that lead to that great inland sea.
WHY “BLOCKHOUSE” BAY. The term “Blockhouse Bay” origin. ated from the fact that Governor Sim- coe erected in 1794 at Gibraltar Point, a small blockhouse with two guns. This
The original home of the The present keeper’s house,
lightkeeper, 1808.
The Lighthouse.
“battery” as it was called, occupied the site of the waterworks crib. which stands about a hundred feet from the Toronto Ferry Island docks. In 1793 the spit of sand ran out in this direction, but this part of the shore has all been dredged away to make the ground and cribwork of the Ferry Company. Fifteen years ago. when the water near to the crib was being dredged, the remains of the wooden foundation of the blockhouse found, and also some small cannon balls that were for the supply of the two guns that were mounted at this
For many years this error in nam-1 ing lighthouse point prevailed, and even in a Landmark, Vol. II., p. 680, published in 1896, the term “Gibral tar” for the lighthouse point is used.
But the discovery by the writer in 1905, in the Record Office in Chancery Lane, London, England, of the or- ginal and official plan of the town and harbor made by “A. Aitken,” a deputy- surveyor, “by order of Lieut.-Gov. Sim- coe,” shows that “Gibraltar Point” was the point that existed before the present Hanlan’s Point was filled in blockhouse.
But to return to the lighthouse and its history. It is said that prior to the end of the eighteenth century, be. tween 1796-1800, steps were taken to erect a lighthouse at the southwest angle of the peninsula, but there is no record nor is there any mention of such proposal in the Simcoe papers or in the Upper Canada Gazette, the official organ of the Provincial Govern ment.
The debates of the Legislature of 1803 were never published, for Han sard was not one of the novelties in connection with early Legislatures, ut the Acts passed by our pioneer law makers have been published, and as a matter of record the one that authoriz ed the building of this lighthouse is made a part of this Landmark.
The Act was for Customs purposes and also for the purpose of establish ing “a fund for the erection and re- pairing of lighthouses.”
It reads:-
In the forty-third year of George the Third, A.D., 1803, Third Section, Chap. II.
“An Act to Explain and Amend an Act passed in the Forty-fifth Year of His Majesty’s Reign intituled ‘An Act for Granting to His Majesty, his heirs and successors, to and for the Uses of this Province, the like Duties on Goods and Merchandise brought into this Province from the United States of America, s are now paid on Goods and Merchandise imported from Great Bri- tain and other places, and to Provide more effectually for the Collection and Payment of Duties on Goods and Mer-
chandise coming from the United
States of America into this Province.” and also to establish a Fund, for the erection and repairing of Light Houses. (Passed March 5, 1803.)
“VII. And whereas it will be neces- sary and essential to the safety of ves- sels, boats, rafts and other craft pass- ing from Lake Ontario Into the River. Niagara, and passing by the Island called Tale Forest, and likewise into the Port of York, that there should be n Light House erected near to each
of the sold last mentioned places. Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid. That In order to provide for the expense of erecting and repairing such Light Houses, it shall and may be lawful to and for the collector or his deputy at the port to which any vessel, boat, raft or other craft shall arrive next after having passed the anld Lake Into the sald River or the anid Island, or which shall come into the Port of York, and such collector or his deputy is hereby authorized and required to
demand and receive of and from the master, commander or owner of each and every such vessel, boat. raft or other craft the following rate, that is to say, for every vessel, bont, raft or other craft of the burthen of ten tons and upwards, the sum of three pence for every ton of which vessel. boat. raft or other craft is of burthen, and which burthen is ereby required to be computed by such collector or his deputy, and the monies by such ton- nage rate accruing, when collectol, the said collector is hereby rotired to pay into the hands of his Majesty’s Tie- ceiver General of this province, at the same time he pays the other duties by him collected, and all which said. sums of money so to be collected upon the said tonnage. the Governor. Lieut- enant-Governor, or person administer- ing the Government of the Province. is hereby authorized and impowered by and with the advice and consent of the Executive Council of the Prov- ince, to lay out and expend or cause to be laid out and expended, in the erection and keeping in repair, and other incidental charges attending three Light Houses, one to be erected and built upon the south westernmost point of a certain island called Isle Forest, situate about three lenguta from the town of Kingston, in the Midland District; another upon Miss- issauga Point, at the entrance of the Niagara River, near to the town of Niagara, and the other upon Gibraltar Point.”
THE TORONTO LIGHTHOUSE. Material: Queenston and Kingston
Building authorized
Work commenced…
Queenston stone
Lantern first lighted 30th
52 feet
22 feet
68 feet
6 feet
46 feet
46 feet 8×8 feet
Height original structure,
including lantern Diameter at base.. Circumference at base Thickness of walls at base Thickness of wall at top
in 1808..
Circumference stone ridge
under lantern (1808) Floor area under lantern Ground floor area, inter-
Heightened in 1832, King-
stone stone
Total height of stone
work.. Height Height from stone work
to vane..
12×12 feet
12 feet
64 feet
18 feet
$2 fort
Height from ground to
vane on lantern..
Oll used each year .. Light on clear night
*be soon.
Light on might
can be soon
Revolving light runs with
out re-winding cable
Muller or Millar.
200 gals.
30 miles
14 to 20 miles
14 hours
8 years ..16 years James Durnan.. 22 years George Durnan …52 years Patrick McSherry. 2 years
plcture was copied in oil, and prosent ed to the corporation of Toronto by Mr. Robertson In 1907.
Certain It is that the lighthouso at Toronto was oructed within five years of the passage of the net of the Legis- laturo, for the lato Mr. William Holll- well, of 111ghland Crook, who was present in 1818 at the dismantling of 1808-1815 the blockhouso at what is now Ilun- 1816-1831 lan’s Point, had a conversation with 1832-1853 a Mr. Thompson,
who about 1806 1853-1905 1853-1905 brought over Niagara stone, of which 1905-1907 1905-1907 the present lighthouse is in great part
In all..
..100 years 100 years THREE ONTARIO LIGHTHOUSES.
There is no official data by which the exact time of the installation of the lighthouse at or near Kingston can be determined. It seems reasonable to suppose that when in 1803 an act of the Legislature was passed for the erection of three lighthouses, one at Kingston, a second at Niagara, and the third at “Gibraltar Point,” oppo- site York, now Toronto, that these lighthouses were erected in due
In Appendix No. 19, Report on Light- houses, Public Works of Canada, there is this extract: “The lighthouse Gibraltar Point is on the S. W. side of the point, 1% miles S. of Toronto. Erected in 1820. In 1868 $55 was spent in repairs.”
The Public Works report of 1807 states, concerning the light at Gib- raltar Point, formerly Lighthouse Point, Toronto Island, that the light is on the south-west side of the Point, three miles south of Toronto, latitude north 43.37.0, longitude west 79.23.30. It had then twelve lamps, so this re- port states, and was established and first light lit in 1820.
There is a record also in this report of the light at Queen’s Wharf, on the western pier, first lighted in 1838.
Notwithstanding this statement in the Government report, every plan of York and Toronto Harbor from 1813 till 1907 shows the site of the light house, and in reference to each its location is so marked. In Robertson’s collection is a copy of a picture of York, now Toronto, made in 1818 by Mr. Irving. The artist stood within 200 feet of the lighthouse, and the building is shown in this picture. This
A second proof is that in a military plan of 1813, in the Robertson collec- tion of early inaps and plans of the city, is shown the site of the light- house plainly marked, and if any other plan between 1808-12 is ever discov cred, it will surely contain the same marking.
Regarding the lighthouse at Kings- tion,, there is no official data prior to 1833 of the installation of a light on any point at or near Kingston.
It is known that there was a block house and a signal station on Snake Island, erected about the time of the war of 1812, and Is station was used to signal the fort at Kingston.
The channels used in the approach to Kingston harbor were three, namely the Batteaux Channel, between Simcoe and Wolfe Island; the North Channel, and occasionally, what is called the South Channel.
Bouchette in 1832 channels as follows:-
describes the
“The approach to Kingston Harbor is made by three different channels; the first’ called Batteaux Channel, is between Wolfe Island and Forest Is- land, and is generally used by small craft only, there being in several places hardly two fathoms and a half, water; the next is the South Channel, formed by Forest Island and Snake Island; a small spot with extensive bank spreading from it; here also is the fair way the water shoals from three to two fathoms and a half. The third and best is the North Channel, between Snake Island and the main- land which, although it increases the distance a little, is by far the safest, having from five to ten fathoms in it.”
The charts of old days always point out the North Channel as the Import- ant one, and even now vessels com-
ing for the first time to the harbor of Kingston nourly always take the North Channol.
The only valuablo Ighthouse sito for any of these channels is that at Nino Mile Point, and as there is no evidence of an earlier light It would seom that tho first lighthouse is the one existing there, on Simcoe, or For- ost, Island. Simcoo Island seems
Simcoo Island seems to have gone under several names. First, Dolle Islo, then Islo Au Foret, or La Forest. Varlous stories are told to account for the origin of the name Foret. One is that it was so called on account of the many trees which grew on it. Another that it was call ed La Forest after one of La Salle’s lleutenants, a quite possible expla- nation, as Amherst Island was also called after another lieutenant, named Tantl, and Parkman (page 189), when writing in regard to La Salle’s expe- dition to rescue Tanti, says: “On the tenth of August he embarked on the Illinois. With him went a lieutenant, La Forest, who held from him in fief an Island, then called Belle Isle, oppo- sito Fort Frontenac.”
La Salle acquired this island in 1665, when Fort Frontenac and four square leagues of land were granted to him.. This grant included all tho islands opposite Kingston.
They report on the 22nd November, 1833, to his Excellency Sir John Col- borno. They say, among other things, in this report: “The site of the light houso having been fixed by the Legin lature, It was found that it Velonged to the Hon. Charles W. Grant and others, who were about disposing of the whole of Cage or 1ste Foret, to an individual resident of Kingston, naine ly, Mr. William Garratt. When the commissioners made known to him the nature of their duties, and their desiro to obtain a grant for the orec ton of the lighthouse at the place de- signated by the Legislature, Mr. Gar- ratt immediately and without any hesitation offered the commissioners five acres on the point, so laid off as to be made convenient for their pur- pose, and declined all compensation. for it, an instance of liberality which the commissioners feel themselves bound particularly to notice.”
The succeeding part of the report brings out something of the history of other lighthouses on Lake Ontario.
Speaking of the form of the light-
Mile Point is similar in respect houses: “The lighthouse on Nine to form and construction to the build- ing at False Ducks and Point Peters, 11 lamps like the latter, but about 20 feet lower. Being not more than 20 miles from False Duck, its light will be distinctly visible even from that island, which is more than the accom- con-modation and safety of the vessels re-
There is a good deal of confusion in regard to what is called Gage Island, but this was merely another name for Sincoo Island. Simcoe Island talus 2,164 acres of rich land.
Dr. Charles K. Clarke, now the su- perintendent of Toronto Asylum, and formerly of Kingston, a gentleman well up in pioneer history of that dis- trict, says that “the first trace I can find of any lighthouse at Kingston is to be found in the report of the Com- missioner of Lighthouses, and in the acts of 1833.”
An act passed on the 13th February, 1833, authorizes the building of a lighthouse at Nine Mile Point, and three commissioners, namely, J. Mc- Cauley, J. Marks and H. C. Thomp- son, were appointed to
to have this erected. An amount of £750 was ap propriated by the House of Assembly, Upper Canada. They carried out their instructions, and much interesting in- formation is to be found about light- houses.
quire. A less elevation than 40 feet was not thought advisable, Indeed the commissioners would have felt inclin- ed to have raised the tower 50 feet above the surface of the lake had the amount of the appropriation justified them in doing so. Many persons are of the opinion that if the tower at Nine Mile Point had been raised 60 feet, the light at False Ducks might have been dispensed with.”
Nine Mile lighthouse is six and three- quarter miles above Kingston.
All comparisons made by the com- missioners Indicate that there was no other lighthouse at Kingston, and an act passed on February 13th, 1833, – clincs one to believe that the only other lighthouses of importance exist ing in Upper Canada were Gibraltar Polat, False Ducks, Point Peters and Ling Point in Lake Erie.
An act was passed then to raise £600 for the support of the same and subsequently, in the same year, an act was passed to provide a light at Burlington Bay.
A lighthouse was established on Snake Island, near Kingston, in 1858. It was for many years on a bar 550 yards south-east of Snake Island. With- in the last ten years a new lighthouse was erected still further south, and this light was merely an aid to the important lighthouse on Simcoe Is- land at Nine Mile Point, which as before stated was established in 1833.
In the Government Public Works general report for 1867, p. 82, appendix No. 10, Kingston light is described as at the south-east part of the town-a fixed light, which was first lighted in 1844.
in the city of Kingston, but have paid. the corporation since 1844 for main- taining a light in the City Hall clock.” With regard to the light at Niagara. D. W. Smyth in his Provincial Gazet- teer in 1813. says Mississauga Point, in the township of Ni- agara, lying on the west side of the entrance to the River Niagara, and op- posite the American fort of Niagara, N.Y.,” and further, “Gibraltar Point is the western extremity of a sandbank, which forms the harbor of York, and upon which blockhouses are erected for its defence.”
There have been some doubts ex- pressed as to the date of erection of the lighthouse at Niagara. The Public Works Department at Ottawa do not show any record of any light at that port prior to 1889. It is the tradition
The light at Snake Island pier or bar, on the north side of the channel, 5 miles west of Kingston, is shown as being installed with three lamps and two reflectors. The first light installed in 1858.
that this light was the first installed by the Legislature of Upper Canada, and if the public accounts of, the early days could be found, entries would show the expenditure of the province.
In Robertson’s History of Free- masonry, Vol I., page 495, there is a drawing which is believed to have been made in 1805, and at page 508 of the same volume there is another drawing that was made some time be- tween 1810-13. Lossing, in his Pic- torial Field Book of the War of 1812, has the latter picture, showing the lighthouse. Point Travers. lighthouse. In a footnote he writes:
The third light, at Gage or Simcoe Island, was at Point Yeo, formerly Nine Mile Point, on the north-west point of Simcoe Island, nine miles west of Kingston. First light in 1833. The Outer Ducks, or False Ducks, installed at the east end of the island, one mile south of Timber Island, and three miles south of Point Travers. First fixed light, established in 1828
Col. Wm. P. Anderson, chief en gineer of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, Ottawa, writes in 1907, however, regarding the lighthouse at
“This view is from a drawing made in 1813, previous to the attack on Fort George, and published in the Port Folio in July, 1817.” Lossing goes on to add: “On the extreme left is seen
Kingston: We have no old lighthouse | Fort Niagara and the village of New-
ark. To the right of the lighthouse, over which is a flag, is seen the bat tery which the Julia and Growler con- trolled.” These two ships were Am- erican vessels of war. It is claimed that the picture which Lossing claims to have been made in 1813 was made somewhere between 1807 and 1810. The original cannot be found, but there seems to be no doubt that the lighthouse at Mississauga Point was there some years before the war.
obtained his discharge and kept the lighthouse where he remained cleven years, from 1803 to 1814, the light- house being then taken down and the tower which now stands built on the same spot in Fort Mississauga en- closure.
In an article in the Star newspaper. published in Wilson, N. Y., 1888, a re- porter interviewed Mrs. Quade, who was then 84, and learned some very interesting particulars. Those about the lighthouse are extract.
The lighthouse must have been built about 1803. In the records of Mrs. Quade said there were many Mrs. Elizabeth Quade, nee Henry, pub exciting times during the war and that lished in the Niagara Historical Pam-“the Americans iad one day hem hr.
phlet, No. 11, page 10, Miss Quade, of ing and she was playing house with Ransomville, gives many interesting particulars of her grandfather and grandmother. The first given was written by her mother in August, 1889.
She relates that her father, Dominic Henry, came to this country at the time of the Revolutionary war. He was with Cornwallis at the time of his surrender in 1781. He married in 1790 and returned to his regiment, the 4th battalion of Royal Artillery, and they were moved to several parts of Can- ada, and at last came to Fort George, where he ended his military services,
several children near the lighthouse. when a man came along and picked up a cannon ball which had just been fired; he was passing along with it in his arms when another ball which had just been fired struck the one he had in his arms and he was instantly kill- ed.”
“At another time. she and several other children were playing in a wheel- barrow near the lighthouse when a cannon ball struck about two feet from them. They then ran behind the lighthouse and in another moment an
other ball struck the they had atoms.”
wheelbarrow rails of several battles favorable to just left, smashing it to the British. Being in civillan’s clothes. Henry did not know for some time that he was talking to General Har- rison, and begged him not to consider
Aud further: “When the town was burned the lighthouse was left, as it

benefited the Americans as well as his conversation very seriously, the British.
Harrison, when having spoken very freely. but was stopping a short time at Fort George, told that he could not be blamed for in 1813, called at the lighthouse, and standing up for his country.” engaged in conversation with her father, the keeper, who gave the de-
And still further: “I saw the first sods dug that were used in the build-
ing of that fort. The lighthouse stood on the ground where the old tower now stands. Our dwelling house also stood near the lighthouse, and there is the place where I was born and my childhood days were passed there, and after the war the lighthouse was torn down, and the tower built from the stone and brick from the ruins of the town and lighthouse.”
The Niagara Historical Society have a sketch drawn on common writ- ing paper, which is now framed, and shows the river, Youngstown, fort, lighthouse, batteries and town.
In a very rare book, the report of the Loyal and Patriotic Society, form- ed during the war of 1812-14, there is a very interesting mention of Mrs. Henry. It appears that on the day of the taking of Fort Georgs, Mrs. Henry, living near the lighthouse, served out refreshments to our sol- diers, who were crossing, the enemy landing on the lake shore. For this noble deed the Loyal and Patriotic/
Society afterwards gave her the sum of £25, calling her “a brave woman and one not to be frightened.” Mrs. Quade was born in 1804 in the house adjoining the lighthouse.
PRESENT POINT NOT GIBRALTAP The last part of this extract from Smyth shows that the term Gib. raltar Point” was applied to the en- tire western sandbank, from where it turned north at the present Lakeside Home, to its north end. now Hanlan’s Point, but that the term applled par ticularly to that part of the “sandbank :n which blockhouses are erected.”
boat, raft, or other craft has passed the said Island or the waid Mississauga Point, or Gibraltar Point, ench цай every owner, commander or minster of each and every vessel, boat, raft, or other craft, who shall pass such Island or Points, or either of them, and arrive at the ports of Kingston, Niagara, or York, is hereby required to insert it in, or add it to the declaration by the said recited Aer of this Province, and the Act required to be made. that he has No passed the said Island, or Missiș- sauga Point, or Gibraltar Point, and in case such owner, commander or mas- ter shall refuse to pay the tonnage hereby intended to be imposed, the col- lector pt the said district, or his de- puty, as hereby empowered and re- quired to sunimon such owner. com- Majesty’s justices of the pence for marder or master before any one of the district, where the same shall hap- pen, and such magistrate is hereby em- powered and authorized, in a summary way, to hear and determine the com- plaint to be thereof made by the said collector or his deputy, and if the sabl justice shall order payment to be made of the said tonnage, according to the rates by this Act imposed, and the said owner, commander or master shall not. collector or his deputy, together, with forthwith pay the same to the said the costs and expenses of the said pro- ceeding, before the said justice, such justice is hereby empowered and auth- orized to issue his warrant to lovy such tonnage and costs. by sale of any part of the cargo contained in any such last mentioned vessel, boat raft. or other craft, or any of the tackle or apparel thereof, or of any other of the goods and chattels of the party or parties the surplus of such moneys arising complained against, restoring
from such sale if any such shall be, to the said tonnage and the said costs. such party or parties, after deducting and the charges and expenses of sale. Provided, nevertheless. That no such sel, boat, raft, or other craft which hy tonnage shall be payable for any ves- stress or severity of weather, or other disastrous event, shall be compelled to return into the same harbour whence the last departed, without having per- fected her intended voyage. And the charge, demand, and take the follow- said justice is hereby authorized to ing fees for hearing and determining the said complaint, and no more-For ment. two shillings and sixpence: war- his summons, two shillings for judg- rant to distrain, five shillings: for the person serving the summons, two shii- lings mileage for every mile. four- pence executing warrant of distress
It was certainly never intended to use the term specifically to indicate the exact spot where the lighthouse was O be built. At the same time, there is no doubt that whoever drew the Act Joubtedly thought that the site of the present lighthouse was “Gibraltar Point.” But whatever the Act states as regards the name does not alter and return thereof, five shillings. the fact that the term as applied to the lighthouse Point is absolutely in-
The official who drafted the Act correct, and that it was never the ‘n. evidently thought that the south east tention of Governor Simcoe, who se point was named “Gibraltar Point.” lected the name, to indicate more than for the Act calls upon every comman the point or sp of sand now known der or master of vessels “who shaft as Hanlan’s Point.
pass such Island or Point” to report that “he has so passed the said island (Forest) or Mississauga Point or Gib.
VIII. And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That in order to ascertain whether any such vessel,
raltar Point.”
. 376
Lord the King, his heirs or successors; anything herein contained to the con- trary notwithstanding.
Although the Act providing for the erection of a lighthouse was passed in 1503, it was some years later before the building was actually commenced.
IX. And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid. That in case any proceedings shall, after the passing of this Act, be had for the condemnation of any goods, wares or merchandise, or for, or in respect of anything done or neglected to be done, contrary to the provisions of the wald recited Act of this Province, or this Act, or of any Act or Acts of this Province now passed. or hereafter to be passed, re- Mr. John Thomson, who was a rest specting any duties imposed or to be im deut of Toronto, and living in 1873, posed upon goods, wares and merchan- dise coming into this Province from the stated that he worked on the building. sald United States, that as well in cases and that it was erected in 1808, where the goods seized shall be ad-
td the late William Helliwell that judged to be restored, or if condemned, shall be insufficlent to pay the costs
some years before 1808 The Mohawk.” and expenses of the proceedings had a Government schooner, had brought respecting the same, as in all other over a load of stone from a parry cases where the proceedings by or
at Queenston for the ngalret the collectors or deputies shall
purpose f be for or on account of anything done, the erection of
the Toronto light- or omitted to be done, by such collec- house, so that the building must have tor or deputy, it shall and may be been commenced about 1806. for the lawful to and tor the Governor. Lieut-Gazette of 16th March, 1898, states:- enant-Governor, or person administer- Ing the Government of this Province”It is with pleasure we inform the for the time being, and he is hereby public that the dangers to vessels empowered and authorized (if he shall navigating Lake Outario will in a see fit so to do), to discharge. satisfy and pay all such costs and expenses great measure be avoided by the erec out of the monies which shall be then tion of a lighthouse on Gibraltar in the hands of his Majesty’s Receiver Point, which is to be immediately com- General of this Province, and which
pleted in compliance with an address of the House of Assembly to the Lieutenant-Governor.”
shall have arisen out of any duties Imposed, or to be imposed, on any goods, wares and merchandise coming from the said United States, and the said Receiver General is hereby re- quired to pay and discharge all such warrant and warrants as shall for such purposes be issued by the said Gov- ernor. Lleuenant-Governor, or person administering the Government of this Province for the time being.
It will be noted that the lighthouse is to be “immediately completed.” in- dicating that it had been commenced. at sonie earlier period, earlier certain- ly than the winter of 1807-08.
There is no record in either the U. C. Gazette, or in any official document, manuscript or printed paper, as to the exact date of the first night on w…ch the lamp was lit. but it is said to have been first lighted on the last day of September, 1808.
X. And be it Further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the Gover- nor. Lieutenant-Governor, 07 person administering the Government of this Province for the time being, h, and he is hereby authorized to establish the office of the collector of the Dis- trict of Newcastle in any place within the harbor of Newcastle, which he may judge more convenient than the Town of Newcastle, until a gnol and
John Thomson, who worked as a courthouse be erected in the said town and no longer, Provided always. That stonemason, was a relative of the late nothing herein contained shall ex- Col, E. W. Thomson, of Toronto town- tend or be construed to extend, to re-ship, and was the man who, when the peal or vary all or any of the provi- sions contained in the said recited Acti United States declared war, carried of this Province, or any other Art the news to Mackinaw.
of this Province, unless insofar as such provisions are and will be neces- sarily varied by the provisions in this Art contained, in order to give due force and effect to this Act, and no further, Provided nevertheless, that nothing in any part of this Act con- tained shall extend or he construed to extend. to any ship or
any ship or vessel. boat. vesel, boat. raft, canoe or other craft or carriage, now belonging, or which may at any time hereafter belong to our Sovereign
General Brock, who was the admin. istrator of the Government in the absence of Governor Gore. was at the town of York and wanted someone to
to undertake this mission for him, but none of his men or officers would volunteer to do it, for they regarded it as “civil” duty, and preferred to be on the fighting line.”
This engraving shows the revolving lantern installed in 1878. The lamps used from 1808-1877 were stationary. The open door shows the cable drum, and over it to the left the handle for winding up the wire cable.
Thomson hau been at York doing distant ten feet from the structure, some mason work for the Government, an surround it.
and surround it. The building itself is and had just taken some orders from said to stand on a heavy
a heavy crib of General Brock, when the courier timber filled with large and small arrived bringing the announcement stones, the foundation being probably that war was declared. A half-dozens feet deep. The outer frame of timber officers were instantly summoned, and is also filled with stone, closely packed, as they respectfully raised objections so as to kec: the base in its place. to the mission, Thomson who was The building is hexagon in form, con standing by, said, “Well, General, I’ll structed on the plan of six squares, Brock turned to him, and said, and the bed or base is, of course, of go.” “Thanks, Thomson,” and then said to the same shape. The diameter of the Col. John McDonell, his aide. “See that building at the base is twenty-two a guide is provided for Thomson, and feet, and the circumferance at the two of the best horses in the stable base is sixty-eight feet. saddled.” In an hour Thomson and his guide were on their way west.
THE LIGHTHOUSE SITE. The ground occupied by the light house, and reserved by the Govern- ment for the use of the lightkeeper. was originally about ten acres of pure sand, and from 508 until 1834. the only marks to define the property, were large stakes driven in the sand at the east and west boundaries. for on the north side of the lighthouse pro- perty was the water at the south end of Blockhouse Bay, and on the south side of the property was the large lagoon that in 1905-6 was filled up by the Corporation of Toronto for The Lakeside Home for Little Children.
BOUNDARIES OF THE SITE. The lighthouse stands 1.188 feet from the west shore of the Island. 756 feet from the south, and 1.572 from the south-west corner or angle of the island.
The east boundary of the property was about a hundred feet east of the lighthouse, and the western boundary ran to the line of the present cement sidewalk that has been laid between Han
Point and the Lakeside Home. But in 1905 an arrangement was made between the corporation of the city and the Dominion Governinent by which three-fourths of the stretch of sand, west of the lighthouse, and reserveu for lighthouse use, was given over to the city for park purposes, the Government retaining about a couple of acres immediately west of the lighthouse.
feet in
in height.
The walls at the base are of blocks. of stone put together with mortar. Tuese walls, which are six feet thick, gradually decrease in size. till at the top they are reduced to four feet. feet is At the height of fifty-two
This was the top a ridge of stone. stone work of the original lighthouse, 1808-32, and above it stood the lantern and gallery. The circumference of the ridge is forty-six feet. The stone used The height is Queenston limestone.. from the stone work to the vane is eighteen feet, c total height eighty- two feet.
.D 1832, as afterwards described, the Government added twelve feet, hex agonal in form, of Kingston stone, built in cement.
On the outer wall of the building near the door or entrance. is a bronze plate with the inscription.
B. M.
No. 200 ELE 7,34
It was placed there by the Depart- Ottawa. “B.M.” ment of Marine at stands for bench mark, and 200 stands for the number of the particular bench mark, so as to distinguish it or locate “Ele. it as from other bench marks. 7.34” means the height of bench mark above low water. The figures corre- spond with the records of the light-
The lighthouse when first built was house in the Marine Department. fifty-two feet
Its base stands within a frame of six timbers. hexagon in form, each of which are
MULLER THE FIRST KEEPER. The first keeper of the lighthouse was a man named Muller or Miller, a
No. 1 is the Lighthouse as it stands to-day.
No. 2 is the present keeper’s dwelling. It was built as a one-storey cottage in 1838, and made a two-storey house in 1875. It was first occupied by James and then by George Durnan, his son. No. 3 is the one-storey house of plank, as a dwelling for the keeper, built 1808, occupied by Muller, Holloway, James Durnan, 1808-38.
No. 4 is a work-shop built by George Durnan many years ago. These buildings all face south. The door to the Lighthouse is on its east side.
Cerman by birth, a quiet, inoffensiv man, who attended to his duties faith fully.
He occupied the house erected in 1808, which stands directly west of the present keeper’s dwelling. It is a frame house of uncommon construc- tion, for it is built of three-inch planks with a frame of plank timbers. and the outside is clapboarded. It is 18 x 20 in size, and had two rooms, 9 x 15 and 11 x 15, used as a kitchen and
The windows have solid shutters of wood, and were fastened on the in- side by a wooden bolt, which worked in a slot between two wooden pins into the keeper, and which moved back when the window shutter was to be opened and forward when it was to be closed.
The framework is all fastened to- gether by wooden trenails or pins.
The boards of the floor are of two- inch plank, sixteen inches wide. If put down to-day they would be of inch plank and three or four inches wide
living room, and an attic, 16 x 24. It is the oldest house in Toronto.
The nails used in the construction and the loor latches were hand-made by the military blacksmith at the Old Fort.
UNIQUE CONSTRUCTION. This engraving is given to show the style of shutter with wooden bolt. which protected the window at night. The bolt worked between two wooden pins into the keeper, moved forward when shut and backward when open.
In the south-west corner of the west room, and to the left of the fireplace. is a staircase of wood leading to the loft or attic. The bolt of the door was of wood.
The kitchen has an old-time fire- place made of hand-made bricks, and what is rather peculiar, instead of the arch being made self-supporting with a keystone in the centre. it has a beam of 4 x 4 oak to carry the bricks in the upper part of the face.
w the mantel is
an opening covered with a board which works on hinges and lifts. Behind this board there is a receptacle where the meat
This space is also protected by a door. To the left of the large fire-place is a smaller one, and above it a space for smoking meat.
was smoked, and at the left side of the mantel there is also space for hanging meat after being smoked.
This fireplace is in the house which was erected in 1808. place. was a space
Above the re- behind a board
which is shown with two hinges. The space was used for smoking meat. The cupboard to the left side of the fire- place looking at the picture, was where meat was hung after being smoked. The cupboard to the right was also used for smoking meat, as the small fireplace is directly under it.
Over the fireplace are brackets which supported the shelf on which Muller, the first light keeper, a Ger- man, stood his “steins,” so says a well founded tradition.
yards west of the lighthouse. The signal was blown down in 1885. Sperm oil was also used in this lantern. This lantern is 18 inches in height, and had eight guards and four cross-bars on the guards. The glass was 12 x 6 inches. Its circumference was two and a half feet.
The second lamp is a ship’s anchor light. It was made about fifty years. ago. It is strong and heavy. It was used in 1878 during the time that the stationary light was being taken down
The fireplace in the old house next to the lightkeeper’s dwelling, built in 1808 and occupied by the lightkeepers from 1803-75.
In the south-west corner of the bed- room and to the left of the fireplace is a staircase of wood leading to the loft or attic.
The other day Mrs. McSherry, the wife of the lightkeeper, found in the attic a couple of old lanterns. One of them is square and heavy in make, with its sides protected by heavy wire. It was used from 1808-75. It is known as a ship’s anchor light, and was used by the late Mr. Durnan on the storm signal that was erected two hundred
and the revolving light installed. did service as a beacon for about a week. This lantern was 14 inches high, circumference of rim two feet, and of globe 18 inches, and depth of globe 5 inches.
This house has been for forty years used for the storage of the oil used for the lamps. Muller, true to the customs of his Fatherland, always liked a glass of beer, and by way of improving his ipend as lighthouse keeper, he always kept a spare keg on
hand for his friends. It is understood that the beer was obtained from a brewery near Lewiston, N. Y.
This is the old swing erected by the late Mr. Durnan forty-five years ago, and is still in active use. It stands in front of the present keeper’s house.
In 1794-1818 there was a blockhouse erected by Governor Simcoe at Gib- raltar Point, in which two guns were mounted, the battery being guarded by a detachment of soldiers, who came over every week from the fort at York. There were soldiers at this Blockhouse up to the year 1815 the close of the American war. The sol- diers often rowed down Blockhouse Bay in small boats to visit the light- house keeper, and when they could not get a boat, they walked to the point. Muller always made. them welcome. But one day a group of three who
who had been drinking in York, came over from the town and called on Muller to produce his beer keg. This he readily did, and when he saw that his military friends were having more than was good for them, he refused a further supply. The re- fusal onded in a fight and the fight ended in the death of Muller, for the soldiers finally beat him to death with
their belts and with a stick that was convenient.
This is the story that has been handed down from generation tc generation. There is no doubt that it has been garnished in the telling. It may be a fairy tale-and the writer is inclined to think it is made out of whole cloth-but Mr. George Durnan, the late light keeper, states that he heard the story from his father, and that he, the son, with his uncle Joe Durnan, found in 1893, bits of a coffin and part of the jaw bone of a man, four feet beneath the sand and about five hundred feet west of the present keeper’s house.
It was always claimed that Muller was buried west of the lighthouse, near the lagoon at the south end of Blockhouse Bay, and in order to verify the story, Mr. Durnan made the search with the above result.
A DOUBTFUL STORY. There is no record of a trial of soldiers for murder between 1808-17. nor is there any mention of such an happening in the Upper Canada Ga- zette published weekly in York, a paper which generally chronicled news
of importance. Nor is there any re- Nor is there any reference to it in the Simcoe correspondence, civil or military. nor is proof that the murder ever took place. The Montreal papers often published Upper Canada news, but in neither the
there any document, manuscript or printe form which contains even a reference to it, so there is no absolute
Gazette nor Herald is there any reference to such an event.
In 1903 two young men, who said
they were nephews of Muller, called upon Mr. George Durnan, and made enquiries about their relative and this story of his sad end. Mr. Durnan told them what he gave to the writer, nothing more. Mr. Muller was keeper of the lighthouse from 1808 until 1815, a period of eight years.
HALLOWAY THE SECOND KEEPER The second keeper of the lighthouse was a Mr. Halloway. He resided in the frame plank building that stands to-day just west of the two-storey frame house occupied lately by Mr. George Durnan, and now by the pres- ent keeper, Mr. McSherry. The plank or clapboard house is shown in the engraving as facing south, with a centre door in its front, and windows to the right and left. Mr. Halloway had a wife and two daughters and a nephew who lived with him. There is nothing known of the second keeper, but he was always very friendly with the officers, who used to make pilgrimages to the island in the duck and snipe season, and after a few hours’ sport, a bit of bread and cheese and a glass of milk, for the keeper kept a dun brown cow, was most acceptable to the visitors.
Mrs. Halloway was stout woman, pleasant looking, but he looks were somewhat discounted by the fact that she at one time in her life had small- pox, so that her face was marked. She was Mrs. Coates, a widow, when she married Halloway, and had one daugh- ter, Mary Ann, aged sixteen, and a younger daughter, named Hannah, of five years of age. Mary Ann in later years married a Mr. George Ernest, a ship caulker, who lived near the Gooderham Mill at the east end of York. Ernest was
drowned some years later.
Mrs. Halloway had a narrow escape from drowning, being rescued by James McGill Strachan, son of Bishop Strachan, and ever afterwards when she would meet him she made him thoroughly embarrassed by throwing her arms about him, and once, ’tis
said, she kissed him.
In the winter of 1831, Mr. Halloway, whose health was not good, had a hemorrhage and bleeding from his lungs. His son, who lived in York, was notified, and drove over to the
peninsula with a horse and sleigh, and took his father to the General Hospita! at the north-west corner of King and John Streets, where he died. He was the lightkeeper from 1816-31, or for a period of sixteen years. His wife was allowed by Mr. Durnan, the suc- ceeding keeper, to occupy the upper part of the keeper’s house till she was able to build a small home on the peninsula about a mile east of the lighthouse. Mrs. Halloway, a year after her husband’s death, married a carpenter named Lambert, an English- man who had recently emigrated. Both widow and daughter were mar- ried on the same night.
The night that Mrs. Halloway mar- ried her second husband, the fisher- men lighted a bonfire near her new house on the island and gave her the time honored chivaree.
JAMES DURNAN THIRD KEEPER. In 1830, James Durnan, a native of Belfast, in Ireland, a weaver by trade, emigrated to Canada.
He brought, with
with him Hunter, his wife, Ann his eldest child, and his second child George, the late keeper of the lighthouse; and a daughter named Matilda also came, but she died soon after her arrival in Toronto. Ann, the eldest daughter, married Mr. James Armstrong, of Toronto.
The second year after arriving in Toronto, Mr. Durnan obtained the position of lightkeeper, succeeding Mr. Halloway in 1832, and to his family were added his sons, James William, who married Miss Jane Simpson, who lived in a cottage at the gate which led to the lighthouse, and whose house to was afterwards moved
Mr. Gray and his wife, and afterwards Point. It was occupied for years. by
by Mr. Heber, and then by Mr. Clegg as a summer hotel. It was demolished in 1906. When James William died his widow married Patrick Gray, who then built Heber’s Hotel. Henry, who
was drowned at the foot of York street about seven years ago, and Thomas, who lives in Toronto, and John who was drowned. Tamar, a daughter, married a Mr. Devlin and now resides in the United States. John married a Miss Emily Hanlan, a daughter of John Hanlan, and a sister of Ned Han-
lan. By her he had two children Emily, who married Mr. E. A. English, of Toronto, the well known real estate) man; and Edward or “Eddie” Durnan, the oarsman. Her second husband is Mr. Lawrence Solman.
feet to the original stone work, or 64 feet of stone. Above the stone work is the lantern cage, with gallery sur rounding it, and a weather vane. It is 18 feet from the highest part of the stone work to the vane, or eighty-two
The front faces east. The building to the left is The Lakeside Home for Little Children, near the Point, the summer home of the patients of the Hos- pital for Sick Children, Toronto.
The lighthouse, as before stated, was originally 52 feet in height, but about 1832, the Government decided to increase its height, and added twelve
feet is the actual height of the light- This additional work Was house. of Kingston stone. Mr. James Baxter, a builder and contractor, father of the late Alderman John Baxter, had the contract and did an excellent
piece of work. He was assisted in his He was assisted in his work by James Durnan.
Mr. George Savage, the Collector of Customs of the port of Toronto had the supervision of the work while it was going on, he asked Mr. Baxter where he could get a good man to take charge of the light. “Why, sir,” said Baxter. ‘little Jimmy Durnan might take the job; try him.” And he did try, and successfully, and for twenty-two years be daily climbed the ninety steps of the stairway that leads from the, ground floor to the floor of the cage.
INDIANS ON THE PENINSULA. When Durnan’s mother heard that her son was to be lightkeeper. for Bax- ter went over to town to tell her, she was very much frightened, and asked: “Are there Indians on the Island and do the people who live there wear clothes?”
Mr. George Durnan relates that in the summer time, from 1834-40, there was an occasional camp of Indians at the birch tree ridge, a little east of Blockhouse Bay. These chil dren of the forest were fond of milk, and often came to the lightkeeper’s door and asked for a pitcher full and were seldom refused, if there was milk to spare. On one occasion two of them a man and a squaw-walked into the living room of the cabin to make their usual request, and just as they entered the room they saw that the family were at morning worship. With out a word they dropped upon their knees and bowed their heads until the rervice was finished, and then they got a quart of milk.
The keeper occupied for the first four years of his tenancy the plank built house used by Halloway, but about 1838 a one-storey frame cottage was erected east of the plank house, between it and the lighthouse, and Into this the small family moved.
It was a few years later improved by the addition in 1875 of another storey, as it stands to-day, occupied by Capt. Patrick McSherry.
SIR F. B. HEAD AND DURNAN. Mr. James Durnan used to relate an interesting talk he had with Sir Fran- cis Lond Head, who frequently rode over to the peninsula by way of the
swing bridge that crossed the Don River from the mainland, about the foot of Cherry street to the strip of sand that ran along the east side of the harbor, and continuing formed part of the peninsula. An old man named Patrick Redmond was the care- taker of the bridge. It was in the summer of 1836, just after the arrival of the Governor in the Province. He was interested in the lighthouse, and calling on calling on Durnan at his primitive cabin he asked about the lighthouse, its history and its keepers, and finally said: “Durnan, this is not a very com- fortable home for you to live in; if you’ll get up a petition to have it im- proved I’ll sign it and see that you get what you want.”
Mr. James Durnan died in 1853, and was lighthouse-keeper from 1832 until the time of his death, a period of twenty-two years.
GEO. DURNAN FOURTH KEEPER. In 1853 his eldest son, Mr. George Durnan, the late keeper, was appoint- ed. ed. Mr. Durnan in 1848 married Miss Sarah Bates. and had a large family. James, a carpenter, and Charles of the Toronto post office, both of whom are dead; Margaret Jane, who is living on Berkeley street; Sarah, who married Mr. Gordon, of Eglinton; George, Sam- uel, Hannah and Martha, all dead; John, who lives on Berkeley street, Toronto, and Arthur, now in the em- ploy of the Rice Lewis Company.
George Durnan’s first wife died, and he married his second wife, Miss Cath- erine Lang, and by her he had three sons, Wesley L., Walter W., and Alfred Milton.
The light from 1808-32 was a sta- tionary light and the cage was made of wood, but in 1878, the Government made a change and installed a revolv ing light, and then the cage was made of iron.
The floor area at the base or ground floor is 12 x 12, and it decreases in width till at the floor, just beneath the lantern, it is 8 x 8.
The entire lantern cage, including the floor and roof, is of iron.
When the light was stationary, the lamps were fed by winter pressed sperm oil, which was sent regularly from Montreal from 1808, until about
1833; when the oil at $2.10 per gallon was supplied by William Ware, the grocer at the north-west corner of King and Yonge streets, afterwards occupied by K. M. Sutherland & Co., and now the Lawlor Building. After 1863 coal oil was used instead of sperm oil. Two hundred gallons of oil are | used every season.
On the top of the case at the back is the governor or regulator, consist. ing of two “flanges,” one at each end of a short bar. When these “flanges” are straight there is more resistance and less speed; when they are flat there is less resistance and more speed. A fan governor regulates the speed.
LIGHTHOUSE FIRE-PROOF. The lamp machine is a very simple house where the lamps are located is The entire upper part of the light- yet effective contrivance. It was made by one Canteloup, and manufac-iron floor, iron window frames, iron fireproof, being constructed of iron- tured in Montreal, and Mr. Carrol, a Toronto builder put an iron floor in
the cage. The engraving shows its mechanism. It works on the clock principle and a heavy pendulum-like weight is the motive power. For purposes of description it may be divided into two parts, the upper and lower.
round its circumference, but at the The lantern originally had glass all suggestion of Mr. George Durnan, the Marine Department placed three flat sheets of iron on the side facing the city. The wicks used for the lamps are one and a half inches wide.
While the revolving light was being put up the stationary light was taken down and a large lautern was hung from the west side of the tower for the guidance of mariners,
The signalling system to notify the Harbormaster in York varied from 1808 until about 1845, when it was discon- tinued.
The upper portion consists of the lamps of which there are six. Each Each is set back in a powerful reflector so; that although the wick is of the or dinary variety only about two inches in width, the light can be seen at a distance of thirty miles out on the lake on a clear night. On an average night it is estimated it can be seen from fourteen to twenty miles.
The lights are so arranged that they sweep
In the time of Muller 1808-15 every direction at the same time. and in Halloway’s time, from 1816-31, While three lights are covering the a flag was flown from a twenty-foot west side, the other three are doing pole that stood on the platform which the same for the east side. Every third flash is a united ray of the three lights. One revolution is made in one minute, 48 seconds.
WILL RUN FOR FOURTEEN HOURS The lower part consists of the machinery which operates the lamps. in the iron case are three shafts. The driving shaft in the centre cogs with
the drum shaft at the front and the governor shaft at the back. Around the drum is wound about seventy-five
I feet of steel cable, at the end of which is attached about 600 or 700 pounds weight.
Before being started this cable is wound up, and as the lamps revolve: the cable gradually unwinds and the weight goes slowly down the barrel to the bottom of the lighthouse about seventy-five feet below. To fully un- wind occupies about fourteen hours.
surrounded the lantern cage, to indi- cate the arrival of the Government schooners from Niagara and from Kingston. The arrival from Niagara was signalled by a British Red En- sign and the arrival from Kingston by a Union Jack. The large oil painting made from a drawing of 1818, shows in the present City Hall, which is the red ensign upon the tower sig- nalling a vessel from Niagara.
ber of sailing vessels plying between There were between 1808-25 a num- Toronto and Niagara, “The Yacht.” “The Toronto,” and between Toronto
Toronto and Kingston “The Lady Gore,” and a score of others.
SIGNAL BY COLORED BALLS. But in 1832 the signalling system was again changed. Mr. James Dur- nan was small in stature, but unde. stood his business. He decided that with a series of colored balls al outcu.
feet in diameter he could make a more intelligent signalling.
These balls were of light canvas, stretched on a frame of cane, which being thin, was readily bent to the form of a b. ll. These balls were dis- played from the gallery around the lanterns, a red ball for a steamer from Kingston and eastern points, blue for a Niagara steamer and white for a schooner or other sailing crait.
These colors could easily be dis- tinguished with glasses by the harbor- master at the Government pier, now the Queen’s Wharf.
About 1840 Mr. Durnan, with the ap- proval of Capt. Hugh Richardson, the harbormaster, made another change. The balls were inconvenient to handle, so he decided upon signalling with flags.
He erected a fifty-foot flag pole about forty feet north-west of the lighthouse and used red flags, two for a steamer and one for a schooner. ”
He alwa; s hoisted these flags when the coming vessel got in line with three large Balm of Gilead trees that up to 1849 stood at the west of the Island property, near the present co- ment sidewalk. The trees were blown down in 1850, but their stumps were there in 1880.
Mr. George Durnan resigned his po- sition as lightkeeper in 1905, after a continuous service of fifty-two years. The Government never had a more faithful servant. In his half century of labor the light never failed in its duty.
He was succeeded by Mr. Patrick J. McSherry, who now holds the position. He is an old marine man. capable and attentive, and understands all about bis work,
His charming wife is very much in- terested in the history of the old light- house, and her husband, the light- keeper has the lighthouse in perfect order, his dwelling is, by the band of his helpmate, as neat and tidy as the best house in the city, for Mrs. Mc- Sherry is a model housekeeper.
Mr. Durnan, talking about the pro-
pro-t posal to shut off the light. said: “I’m sure that mariners will object. It’s all very well to say we have the eastern g light and the Queen’s Wharf light.
Well, these lights are necessary, but the old light. they will not make up for the loss of
steamers and sailing vessels want to Captains of vessels,
know when they are off the west end of the island, and neither the east gap or Queen’s Wharf lights will give them this position.
“Many a time have schooners been aground off the Lighthouse Point, and many years ago many years ago one of the large steamers was ashore just south of The Lakeside Home.
“Just ask any mariner how he would get along in a storm or gale from the east. and how he could get round the point to Humber Bay with- out a landmark at night to guide him.
“You know there’s a lot of shoal water west of the western shore of the island, and there would be grave danger if the light that would warn sailors of their danger is to be re- moved.”
The people of Toronto were sur- prised to learn that an order had been issued by the Department of Marine at Ottawa to discontinue the light at the Toronto Island lighthouse on July 1st.
The order was in the form of the following letter sent to Capt. Mc- Sherry, the lightkeeper, which read:
“I have to advise you that it is the intention of the department to dis- continue the light at Gibraltar Point, on or about the 1st of July, although it may be later when the change is carried out, and I have therefore to inform you that your services will not be required by the department after the 1st of September, 1907.”
The department held that the keep- ing up of the light was an unneces- sary expense, claiming that mariners had sufficient guide to the port by the lights at the Queen’s Wharf, or west- ern entrance, and the lights at the pier at the eastern gap, the eastern entrance to the harbor.
The press of Toronto at once pro- tested. The steamer and other vessel men prepared petitions, which were signed by all the marine men in Tor- onto. These petitions pointed out that the continuance of the light was an absolute necessity, and that in east- erly gales it would be impossible to make the harbor unless the light at the west end of the Island was con- tinued. These petitions had their ef fect, and on June 27th the lightkeeper received the following letter from the Department:-
Ottawa, 26th June, 1907.
Sir, Referring to my letter of the 13th instant, intimating that it was the intention of the Department to discontinue the light under your charge at Gibraltar Point, I have to. inform you that it has now been de cided not to take this action, and you’ will, therefore, see that it is kept. in operation. I am, sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Sgd.) C. STANTON. For Deputy Minister of Marine and Fisheries.
Mr. P. J. McSherry, Lightkeeper, Gibraltar Point, Toronto, Ont. And now you have the story of the old landmark-the Lighthouse at the Point.
The foregoing Landmark was writ- ten in June, 1907, when Mr. George Durnan and his wife were both alive. and it was fortunate that the work of writing up the history, was completed at that time for on the 11th day of August Mrs. Durnan died at her home, 71 Bleecker street, Toronto, and on the 5th day of September, three weeks after, her husband also passed away.

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