The Islands: Island Photos: Wolfe Island: Ferries

Wolfe Island Photos


Being an island community travel to the mainland was risky in the early years. In spring and fall when ice conditions were bad many islanders lost their lives.During the winter islanders crossed on foot or by sleigh and iceboats. A custom dating back to the 1850's was to mark the safest path with bushes. Later cars were taken across the ice.

Wolfe Island <--> Kingston & Garden Island

Wolfe Island Ferry Captains List!

Wrecks-Wolfe Islander II-a great diving site w/ photos and info on the Islander!OFFSITE


1802-The first know ferryman was Samuel Hitchcock.
First Ferry was a flat-bottomed, barge-like boat made of crude pine boards powered by wind or oar.
From: (2003) We have also here a record of the earliest ferry licenses in the district, which were also then granted by the Quarter Sessions. The first of these was granted to Samuel Hitchcock for a ferry from his house "on the Grand Island opposite Kingston." That is now probably Wolfe Island. That was at the January sessions of 1802. The rates of each ferry were also fixed at the same time, and they appear to have been very liberal at that time. For a single person, 5 shillings; man and horse, $1.50; horse, ox or cow, $1; for every 112 pounds weight of luggage, ferried along with a person, $1.20. Now the steamboat ferry on the same line does not pretend to charge more than a "quarter" for either man or beast. At the March Sessions license was also granted to Samuel Corn for a ferry from the south side of Wolfe Island to the American shore, and the rates were about the same.
[from "The Napanee Beaver" July 20 1900]

1808- Hitchcock leases ferry for 3 years to Alvah Bennett.

1818-Daniel Brown posts a notice he took ferry.

1825-Archibald Hitchcock using flatbottom bateau.

1835-Hitchock builds Steamer Wolfe for owner Grant.
Kingston Chronicle & Gazette,October 5, 1836
The WOLFE – This pretty little steamer, the property of Mr. Archibald Hitchcock, is now plying as a ferry boat between Kingston and Long (Wolfe) Island, and must prove a source of great convenience to travelers going by that route. The WOLFE will ply between this and Cape Vincent when the proposed Canal is opened across Long Island. The engine (high pressure) was made at the Foundry of our enterprising townsman George W. Yarker, Esq.

1841-He constructed 2 masted vessel called Strawberry

1845-Ferry Hunter owned by John and George Ives, captained by
Person, also stopped at Garden Island.

Late 1840's- Dawson operated own vessel at pier on site of present marina.
1850-Thomas Davix provides ferry run by Capt Hinckley.

1857-Wolfe Island council petitions Parliment for control of ferries.

22 Dec 1857-Coleman Hinckley given 10 yr lease to serve Wolfe and Garden Island with steamer Pierrepont

1864-Pierrepont replaced by Gazelle which was not liked in 1869.
Few years later is replaced by the Watertown

1870's-Hinckley sells ferry interest to St. Lawrence Steamboat Co. controlled by Folger Bros of Kingston.

1871-Company builds Pierrepont II

1904- Folger lease expired, Island gains control of ferries.

1904-Township puts into service first boat owned by them, the S.S. Thomas Fawcett

1905-boat renamed Wolfe Islander

1946-Wolfe Islander replaced by Wolfe Islander II

1963-Township ferry taken voer by Ministry of Transportation.

1965-Joined by the Upper Canada a year after Ont gov took control of ferry service.

1975-bubble system installed from Kingston to Dawsons Point.

1976-Wolfe Islander III brought into service, replacing Wolfe Islander II and the Upper Canada.

1988-Ontario Government cancelled plans to download ferries of Wolfe, Amherst and Howe Islands. Ferry continues to be subsidized.


M.S. Wolfe Islander at Kingston Wharf 1951
Thank you to Chris Morrell for photo!

The Following three photos are of the Wolfe Islander. They are all of the same boat.

click on photo for larger version.
Wolfe Island Boat 1904

Click on Photo for larger version
Wolfe Islander I, no date.

Kindly contributed to this page by The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, Ontario; Nancy Granter, Trillium Curator.
Submitted by Chris Morrell

Click on Photo for larger version
Wolfe Islander I, no date.

Kindly contributed to this page by The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, Ontario; Nancy Granter, Trillium Curator.
Submitted by Chris Morrell

Wolfe Island <--> Cape Vincent

Samuel Hinckley conducted first service to Cape Vincent from Hinckley Point. From American side Abijah Putnam conducted to Big Bay, and Eber Kelsey to Hinckley Point from Carleton Island.

1820's-Horne brothers take over ferry service.

1860's & 1870's- Thomas Darrell Horne used a fleet of rowboats and scows.

Nov 13 1884- two rowboats battered by storm, boat piloted by Thomas never returned to shore-4 lives lost.
William E. Horne succeeds father Thomas.
William introdueces first motor boats and a scow to carry 4 cars and towed by a motor launch.

1935-Submitted by AM Benson, Transcribed by Dean Snider, Kingston Whig Standard,Dec 27, 1935 page 3
Government Wharf at Horne’s Point would make Plan a Reality—Would Mean Great Increase in tourist
The popular winter route between Kingston and Cape Vincent is expected to become the poplar summer route between Canada and the United States if present plans under consideration by W.E. Horne of Wolfe Island materialize.
Mr. Horne has been in Montreal recently inspecting a diesel engined vessel with accommodation for twenty cars, but no actual purchase has been made. The plan is that a good sized boat with plenty of accommodations for autos would be put on the run between Horne’s point and Cape Vincent. The motorist would then drive across the island on a provincial highway, which has been under construction, for some time and take the Wolfe Island ferry at Marysville for Kingston. The entire trip from Cape Vincent to Kingston could be accomplished in one hour if the ferry schedules were rearranged.
Plans have been drawn and money for a public wharf at Horne's Point will probably be included in the Dominion Government estimates this year When this wharf is completed, the last major obstacle in the way of the plan will have been overcome and it will then resolve itself into a matter of co-operation between the ferry companies concerned.
The Kingston Chamber of Commerce has been taking a keen interest in all the negotiations so far and the directors are most anxious that the plan should be completed as it is felt that the proposed crossing between Kingston and Cape Vincent would greatly increase the tourist traffic for this city and the adjacent territory. A one-hour crossing from Kingston to the United States would place this city in an enviable position as the chief Canadian port of entry and departure between Niagara Falls and Brockville.

1940's-2 barges used.

1952- Horne family builds 12 car ferry William Darrell (built at Port Dover by Harry Gamble)
The Kingston Whig – Standard, Kingston, Ontario, CDA
Monday, May 25, 1952
A new all-steel ferry which will operate on the Wolfe Island - Cape Vincent ferry service is expected to reach Kingston harbor late this evening or early Tuesday morning. The vessel built at the Port Dover shipyards is owned by W.E. and G.D. Horne, Wolfe Island. It left Port Dover on Sunday.
The ship has a carrying capacity for 12 motor cars. It has a speed of about 10 knots and is equipped with diesel engines. It is expected to be put in service by the end of the week.
(Article submitted by George Halladay)

Wolfe Island <--> Simcoe Island

NEW!Simcoe Island ferry capsize-1995


Early years- rowboats and scows

1875- wharf built on south shore btwn lots 12 and 13.
1882-council grants 75$ to build ferry scow to operate across Bateau Channel

1893-Thomas Bush operates ferry for fee of 25 cents Cable ferry in operation.


-County of a 1000 Lakes chpt 14
-Ganounkouesnot The Long Island Standing up by Renie Marshall, 2000

Also see

-Wolfe Island post cards
-Wolfe Island Past and Present Transportation Chapter
-Wolfe Island articles-Old Charter For Ferry Is Found

The Islands: Island Photos: Wolfe Island: Ferries

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