The James Norris: A Welland Sailing Canal Ship (1854-1887)

In conjunction with the yard excavations, a study of hull remains of the schooner James Norris will provide exceptional opportunity to study the construction of an early Welland Sailing Canal ship through this unique land based excavation. 

The schooner James Norris was originally built as the brigantine Sir Charles Napier at the John and James Abbey Shipyard at Port Robinson in 1854. She served in the bulk freight inter-Great Lake trade of timber and agricultural products. In 1871 she was rebuilt by Louis Shickluna, re-rigged as a schooner, and renamed the James Norris. She continued to serve the bulk freight trade of high volume, low value goods. Brought back to the Shickluna shipyard for repairs in the 1880s, she was disregarded and was eventually buried in with the yard in 1955.


The research will build upon previous archaeological studies of shipwrecked Shickluna-built ships,[1] It will provide opportunity for the community to engage in documenting a locally-built ship, and serve as a training site for students in maritime archaeology.  Furthermore, it creates awareness of maritime heritage of the Great Lakes, which is usually not accessible except to scuba divers. 

 [1] See Monk, Kimberly. 2003.  A Great Lakes Vessel Type: Archaeological and Historical Examination of the Welland Sailing Canal Ship, Sligo, Toronto, Ontario. MA Thesis, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.