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Three Companies, and Thirty Steamboats in New Brunswick

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Three Companies, and Thirty Steamboats in New Brunswick

There were many pamphlets and a few books written over the years to promote Saint John as a place of opportunity, especially as a business center. There were also many business directories listing local companies — with much the same purpose. However, G.A. White, combined the two forms in 1875 when he published St. John and its Business.

Following is his description of the steamboat business, concentrating on the Saint John companies The Express Line, and the International Steamship Company, and Small & Hatheway, to which I have added a few pictures.



Saint John River and North Shore Steamers. Office No. 41 Dock Street

Among the steamboat men of a former period, who have done so much to facilitate travel by water conveyance and contributed to the growth of the business of Saint John and its noble river, the name of Enoch Lunt will be pleasantly remembered. He was born in Queen’s County, N.B., in 1799. He was bred to the lumbering business, which he carried on very extensively in this Province, and began his steamboat enterprise by becoming a stockholder in the old steamer New Brunswick in 1840.

The older steamer New Brunswick in 1840

From the Provincial Archives, via the ‘Saint John Vintage Gallery’ site

He subsequently purchased the little steamer Lawrence, which ran on Grand Lake, and afterwards on the river between Saint John and Fredericton. He then built, in 1860, at Carleton, the steamer Heather Bell—a boat 150 feet keel and 300 tons— and ran her on the same route till she was destroyed by fire at Fredericton in 1865. The same year he built, at Carleton, the steamer Olive, of about 450 tons, for the St. John and Fredericton route, on which she still continues.

In 1867 he also built, at Carleton, the large and splendid river steamer Rothesay, of 200 feet keel, 29 feet beam, or 55 feet over guards, and of 839 gross tonnage. She was built by the Messrs. Olive, from models and specifications furnished by M.S. Allison, a celebrated steamboat builder of Jersey City. She is in every respect a first class vessel, thoroughly appointed, having five saloons, is swift of speed, and is considered the finest steamer on our inland waters, and a general favorite. A sail up the river to Fredericton, which is her route, is a pleasurable trip, and, at the proper season, discloses scenery grand and beautiful, in many respects equaling the beauty of the famous Hudson, diversified with lofty forest-crowned shores and expanding bays.

He then, in 1870, built, at Carleton, the fine steamer City of Saint John, 175 feet in length and over 700 gross tonnage. She was also from models and specifications furnished by the same steamboat architect who furnished them for the Rothesay. This steamer is finely appointed, and a great favorite on the route where she so satisfactorily serves the public travel. By this steamer the people of the North Shore of New Brunswick are put in easy communication with each other’s ports and by rail with Saint John and Halifax, and travelers from the latter, or from the States, either on business or pleasure, are well served. She leaves Point du Chêne, on the Straits of Northumberland, upon the arrival of trains on the Intercolonial Railway from the west, sailing up the Straits, with Prince Edward’s Island flanking the prospect on the east, and making her first stop at Richibucto, a town on the Richibucto River, about fifteen miles from the sea.

Thence she goes to Miramichi Bay and up the Miramichi River forty miles, to Chatham, a thriving town, engaged largely in steam milling and lumbering. Six miles further up the river she reaches the thrifty village of Newcastle, the business of which is lumbering and shipping. Thence down the river again, and around the Shippegan and Miscou Islands, she enters the waters of the Bay de Chaleur and reaches Bathurst, the Shire town of Gloucester County. This is the great salmon ground, and the business of the town is the salmon and lobster fisheries, the products of which are here canned in great quantities.

On the opposite shore, in the Province of Quebec, are the famous salmon grounds of Paspebiac and Cascapedia, which annually attract large numbers to engage in the business or sport. The steamer then calls at Dalhousie, at the head of the Bay and mouth of the Restigouche River, noted for its salmon and lobster fisheries, the approach to which is among the most magnificent and picturesque scenery of the Restigouche. The route then continues up this charming river eighteen miles to the head of navigation at Campbellton, from which place a beautiful drive of sixteen miles brings one to Metapedia, at the junction of the Restigouche and Metapedia Rivers, a locality abounding in the most charming and picturesque scenery and finest fishing — a region which once visited is never to be forgotten, and when its attractions are once experienced, it is difficult to resist a second visit.

This point is the terminus of the steamer’s route, which, along the coast and up the several rivers that give such variety to the sail, makes a travel of three hundred miles — a round trip over which is made once a week. Summer pleasure travelers, who seek for cool and invigorating air, delight in varying and beautiful scenery, which ocean, bay, river and landscape afford, and who take pleasure in the pursuits illustrated by Izaac Walton, will find on the North Shore and on this route all the material and facilities necessary to make a summer jaunt agreeable and full of lasting recreation. Those who have visited and sojourned in this region have come away full of encomiums of its attractive features, and thousands will continue to do the same.

In 1864, Mr. Lunt associated with him in the steamboat business his two sons, Joseph A. and Reuben G. Lunt, who had for many years been connected with their father in the lumbering and shipping business and assisting in the management of his steamboat interests, and the name of Express Line was then taken. At Mr. Lunt’s death, in 1873, the sons, in honor of their father, made the firm style Enoch Lunt & Sons.


Saint John, Eastport, Portland and Boston Line. H.W. Chisholm, Agent, Saint John

Steamboat navigation between Saint John and the West dates back just half a century. The magnificent steamer Tom Thumb made its little bow in Saint John harbor in 1824. The next year the American Eagle plied between Saint John and Eastport. Other and larger boats succeeded from time to time, and extended communication westward, till they reached Boston via Eastport and Portland. James Whitney’s name is prominently connected with this navigation. About 1845, James Cunningham, of Boston, put on the fine boats. Admiral and Senator — the former being soon purchased by the Eastport people, and the latter sent to California waters, where she now runs.

The International Steamship Company was formed in 1860. Their first boat, the New Brunswick, built expressly for the route, made her first trip May 7, 1861, Capt. E.B. Winchester in command. They then purchased from the Calais Company the Eastern City, Capt. Enos Field, and from the Eastport Company the Admiral, selling the latter shortly to the American Government for war purposes. The Eastern City and New Brunswick made the line till 1863, when the New England, built for the route, came on the line, and the Eastern City was sold to the American Government, and Capt. Field took command of the New England.

The New England was wrecked on the “Wolves” July 22, 1872, and the following year the City of Portland, under command of Capt. S.H. Pike, took her place on the route. In 1865 they bought the fast and splendid steamer New York, which had previously been brought here from Lake Ontario by Messrs. Small & Hatheway and run in opposition, and then sold to E.A. Souder & Co., Philadelphia. She was a flag of truce boat during the American war, and a great favorite. Capt. Chisholm brought her from Ontario and was in command all through the war, and in the International Line till 1869, when he came ashore at Saint John to assume the Agency of the Line, and was succeeded by Capt. Winchester.

All these boats are rising 1000 tons, first-class in every respect, and remarkable for their regularity of their trips. The New York has made the passage from Saint John to Boston in 22½ hours, being a speed of about seventeen miles an hour, a run which has never been beaten. The Line makes speedy and comfortable communication with the West, making three round trips in summer and two in winter months, and is finely officered. T.C. Hersey is President, H.J. Libby, Secretary; J.B. Coyle, Chief Engineer, all of Portland.


Union Line Bay and River Steamers. Head Office 39, Small Block, Dock Street

The Union Line has served the public in steam-passenger facilities on the Saint John River and across the Bay for many years. Mr. Frederick W. Hatheway built steamer Forest Queen, of about 320 tons, at Spring Hill, above Fredericton, in 1848, which plied between St. John and Fredericton. Mr. Otis Small bought a half-interest in this steamer in 1850. They then built, at Fredericton, the Anna Augusta of 350 tons, for the same route.

It was at this time that the firm of Hatheway & Small was formed. In 1851 they built in Carleton, the steamer Union, of about 400 tons, to ply on the river and tributaries. In the winter of 1850 they bought steamer Creole in New York, the same which was connected with the unfortunate Lopez expedition to Cuba. Repairing her, they ran her on the route between St. John and Portland for about two years. They then sold her to King Brothers, of Nova Scotia, to carry mails and passengers between Saint John and Annapolis. Meeting with accident, and while under tow to Saint John for repairs she sank in the Bay.

In 1851 they bought the small steamer Madawaska, which was running on the river between Grand Falls and St. Francis, hauled her across the portage, and ran her on the river and tributaries below the Falls. The same year they bought the Reindeer, a small steamer of 200 tons, with high and low pressure engine and light draft, to ply on the river to Woodstock and Grand Falls. They rebuilt her in 1862, changing her name to Antelope. Sold her in 1869 to D. Glazier & Son. She is now used as a tugboat on the river. In 1853 they built the small stern-wheel steamer Richmond to ply on the upper waters; and in 1855 bought the steamer John Warren, which was built in Woodstock to run in opposition. Both of these boats have passed out of existence.

They bought the Saint John in 1858, a steeple engine steamer of about 800 tons, and continued her on the Fredericton route for about seven years, selling her and steamer Union about 1863. The Saint John was lost off Cape Hatteras. In 1857 they built steamer Emperor, of 800 tons, at Carleton, which they ran at first to Portland and Boston and afterwards in the Bay of Fundy. She was sold in 1871 and wrecked in Penobscot Bay in 1872. Built steamer Empress of 660 tons in 1865 to run between Saint John, Digby and Annapolis, on which route she still runs in summer.

In 1861 they bought steamer New York of 1000 tons at Ogdensburg, N.Y., and brought her down the Lachine Rapids and Saint Lawrence River, and put her on the Saint John, Eastport, Portland and Boston route. They chartered her one winter to the American government for war purposes, and sold her in 1863 to E.A. Souder & Co., Philadelphia, who sold her to the International Company for the Saint John and Boston route. She is now the finest boat on the line, having been in the charge of the same captain and engineer since she was brought here from Ogdensburg. The firm of Hatheway & Small was dissolved by the death of Mr. Hatheway in 1866. A few months after, Mr. Small formed a partnership with Capt. Charles H. Hatheway, brother of the deceased, who had been master of the Forest Queen from 1849 till 1860, having a third interest in her from 1854. He had also, previously, an interest in the Emperor, Empress and Antelope.

The new firm purchased all the steamboat interests of the deceased. They also, in 1866, built the river steamer David Weston (named after a master in the employ of Hatheway & Small from the beginning) a fine boat of 765 tons, for the Saint John and Fredericton route on which she now runs. The next year they built the swift steamer Fawn, of 621 tons, for the same route, and in 1869 built the May Queen, of 502 tons, to run on the river and Grand Lake. These three are superior boats, well adapted for passenger travel and other business.

The steamer David Weston

From the N.B. Museum via the McCord Museum

The steamer Fawn

From the N.B. Museum via the McCord Museum

The May Queen at Evandale, in around 1900

From the N.B. Museum via the McCord Museum

In 1871 Mr. Small purchased for the firm, in London, the steel-plated, feathering-float side-wheel steamer Scud. She is 235 feet in length, 14 feet hold and 27 feet beam, has two trunk engines of 60 inches cylinders, and 4 feet stroke, aggregating 240 nominal horsepower. She was built expressly for the mail and passenger service across the channel between Dover and Calais, to run on that rough water on time. She has made 21 knots per hour. After purchasing, they put a dining saloon and other works on deck. She runs, in winter months, across the Bay of Fundy in connection with the Annapolis and Halifax Railway, and for speed, regularity and comfort is most admirably adapted to the route and is deservedly a favorite vessel. During the past severe winter she has not lost a trip. Her berth is at Reed’s wharf. The Union Line of Messrs. Small & Hatheway fills a worthy place in Saint John and its business connections, and from the beginning to the present time they have been proprietors of seventeen different steamers.


Written by johnwood1946

August 10, 2022 at 8:06 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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