2016 Steamboat 200th Anniversary
In 1802 the chief land surveyor for New Brunswick, Douglas Campbell claimed, "Ten miles of road fit for any kind of wheel carriage is nowhere to be found in New Brunswick".
Transportation throughout the province was primarily on the waterways powered by muscle or sail. Weather dependent, it could sometimes take five days to move passengers or freight between Saint John and Fredericton, a distance of only ninety miles.
During the early 1800's a new technology, the steam engine, had been installed in the first commercial boats. New Brunswick quickly realized the benefit steam powered boats would have in the development of the province.
On May 20th, 1816 the first steamboat in New Brunswick, the General Smyth, plied its way from Saint John to Fredericton. This boat was the fourth in North America and was the beginning of 130 years of steamboat use throughout the provincial inland and coastal waters. These craft were critical in moving people, food, equipment, resources and the products of New Brunswick.
For a little steamboat music check the following Steamboat Trek
Below is a listing of the seventy-four known boats as they appeared chronologically on the river between 1816 and 1946. Click on the name to find out more details and some of the interesting stories surrounding each one.
Much of this information is from the three books on the steamboats of the St. John River as listed below.
For a list of other steamboat stories see Steamboat Stories
For a list of steamboat historians see Steamboat Historians
For a list of steamboat firsts see Steamboat Firsts
For a list of steamboat disasters see Steamboat Disasters
For a map of the region see St. John River Steamer Stops
For an alphabetical listing see Alphabetical Steamboat Listing.
"The Early Steamboats of the St. John River" by Captain Donald F. Taylor 1980
"Steamboat Days On The St. John 1816-1946" by Dr. George MacBeath & Capt. Donald F.
"From The Splash Of The Paddlewheel" by Captain Donald F. Taylor 1985