Window on the World: The Rivers of New Brunswick
Captain Arnold T. Mabee
1897, 19th century
61 x 27 x 127 cm
Gift of Mrs. L.H. Haselton
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
Keys to History
For the captains and crews of the steamers, the rivers represented navigational hazards: sandbars, floating debris (including ice in the spring) and the threat of collisions, especially at night. Since the steamers' superstructures were made of wood and since hardwood was used for fuel until the late 19th century, fires were frequent and boilers did sometimes explode. Still, these episodes faded with time, to be replaced with memories of bright, clear days with clean, country air, magnificent countryside and water that stretched for miles.
Built at Hampton in 1894, the Hampstead made daily trips between Indiantown and Hampstead, Queens County, under Captain J. Gillis Mabee. This vessel was relatively small, with a high superstructure that made for challenging navigation. For example, when approaching a wharf, large numbers of passengers commonly moved to one side preparing to disembark. To prevent capsizing, hogheads of sand were rolled to the opposite side of the hull.
The 94-foot Hampstead was the first screw propeller passenger steamer on the St. John River.
Hampstead, Queens County, is named for Hempstead, Long Island, New York, the former home of numerous Loyalist families.
In 1916 the Hampstead fell victim to a fire, a common misfortune for the riverboats.
Captain Arnold T. Mabee, son of Captain J. Gillis Mabee, completed this model in 1897 after three years of carving and whittling.