Window on the World: The Rivers of New Brunswick

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1988.47.21 1953.9 X362 1964.83 1967.20 X16252 W576 1970.10 1975.54.2
 
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Ship model
Hampstead
Captain Arnold T. Mabee
1897, 19th century
61 x 27 x 127 cm
Gift of Mrs. L.H. Haselton
1967.20
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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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.

  • What

    The 94-foot Hampstead was the first screw propeller passenger steamer on the St. John River.

  • Where

    Hampstead, Queens County, is named for Hempstead, Long Island, New York, the former home of numerous Loyalist families.

  • When

    In 1916 the Hampstead fell victim to a fire, a common misfortune for the riverboats.

  • Who

    Captain Arnold T. Mabee, son of Captain J. Gillis Mabee, completed this model in 1897 after three years of carving and whittling.