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This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
David Weston
Wellington Vail
1910, 20th century
61 x 44.5 cm
New Brunswick Museum
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum

Keys to History:

For many years, river steamers were the lifeblood of communication and trade on New Brunswick's inland waterways. Aside from transporting rural residents and their produce to urban centres, they brought the town or city to the country and connected the various communities along the way. The first steamer on the Saint John River was the General Smyth, which made its maiden voyage in 1816. Fifty years later the construction and launch of the elegant David Weston heralded a grand age in river transportation. Although her speed was an impressive 17 mph (27 km/h), passengers instead noted the commodious, almost luxurious, accommodations, such as marble-topped tables, plush chairs, a circular staircase and a dining saloon that seated 90 passengers per sitting.


The David Weston carried upwards of 200 passengers on her regular runs, several hundred on special occasions.


Wellington Vail built the model of the David Weston in Queens County in the early 20th century.


In 1866, the vessel began plying the route between Indiantown and Fredericton, serving until destruction by fire in 1903.


The vessel David Weston was built by John Retallick, Saint John, for the Union Line Steamship Company, and was named in honour of her captain.

© Musée McCord Museum