The Ben Beveridge

The side wheeler, the Ben Beverage, was built in Woodstock in 1853 at a length of 118 feet and a gross tonnage of 36.

Speed was obviously an important factor in a steamer, with the fastest enjoying many advantages. For instance, at this time woodsmen brought down their rafts of logs from the Tobique to Springhill (just above Fredericton). Here, the men would wait for a steamer to take them back upriver, and dressed in their gay red flannel shirts, they whiled away their time in one of the taverns, such as the "Rest and be Thankful" or the "Dew-Drop Inn". This waiting throng of passengers stimulated the rival steamers to be the first at Springhill, but by local ordinance no steamer could leave its wharf at Fredericton until the Cathedral clock struck six. One morning, early in June 1855, three steamboats lay ready for the trip to Woodstock. The J. D. Pierce and the Ben Beveridge were at the middle wharf, with the Reindeer at the lower landing. At the sound of the clock, lines were cast off at the same time and the race was on. Opposite Government House at St. Anne's Point, the Reindeer was passing Ben Beveridge, both going full speed when the latter's boiler exploded and extensively damaged the boat and killed the fireman. The J.D. Pierce hove to and rescued the passengers and crew - including the engineer. It was the engineer who had been responsible for the explosion, having allowed the water to get too low in the boiler. He wisely concealed himself until Woodstock was reached, and then made his escape to the United States before he could be arrested.

The Ben Beveridge's service ended with this accident in 1855.