The Heather Bell

The side wheeler, the Heather Bell, was launched January 14, 1861, at Carleton, Saint John. Her length was 145 feet, and her beam 20 feet, and had a capacity of 136 tons. When light, she drew less than 4 feet of water. The paddle wheels were 23 feet in diameter and were powered by two compound engines. She proved to be very unsteady, rolling from side to side and causing "much discomfort and uneasiness to the passengers". The next winter, stabilizers were fitted on her sides.

Initially, the Heather Bell was advertised to run three trips per week from Indiantown to Curley Island in the Salmon River, stopping at Gagetown each way. In mid-season this was changed to two trips per week. The following year she changed to the Indiantown- Fredericton route.

On June 8, 1865, while lying at her wharf at Fredericton, a fire of unknown origin suddenly engulfed the steamer in flames. The crew had only time to rush ashore to safety. The flames soon burned the mooring hawsers and the burning steamer drifted across the river to the shoal water at Saint Mary's.