The Novelty I

The Novelty was a sidewheeler built in 1836 in Clifton, N.B. by Justus Wetmore. It was the first of two steamboats named Novelty. She was 137 feet long and had a gross tonnage of 159.

The Novelty soon proved to be the best boat in service. Designed to draw but 11 inches of water, she was propelled by the first high pressure engine used on the river. On June 11, 1836, she sailed to Fredericton for the first time, greatly reducing the sailing time. In August, she made the upriver trip in seven and a half hours and came back in seven averaging 12 miles per hour.

However, perhaps because of her speed a writer of the day complained that "she shook like fury" and was difficult to steer.

On April 29, 1837, the Novelty made her first trip of the new season, arriving at Fredericton in the afternoon. Captain Phillips decided to try the trip to Woodstock. After anchoring above Fredericton for the night, he continued the next morning and reached Woodstock late the same day. This caused great excitement and the Novelty, proudly flying her motto "Go Ahead Novelty", was cheered and saluted by firearms all the way. At Woodstock, she was met with a rousing reception of guns booming, flags flying, bands playing, and the crowd shouting itself hoarse. The Novelty continued on this run to Woodstock, and an attempt was made to reach Grands Falls, but the gallant lady grounded on an island above Hartland and the trial was abandoned.

The story is told of the time the Novelty grounded on the flats opposite Fredericton. A call for help brought a company of red coats from the local garrison. These gallants plunged into the river to their waists and with much lifting and shoving moved her to deeper water.

The Novelty was destroyed in 1844.