The Rowland Hill

The Rowland Hill was built in Quebec in 1845 and arrived in 1848 to serve but one year on the St. John River. She had a gross tonnage of 115. She proved to be too expensive to operate.

Until her appearance, steamboats arriving at Indiantown dropped anchor just before coming to the wharf. As the anchor chain was played out, the steamboat drifted or was propelled to the wharf. When she was ready to sail once more, lines were cast off and, by drawing on the anchor chain, the boat was pulled clear of the wharf. But this system changed with the arrival of the Rowland Hill. Her captain was the first to cast off from the wharf by using a stern line backing against it while swinging the bow into the stream.

In the fall of 1848, the Forest Queen and the Rowland Hill ran a race between Fredericton and Indiantown. At the middle ground opposite Gagetown, they were side by side, with both skippers disregarding all the rules of navigation. Danger of a collision at this point was very real and the captain of the Forest Queen finally reduced speed, allowing his rival to pull ahead. But soon the race was on again and the Rowland Hill continued to the mouth of the river in six hours and fifteen minutes, while the Forest Queen was only five minutes behind her in landing. This time was far slower than the Reindeer's five hours and five minutes of two years before.

The story is told that in another of these races, when the water was somewhat higher that year, the two rivals found themselves once more side by side in a race near Gagetown. The steamers were so close that their guards overlapped. Just at this time, something went wrong with the Forest Queen's engine and her captain was told that the steam had to be shut off for a few minutes. Quick as a flash, he ordered the trimmers rolled. These were large, wooden casks filled with gravel and weighing about 600 pounds. These could be rolled from side to side on a steamer to keep her on an even keel. When the Forest Queen trimmers were moved as directed, she developed a nice list, causing her guard to stick fast to that of the Rowland Hill. So, while the repairs were made, the Forest Queen was towed along by the other vessel and so it is said she went on afterwards to win the race.