New Bern-Craven County
Public Library

a member of the Craven-Pamlico Regional Library System

Steamboats in New Bern:
Norfolk and John Stoney

[From: The Daily Journal, June 11, 1882]
            The following was the last meeting of the steamboat company that owned the Norfolk.


            The Stockholders of the Newbern steamboat company are invited to attend a general meeting, which will be held at the house of Mrs. Emery, in Newbern, on Monday the 11th of March 1822, for the purpose of taking definite measures in regard to the concerns of the company. Distant subscribers, who cannot personally attend are invited to appear by proxy. By order of the Directors.
                                                WILLIAM GASTON, Pres’t.
            STEPHEN M. CHESTER, Sec’y.
Newbern, Feb. 28, 1822.

            Thus, I have shown the result of the first effort of the citizens of the town to establish a steamboat line or to run a steamboat in any direction from this place.
            After a lapse of fifteen years another trial was made and I quote from The Spectator, a paper published in Newbern on Friday, 13th of September, 1833, as follows concerning it:

            On Friday, the 6th inst. the steamboat John Stony, destined to ply between Newbern and Elizabeth City, arrived from Charleston. At six o’clock P.M. on Monday, she set out on her first trip, landed her passengers at Elizabeth on Tuesday in time for the Northern Stages, and returned at two o’clock A.M. on Thursday. The John Stony is well adopted to the line [?] and the proprietors are determined to use every effort to accommodate passengers and to render this connecting link in our Southern route pleasant and permanent. By the present arrangement the boat goes to Elizabeth twice a week but as soon as it shall be found necessary, she will go three times.
            From the general feeling that prevails in favor of this enterprise, we may safely say that there is now a greater probability of its success than at any former period. This route, if properly connected, is undoubtedly the natural one for the intercourse of the great mass of our population who inhabit the Atlantic States; and if the link between this place and Elizabeth can be firmly established, the greatest difficulty of the whole line will have been surmounted. The owners of the John Stony are determined to run a boat from Charleston to some port in this State, probably Wilmington, as soon as travelers shall have taken this direction in sufficient numbers to authorize the additional expense. Such a connection, permanently established, would offer facilities and comforts to our Southern merchants and others to which they have long been strangers in their journeys to and from the North. We have now four horse post coaches running three times a week between this place and Wilmington, Raleigh and Washington, and the proprietors are ready to increase their numbers and the frequency of their trips to any extent which the public accommodation may require.

The agents spoke of this steamer as follows:

            The elegant and capacious steamboat John Stoney, Captain Green, has commenced her regular trips between Newbern and Elizabeth City, and will be governed in her operations by the following schedule: First trip—Leave Newbern on Monday at 5 p.m. Arrive at Elizabeth on Tuesday, in time for the Norfolk stages. Returning—Leave Elizabeth at 8 p.m. on Tuesday after the Norfolk stages arrive, and reach Newbern at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, in time for the departure of the Southern, Western, and Northern stages.
            Second—Leave Newbern on Friday at 5 p.m. Arrive at Elizabeth on Saturday in time for the arrival of the Norfolk stages. Returning—Leave Elizabeth at 10 p.m. on Saturday after the Norfolk stages arrive, and reach Newbern at 6 p.m. on Saturday [i.e. Sunday]. Passengers will remain in Newbern till Monday afternoon, the time of departure of the Southern, Western, and Northern stages.
            Travelers who adopt the Atlantic route, via Georgetown and Wilmington through Newbern to Norfolk are informed that by the present steamboat route there will be a saving of one hundred and twenty miles land carriage, with a considerable reduction in the price of fare, and a  great addition in point of comfort and convenience. Those who travel the route via Fayetteville and Waynesborough to Norfolk, are informed that the line is intersected by the Raleigh line of stages at this place and they would find it much to their interest and comfort to adopt this route.
                                                J.M. GRANADE & CO.,
Newbern, Sept. 13th, 1833.

            Within two months after her first trip, the John Stoney had also been “banished from our shores,” the business on the line would not keep the boat running. This steamer made the trip in about the same time the Newbern is running now—none but light freight was carried on her. There is no exaggeration in the advertisement respecting her condition and finish. For the time the John Stoney would have been a first class steamboat any where in this country—our citizens had no direct interest in her. J.M. Granade & Co., however, were merchants in Newbern. Mr. C.V. Swann brought a small steamboat here from the North some fifty years ago which run for a while about Newbern; this steamer was not of much consequence and soon disappeared. Mr. Swann settled on Bay River and lived there for many years and then died. He was one of the pioneers in the steamboat business.

            The Emery house referred to in the notice of the Norfolk Steamboat Company, is now the residence of Mrs. Judge M.E. Manly, on the Neuse at the end of New (Neuse) street. There in the olden times as well as in the present time, many illustrious persons have assembled. There beauty, talent, wit, wealth, and bravery have been accustomed to shine and dazzle, and if the old walls could give back the words that have reverberated around them, we could hear there still James Monroe, John C. Calhoun, Edward Everett and others in addition to a throng of the eminent men of our town and State. It was long the home of George Pollock. It was also the headquarters of Gen. Palmer the Federal General commanding this post during the war. It was Mrs. Emery’s boarding house, and President Monroe was entertained there during his visit to Newbern, by our citizens, with royal hospitality. Mr. Calhoun was then Secretary of War and with him.

            I will say more of the visit of these illustrious public men hereafter and of the banquet given them at this house.                          D.

Return to Writings of John D. Whitford Home