New Bern-Craven County
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Steamboats in New Bern, continued

[From: The Daily Journal, June 18, 1882]

            After the steamer Norfolk, George Dalton, Lieut. Engineers U.S., had a small steamboat that he ran about our harbor, which he offered May 29th, 1832, as follows for sale:

            “The small steamboat recently used as a towing lighter in the public operations on the Swash. The engine is of 10 horse power, on the high pressure principle, and in good order with the exception of the boilers and furnaces, which require repairs. The boat is of 30 tons burthen, timbered with live oak and cedar, and sheathed and fastened with copper.”

            Next we had the Edmond McNair, quite a heavy side wheel steamboat, drawing five or six feet water. The effort was made to navigate our rivers Neuse and Trent with her. She ran for a while, and, notwithstanding the depth of the water required for her, she was carried at times pretty high up the Neuse, and was finally wrecked above Kinston, where for years, if not now, her ribs could be seen at low water. Perhaps Gen. Ransom has removed them during the progress of his work.

            A steamboat was sent here from Wilmington, and it was soon found she was not properly constructed for our waters, and was taken away. Then came the Wayne, which ran on the Neuse for years. The subjoined extracts from the Newbernian of December 16th, 1843, will give part of her history:

            For some days our citizens were kept in expectation of the arrival of the steamboat Wayne, in our waters, which was realized by her appearance on Monday last. She was built in Hartford, Conn., and has been employed in the navigation of the Connecticut river, transporting passengers and towing flats from Hartford to Greenfield in that State. She was purchased by our enterprising friend, Mr. C.B. Dibble, for the purpose of navigating Neuse and Trent rivers, for the accommodation of travelers to and from this place, and towing flats laden with produce to our market from the country lying on the waters of those rivers, or returning with goods, etc., on the homeward trip. The boat is 83 feet in length, has three boilers and two engines, of 36 horse power, draws only twenty inches of water, and is propelled by one wheel astern.
            A number of our citizens had an opportunity of testing her speed on Wednesday at the invitation of the owner, and were much pleased with the trip. Her accommodations are quite good and sufficient for 15 or 20 passengers. She is commanded by an experienced master, and is no doubt suited to the design of her owner. She left here on Thursday for Waynesboro on her first trip. It only remains for the community for whose benefit she has been brought here, to back the enterprise of her owner, to insure success in the undertaking. We have long believed that something of this sort should be done, to revive the drooping prospects of our town; and we are convinced that a little Yankee energy and prudence, and perseverance, tacked on to the fiery zeal of Eastern Carolinians, can only be wanting, to make Newbern what she ought to be in enterprise and business prospects. We shall recur to this matter again at another time.

            Again we quote December 23d, 1843:

            The Wayne whose arrival from New Haven, we spoke of in our last number, left Newbern on Friday morning of last week for Waynesboro, and returned here on Tuesday evening. She left Waynesboro on Monday at 2 o’clock P.M. and arrived here at 25 minutes before 4 on Tuesday evening. The captain states her running time from Waynesboro to Newbern at about 11 hours. The obstructions in the way of her running from Newbern to Kinston were not found to be very great. It is believed that $2,000 expended in clearing out logs from the bed of the river, trees overhanging the banks between here and Kinston, etc., would enable the Wayne to navigate that part of the river at all seasons; $3,000 more expended between Kinston and Waynesboro would in all probability put the river in navigable order the whole distance, nearly or quite all the year. We have not space now to enlarge on the great advantages to the upper counties, that this would secure; we shall do so at another time, but as the court sets in Kinston the first week in January, we beg leave to suggest and earnestly recommend that the citizens of Wayne, Lenoir, etc., hold a meeting in Kinston on Tuesday, Jan. 2, to consider the propriety of making an effort to clear the river. We understand, and we cannot see how it can be otherwise, that much interest is felt in the success of this experiment, to run a steamboat from Newbern to Waynesboro.

            Again April 2d 1844 from the same paper.

            The Steamboat Wayne left Newbern on Saturday morning freighted with goods for Kinston, Waynesboro, Goldsboro, Smithfield and other points, having also on board about 30 passengers; this promises well for future success. If the people above Newbern will only manifest the right spirit, and do their part in having the obstacles in the river removed, we have every reason to believe that the enterprise will succeed and this important addition to the navigation of the river be continued. What is there to hinder the Raleigh merchants from making a trial of this route for importing their supplies from New York? We doubt not they would on trial find it equally safe, cheaper and more expeditious than the route by which they presently get their goods.

            Once more from the Newbernian.

The Steamer Wayne
Will make an excursion to Waynesboro, on the 8th of April, at which time Mr. Clay will be at that place.
            It is desirable that all who intend going should inform the subscriber soon, that suitable arrangements may be made.
            Passage to and from Waynesboro, SIX DOLLARS. All persons desirous of going will please meet at Mr. Street’s Hotel on Friday afternoon next at 4 o’clock, so as to make suitable arrangements for the occasion.
                                                C.B. DIBBLE.
Newbern, March 26th, 1844.

            We give the following correspondence, to let it be seen that the Wayne was deemed of sufficient importance to bring to us so great a man as Henry Clay:

                        Newbern, N.C., Jan. 25th, 1844.
Sir:--The citizens of Newbern without distinction of party being desirous of greeting your arrival in our State, and expressing that appreciation which they entertain for your character as a man and your eminent services as a statesman, and of extending to you the cordial hospitalities of our town; have at a public meeting appointed  the undersigned committee to advise you of the same and to bid you a hearty welcome among us. In the discharge of this pleasant duty, and in their name and behalf we tender to you the hospitalities of our town, and beg that we may be allowed the high gratification of exchanging with you those agreeable courtesies and civilities which add so much to the sum of human happiness, and of enjoying that social intercourse which it will be our pride and delight to extend to a fellow citizen, so deservedly eminent and distinguished as yourself.
            We have not been unmindful of your declared intention of visiting the eastern shore of Virginia, and in so doing we indulge the fond hope that you will find it both convenient and agreeable to visit our town en route. This may be done after your visit to the city of Raleigh, with the loss of only a day or two; and with that view a steamboat will be in readiness at Waynesboro for you, by which you will reach Newbern in one day, and from this place you can accomplish your journey to Norfolk in a day and a half. In thus conveying to you this heartfelt expression of the wishes and desires of our fellow citizens, permit us, sir, to add the testimony of our own high regard and esteem for your virtues and exalted worth, and to urge upon you the acceptance of our invitation, which will indeed afford great gratification to us all.
                        We have the honor to be,
                                    Very respectfully,
                                                Your ob’t servts.,
            James W. Bryan                      Samuel Oliver,
            Robert Primrose                      J.G. Stanly
            A.H. Van Bokkelen,               John Blackwell,
            Lawrence W. Scott,                Moses W. Jarvis,
            George S. Attmore,                 Sam’l E. Chapman
            John R. Donnell,                     F.J. Prentiss,
            John M. Roberts,                     Samuel Masters,
            John I. Pasteur,                       W.H. Washington,
            Israel Disosway,                      Isaac Taylor,
            T. Sparrow, junr.
                        Augusta, March 30, 1844.
            Gentlemen:--I duly received the invitation which you, as a committee of the citizens of Newbern, without distinction of party, have done me the honor to transmit, to visit that place. Proceeding as it does from such a source, I receive it with cordial thanks, and unaffected gratitude. I should be most happy to accept the hospitality which it so generously tenders; but I regret that the fatigues, and engagements, incident to the arduous journey which I am performing will not allow me that satisfaction. Although at its commencement, I restricted myself to the acceptance of invitations from places lying directly on my route, I find even that limitation, imposes on me a degree of excitement incompatible with the due preservation of my health; and during the residue of my journey, I shall have to entreat all the forbearance, and kindness which my fellow citizens can extend to me. I invoke that of yourselves, and your constituents for respectfully declining the invitation with which you have honored me, and for which I offer the expression of my profound acknowledgements.
                                    I am with great respect
                                                Your friend and ob’t serv’t
                                                            H. CLAY.
Messrs. James W. Bryan, Robert Primrose and others.

            We will tell what became of the Wayne in our next. She had a tragic end--observe she could run from Waynesboro’ (one mile from Goldsboro) to Newbern in 11 hours. As you have had the honor, Mr. Senior Editor, to command a river steamer, please give us your best time for comparison.                                          D.

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