Date March 18 1895
County Saint John
Place Saint John
Newspaper The Daily Telegraph
The language of the text is the original used in the newspaper entry and as transcribed by Daniel F. Johnson. Records acquired by the Provincial Archives are not translated from the language in which they originate.
Shipbuilding Industry ... The first vessel constructed above the Falls was built for Benedict ARNOLD by Nehemiah BECKWITH, the great grandfather of J. Douglas HAZEN, M.P. Mr. Beckwith failed some what (a day or two) in his contract for the time of launching and Benedict Arnold refused to accept the vessel except at a ruinous reduction. Mr. Beckwith had to accept Arnold's terms greatly to his injury. It was a mean advantage. As the custom house papers only date back to 1822, the previous books were burnt at the fire, we have been compelled to pick up our information concerning the early shipbuilding of the port from men now advanced in years, notably Mr. BRUNDAGE, the sailmaker. In 1810 Gilmour, Rankin & Co. built the "Ant and Bee". In 1825 W.& R. Wright were serving their time with George THOMSON, the famous proprietor of "Noah's Ark", part of which can be seen at Rankine's wharf at low tide. There were quite a number of small vessels built up to the time when W.& R. WRIGHT started their famous Courtenay Yard in 1837. In 1812, W.& J. LAWTON were building, likewise the OLIVEs. The latter constituted a whole family of shipwrights and the mantle descended to their grandchildren. The first vessel built by the Wrights was a whaler. This was followed by the steamboat "North America", subsequently placed on the Boston route. It was not until 1850 that anything in the shape of a decker vessel was launched. W.& R. Wright then lauched the "Benjapore", 1600 tons. In the yard adjoining at the same time there was a vessel in the course of construction that was destined to make a name and fame second to no other vessel that ever left the port of St. John. This was the famous "Marco Polo" built by Smith. She had been caled a 'fluke', that she came by her smart sailing by accident, that the whole rested with her captain. She was 1600 tons, comparatively a ull ship in point of build and moreover, stuck in the mud while launching and remained there some days. In fact she was strained and a little up on her main chains. She was taken home by Capt. Thomas in 15 days. This proved that she was a sprinter from the first. She went a voyage to Mobile, after which she was chartered by the British government to take emigrants to Australia. The commander was Capt. Forbes. He made a passage there and back in quick time, that is within 50 days each way, the quickest on record. She went immediately to the front, the gold fever to Ausralia set in badly. Her St. John builders received several orders or dupicate "Marco Polos", but strange to say not one ever made a mark equal to the famous original. ... The last of the "Marco Polo" was a barque-rigged collier plying between Sydney, C.B. and Montreal. She got disgusted with such a low occupation and quietly laid her bones on P.E.I. one foggy night. (see original)