Old St. Andrews



A Visit to the Chamcook Shipyard



Nov. 20/1834


Rambles and Remarks on Scenery Near SA, NB
After descending a steep bank we were all at once among the bustle and activity of the extensive establishment of John Wilson, Esq. a merchant of standing in SA, whose intelligence and enterprise have blended the ocean and the waters of Chamcook for the purposes of manufacture and commerce. There is an air of precision . . . about the place, which together with the embosomed snugness of its position, tenders it an agreeable scene to the eye of a fisher.
            We proceeded directly to the lake from which the stream debouches at an opening between the surrounding hills, and ere its brief course has measure the extent of a furlong, it is lost in the waters of Passamaquoddy Bay. But in that short distance the genius of enterprise has applied its current as the motive power of a series of machinery, which thousands of streams that roil their mightily length in volumes to the sea, cannot boast of. These varied and useful works consist of a number of detached erections comprising the following particulars, viz. a barley mill in full operation, and I can bear witness that it produces as fine pearl barley as can be imported from any country in the world. Here is also a grist mill, set aside particularly for the convenience of the farmers of the surrounding country. Lower down we find three saw mills, with gang saws, and circular plates for edging deals and trimming their ends; a process which enhances their quality and consequently brings a higher value in the market than can be obtained for those manufactured in the ordinary way. Every convenience has been has been studied for hauling up logs and piling the sawed lumber. Below these are a kin and Mill for making Oatmeal, and for grinding Indian corn. The lower mill is now manufacturing 2300 bushels of wheat per diem from a cargo of 15,000 bushels imported by the proprietor this season from Hamburg. The flour is of a superior quality; they pack it and make it up in barrels that might receive the banks of Genessee or Howard Street.
            My attention was particularly attracted by a capacious Wet-Dock constructed immediately below the mills capable of containing a number of vessels in 22 feet of water, which is the depth of the channel of the inlet when the tide is out.
            this is the first basin of the kind I have either seen or heard of, on this continent; and it is much to be desired that he great facilities offered to the shipping interests by this stupendous undertaking may be widely embraced, and secure to the spirited projector, a remunerating and well deserved patronage. I had the satisfaction of seeing the first vessel that had entered in the process of loading. She lay close to the mills, and received the deals directly from the piles clean and dry. . . . It may be a homely remark but I will make it that owners and masters must feel great satisfaction in the consciousness that their vessels ride in perfect safety—their boats, crews and property quite secure—light work in loading and the utmost despatch given, consequently, much expense inconvenience and delay obviated. In touching on these matters, the wrier should be better informed of their general nature then I can pretend to be, as I am indebted to the gentlemen who accompanied me for all their prominent points. Our last look was at the shipyard where several vessels had been built—the last of which was the Princess Victoria, a fine ship of 561 tons. A. Z.