The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Abert (Steamboat), 31 Dec 1843

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The U. S. Iron steamer ABERT, made a trial trip yesterday afternoon up the Bay. She was found to work very well, making about 10 miles per hour. This is the first iron ship that has ever sailed on Lake Ontario, and the novelty is increased by the unusual circumstances of the bay being clear of ice at this season of the year.
      Daily Courier & Economist
      January 1, 1844
      . . . . .

The Iron Steamer ABERT, went out as far as Point Abino, yesterday afternoon, and returned on an experimental trip. Her machinery works well, and her movements disturb the water, but little. It is thought she will be able to make eight or nine miles an hour with ease. -- Buffalo Gazette.
      Detroit Daily Advertiser
      January 9, 1844

      . . . . .

      On Sunday last, the new iron boat the ABERT, was tried, and her speed far excelled all expectations. Indeed we think she will surpass anything on the lake. She went out under considerable disadvantage, having no head of steam on and the ice being full an inch thick; but after she got out the Creek, steam gradually increased until she got, as the pilot stated, about four miles and a half from the lighthouse, when she turned, and was timed in. Her time was 22 minutes, although after she had got about half way, the water got low, and the furnace doors were opened, three buckets of water thrown on the fire, and the steam partially shut off.
      Our citizens who may have examined the position of her wheels, will be astonished to learn that they produce almost a vacuum in the wheel houses, insomuch that they became quite hot from the exhaust steam. The ABERT is propelled by two engines, which are probably superior to anything ever put up in the western country and the frames are riveted to the bottom so that they form in fact a part of the boat. They were built at the West Point Foundry, and the size of the cylinders is 16 inches diameter of bore, and 26 inch stroke; her wheels are eight feet in diameter, 22 inches in depth, with buckets extending 12 inches. With these she made 54 revolutions a minute, under a pressure of about 30 pounds of steam. The citizens of Buffalo may now therefore, congratulate themselves on having launched the first iron steamer that ever was propelled on Lake Erie.
      Buffalo Daily Gazette
      January 3, 1844

      . . . . .

      The new iron steamer ABERT, is now fitting out, with a new upper cabin, for the use of officers. She will be ready to leave about the first of May on a tour of the Upper Lakes.
      Daily Courier & Economist
      April 23, 1844
      . . . . .

The U. S. iron steamer ABERT, with a corps of Topographical Engineers under the command of Capt. Williams, is nearly ready to start on a voyage of exploration throughout the harbors of the lakes. Capt. F.P. Billings, an experienced officer on the lakes goes on board of her as sailing master, and William Steward, late of the West Point Foundry, as engineer. A cabin upon the deck is being erected for the accommodation of the officers, and those below for the hands are fitted up in a neat and comfortable style. Bulwarks are being put upon her forward, to prevent the sea from breaking over her decks. Coal is to be used for fuel, and places for its reception are being prepared in the room with the engine. She will be absent about six months, and is admirably adapted to the service for which she is designed.
      Buffalo Daily Gazette
      April 26, 1844

      . . . . .
The new iron steamer constructed for the use of the U.S. Engineer Department, in the survey of the lakes, made a little excursion yesterday preparatory to entering upon the service for which it is destined.
This boat is upon the new plan of submerged wheels, invented by Lieut. Hunter, U.S. Navy.
The trial yesterday was highly satisfactory. The action of the machinery communicates very slight motion to the boat, and is attended by very little noise. Were it not for the smoke pipes, it would seem to one on board, as well as to the observer on shore, to move from voluntary locomotive faculty rather than in obedience to a mechanical power.
The weather was rather unpropitious, but this did not mar the enjoyment of the excursion. The guests found everything to admire in the arrangement of the boat; its seaman like management by Capt. Billings and crew; and last, not least, the hospitality of the officers of the Topographical Corps present.
This occasion was selected by Capt. William for the baptismal ceremony of giving the craft a name, which was celebrated in due form by the oblation of a bottle of wine to Father Neptune, our worthy fellow citizen Capt. Champlain, one of the heroes of Lake Erie, standing sponsor.
      The boat is called the ABERT, in honor of Col. Abert, chief of the Topographical bureau.
      Dally Courier and Economist
      May 16, 1844

      The iron Topographic steamer ABERT is now ready for commission. She is very neat and methodically stowed with stores and the instruments of surveying, and other services to which she belongs. A visit to her is well repaid.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      May 17, 1844

NOTE:-- First ABERT, then SURVEYOR then JULIA.

      The steam ferry JULIA owned by C. McElroy of St. Clair, commenced running between St. Clair and Courtright Monday. She is the former U.S. SURVEYOR.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Thursday, April 11, 1878

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trial of machinery
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William R. McNeil
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Abert (Steamboat), 31 Dec 1843