Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Mayflower (Steamboat), 1 May 1849
Full Text

Launch of the MAYFLOWER. -- This new boat, just built by the Central Railroad Company, was launched yesterday at the appointed time. We arrived, just in time to be too late, to witness the launch, but learned from the assembled thousands that she went off the ways in majestic style, making a graceful debut in her adopted element, when, unless everybody who has seen her, will be greatly disappointed if she does not win laurels that can be claimed by only a few, if any, of the Naiad Queens that now frolic in the crystal waters of famed Erie.
      As she left her resting place, she made a tremendous shoot into the centre of the river, as though she was already fully rigged with her splended machinery, with steam up, and in full motion. At this moment, Capt. Van Allen, with his splendid steamer CANADA, shot down the river, and making fast, brought her to the wharf in good style. The "Mayflower"- a name associated with Plymouth Rock- was adorned with colors and flags, flying in all directions before the fresh breeze from down the river as though it was proud of unfolding her name to the assembled multitude. The machinery, which will be placed in order during the winter, has just been received on the company's wharf, and in splendor and perfection, is in perfect keeping with everything with which Mr. Brooks, the indefatigable superintendent, has anythying to do.
      The Mayflower will be ready for business in the spring, and will run in connection with the Central road between this city and Buffalo. No expense or skill has been spared in her model and will not be in her finish, her model is somewhat after the style of the North River boats, calculated for speed. her lenght is 200 feet.- Detroit Adv.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday Evening, November 20, 1848

      . . . . .

NEW STEAMBOAT. - The new steamboat MAYFLOWER, building by the company, is fast progressing towards completion, a part of the engine and machinery is already in its place, and the carpenter and joiner work is going ahead finely. She will be ready to take her place on the route at the opening of navigation. --- Detroit Free Press.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      February 16, 1849

      Detroit, April 10. - The new steamer MAY FLOWER belonging to Michigan Central Plank Road Co., made a trial trip today. She moved up the river beautifully, and will fulfill the expectations of her builders in point of speed.
      The Daily True Democrat
      Wednesday, April 11, 1849

The new steamer MAYFLOWER, from Detroit, arrived here this morning, on her first trip, at 4 o'clock, being seventeen hours from port to port. The running time was 16 hours and 15 minutes, against a head wind. She is calculated for a 15 hour boat, which she will probably be able to do, when her machinery becomes a little worn. her fame, splendor, workmanship, and great strength in construction, has preceeded her arrival, through the Detroit papers, where she was built for the Central Railroad Company.
No expense appears to have been spared in making her a boat for all kinds of weather. Mr. Brooks has exhibited in its construction, what he is celebrated for in railway matters, superiority. The boat fully comes up to public expectation. She was thronged by visitors during her day in port, which she left this morning, remaining here but a few hours.
Her keel was laid on the first of July last. The superintendence of the work was placed under the charge of Josiah Lempton, Esq., from the celebrated ship-building yard of Brown & Co., of New York. He had orders to build her with all the strength that art, timber and iron could make her. She gives evidence of a triumph in this respect. her model is considered superior, by nautical observers; while her light draught in water, being but 7 feet 9 inches, with the Custom House measurement of thirteen hundred and fifty-four tons, gives her a swan like appearance on her element. Mr. Lempton's experience in the extensive yard where he has formerly been employed, has enabled him to combine all the great essentials of speed, strength and ornament. The copper-smithing was under the direction of Peter McNoah of Detroit; and the painting executed by Atkinson & Godfrey, of that city. The lettering and guilding, by Mr. Caleb F. Davis, is in excellent taste. The whole workmanship is unique.
The length of the boat is 288 feet, with 35 feet 3 inches beam, over guards 65 feet. Depth of hold 13 feet 4 inches. Diameter of wheel 35 feet, and 11 feet bucket. The engine was made by Hogg & Delmater of new York. It has 72 inch cylinders, with 11 feet stroke.
Our short visit will not enable us to give but a limited notice. Curiosity prompted us, as it did a great number of others, to take a stroll through her. The traveler on a journey, generally looks in the first place, for a resting place for his weary body. he will not be disappointed in the MAYFLOWER. Four hundred and six berths, with any quantity of extra matresses can be had. many of the berths are double---all well ventilated.
The lower cabins, under the main deck, are finished in the most modern style-neat and inviting. They do not present the gloomy appearance that characterize some boats. The gentleman's cabin has 53 capacious berths. Those on the lower tier, of sufficient capacity for the largest sized persons. leading from this, is a large nursery, with 13 berths, and plenty of room for the recreation of children, and a dozen baby-jumpers.
How changed the comfort for steerage passengers in traveling, for the last five years. Formerly, they were compelled to lodge wherever they could find a place to lie down. The next improvement, a room with rough berths, with no bedding. Now, they are as well cared for as first class passengers were in the palmy day of the old MICHIGAN. We noticed the steerage sleeping department of the MAYFLOWER has 90 berths, with bedding. A portion of them large enough for three persons, while there is abundance of room for extra cots.
We first visited the ladies' cabin. We found a spacious room, while from each side, a row of parlors were partitioned off, each one named after a favorite female author. There was Miss Leslie, whose charming verse has sweetened many an hour. Next came, Childs--a name proud to every American. Beside, was that of Judson, whose philanthropy had no bounds, and who laid down her life in a foreign land. Sigourney, the world renowned. Hale---who does not admire her genius ! Hemans, the Beloved.---Landon, whose grave, no stone now marks in Africa.---Howitt, Bailie, Barbauld, Norton, More, Embury.. Each of these parlors or family-rooms have canopy beds for two, in exquisite style. On the same deck, are six state-rooms for officers, two berths in each. here are also to be found several rooms occupied by carpenters, firemen, porters, cooks, servants &c., with 22 berths.
On this deck, there is an Express Room, ocupied by Livingston & Fargo, under the agency of Charles M. Bull, Esq.,a gentleman as prompt in business matters as he is accommodating to serve the public.
In the after cabin there are 8 family rooms, with double beds, inviting enough to keep one constantly traveling over the lakes in warm weather. Them comes 12 state-rooms with two berths each. Abaft the guards are 6 state-rooms, with 3 berths each. Alongside the engine gangway, there are 14 state-rooms, with 3 berths each. Then there is a luxury that we hope to see on every boat, two bathing rooms.
The dining cabin is lined on both sides with 24 state-rooms, cantaining 3 berths each; and on the guards, are 5 rooms for officers, of 2 beds each.
The ladies upper cabin is sumptuously furnished---the decorations exceedingly neat. The rosewood piano---sofas---devices---ottomans and French mirrors---send one back to the fairy land. Orienta thoughts involuntarily pass the mind. The workings of the engine can be seen from this room, through an immense glass, protected by a plated railing. On the engine there is a motto, surrounding the Coat of Arms of the State of Michigan' with "Belay. Vetecided Invencible." Three meters are in view; one of them denoting the amount of steam----one the number of revolutions-----and the other denoting how fast the boat is going-----while at the side is to be seen Wilder's Steam Telegraph, showing what is required when the bell rope is pulled. We are getting our notice too lengthy, and must conclude by giving a list of her popular officers.
Captain Van Allen, the whole traveling world knows to be one of the most accomplished officers on the lakes. W. F. Hurd, Esq., formerly of the Auburn and Rochester Railroad, also favorably known to the public, is clerk. Wm. Cavarley-a better sailor, never known--is first mate. Mr.--- Lathrop, well versed in his business, second mate. Stephen Newhall, Engineer. George Reed, second Engineer.
All good livers no doubt, will enquire who the stewart is. The name of C. C. Nelson will quiet their appetites. If there are any luxuries or dainties that he does not know where to get, hint it to him, and you will be furnished.- The passengers down yesterday, all accord him the highest praise as a caterer, the ten foot stove in the boat kitchen groans amid the endless variety, while the waiters are trained to a promptness vieing with Old Zack's troops at Buena Vista.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday, May 29, 1849 p.2

This mauniticeut new steamer arrived at this port yesterday on her first trip, in sixteen bours and 8 quarter, running time from Detroit.
The MAY FLOWER was built during the past winter and previous summer, by the Michigan Central Railroad Company, solely for a passenger boat, to run in connection with their road. She has been constructed under the superintendence of Mr. Josiah Lupton, formerly of Brown's well-known ship yard, New York. Her dimensions are as follows:
Extreme l 288 feet --Beam 35 feet 3 inches--Over the guards 65 feet--Depth of hold 13 feet 4 inches.
Her Tonnage, Custon House measurement, is 1354 39-100, and she draws 7 feet 9 inches of water.
She has a massive and boautifully finished Engine, buill by Hogg & Delamater, New York, With a 72 inch Cylinder and 11 feet stroke. Her wheels are 35 feet in diameter, the buckets having 11 feet face.
The MAY FLOWER has three airy and commodious Cabins, superbly finished and furnished. In the lower cabin there are 53 berths, and off from it, a nursery with 13 berths.
In the Cabin on the main deck, there are 12 large family rooms, each of which bears the name of a distinguished authoress, as follows: - Sigourney, Hall, Judson, Embury, Hemans, More, Landon, Howit, Baillie, Barbauld, Child and Leslie.
In the Upper Saloon, forward of the Engine, there are 24 State-rooms with three berths in each, and abaft the engine 8 family rooms with canopy beds and 12 State-rooms, having two berths each. On the guards, there also six state-rooms with three berths each--forward of which, there are 14 state-rooms with three berths each and two well arranged Bathing-rooms.
The Steerage Cabin has 90 berths, with good bedding and most excellent accommodations.
      In all, she has 406 berths, most of them double, and what is better, all well ventilated.
      Each state-room and apartments of the boat is supplied with water by pipes from a reservoir on the upper deck. In fact nothing seems to have been omitted which could be desired for the comfort and convenience of passengers, and the Cmpany have produced a boat not inferior to any other in America, so far as our knowledge extends. -- the credit of which is due in a great measure, we learn, to Mr. Brooks, the Superintendent of the Cenrtal Railroad.
The painting is by Atkinson & Godfrey, copersmithing by Peter McNoah and the lettering and gilding by Caleb F. Davis, of Detroit, and evince both skill and excellent taste.
The following is the list of the offlcers of the MAY FLOWER:
Capt. H. Van Allen, one of the most accomplished officers on our western waters-- Clerk, Mr. Wm. F. Hurd, formerly of the Auburn and Rochester Rail Road, and favorably known to the travelling public as a competent and courteous business man--First Mate, Wm. Caverly,--Second Mate, Mr. Lathrop--Engineer, Stephen Newhall--Second Engineer, George Reed, and the Steward's department could be placed in no better hands than those of Mr. C.C. Nelson, who has charge of it.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Wednesday, May 30, 1849

Detroit, April 10. -- The new steamer MAY FLOWER belonging to the Michigan Central Plank road Co., made a trial trip today. She moved up the riber beautifully, and will fulfill toe expectations of her builders in point of speed.
      Cleveland, Daily True Democrat
      Wednesday, April 11, 1849
Steam paddle MAY FLOWER. Of 1,354 tons. Built Detroit, Mich. 1849. First home port, Detroit, Mich. DIsposition:-
Stranded at Point Pelee, Ont., November 20, 1854, with no loss of lives.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S.
      Lytle--Holdcamper List, 1790 to 1868

Item Type
new boat
Date of Original
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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Mayflower (Steamboat), 1 May 1849