Fonds MSG 475 - St. Lawrence Steamboat Co. Fonds

Disbursements Lady Sherbrooke log Wages book Bills Inventory aboard steamers Pay list Telegraph - loose papers Quebec - loose papers Lady Sherbrooke - loose papers Chambly - loose papers
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St. Lawrence Steamboat Co. Fonds

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St. Lawrence Steamboat Co. Papers

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on content of fonds.

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  • 1812-1893 (Creation)
    St. Lawrence Steamboat Company

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268 cm of textual records

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Administrative history

In 1809, brewer John Molson (1763-1836) purchased the steamboat, Accommodation, marking the beginning of steam navigation on the St.Lawrence River. By 1818 the St. Lawrence Steamboat Co., or the Molson Line, as it was popularly known, possessed seven ships in its fleet. Steam navigation on the St. Lawrence made rapid strides in the third decade of the nineteenth century. A competitor ro the St. Lawrence Steamboat Co., the John Torance & Co. of Montreal, also started running a steamboat between Quebec and Montreal in 1826. Molson tried to secure a monopoly from the government over the steamboat business on the St. Lawrence River, but his efforts were in vain. In 1845 the Richelieu Steamboat Co. was formed and there was intense competition amongst the various steamship businesses for the lucrative St. Lawrence River market. This rivalry finally gave way and the bulk of the business fell to the Richelieu Steamboat Co. In 1911, the St. Lawrence Steamboat Co. was one of several companies absorbed into the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company.

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Scope and content

This material consists of business documents and correspondence reflecting the activities of the St. Lawrence Steamboat Co., mostly for the pre-1840 period, although there are documents dating to 1863. The major portion of the fonds, comprising 83 of a total 89 volumes, consist of freight books (1819-1833) and passage books (1822-1838). These logs provide information on passengers and goods carried between Montreal and Quebec, as well as other stops such as Chambly. The fonds includes information on fifteen steamboats and two barges, operated by the St. Lawrence Steamboat Company, which made voyages between 1819 and 1838. The data found in the vessel logs in the fonds include names of vessels, details on their crews, quantities of fuel aboard such as wood and coal, and the number of downbound voyages (that is, from Montreal to Quebec) and upbound voyages per seasons (generally from May through November). Lists of cabin and steerage passengers as well as descriptions and quantities of goods carried between Montreal, Chambly, Sorel, Trois-Rivieres, and Quebec are also sometimes included in the logs. The information also includes charges levied for passage and for freight as well as the names of consignors (shippers of goods) and consignees (receivers of goods, usually a merchant), as well as the destination address. The steamboats found in the fonds also frequently towed barges and brigs, whose names are sometimes recorded along with the charges levied. In addition to these vessel logs, the fonds also includes: account books, 1803-1818, 1844, 1851; wage books, 1826-1832-1835; bills of lading, 1812-1813; and letterbooks, 1827-1829, 1843-1863. One book of account pertains to laundering costs for the years 1819 to 1828; a journal (log book) for the “Lady Sherbrooke” for 1823 is also included. Finally, there is an inventory of furniture, bedding and wares onboard th steamers in 1829, 1831, and 1833, and an unrelated and incomplete pay list for dock workers dated September 1892.

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Physical description

approximately 3.6 cm of textual records
88 volumes

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Large MSS Molson

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