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St. Lawrence Steamboat Co. Passenger Records part I | part II

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One method of proceeding inward (west) and down (south) into the United States, after arriving by Sailing Ship at the port of Quebec, was to take passage in one of the St. Lawrence Steamboat Co. Steamers to Montreal. Some records of passengers carried exist for the years 1819 to 1836, on the Steamers Malsham, New Swiftsure, Lady Sherbrooke, Car of Commerce, Caledonia, Quebec, Telegraph, Chambly, Waterloo, John Molson, St. Lawrence, John Bull, Canada, Voyageur and Canadian Eagle. These steamboat records only represent passenger movements of one company ; although large, the St. Lawrence Steamboat Company was not the only one operating on the River, from Quebec to Montreal. It is, however, the only one for which some records survive.


The fare from Quebec to Montreal, per full adult Steerage passenger, was from five to ten shillings, with children under 12 years of age at half-fare (or less depending upon age), toddlers (under 2 years) at quarter-fare and infants free. The fare for cabin-class varied over the years. Not all people carried on the Steamers were new immigrants, and you will see some of those persons boarding and disembarking at ports along the way. The Steamers carried passengers in both directions Quebec-Montreal-Quebec, but only those who travelled "up" to Montreal, are transcribed here. Every effort has been made to correctly transcribe the names (there are no ages, exception being an age-range of some children) however, please be aware of possible transcription errors or omissions, and look for contemporary spelling of name variations, as these are extracted from microfilmed copies of the original records. Some of the list compilers used phonetic spelling with unfamiliar names. Also, some records can contain two seemly unrelated names on one single line, where others show obvious family groups.
note: several of the lists use the old name for Sorel . . William Henry . . but with few exceptions, the name Sorel is used here. | Consistantly, the names of cabin passengers are faded ; some are totally unreadable. The microfilmed copies are in black & white, but after working with so many lists over so many years, with so many different list compilers, it is assumed that names of the cabin passengers were recorded in different colour ink, which didn't film as well as blue or black ink.

Montreal Gazette June 23, 1817

British and Irish Emigrants
We are truly gratified to learn, that Messrs. John Molson, & Sons, proprietors of the first Steam Boats used in the St. Lawrence, have upon the application of his Majesty's Consul for New-York, liberally agreed to afford accommodation to such settlers as may in future arrive at Quebec, transport on the most easy terms to Montreal, with a view to proceed to Upper Canada.—We understand that each settler will be allowed to take nearly 200 lbs. baggage, instead of only 60 lbs. allowed to travellers; and that the whole expense for each grown settler will be 30s. from Quebec to Kingston, and 1s. 3d. more to York;—children half price. We further learn that Messrs. Berthelet & Norton, have made equally generous offers on behalf of Settlers, who may be accommodated by them with excellent provisions in small quantities, at the wholesale prices upon making application, and testifying that they will settle in Lower or Upper Canada. While we rejoice in these beneficial regulations, we are not without hope, that their effect will be of permanent utility to the settlers, and consequently to these fine Provinces. Whilst we are thus indulging in ardent expectations, we cannot but reprobate a fatal delusion that is too often successfully practised by ship owners and masters in the British and Irish ports, to fleece the unsuspecting emigrant of his money.

In Irish and Scotch papers, we see vessels advertised for the Islands in the Gluph [sic] of St. Lawrence, Nova Scotia and Halifax; these advertisements, state to people wishing to emigrate to Canada, that the ports, such vessels are bound for, are on the high road to the place they wish to arrive at; while every informed man knows, that to come from Halifax, St. Johns [sic], Pictou, Prince Edward Island, &c. to Quebec, will cost as much as to come from Britain or Ireland direct. It is earnestly to be hoped that these facts may be generally known by all ranks in the mother country, that the people may not be led astray by the chicane of American agents, and the cupidity of the British ship masters and owners. Canada begins to be known at home, but we are sorry to say, least of all by ministers, who ought to be the best informed of the relative value of every part of the Empire.

Montreal, June 1st 1825
Expeditious Travelling.—
By an arrangement lately made the distance between this city and Prescott can be accomplished by Stages, and Steam Boats in the following time and manner. The Stage takes its departure from Montreal at noon and proceeds to Lachine, where the passengers enter the Steam Boat that conveys them to the Cascades, a distance of 25 miles. From the Cascades to Coteau du Lac, 15 miles they are carried in a Stage ; thence to Cornwall, 40 miles by Steam Boat ; and from Cornwall to Prescott, 50 miles they are taken by the Stage, at which latter place they arrive before sun set on the evening after the day they left Montreal, the whole distance being computed 140 miles [sic]. The return from Prescott to this place is yet more expeditious ; and on Saturdays the Stage will depart at one o'clock A.M. and arrive here the same evening, which will prevent travelling on the Sabbath. To mercantile men this facility must afford particular gratification ; and to strangers the alternate jaunts by water, and land, will be a recreation which will greatly enhance the pleasures of the journey both up and down the river.

1819 | 1820 | 1821 | 1822 | 1823 | 1824 | 1825
1826 | 1827 | 1828 | 1829 | 1830 | 1831 | 1832 | 1833 | 1834 | 1835 | 1836

It may be possible to identify a probable sailing ship of arrival for some groups, by studying Quebec ship arrivals as reported in contemporary newspapers. You will find many newspaper records HERE, on TheShipsList website. Shipping news for the corresponding "steamboat" years 1819 | 1820 | 1821 | 1822 | 1823 | 1824 | 1825 | 1826 | 1827 | 1828 | 1829 | 1830 and 1831 (in progress) | 1832 | 1833 | 1834 | 1835 (in progress) have been extracted to date.








1819 | 1820 | 1821 | 1822 | 1823 | 1824 | 1825
1826 | 1827 | 1828 | 1829 | 1830 | 1831 | 1832 | 1833 | 1834 | 1835 | 1836

Source: St. Lawrence Steamboat Company 1812 - 1892_ McGill University Libraries, Rare Books and Special Collections, MSS 475 | National Library & Archives MG 28, III, 57_Microfilm Reels M-8272 - M-8287

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