Page 24. MAINE COASTAL NEWS October 2015 HISTORY FROM THE PAST - Bangor Daily Commercial - Early 1900s
The APHRODITE has been constructed in a new substantial steel ship house 316 feet long and 50 feet wide. Pneumatic tools have been used in her construction and owing to the unlimited means at the command of the workmen, they have turned out in a very short time a vessel that for strength, beauty and fi ne workmanship is excelled by none at present afl oat.
25 January 1899 Ellsworth’s Vessel’s Mishap.
Westerly, Rhode Island, January
25. – The Watch Hill life savers sighted a vessel in distress at midnight west of Watch Hill reef and went to her assistance. They found that she was the schooner EMILY, of Ellsworth, Maine, Capt. C. H. Berry, bound from Vineyard Haven to New York, light. She had blown away her mainsail. The life savers rendered what assistance they could and the vessel will proceed.
26 January 1899
They Sue a Maine Schooner. English Firm has a Case in District Court for this State Against a Well Known Craft.
A writ has been fi led in the United States Circuit court, in Portland, bringing an action against Nathaniel T. Palmer, of Bath, owner of the schooner AUGUSTUS PALMER, by Messrs. Frank A. Swanzey and Wm. Cleaves, of the fi rm of F. & A. Swanzey, of London, for $4,000 damages for alleged breach of a charter party, made in June 1898. The vessel was chartered through the Boston agents of the plaintiffs, Pettengill & Everett, to carry a cargo of molasses from New Orleans to Boston. At the time of the charter the vessel was on a voyage to Key West for the United States government. Upon arriving at Key West the schooner was towed to Cuba for the purpose of coaling some of the United States war vessels so that she was unable to fulfi ll her contracts. The writ is returnable at the April term of the circuit court.
Clarence Hale, of Portland, is attorney
for the plaintiffs, and Benjamin Thompson is for the owners of the vessel.
28 January 1899 Hull of Sunken Vessel Somewhere on the Bottom of Machias Bay Machias, January 28. – The schooner VILLAGE MAID, Capt. Casseboom, reported capsized off Cutler head on January 24, is now on the bottom somewhere in Little Machias Bay. Her masts, which were visible after she sand, have disappeared and the crew has been engaged in dragging the bay, hoping to locate the hull. Up to this morning all efforts have been fruitless.
The accident occurred while Capt. Casseboom, who had loaded his vessel at Little Machias with a cargo of smoked herring, was attempting to get to sea in a southwest gale intending to make Cutler for a harbor during the storm. He was struck by a squall when near Black Ledge and his vessel was thrown on her beath cads where she fi lled and sank. Her crew escaped. The next day efforts were made to raise
the schooner, but owing to the boisterous weather, and high sea, little could be accomplished. The next morning nothing could be seen and as the hull has not been located it is feared both vessel and cargo are a total loss.
* * * * * Our Ship Days.
Once Bustling Yards Lined the River. Keel Pieces Cut in Hermon and Ox- Hauled to Town.
Many a Fine Ship First Took the Water Here – The Launchings.
“Things ain’t what they was on this river 40 years ago; then we launched square- riggers from High head to Free Soil wharf; now barring a few steamers we’ve forgotten all that and do our carrying in blooming and other foreign crafts.”
That was what the old riverman said as he leaned over a spile on the Boston steamer wharf one day this week and gazed absently at the ice cutters out on the frozen surface of the river, he easily remembers the days when the Bangor and Brewer river fronts were lined with bustling shipyards. Those were great old days for Bangor. “Why,” says Capt. John Bowen, now deputy chief of police, “I remember seeing a four ox operation out here in Hermon, when I was a youngster, when they hauled big ship timbers in from that town and landed them on the waterfront here.
“Now I come to think of it,” he continued, “we used to cut a lot of big sticks out here in Carmel and Hermon in those times. Go out there now and you won’t see a single stick for a fl agpole.” “Yes, you will,” chimed in Capt. Joe
Wentworth, the famous ex-steamboat skipper, “there’s one big one standing out by Hadlock’s rights here in town, that they wouldn’t have touched.” “You’re right,” suggested Capt. Jas. Nickerson, also of the police department, but in former days employed on the river. “I remember an operation in timber out there by Hadlock’s place, when there was a plenty of big sticks all around this part of the state.” “And I remember,” continued Capt. Bowen, “that I hauled out the keelpiece for the famous bark GOLD HUNTER, that went around the Horn to the gold coast; I was pretty much of a youngster then but I could handle a pair of horses or an oxteam. Here frame was gotten out by Ben Lewis and his partner, Griffi n, in Carmel, just over the Hermon line.”
Think of getting out the frame for a sea craft anywhere within 50 miles of Bangor, in these days!
Many a Good Ship.
And that was the way many and many a good ship was built on the Penobscot shores in the palmy days of Bangor’s shipbuilding; when this was the actual center of a great timber country and when any part of the craft, from the keelpiece to the mainmast, could be cut close at hand and hauled in by tram.
There were yards from High head to the bridge, as the old riverman said. There were the plants of Littlefi eld, Tewksbury, Isaac Dunning, Cummings, Cooper, Oakes, Nickerson, Crosby and many others, while away up the river, above the city, Capt. Lowder used to build small craft and bring them down.
It is easy to get people to remember about the launch of the JAMES LITTLEFIELD, something like 45 years ago. She was owned by Capt. Jas. Littlefi eld and Boston men, and he brought a party of them down on the steamer from that city to see the launching. The steamer was late and he got up the river just in season to see his craft meet with disaster.
The LITTLEFIELD was cranky when launched, and tipped over on her side as she left the ways. Nobody was killed but there was an exciting quarter of an hour at that time and some others later, when the owners got ashore and interviewed the people in the yard. The LITTLEFIELD was later lightered up and had a prosperous career on the ocean.
The old schooner MARY ANN MCCANN, another of the famous representatives of Bangor’s halcyon days, was built at Cummings’ yard, near the
present site of the Maine Central western station. She was built by Jim Gilligan, who had a big reputation on the river in those days.
There was a small yard where the Dole & Fogg mill later stood, and there was built a brig which was lost at sea in the early years of her life.
Then there was the LIMERICK LASS, a bark, and the JAMES O’DONAHUE, a schooner, both famous crafts in their day, the PHINEAS PENDLETON, the TEIFTHAVEN, the LLEWELLYN MORSE, the GOLD HUNTER, the GOLDEN ROCKET and many another. Burned at Sea.
The GOLDEN ROCKET was burned at sea during the rebellion by Capt. Semmes, in the ALABAMA. She was owned by Bangor parties for some years and went around the Horn with cargo and passengers for the Pacifi c coast. Later she was sold by her local owners, and soon after met the ALABAMA down the Atlantic coast below Hatteras. The ROCKET’s people were taken
off and she, one of the fi nest barks of the Penobscot, was burned and sunk. Her owners recovered some of her value in the ALABAMA claims.
The name of the PHINEAS
PENDLETON recalls the man for whom she was dubbed; he died only a few years ago at his home in Searsport, and was one of the most celebrated shipmasters of the country. One of his grandsons now resides in Bangor. Wm. Field, of Emerson & Adams’ big wholesale house.
Capt. Pendleton had the reputation of being the most kindhearted skipper on the coast. One day, in a heavy gale in mid-ocean on one of his numerous deep-sea voyages, the ship’s monkey was swept overboard, screaming pitifully. That was more than Capt. Pendleton could stand and he ordered the ship hove to and fi nally rescued the monkey after a good deal of danger and trouble.
That was the kind of a man he was – noble in his sentiments and gentle as a woman, with one of the sweetest characters it has ever been the privilege of the writer to know.
Capt. Pendleton was for many years associated here with Capt. Hugh Ross, in a towboat fi rm that was the father of the present fi rm of Ross & Howell. Another towing fi rm, Smith & French, was of an early day and did not continue the business. Captains Pendleton and Ross had the tugs TERROR and NAUTILUS, and there is a lively story still afl oat telling how the TERROR got frozen into the ice at Sterns’ mill one winter, and how they had to keep a crew there till spring to hold her from being crushed in the fi elds. The LLEWELLYN MORSE, named for the respected head of Morse & Co., of Bangor, was the last ship built on the river, she was a fi ne craft and was commanded of Capt. Llewellyn Ames of her fi rst voyage. After that a number of handsome schooners went off the ways here, like the ANNE LORD, the HATTIE BARBOUR and others, while at the Barbour yard, in Brewer, the only remaining building plant on the river, they are still building steamers yearly, with great success.
But there are no more or your square- riggers, with mainmasts and keelpieces hauled in by four ox teams from Hermon hill.
The launchings on the Penobscot were occasions of great jollity; in former times they amounted almost to legal holidays. Every sort of business was put aside for them, and thousands of people fl ocked to the
yard to see the new ship go off. The boys in the streets were as familiar with the tides as the critical time approached as they are now with the latest gossip from the sporting pages of the newspaper, and in general a launching was a time when everybody celebrated. Often schools closed on launching days, up to not much more than 20 years ago, and the children put on their best clothes and went to the yards as if they had been on the way to witness a very important affair. Following the launching a collation was always served in the new cabins of the christened craft, while in the yards the workmen celebrated in ways common to all strictly prohibition states.
30 January 1899 Leading Maine Shipbuilder
Death of Wm. B. Brown of Belfast Who Has Designed and Built some Speedy Craft – In Business 48 Years
Belfast, January 30.
The funeral services of the late Wm. H. Brown, one of the old time shipbuilders and designers, who died on Friday, were held at his late home on Court Street, Monday afternoon, Rev. Ashley A. Smith, of the Universalist Church, offi ciating. Mr. Brown was the last of a family of ten children. He was born in Carroliton, Maryland, February 21, 1819, and therefore would have been 80 years of age next month. In his early boyhood days his parents came north and settled in Stockton, where William attended school. He worked at home farming and developed skill for mechanical work and later learned the ship and joiners’ trade. In 1851, as master builder, he completed
his fi rst vessel, a three-masted capper ship, named the SPITFIRE. The plans for his vessel were all draughted by him without previous instruction in the business. He has been engaged in shipbuilding 48 years during which time he had built some 40 vessels of different sizes, the largest being the DANIEL B. FEARING, a centre board vessel of 2250 tons. All the vessels built by Mr. Brown were noted for speed. For a number of years he had been associated with Co. H. E. McDonald, under the fi rm name of McDonald & Brown, shipbuilders. Mr. Brown did all the draughting for vessels that he built. He also fi gured the amount of material required to build different vessels, and so accurate was he that when a vessel was ready to launch what waste there was left in the yard could be carried off in a bushel basket. The fi rm of McDonald & Brown has built some record-breaking vessels within a few years. Several of these vessels were built for C. Morton Stewart & Co., Baltimore for the coffee trade. Fast passages have been made and records broken by these vessels. One in particular, the barkentine JOSEPHINE, launched from the yard of McDonald & Brown in 1896, has broken all records Rio and Baltimore. Mr. Brown was married January 14, 1843, to Mary Field of Frankfort, daughter of Daniel and Abigail Field, who survives him. Three children were born to them, all girls. Lavinia, who has always resided with her parents, and never married; Martha, widow of Dr. H. H. Johnson, who has been in constant attendance at the bedside of her father during his illness, and Daisy C., who died in June 1892, the wife of H. E. McDonald. Mr. Brown was a man of broad mind, quiet of manner, had an unblemished character, was domestic in taste and loved nothing better than being in his own home surrounded by his family, of whom he thought the world. He was a great reader of historical works and possessed a wonderful
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