Two summer-related announcements.
First, the new exhibit in the LHR’s lobby display case features selected images of Kingston summers gone by. Just as we do today, past Kingston residents and visitors enjoyed the warmth of the brief New England summers. Stop by and have a look!
Second, the Local History Room will be closed for vacation July 15 to July 29. You can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a voicemail at 781-585-0517 x123 (be sure to leave all of your contact information).
Yes, the Local History Room is full of old stuff, but sometimes we get new old stuff, new to us anyway. One of our recent accessions is a small trove of photographs, most not well identified, of boats built by George W. Shiverick in his shop on the Jones River. This unique collection was donated by Shiverick’s grand-daughter.
This particular snapshot stands out because it’s labeled in the hand of former Frederic C. Adams Librarian Ethel J. Shiverick (George’s daughter-in-law, in case you didn’t know) as follows:
Geo. W. Shiverick aboard “Alice,” personal boat, named for wife. EJS
We have so few paper fragments of this legendary boat-builder’s life and work, that a photo of him in his very own boat is just special.
As many of you know, the town is awaiting a new Harbormaster Patrol Boat, which is estimated to arrive around July 17th, and perhaps sooner. This purchase was authorized at this year’s special town meeting.
The Board of Selectmen have offered a “contest” to name the boat for the town. The person who submits the name chosen will be given a maiden voyage around Kingston Harbor on the boat, along with family and/or friends to the maximum allowed on the boat.
So, please submit your entries to me with a copy to Laurie, and pass along the info on this contest to others in your department, and/or in the town!
Here are some possibilities from the Local History Room. Submit your own to the Town Administrator’s office (see here for how to)
The schooner Cordova, 93 tons, 69′ in length with a beam of 18 ‘ and a draft of 8’, was built in Kingston in 1835 by Lysander Bartlett for Benjamin Delano. Described by Henry Jones in Ships of Kingston as a full-bowed vessel, with masts raked well aft, bowsprits steeved very high and ports painted in the old style, she sailed to the West Indies, along the New England coast and throughout Atlantic fishing grounds until 1882.
In 1835 Cordova brought in a haul of 42,000 fish from the Grand Banks, but in 1855, she engaged in a different kind of business there, one that may have saved a sister schooner.
Grand Bank, August 29th 1855
Received on Board the Schr [schooner] called the Mary Brewer of Castine, from on Board Schr. Cordova of Kingston viz. one anchor weighing two hundred and fifty pounds, and the stock belonging thereunto for which I promise to pay the owners of the Cordova or return said anchor &c in good order. James Brophy
The Mary Brewer, a schooner of 115 tons, 77′ by 21′ by 8′, had been built in Vinalhaven, ME in 1852, but sailed from Castine. She was one of the largest of the Grand Bankers in the Penobscot Bay area.
Kingston’s storied history of building ocean-going sailing vessels stretches from about 1713, when shipwright Samuel Drew and his son Cornelius set up shop on the Jones River, until 1874, when Edward Holmes launched the brig Helen A. Holmes, or perhaps until 1898 when Edward Ransom built only Kingston’s only steamer, the Tiger. As the era of great sailing ships passed away, for a short time Kingston ruled the yachting world.
This month’s exhibit highlights some of the knockabouts, catboats and spritsails built in Kingston and raced in local waters by members of the Kingston Yacht Club, whose annual regatta is this weekend.
This photograph just turned up in a recent donation to the Local History Room. It has no date, no place, nothing beyond the image itself. Context and best guesses, however, suggest that it dates to the late 19th century and shows the interior of one of the small boatyards on the Jones River. Further, the vessel under construction very likely belonged to a member of the Holmes family. More research may turn up additional information. In the meantime, enjoy the unusual view.
In the spring of 1898, noted Kingston ship-builder Edward A. Ransom launched the largest vessel constructed on the Jones River since 1874, the steamer Tiger. She was, in the words of Henry M. Jones, author of Ships of Kingston, “a handsome vessel” of 30 tons with an overall length of 53′, a beam of 14′ and a draft of 6′.
Here she is moored in front of Ransom’s boathouse, with the Bradford Homestead just up the hill. Ransom and his co-owners, A.J. Hill, C.A. Ransom and H.S. West,* used the Tiger for fishing and lobstering for several years, then sold her to the Churches of Tiverton, R.I., who used her as a porgy steamer.
* A handwritten annotation in the archivist’s copy of Ships of Kingston tells us that West was the father of Kingston Town Historian Margaret Warnsman.
Source: Ships of Kingston, Henry M. Jones (The Memorial Press of Plymouth, Massachusetts: 1926)