New exhibit: Summertime, and vacation!

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!

Unidentified sailboat, no date
Unidentified sailboat, no date

Second, the Local History Room will be closed for vacation July 15 to July 29. You can email questions to kilhr@kingstonpubliclibrary.org, or leave a voicemail at 781-585-0517 x123 (be sure to leave all of your contact information).

Happy Summer to all

 

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A lovely little launch

George Shiverick aboard
George Shiverick aboard “Alice,” his personal launch named for his wife, date unknown

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.

Source: George W. Shiverick Collection AC8

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com

Name the Town of Kingston’s new boat!

Kingston’s Town Administrator wrote yesterday

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)

Chesperus, owned by Chester Fuller (or possibly his talking dog).

Chester Fuller and dog aboard the 'Chesperus,' 1898
Chester Fuller and dog aboard the ‘Chesperus,’ 1898

Arteola, owned by Charles Drew, in a photo from Old Home Day, 1908.

Arteola, at Delano's Wharf, 1908
Arteola, at Delano’s Wharf, 1908

Matchless owned by Captain James (or John) Drew.

Matchless, by William Ames, 1890
Matchless, by William Ames, 1890

Tiger, the only steamer built in Kingston, built by Edward Ransom in 1898, owned by him, A.J.Hill, C.A. Ransom and Henry S. West.

Steamer Tiger, 1898
Steamer Tiger, 1898

Kittiwake V, built by George Shiverick for Henry M. Jones.

Kittiwake V, 1905. Photo by N. L. Stebbins Photo, Boston, Mass.
Kittiwake V, 1905. Photo by N. L. Stebbins Photo, Boston, Mass.

Herculean, built in 1839 by Joseph and Horace Holmes, owned by Joseph Holmes.

Ship Herculean of Kingston, Benjamin Cook, Master, 1840

Ship Herculean of Kingston, Benjamin Cook, Master, 1840

The 7 foot figure head weighed in at 800 pounds, heavy enough to cause the ship to leak. It was repurposed as a garden statue, where it stood among the shrubs for many years.

Figurehead of the ship Herculean, no date
Figurehead of the ship Herculean, no date

Finally, though there is no painting or photo, Independence, for the very first ship of the U.S. Navy, built in Kingston and seen here on the Town Seal, designed by Helen Foster.

Kingston Town Seal
Kingston Town Seal

 

A friend at sea

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.

Receipt for an anchor, 1855
Receipt for an anchor, 1855

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.

For more on Grand Banks fishing, take a look at this Smithsonian exhibit.

Source: MC13 Arthur Beane Collection/Jones River Village Historical Society; Ships of Kingston by Henry Jones.

Yum, yum, rum.

Capt. Ezra Fuller to Charles Adams, Jan. 4, 1827
Capt. Ezra Fuller to Charles Adams, Jan. 4, 1827

Capt. Ezra Fuller To Charles Adams Dr.

1827, Jan 4

To Powder + Shot ..56
” Paying Pilotage at the Bar 10..00
” 2 Gallons Rum 1..20
” 4 lb. Nails ..40
” 1 qt Rum ..15
” 1 lb. Tobacco ..20
” 1 qt Rum ..15
” 4 3/8 Gallons Rum 2..62 1/2
1 Bushel Peas ..50
Cash12..00

$27.78 1/2

New exhibit: Sailing, Sailing

Kittiwake V, no date
Kittiwake V, no date

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.

Miladi and Rattler, no date
Miladi and Rattler, no date

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.

A different kind of boat picture

Boat shop interior, no date
Boat shop interior, no date

 

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.

 

 

The only steamer built in Kingston

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′.

Steamer Tiger, ca. 1898
Steamer Tiger, ca. 1898

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)