The Mast-Head: Shipping News – East Hampton Star

17December 2020

The bad-luck schooner Alice May Davenport spent the two weeks following Thanksgiving up on the sand near Smith Point. The wooden-hull Alice May Davenport was a sight to witness on the beach or on the water. It had four almost similar masts and the same variety of foresails. It added on the Long Island beach around Thanksgiving in 1918 and was improbably refloated intact just over two weeks later on.

A photo of the four-masted ship in The Star’s files caught my eye a few days ago as I was trying to find a background image to place on Facebook. The image got a fair amount of attention, so I invested a little time trying to find out what had actually happened to the ship, where it had originated from, and what it might have carried– you understand, things to do throughout a pandemic. Some people escape into binge-watching television or alcohol; I go right down a history rathole and obsess about the past.

The Alice Might Davenport was constructed for J.B. Drake and Sons in Bath, Me., and introduced in 1905. From nearly the start, the 1,144-gross-ton ship had problems.

Pictures in the Dennis, Mass., historic society show the ship once again on a beach, this time in deep winter season, identified as the flats of Nobscussett on Cape Cod. It is tough to explain how big a ship it was. In one image, individuals standing near the bow are made like ants by the four-story hull above them.

Aside from the ice, the Cape Cod photos are strikingly comparable to ours. The sails are neatly furled and the ship looks ready to enter both circumstances. It was eventually pulled from the Nobscussett mud and resumed transporting cargo. Shipping news of the time reported that in January 1909 it was carrying salt to Portland, Me.

On Jan. 6, 1911, it collided with the Norwegian cleaner Ran in the Delaware River at Philadelphia, with minor damage. Underway again, it carried lumber from Nova Scotia to Buenos Aires that spring. It was noted as en route from Tampa, Fla., to Baltimore carrying phosphate rock for fertilizer in 1912.

Then on Sept. 26, 1914, it was grounded again, 9 miles east-northeast of the White Head Coast Guard Station at the mouth of Penobscot Bay in Maine. As soon as once again, it was refloated and back in company for its owners.

Nineteen eighteen started with it setting out from New York to South Africa bring a freight that included 3,000 Gillette razors and 100,000 blades– a seven-month trip. Gillette would have utilized a faster cleaner, however the federal government had commandeered all the faster vessels for war transport.

According to a list of “casualties reported throughout the week” in a December problem of Nauticus, a modern regular of the shipping insurance organization, the Alice May Davenport was on its method from Boston for New York when it added onto the beach near the Forge River Coast Guard Station. However, when again, it was restored to the trade.

Congress appropriated $110 to fix small damage in 1921, after the Coast Guard cutter Manning knocked off a wood stanchion on the Alice Might Davenport’s aft rail while docking in Newport News, Va. In September 1922, it got to Bermuda dripping after clearing Charleston, S.C., for San Juan. At some point after that it was offered and renamed the General Leon Jurado by the Boston firm of Foss and Crabtree. Obviously, Mr. Foss liked to call his ships after people he knew. General Jurado was the president of the State of Falcon in Venezuela from 1912 to 1918. From there the rathole went too deep for me to follow and I headed house to make something for dinner.Source: easthamptonstar.com

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