Showing posts with label Shipbuilders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shipbuilders. Show all posts

Friday, February 28, 2020

Interview with a 19th-century Kennebunk shipbuilder

From Some Old News February 3, 20112011 Old News Column, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport

A familiar event at Littlefield’s Yard

Email Sharon Cummins
Most of the ships launched on the Kennebunk River before 1840 were built at the Landing. By the time the river locks were constructed in 1849, Clement Littlefield, in company with George Emmons, had already built some of the largest vessels launched on the river. See Kennebunkport
Mr. Littlefield was making hay in a grass plot on Chase Hill Road, adjoining his home in 1887 ,when correspondent Jules Righter of the Biddeford Journal made his acquaintance. The reporter was hoping to learn about the early days in Littlefield’s shipyard.
“I came here when I was 16-years-old and went to work, learning my trade, at the Landing up there,” the retired shipbuilder said, pointing upriver. “When I was 21 years old I had acquired sufficient proficiency in my trade so that I was made foreman of the yard, where I was at the time. Shortly after that I bought this field down here and had a shipyard of my own. This was a splendid place, you see. We could haul our lumber over to this high ground and then chuck it right down over the bank to the craft we happened to be working on. Out there down by the railroad track, and up here on the bank, where you see that stone, I had a steam mill where we used to cut all of our lumber.”
“How did you get your lumber?” asked the correspondent.
“Our big sticks came in from the country. Many a time have I seen the road blocked with teams loaded with lumber. There used to be a great deal of rivalry between the different teams. Our planking and light timber used to come in from the South — Southern Pine and the like. It came by ship. We would unload the timber right into the water and then duck it so that it wouldn’t be carried away by the tide. You can see some of the dock piles down there to the right of the coal shed now,” Littlefield responded.
The reporter then inquired about the workmen hired by the various yards, asking, “You used to employ more men down here than at the Landing, didn’t you?”
“Oh yes;” was his response. “Up there we only had about 20 men at work on a vessel at a time. Down here we used to employ over 100. Sometimes we built two or three vessels at a time.”
When asked about the consumption of rum by his employees, Littlefield replied, “Up to the time when I came down here rum was a common thing for the men to have in their chests. But after I had been here at this yard for a few years, the temperance movement started and from that time on we didn’t have it.”
The Emmons & Littlefield Yard began operations in the early 1840s. Shipbuilders David and Abner Clark and George Christenson all learned their trade under the tutelage of Clement Littlefield before opening shipyards of their own. The year 1856 was a tough one for area shipbuilders. D&S Ward in Kennebunkport folded on Oct. 21, 1856, and the Emmons & Littlefield Yard was assigned the following day. Landing shipbuilder Nathaniel Lord Thompson, who had contracted the yard to build ships for him since 1854, purchased what was left of the failed business in 1858 and sold part of the property to the Clark brothers.
As master carpenter, Clement Littlefield built ships for N.L. Thompson and for his son-in-law David Clark for many years after selling his business. He also took on construction work around the Kennebunks.
Andrew Walker wrote about one such project in his 1882 diary.  Photos of Maine Teresa Chrzanowski Flisiuk

“During the past summer Charles Parsons has had a wharf 119 feet in length by 40 feet in width built at the head or mouth of the Mousam River, but a short distance from his sea-side cottage. The wharf was built by Clement Littlefield in 23 working days. In its erection he drove 75 piles and then planked it on the inside and filled in solid with about 4,000 loads of rock and earth. The beach in this vicinity was formerly called Hart’s Beach. Mr. Parsons has recently renamed it Parsons Beach and the new wharf, Parsons Wharf. Mr. Parsons thinks the wharf may be used as a landing for vessels laden with coal and as a shipping place, to which farmers may haul wood and lumber which they wish to send to other places.”
Clement Littlefield and his wife, Mary Thompson, raised an extended, multi-generational shipbuilding family at their home in Lower Village and occasionally housed employees of the Emmons & Littlefield Shipyard. According to a new sign at the corner of Chase Hill Road and Western Avenue, that home is soon to become “The Shops at the Grand.” No assurances can be offered by the developer that any of the original structure will survive the renovations as the building is in pretty rough shape. Its historical significance should be acknowledged before the circa 1808 house becomes a memory.

Maine Stripers - Maine Striped Bass fishing

Friday, December 5, 2014

Arthur Sewall of Bath Maine

Complete Harpers Week Biography:
Arthur Sewall was a transportation tycoon who was selected as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 1896. He was born in Bath, Maine, the third son of Rachel Trufant Sewall and William Dunning Sewall; the latter having been financially successful as one of the town’s first shipbuilders and an investor in railroads and other business corporations. After an education in Bath’s common school, Arthur Sewall apprenticed in his father’s shipyard, learning each job, and was sent to Prince Edward’s Island for instruction in cutting ship timber. In 1854, he joined his older brother, Edward, to form E. & A. Sewall, which took over their father’s shipbuilding firm. Upon Edward’s death in 1879, the name was changed to Arthur Sewall & Co., and the business managed was by Arthur, as senior partner, with his second son, William, and a nephew, Samuel Sewall.

Arthur Sewall’s firm launched its first ship, the thousand-ton Holyhead, in January 1855 and built 80 ships over the next 50 years. During the Civil War, Sewall placed patriotism above business by rejecting the option of registering his ships with Britain so that they could more safely traverse the sea-lanes. As a result, his vessel, the Vigilant, was captured by the Sumter, the first Confederate blockade raider captained by Raphael Semmes. With renewed demand for ships in the mid-1870s, Sewall’s company constructed 10 innovatively designed vessels of superior quality. After weathering a depression in the shipbuilding trade during the 1880s, his shipyard produced four 3,000-ton ships in the early 1890s, including the Roanoke (1892), the largest wooden sailing ship built in the United States. Realizing that the days of wooden vessels were rapidly passing, Sewall revamped his shipyard, following a research tour in Britain, to produce steel ships. In 1894, his firm launched the first American-built, steel-hulled, square-rigger, the Dirigo, the name reflecting Maine’s state motto, “I lead.”
Sewall was also involved in other businesses, mainly in the transportation sector. He was director and for nine years (1884-1893) president of the Maine Central Railroad; president of the Eastern Railroad and the Boston and Maine Railroad at various times; a director of the Mexican Central Railroad and other lines; president of the Portland, Mount Desert, and Machias Steamboat Company (1884); and president of the Bath National Bank (1871-1900).

The only electoral offices Sewall ever held were those of city councilman and alderman in his hometown of Bath, Maine. However, he was a leader of the Democratic Party in Maine, served on the Democratic National Committee from 1888 until his death in 1900, and was a delegate at all the Democratic National Conventions from 1872 through 1900, except 1888 (which he did attend). In 1893, he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate, but lost the election in the Republican-dominated state legislature.

In 1895, Sewall announced that he favored “free silver,” the inflationary policy of unlimited coinage of silver as a plan to assist debt-ridden Americans (primarily, farmers). That stance had emerged as the majority view of Democrats, becoming the centerpiece of the party’s national platform in 1896. After delegates selected William Jennings Bryan as the Democratic standard-bearer, they turned to Sewall as the vice presidential nominee. Despite his lack of political experience, the shipbuilder’s age, reputation as a successful businessman, Eastern residence, and tariff protectionist sentiment balanced Jenning’s youth, image as a dangerous radical, Western residence, and tariff-for-revenue position. Democrats may also have hoped that Sewall would contribute some of his wealth (estimated at $5-6 million at the time) to the campaign. However, the Populist Party considered Sewall to be anti-labor, and so nominated a ticket headed by Bryan, but substituted Thomas E. Watson, a former Populist congressman from Georgia, as his running mate. Both Bryan and Sewall campaigned energetically, but lost the election by a substantial margin to the Republican ticket of William McKinley and Garret Hobart. 

Emman Duncan Crooker Sewall
In 1859, Sewall had married Emman Duncan Crooker; the couple had three sons. Their eldest, Harold, served as a diplomat in the Republican administrations of Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley, as a Maine state legislator, and as a delegate to the 1896 Republican National Convention. On September 5, 1900, Arthur Sewall died at his summer home at Small Point, Maine.

Sources consulted: American National Biography [Paolo E. Coletta]; Gilbert Fite, “Election of 1896,” in History of American Presidential Elections, ed. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1985; Harper’s Encyclopedia of United States History; Harper’s Weekly; The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography; Ships of the World: An Historical Encyclopedia Houghton-Mifflin online; and, 1896: The Presidential Campaign, Vassar College website.

Emma D Crocoker  daughter of Charles Crooker and Rachel Sewall. Charles son of Jonathan Harding Crooker and Hannah Duncan Children of Arthur and Emma Sewall: Loyall Farragut Sewall (1894 - 1958) Arthur H. Sewall (1898 - 1962) Harold Marsh Sewall (1860 - 1924


     From Article Bath Maine 400 Year Tradition of Shipbuilding

The Sewall Home Bath Maine From THE DOWNEAST DILETTANTE  Tales & Opinions From Maine Regarding Architecture, Art, Books, Design, Landscape, & Occasional Whims

Mortuary Notice Friday, September 7, 1900 Kansas Semi-Weekly Capital (Topeka, KS)


U.S. District Court Judge David Sewall the first Judge in the District of Maine, appointed in 1789 by President George Washington

Sumner Sewall (1897 - 1965) Grandson of Arthur Sewall and Governor of the State of Maine (1941 - 1945)
Lieutenant Sumner Sewall, 94th Aero Squadron, 1918

Col Frederic Dummer Sewall (1825 - 1907)
Arthur Sewall, ship builder, business man, and National Democratic candidate for Vice-President of the United States, was born in Bath, Me., Nov. 25, 1835, third son of William Dunning and Rachel Trufant Sewall. His great-grandfather, Col. Dummer Sewall, came to Bath, Me., from York, also a district of Maine, in 1762, purchased the site of the present Sewall estate, was an officer in the French and Indian war, and subsequently in the war of the American Revolution. He was fifth in descent from Henry Sewall, who was mayor of Coventry, England. Henry's grandson married Jane Dummer and emigrated to America in 1634, settling at Newbury, Mass. Judge Samuel Sewall of Salem, the first Chief-Justice immortalized by Whittier as the "good and true," who was made famous in the celebrated witchcraft trials of that town, and one of the board of overseers of Harvard, was a son of this Sewall, and his brother, John Sewall, was the direct ancestor of all the Sewalls of Maine. Arthur was educated in the best schools of Bath, and at an early age apprenticed to his father in the ship-building business. Here he passed the several grades of progression, and became a thorough master of the business. His first visit to the outside world was a voyage to Prince Edward's Island, where he exchanged a cargo of merchandise for ship timber, to supply his father's yards on the Kennebec. Upon his return, although scarcely twenty years old, he, with his brother, Edward, purchased the business of William D.Sewall and Clark & Sewall, and, under the name of E. & A. Sewall, launched their first ship, the Holyhead, of over 1,000 tons burden. This was in 1855.
The Bath Sewalls have been closely identified with Bath's chief industry, ship building, since 1823, when William D. Sewall opened the small shipyard on the banks of the Kennebec next to the family homestead. He was succeeded in business by Clark & Sewall. These two earlier firms built twenty-nine wooden vessels between 1823 and 1854.
In 1859 Mr. Sewall was married to Emma Duncan, daughter of Charles Crooker, an old-time ship-builder and merchant. She was educated at Ipswich, Mass. She has traveled extensively, is a thorough French linguist, an artist with pen and camera, and a historical student. She is a woman of quiet and refined tastes. They have two sons living, Harold Marsh and William Dunning, and four grandchildren, Loyall Farragut, Arthur, Margaret and Dorothy Sumner.
The firm of E. & A. Sewall was dissolved in 1879 by the death of Edward Sewall. This firm, in its twenty-four years of existence, had built forty-six wooden vessels. In 1879 Arthur Sewall, his son, William D. Sewall, and his nephew, Samuel S. Sewall, a son of the late Edward Sewall, formed the firm of Arthur Sewall & Co.
Arthur Sewall is about the only man in the country who has persisted in building ships in the face of what other builders have considered disaster. Before the first administration of Mr. Cleveland grass grew in every wooden shipbuilding yard on both coasts. But Mr. Sewall, believing that a turn for the better soon would come, resumed building, and with greater earnestness that ever before. There followed in quick succession four monsters, each representing a sum beyond $125,000. These were the Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Susquehanna, and Roanoke, all wooden vessels, averaging about 3,000 tons net each, capable of carrying easily a tonnage in cargo of half as much more. The Roanoke was the largest. This ship, built in 1892, measures 3,400 tons, and is now the largest wooden ship afloat. The Shenandoah measures 3,258, and the Susquehanna 2,629. All are magnificent vessels, and as a fleet are classed superior to any other similar fleet, in one control, in the world.
In the spring of 1893 Arthur Sewall, having made a tour of all the noted shipyards of the world, to keep abreast of the march of progress in marine construction, returned to Bath and began the equipment of the firm's shipyard for the complete construction of steel sailing vessels, and the first result of this equipment was the launching of the noble steel ship appropriately call the Dirigo. This mammoth vessel, added to those mentioned, composed the largest fleet of sailing vessels in the United States. The Dirigo was launched in 1894, and measures 2,856 tons. She was the first steel sailing ship built in America. To show in what proportion the business of the Sewall's has grown in comparison with the growth of other large businesses of the country, it may be stated that the tonnage of the Indiana, launched in 1876, is 1,488, while that of the Roanoke, launched seventeen years later, is 3,400, nearly twoand-a-half times as great. In addition to his large fleet of square rigged "deep water" ships, Mr. Sewall has constructed and manages a large fleet of three and four-masted schooners, which are engaged in the coal, ice and lumber trade on the Atlantic coast. One of these vessels, the Carrie A. Lane, a three-masted schooner of less than 800 tons, was sent some years ago around Cape Horn from New York to San Francisco. She was the first vessel of anything like her kind or size to make this voyage.
Besides his extensive interests in shipping, Mr. Sewall is interested in railroads, the Bath Iron Works, which built the United States gunboats Castine and Machias and the ram Katahdin, and other enterprises. If Mr. Sewall could have had his way, and had the conditions been favorable, he would have devoted all his time to the building of ships. His capabilities as a man of affairs have been the means of drafting him into other work. His father had been a director on the Portland and Kennebec railroad, and Arthur took his father's place. He has had extensive connection with other roads, not only in Maine, but in Mexico and the Western States, and he has been president of the Maine Central system. He is a man of executive capacity, excellent business judgment and a good counsellor in business enterprises, and it is perhaps due more to his possession of these qualities than to the ownership of any very large amounts of stock that he has been called to the corporate positions which he has filled. Mr. Sewall is a Mason, and a member of the Swedenborgian church. He belongs to no other society, secret or otherwise. He is president of the Merchant's Marine Association, which has been organized to restore American shipping by discriminating duties.
He supported the navigation laws with these arguments: "If for no other reason than keeping our flag afloat, the present navigation laws merit the support of every American citizen. Why, it seems to me that it ought to be worth millions to us to have our flag carried around the world. From the patriotic standpoint, aside from that of commercial expediency, I cannot see how the thought of an American flag flying over anything that is not American can fail to be offensive. No matter what kind of a bill is passed by the friends of the so-called 'Free Ship laws,' owners will put their ships under whichever flagbest suit their purposes, and so, in case of war, the advantages will be wholly on the side of the foreign owner."
During the greater part of Mr. Cleveland's first administration Mr. Sewall was on terms of close intimacy with the President, and every appointment which he recommended was made. But the free silver views of Mr. Sewall had at that time caused him to be classed by many of his friends in the East as a man who had gone wild on money questions. As a result of Mr. Cleveland's opposition to silver, Mr. Sewall fought against his renomination. He worked unceasingly for Cleveland's defeat at Chicago, standing for David B. Hill to the end but then came into line and helped elect the nominee. He never ceased to be an active member of the party. He was the unanimous choice of his party in Maine for United States Senator in 1892, and the attempt to turn him down at the State Convention by a resolution denouncing his free silver views failed.
Mr. Sewell was a delegate to the National Democratic Convention at Baltimore in 1872; at Cincinnati in 1880 and 1884; at St. Louis in 1888; and at Chicago in 1892 and 1896. At Chicago in July, 1896, he was one of the few advocates from New England of the free and unlimited coinage of silver. He was selected by the convention as their candidate for the office of Vice-president of the United States, and in an interview at the time voiced his sentiments on the platform as follows:
"There are thousands of business men in the East who are turning away from the single gold standard. It is not a class issue. In my opinion there is not a legitimate business in this country but that would be benefited by the restoration of silver to its rightful place in our national currency.
"I have been an advocate of silver ever since Congress
demonetized that metal in 1873. I held at the time that a mistake had been made, and have had no reason since to change my mind.
"There are two sides to every question, and as an individual banker I have a perfect right to take a position opposite to those who constitute the majority in the banking business. As I said before, this is not a technical question nor a class issue."
Upon his return to his home in Bath he received an ovation from his fellow citizens long to be remembered by the staid people of that maritime town. The mayor warmly welcomed the nominee, and Mr. Sewall in the course of his reply to the warm welcome, said:
"It was a great convention, yet it did not seem to me to be a partisan one. It seemed more like the uprising of the people, and they seemed to be controlled by one idea, and that idea has filled me for years. They knew that this country is in deep distress, that it has been in distress for years, and that the great trouble is with our monetary system; and they believe as I believe, that there is only one remedy. They entertain no dishonest or dishonorable idea, but they demand that we be carried back to the money of our fathers, to that monetary system under which this government flourished for so many years, and they believe that is the only road to prosperity."
"The keynote of the Chicago platform is found in the Declaration of Independence. It simply implies that wherever the Government comes in contact with the citizen, wherever the citizen touches the Government, that all stand upon a common level, and there shall be equal rights to all and special privileges to no one. "—William J. Bryan.

San Francisco Call, Volume 80, Number 42, 12 July 1896 — ARTHUR SEWALL

Article from The Forecaster Newspaper 2006 Author launches book on Bath shipbuilding family

Thursday, April 16, 2009
BATH — While the Sewall family has been in the news recently after its fuel and convenience store company filed for bankruptcy, a new book looks at the family from a different perspective, telling the warts-and-all tale of its heyday as a builder and manager of a vast fleet of merchant ships. 
The book by W.H. Bunting of Whitefield, "Live Yankees: The Sewalls and Their Ships," was published April 1. While the title may signify a history of ships, Bunting said last week, "to a large extent (the book) is about people. ... It is largely composed of captains' letters, and the records are 315 feet long."
He was approached by Abbie Sewall, a descendant of the family, to write the book.
"She thought it was time to have someone take another look at the Sewall papers," he said. "It was a strong belief that this should not be a vanity book. ... (Abbie) just believes in the truth."
The Sewalls gave money to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath – co-publishers of the book with Tilbury House – and the museum in turn hired Bunting to write it.
"I was very fortunate to be asked to do it," he said.
"Live Yankees" is essentially a series of short stories that tie together to create a larger story, Bunting explained.
"When they began, (the Sewalls) were one of several ... family-owned fleets in Bath," the author said. "They were among the bigger shipbuilders and shipowners."
The shipbuilding story dates back to the 1820s, and the first of the family to build ships was William D. Sewall.
"He joined up with a fellow named Clark, and they ran a store," Bunting said. "In those days, stores were very important because they really were the place where people brought in produce and then exchanged it for West Indian produce. So stores very often got into shipping. A number of the Bath fleets were started from stores ... because the store keeper, instead of trying to pay a ship, he decided he wanted to have one built for him."
Eventually the shipbuilding business became prosperous enough that it replaced the store. Two of Sewall's sons, Edward and Arthur, started E&A Sewall in 1854, which took over from Clark & Sewall. That partnership dissolved in 1879, causing the company name to change to Arthur Sewall & Co. Included in that new partnership were Arthur Sewall's son Will and Edward Sewall's son Sam.
One of Edward Sewall's sons, Mark, is the namesake for the M.W. Sewall Co., which started serving Mid-Coast communities in 1887.
Arthur Sewall is a key figure in the book. He was William Jennings Bryan's running mate on the Democratic ticket in the 1896 presidential election.
"It was a very bizarre match-up," Bunting said. "(Sewall) being a capitalist, and a banker, and a railroad president as well as a shipbuilder. And of course Bryan was a man of the people. There's no guarantee that Bryan would have won if Sewall hadn't been his candidate, but having Sewall as his running mate really guaranteed he could not have won. It's an interesting footnote in American history."
After Sewall's death in 1900, his younger partners carried on, although the years to follow saw a period of decline. They sold the business around the time of World War I, ending nearly a century of building and managing a fleet of more than 100 merchant ships.
That fleet included mostly stout, deep-water square-riggers that carried out trade around the world, Bunting explained. The records Bunting sifted through doing his research – such as reports from Sewall ship captains – paint portraits of shipwrecks, plagues, mutinies, "cannibal isles" and other intriguing elements of seafaring life.
The company's most prosperous era occurred before the Civil War. During that time cotton was the Sewalls' major trade. After the war, guano – bird and bat excrement used as fertilizer – became a prime product. California grain and case oil were among trades that followed.
In spotlighting the success that the Sewall's business once attained, Bunting also casts light on the more unflattering aspects of the business' architects. "They were notorious for being 'cheese-parers' – skinflints," he said. "And they were just interested in every single penny. Their ships were well-supplied with sails and things, but there was nothing extra. That was right through their whole history, and they were just known as very – 'parsimonious' would be a kind word."
Bunting's love of ships and history is telling in pictures on the walls of his house and in the themes of his books. "Portrait of a Port: Boston 1852-1914," "Steamers, Schooners, Cutters, and Sloops," "Sea Struck," and the two-volume "A Day's Work: A Sampler of Historic Maine Photographs, 1860-1920," are among the books he has written.
Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Creesy's of Marblehead, Donald Mckay & The Flying Cloud

Ship Flying Cloud Original painted in Hong Kong for Capt. Cressy, owned by S. H. Brown, Marblehead From Old Marblehead Sea Captains and More information at Marblehead Museum & Historical Society

Capt Josiah Perkins Creesy with the Flying Cloud, won the reputation of being the best skipper, with the fleetest sailing ship, in the world. See The Maritime Heritage Project Born March 23 1814 Marblehead, MA Died: June 1871 Salem, MA

Eleanor Horton Prentiss Creesy (September 21, 1814–August 25, 1900), daughter of Captain Joshua Prentiss III, who died when she was three, and stepdaughter/niece of Lt. John Elbridge Prentiss of the US Navy, who married her mother when Eleanor was just eight. Ellen and Perk, as they were known, both grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts, where they fell in love with the sea and each other.
Note: Creesy spelled Cressey, Cressy
Creesy was the master of the clipper ship Flying Cloud - built by Donald McKay in Boston - on two record-setting voyages from New York to San Francisco around South America's Cape Horn. See David Burkhart Article
What’s in a Name?
Flying Cloud San Francisco Stout - See more at:
What’s in a Name?
Flying Cloud San Francisco Stout - See more at:

In 1851, aided by his wife Eleanor (Prentiss), a master navigator who plotted the clipper's course using dead reckoning around the Horn, due to a constant overcast that prevented her from fixing their position via the sun, the couple guided the clipper safely to San Francisco in 89 days and 21 hours. In 1854 they bested that record, completing the voyage in 89 days and 8 hours. The Cressys' and the Flying Cloud's record stood until 1989 when it was surpassed by the high-performance racing sloop Thursday's Child. Captain Creesy served in the Union navy during the Civil War as captain of the Ino. He also later served in the Massachusetts legislature and as an alderman of Salem. Both Captain and Eleanor Creesy were renowned among mariners the world over. They are buried together in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts.
See The Woman Who Guided the Flying Cloud

From The Clipper Ship Flying Cloud Monday, October 6, 1851 Daily Atlas (Boston, MA)

Harper's New Monthly Magazine Volume 68 1884 Article The Old Packet and Clipper Service
Captain Josiah P. Creesy, of the Flying Cloud, owned by Grinnell, Minturn, and Co., was presented by the Board of Underwriters with a service of plate on the 3d of February, 1855. Mr. Walter R. Jones, president of the board, said: “Sir, on your late passage from China, when in command of the celebrated ship Flying Cloud, with a rich and costly cargo of delicate goods, the total value of which probably amounted to a sum between a million and a million and a quarter of dollars, you encountered adverse currents and stormy and foggy weather, which carried your ship upon a coral reef on the. 7th of August last, in the China seas striking with such severity that her bow was raised out of water three or four feet. her shoe taken ofl’ her keel, and her keel itself out through to the bottom planking, causing her to leak badly and to make a great quantity of water. With a skill that none but a first-rate ship-master possesses, you soon extricated her from her perilous situation, without cutting away her masts or making any other great sacrifice, which is often done, nominally for the benefit of whom it may concern, proving very frequently, however, to the great detriment of all concerned. In a very short time you had her afloat, ready to proceed, when the important question arose in your mind where you should go, on the settling of which much depended. Again your good judgment manifested itself. The expensive and costly ports in the straits were near at hand. You determined to avoid them. and no one can say how much you saved to those interested in your valuable ship and cargo, but it is reasonable to suppose that those concerned have been saved at least thirty thousand dollars, and probably much more. In fact, no one can probably tell the extent of saving with much accuracy; all know it to have been very large. Walter R Jones Portrait from Old Historic Long Island

 “At that time your qualifications as a skillful commander again became manifest, and you seem also to have combined in yourself the talents of the merchant as well as the ship-master. After relieving your ship, your attention was directed to the next best movement, and in that you rendered us an important service; instead of running your ship into an expensive port. before referred to, where the positive and known charges would have amounted to a very large sum, you examined the condition of the vessel and the means at' your command, and although your crew was weak and insufficient, you made up your mind to proceed homeward, and, with a very leaky ship, you left the China seas. and in a very short time thereafter. to the great relief of the underwriters, you reached this port in safety, and with scarcely a damaged package on which a claim could be made on the underwriters.”

Captain Creesy was then presented with “a choice and weighty service of plate." He replied that though he had merely done his duty as a ship-master, he was “very far from being ungrateful for the beautiful and valuable testimonial. The sailor,” he added, “amid the difficulties, dangers, and responsibilities of his profession, often feels the need of appreciation and sympathy. These are his best reward and highest encouragement.” After noting the remarkable fact that Captain Creesy. between the years 1845 and 1850, had made five voyages from New York to Anjer which did not vary twenty-four hours in length, and no one of which was more than ninety days, the New York Evening Post said: “The captain seems to have a propensity for ninety day voyages. He is one of the most skillful sailors in the American merchant service.”

Father Josiah Perkins Creesy (1785-1844) Mckay Family: See Nathaniel Mckay

Donald Mckay Born September 4 1810 Died September 20, 1880 See Newburyport Clipper Ship Museum     More on Donald McKay

Photo from A master designer in Boston built America’s fastest sailing ships via
McKay's Shipyard, East Boston. about 1855. Southworth and Hawes, American, 19th century. Photograph, daguerreotype. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Author: Southworth & Hawes

 New York Times Obit April 4 1895

From Sunday, March 6, 1927
Paper: San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, CA)

See The history and genealogy of the Prentice, or Prentiss family, in New England from 1631 to 1883. By C. J. F. Binney

More Sources:
  • Stephen D. Perkins FLYING CLOUD and The First Female Navigator, my ancestor Eleanor Creesy" 1854
  • India House Foundation 10 October 2007
  • Flying Cloud Cruising Adventures
  • Opium Traders and Their Worlds-Volume One: A Revisionist Exposé of the World By M. Kienholz
  • A World of Her Own: 24 Amazing Women Explorers and Adventurers By Michael Elsohn Ross
  • South Street By Richard Cornelius McKay
  • More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Massachusetts women By Lura Rogers Seavey 
  • The American Clipper Ship, 1845-1920: A Comprehensive History, with a Listing of Builders and Their Ships By Glen Knoblock
  • Dare the Wind: The Record-breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying ... By Tracey Fern