Category Archives: History

The Ballad of Preserved Fish

Puritans were notorious for weird names.  Some first names are strangely long, such as “If-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned” or “Fight-the-good-fight-of-faith”.  Some names were short but just disturbingly odd. Fly-fornication, for example.  In 1766, Preserved Fish was born in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. His first name, Preserved, … Continue reading

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Captain Hansen Gregory & the Birth of the Modern Donut

Some friends of mine think that I am crazy because I seem to find nautical connections in just about everything. (Other friends think I am crazy for other reasons.)  Take for example, the modern donut.  What about a donut could … Continue reading

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HMT Lancastria – A “Secret Sacrifice” No Longer

The tragic loss of an estimated 6,500 men, women and children on the Lancastria was covered up for more than seventy years. It was the greatest loss of life in the sinking of a single British ship, claiming more lives than … Continue reading

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The French Navy Ship Insere and the Statue of Liberty

Today’s “Google Doodle,” the changing graphic that appears at the top of the Google search page, is a whimsical memorial to the arrival of the Statue of Liberty in New York. “Google is celebrating America’s most famous gift from France … Continue reading

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l’Hermione Greeted by Fireworks at Mount Vernon

The French frigate l‘Hermione was greeted by a dramatic fireworks display on its arrival at Mount Vernon, Virginia, George Washington’s plantation home. In 1780, the original frigate L’Hermione, carried the 23 year old Gilbert du Motier, better known as the Marquis … Continue reading

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In Transatlantic Race, Can Dorade Repeat the Magic of 84 Years Ago?

Toward the end of June, the 52′ yawl Dorade will be joining 40 other yachts to race 2,800 nautical miles in the Transatlantic Race 2015, which starts in Newport, R.I., and finishes off the southwestern coast of England. This is not the … Continue reading

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l’Hermione Arrives in Yorktown

In 1780, the French frigate, l’Hermione carried the Marquis de Lafayette to America with the news of French support for the American revolution. Now a replica l’Hermione has arrived in Yorktown, VA, the first of twelve ports that the frigate will … Continue reading

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Secrets of New York: Captains, Pirates and Ghosts

“Captains, Pirates and Ghosts,” from the documentary series, Secrets of New York, hosted  by Kelly Choi.  It includes some nice shots of the South Street Seaport Museum‘s schooner Pioneer, with commentary by the museum’s Executive Director, Captain Johnathon Boulware.  Segments from the Bridge Cafe, … Continue reading

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The Strange Saga of the Mountain Submarine

In 1881, John Holland designed and had built at the Delamater Iron Company in Manhattan a working submarine. Funded by the Fenian Brotherhood and intended to sink British shipping, the submarines was in all reepcts successful, notwithstanding that it never … Continue reading

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Piracy, Packet Ships and the Erie Canal — Why New York is the Center of US Publishing

This week, Book Expo America and Book-Con, collectively among of the largest book publishing events in the world, are being held in New York City, on the Hudson River in the Javit’s Center. (My novel, The Shantyman, is one of seemingly countless books … Continue reading

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Captain Kidd’s Treasure Found in Madagascar? The Legendary Treasures of Captain Kidd

Earlier this month, salvors reported finding a 50 kg silver bar off the coast of Madagascar, which they believed to be part of Captain Kidd‘s treasure lost in the sinking of the Adventure Galley in 1698.  The salvors are confident that they will … Continue reading

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USS Recruit — The Unsinkable Warship

Perhaps no warship is unsinkable, but the several USS Recruits came close, primarily because they were based entirely on land.  In 1917, the 200′ USS Recruit, also known as the Landship Recruit, was built in Union Square, in the middle of … Continue reading

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Happy 250th Birthday HMS Victory!

In honor of the 250th anniversary of the launching of HMS Victory, here is a rolling  broadside, fired by none other than HMS Victory.  The ship is beginning a £50million restoration project in an attempt to preserve Nelson’s flagship for future generations.  For … Continue reading

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Half Moon in Perspective

Half Moon, a replica of Henry Hudson’s ship, looks very small sitting on the deck of the heavy-lift ship Traveler, which is carrying the ship to its new berth at the  Westfries Museum in Hoorn, in the Netherlands.  As heavy lift ships go, … Continue reading

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Derelicts Adrift — Angel & Fannie E Wolston

One of the more interesting questions about Louis Jordan’s ordeal is “why didn’t he drift farther north on the Gulf Stream?” Jordan was dismasted in his Alberg 35 sailboat, named Angel, somewhere off the North Carolina coast in January and … Continue reading

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Russian Submarine Orel Fire on 26th Anniversary of the Komsomolets Fire

A fire broke out today on the 23 year old Russian Oscar class K-266 Orel nuclear submarine in a drydock in the Zvezdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk on the White Sea. Reportedly, a welding torch set insulation on fire. The shipyard has … Continue reading

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Working Harbor Committee Movie Night — MV Liemba

If you happen to be near New York City next Tuesday night, March 31st, be sure to stop by the Community Church to “take an epic journey down the longest lake in the world on Africa’s last surviving steamship…. the … Continue reading

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Lan Yu “Canoes”

We are very pleased to have a guest post from Joan Druett, who recently visited Taiwan. Joan is the multi-award winning author of more than 20 books, including her latest, Lady Castaways and Eleanor’s Odyssey. A priority for anyone from … Continue reading

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Commodore John Barry — the Other Father of the US Navy

This seems like a good day to celebrate birthdays.  So, happy birthday to Commodore John Barry, born on this day in 1745, in Tacumshane, County Wexford, Ireland.  He is considered by many to be the “father of the United States Navy.”  But … Continue reading

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Is Captain Mary Becker Greene Still Watching Out for the Delta Queen?

Some say that Captain Mary Becker Greene is still watching out for the riverboat Delta Queen. Captain “Ma” Greene served for almost sixty years as master and pilot of some of the finest steamboats on the inland rivers. She died in … Continue reading

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