William Parr, who later became partners with Robert Bagott, owned these vessels, including the center ship and the brigs Betsy to the left and Phoenix on the right. The world was a dangerous place in 1809, when French and Spanish privateers and naval vessels roamed, ready to snap up unprepared merchant ships. Indeed, Betsy had been taken from the French.
It’s blowing hard enough for the little lug-rigged boat on the right to be deeply reefed with her mizzen furled. She may be a small pilot boat of the type common in the Thames estuary. The main subject, a ship-rigged vessel, has single-reefed her topsails. Her crew is furling the mainsail, while others sheet home the jib.
The crew is heaving away at the capstan bars, turning the capstan to bring in or weigh anchor, at least this is what the photographer set up with the crew. The photograph is posed. Many of the crew are looking at the photographer, as is the gentleman on the right, likely the mate. There is no line wrapped around the capstan. The sailor nearest the camera needs some repair work on his trousers.
The Belle of Bath was launched in May, 1877 in Bath, Maine, by Goss & Sawyer; 1418 tons; length 203.9 ft, beam 39 ft., depth 24.3 ft. She was built for Parker M. Whitmore et al. and sold to Searsport parties in 1883 for $47,500. She was destroyed by fire in June, 1897, while bound from New York to Hong Kong loaded with case oil (kerosene). The Belle of Bath was captained by William G. Nichols and Henry G. Curtis of Searsport. This painting, done by an unknown Chinese artist, was given to Penobscot Marine Museum by the Nichols family.
British ship Bangalore, Captain Ray D. Congdon, 1893. The ship is loading at Tide Water Oil Works, Bayonne, with 65,000 cases of "case oil" for Calcutta. Case oil is kerosene, shipped in wooden "cases," a frame that held two 5-gallon tins of oil.
She was an iron ship built in England in 1886 and sold to the Maine Navigation Company in 1899 whereupon she was put under US registry and continued in the case oil trade.
From 1900 to 1908, the Bangalore was commanded by Captain Phineas Banning Blanchard of Searsport.
Under the command of Capt. Daniel C.Nichols of Searsport, in Hong Kong Harbor, near the end of her sailing life. The painting originally had one mast placed incorrectly. The captain had the artist correct it, but the reflection in the water was not painted out. The picture shows four reflections for three masts.
Bill of lading from ship Clarissa B. Carver, Capt. Dow, of Searsport. The bill of lading is for carrying 23 bales of bamboo from Yokohama, Japan to New York. Clarissa B. Carver was sunk by a steamer near Kobe, Japan nine days after this bill of lading was signed.
The Down Easter Benjamin F. Packard was built in Bath, Maine in 1883 by Goss, Sawyer, and Packard, and named for Packard. She worked in the Cape Horn trade, New York to San Francisco and then west across the Pacific. She was sold to the Pacific Northwest in 1908, she worked carrying fishing workers and equipment to Alaska fish canneries in spring and returning with fish in the fall. She was retired in New York in 1927 after a trip as a barge. She became part of the Playland amusement park in Rye, New York. Heavily damaged in the Hurricane of 1938, she was broken up.