are all familiar now with our official Logo.
Ship John Shoal located at the mouth of
the Cohansey River. But how much do we know about the real Ship John, or the lighthouse
that was chosen by our late president
Carole F. Reilly as our logo? Greenwich was designated as a Port of Entry in the late 17th century
and the wharf island from the Delaware Bay was a busy place. That was the destination of the “John” when a
combination of circumstances left her trapped in ice just off shore. The vessel was built in
Newbury- port, Mass. in 1792. She was registered
as 490 tons, 112 ‘ 10” long, 31’ 6” in
breadth, 15’ 9” in depth. The owner was
registered as Benjamin Joy, Boston, and the master was Robert Folger, of Nantucket. In the early winter of 1797, the ship,
freighted from Germany, left Boston Harbor carrying cargo for merchant Joseph Anthony, of Philadelphia but because it had previously carried cargo for
another merchant, Henry Drinker, a
message from Capt. Folger was carried
to Drinker instead. The diary of Drinker’s wife Elizabeth, records some of the
information about the fate of the ship. Folger’s message said that the vessel was “in great distress on
account of the ice the ship was nearly
cut in pieces and the crew, which are
near a hundred, in miserable condition.”
According to “The History of the Name Ship John” published by the Cumberland County
Historical, Society an accurate account of the wreck was obtained by 4 survivors. They said the ship
spotted a sloop in distress and
anchored off in order to help. After
losing her anchor and cable, the ship was forced by ice into a shoal , called “Dunk’s Bar.”
Ice filled the deck and cut into her
nearly filling her with water.
According to a Dec. 29, 1797 issue of “The Gazette” Capt Folger and 20 others were still
aboard. Attempts were made on Dec. 27
to rescue those left on board but
failed. The attempt was repeated on Dec. 29.
On Dec. 30 Elizabeth Drinker wrote in her diary that she had received
word that the captain and his men were brought to shore. The original manifest showed that the ship
carried cordage, pipes, Geneve gin,
linen, Swedish iron, Russian sheeting,
Ravens-duck sail cloth, copper sheets, copper nails, 66 boxes of window glass, hollow glass, and German
toys, including 6000 dolls. Although
much of the cargo was damaged, a lot of it was saved. Of approximately 80 to 90 German passengers,
about 24 reached the New Jersey shore on the night of Dec
24, indicating some had perished. Others
were saved and brought to Greenwich Landing, to the property of John Sheppard, Jr. Sheppard notified
Drinker that they would have to pay 17
guineas each for their passage and clothing and they would need a place of shelter and food. The passengers were “redemtioners” who came
with their families.
had placed themselves in the power of the sea captain or merchant who had brought them here. When they arrived if
they were not redeemed by a friend or relative, the captain was authorized to
sell them. If they were sold, it
generally meant seven years as an indentured servant. The contracts of these individuals were
aboard the ship and had not been recovered, so many refused to honor their
contracts and ran off. They had arrived at Coopers Ferry, on their way to Philadelphia on Dec 29. and the contracts did not arrive until Jan. 10. Benjamin Joy washed his hands of the lot and
refused further communications. Those
who unloaded the cargo also helped themselves, in many cases, and it was
suggested that Capt. Folger should prosecute those who stole from the cargo if
it could be proved.
be continued in the Spring “Bay Run”)
When is a
Restored Brigantine Lighthouse once again a Beacon of Pride.
The lighthouse was built in 1926 as a tourist attraction by
the Island Developer. It was used a welcome center for Brigantine. Never a way
to warn ships away. It was definitely a way to bring traffic to the island and
Since then the lighthouse has become a piece of Brigantine.
Now with a new look and a new life. Including an inviting light on top
Membership Dues statements are being mailed. Fiscal Year
starts March 1, 2009.
Do not forget we are electing two new board members, if
interested contract Sharon Hewitt.