Some very substantial changes were made to convert this 20th century fishing vessel into an 18th century trading vessel. After gutting the interior, old planking and frames were removed and re-framing commenced, changing her shape from stem to stern. The main deck was razed; the old transom was cut off and rebuilt with stern and quarter galleries.
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The shear was changed, raising the bulwarks and adding an aft cabin with a quarterdeck. Her new frames and planks are white oak and she is fastened with spikes and trunnels, wooden pegs. By the time the work is completed, she will have all new sides, a reshaped bow with curved headrails and figurehead.
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She will have three masts and will be a full-rigged ship. The original Beaver was built in , only a year before the Tea Party, as a whaling vessel to sail out of Nantucket Harbor for Joseph Rotch, patriarch of a Nantucket family of wealthy oil merchants. She was about 85 feet long with a beam of nearly 24 feet, similar to other merchant vessels of the time.
Her draft could not exceed nine feet because Nantucket Harbor had a sand bar across its mouth that set the maximum size for vessels of that port. The North River shipyards were well known for building many fine whalers and merchantmen. It so happened that another famous vessel was built on the banks of that same river also in the same year that was approximately the same size and tonnage, the ship Columbia. Commanded by Capt.
This was the nautical equivalent of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Drawings and sketches of the Columbia were well documented in her logbooks and because of her important accomplishments and fame these documents were well preserved. Since both vessels were built in such close size, proximity and time, we can safely assume that the Beaver and Columbia must have looked very much alike. So, we took advantage of the situation to redesign and rebuild Beaver to be similar to her sister ship Columbia and other such vessels of her day and thus more historically correct than ever before. The vessel used for the Beaver replica was built in Denmark in in Marstal on the island of Aero as a schooner for freighting and fishing.
The old hull was retired when it was purchased to become a representative of the tea party ships and was re-rigged as a brig. The captain pointed his vessel into the wind and with flames and smoke bellowing out of the hatches, the fire crept close to the fuel supply.
A lengthy bucket brigade finally contained the blaze. Today, at the Gloucester Marine Railways, the year-old Beaver is undergoing further redesign and reconstruction. The Beaver needed a new stem so the bow was changed to include a full-headed rig. She will be fitted with graceful head rails and a carved scroll or billet head appropriate for a Quaker owned vessel. Her sides have been retimbered and replanked and new bulwarks are being built.
New timbering of the deck will be done in the same manner as colonial vessels of over years ago. The Beaver will receive new main and fore masts, bowsprit, main boom and main yard. Rope rigging is being made up in New Bedford by riggers who restored the rig of the largest ship model in the world, the whaleship Lagoda housed in the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
A rope-making machine has been constructed to make the cable-laid main and fore stays. Over dead eyes and blocks have all been fashioned by hand. The ballast in the hold was removed and many of the bottom frame timbers replaced. Some frame sections, futtocks, have measurements or scantlings up to 18 inches thick. All new wooden construction is being done in the same traditional manner as were vessels of the late 18th century. Decking and plank seams are being caulked traditionally, using caulking mallets and irons with cotton, then oakum from hemp. The deck seams are payed with molten tar and the planking with putty made with linseed oil.
The paint color scheme was changed from mostly black to yellow, as was the Columbia and other vessels of her time. Most vessels of this period were finished either by oiling the sides or painting them yellow. The problem with oiling was that while it provided excellent protection to the wood, in time it turned dark, or even black. In an age of piracy and privateering, a black vessel seen from a distance usually meant that it was probably old and slow and would therefore be an easy mark or prize. Since a chase might take days and if a vessel looked new and swift, the decision would be not to give chase.
In addition to a new color scheme, an extra thick band of planking called a whale was added as is seen in paintings of Columbia and other period vessels. Every detail of the Beaver replica from the truck or top of the main topgallant mast to the bottom of the keel has been taken from documented merchant and whaleships of that period.
Even the bottom was sheathed with copper sheets from the same company that Paul Revere founded. The harbor pilot ordered her to Rainsford Island, the official quarantine station, due to the outbreak of smallpox onboard. Joseph Rotch was principal owner of several whaling vessels. He had a reputation for being a fair and very honest businessman and was a leader of his church, the Society of Friends.
He commissioned the first ship to be built in Bedford Village in , which he named the Dartmouth. Colonial whaleships were similar in construction to the merchantmen of the day, but were fitted out somewhat differently having davits for the whaleboats, try works for rendering oil from the blubber, extra heavy rigging takels for hauling the blubber strips on deck, heavily oiled decks from the spillage of the trying out process and a look out station which was a barrel lashed to the main topgallant mast. No plans or drawings of the Dartmouth exist. But we do know her length and approximate size from the tonnage figure listed in the shipping papers.
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Based on extensive research of merchantmen and whalers of that period, the lines for a replica of the Dartmouth have been laid down and construction is to follow the completion of the Eleanor and Beaver. When complete, the Boston Tea Party Museum will host three different ships, each accurately representing a typical vessel of the period.
John Rowe was also the owner of the merchant vessel Eleanor. By law, after having entered the harbor, Rotch had only 20 days to unload his cargos before the ships would be seized and the cargos sold at auction to pay the customs duties. Once having entered the harbor, a vessel could not legally set sail again with the cargo still on board without special permission from the governor of Massachusetts.
At a public meeting, Samuel Adams , John Hancock and others, supported by thousands of Boston residents, urged him to return the tea in the same vessels in which it arrived, but Rotch knew that he would not be granted the needed permission from Governor Hutchinson to do so. The main channel of Boston Harbor was secured by the British with a hundred large cannon on Castle William at the mouth of the harbor and two man-of-wars, the Active and Kingfisher. No ship could possibly leave without permission of the governor.
Francis Rotch was again summoned and ordered by the massive assembly to send the Dartmouth with the tea back to London. It is wholly impractical. It would cause my ruin. As expected, the Governor refused to grant his permission. It was dark when Rotch reappeared at the Old South Meeting House but the meeting was still in progress.
Samuel Adams, Joseph Warren, and Josiah Quincy and others had made one rousing speech after another all through the day. The intent crowd became silent when the young Mr. Thinly disguised as Indians to protect their identities they quickly, quietly, and orderly, under organized leadership boarded each of the ships. Thousands of spectators watched in utter silence. Only the sounds of axes splitting wood could be heard from Boston Harbor during the still, cold, December night.
Young boys climbed on the piles of tea to push it over so that by morning the rising salt water would be sure to spoil all the goods and not one ounce of the 42 tons of tea could be salvaged. Fearing any connection to their treasonous deed, the patriots took off their shoes and shook them overboard. A fife played as they paraded past the home where British Admiral Montague had been spying on their work. But mind, you have got to pay the fiddler yet! During her stay, her captain, Hezekiah Coffin died and she was then sold.
They could only dream of overcoming its power, or try to believe in the myths and fables of others who supposedly had done so. Then, at the dawn of the 19th century, along came a brilliant, creative, controversial American by the name of Robert Fulton. In the late summer of , he ran his experimental "steamboat" from New York City to Albany, not once, but repeatedly.
With these continuing commercial trips, Fulton showed that it was possible to alter artificially both a person's location and the amount of time it took to change it. In so doing, he also broke through an enormous psychological barrier that had existed in people's minds; it was, in fact, possible to overcome Nature to practical effect. But running these steamboats on rivers, lakes and bays was one thing.
Taking such a vessel on a voyage across the ocean was a different proposition altogether. Experienced mariners didn't think it could be done. These early steamboats were just too flimsy and unwieldy to withstand the dangers of the deep. Yet there was at least one man who believed otherwise. His name was Captain Moses Rogers.
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He set out to design a steam vessel that was capable of overcoming the vicissitudes of the sea. This craft would be not a steamboat, but a steamship, the first of its kind. Finding a crew for such a new-fangled contraption proved to be exceedingly difficult. Mariners, conditioned as they were to "knowing the ropes" of a sailing ship, looked upon this new vessel, and its unnatural means of propulsion, with the greatest suspicion.
Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private. Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item For millennia, humans well-knew that there was a force far more powerful than they upon the Earth, and that was Nature itself. Reviews User-contributed reviews Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers. Be the first. Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers.
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All rights reserved. Remember me on this computer. Cancel Forgot your password? John Laurence Busch. Print book : Biography : English : 1st ed View all editions and formats. Rogers, Moses, -- View all subjects.