Down Easters

Captain Lincoln Alden Colcord Relaxing

Capt. Lincoln Alden Colcord relaxes on a divan in the captain's cabin aboard the ship State of Maine, as photographed by his daughter, Joanna, in 1899.

Captain Lincoln A. Colcord

Capt. Lincoln A. Colcord standing at the taffrail of the ship State of Maine, taken by his daughter, Joanna Colcord while sailing off the Cape of Good Hope in 1900. The taffrail log ( the ship's speedometer) is spinning fast. Captain Colcord 's grin as he drives his ship at speed was certainly shared by his fellow Down Easter captains.

State of Maine was built in Newcastle in 1878 by Ebenezer Haggett for a consortium of Searsport captains who had two other Down Easters built by Haggett.

Ship Belle of Bath

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.

Cabin of the Ship Benjamin F. Packard

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.

Down Easter Aryan in Light Wind

Aryan was the last full-rigged wooden ship built in the United States, launched at Phippsburg in 1893. Here it is photographed from a passing steamer, on a calm day. Capt. Andrew S. Pendleton of Searsport was the ship's master in 1905.

Down Easter Clarissa B. Carver

The Down Easter Clarissa B. Carver was built in Searsport, Maine in 1876 by George Carver. Here she is shown at the wharf in San Francisco, probably loading grain. The boiler on wheels on the wharf is used to power a steam winch which, used with the ship's yards and rigging, hoists grain sacks into the ship's hold.

Launch of Down Easter Henry B. Hyde

The ship Henry B. Hyde was a splendid ship and Down Easter, captained by a number of Searsport masters during her career. Launched from John McDonald's Bath shipyard in November, 1884, she had strong Searsport connections: eleven of the fourteen owners were from Searsport, though they owned just under half of the vessel. Considered to be the finest of the Down Easters, she was the fastest three-master of the post-clipper era. She measured 2463 tons with a length of 267 feet. Her typical voyages were New York to San Francisco, then to Liverpool with grain and back to New York.

Builder's Half Model, William H. Conner

Builder's half model of the ship William H. Conner, built in Searsport in 1877 by Marlboro Packard, her master builder, working in the Carver yard.

The Conner was the last and largest full-rigged ship built in Searsport , costing over $100,000. Apparently in three voyages she earned her construction costs, but that was the exception; 15% was closer to the rule. Listed in the Register (shipping registers listed all merchant vessels) until 1898, she was finally turned into a barge and sunk off Sandy Hook.

Hold of a Down Easter

This photograph shows the large volume of a Down Easter available for cargo. There is another deck below for carrying more. The L-shaped pieces of wood called hanging knees support the deck beams and resist twisting. They are typically made from the hackmatack trees of Maine. The hackmatack (or tamarack or larch) root leaves the trunk at a right angle, creating wood with a grain that bends in an L. Similar L-shaped pieces between the deck beams are called lodging knees.

Down Easter Dirigo

Launched in February, 1894, the four-masted ship Dirigo was the first steel square-rigged ship built in Maine, and the first steel ship built in the United States. Designed by a British designer, it was built at the Sewall Shipyard in Bath, using imported steel plates and shipbuilding labor. She was a typical British design of the 1890s. Eight more steel vessels were to follow. Dirigo is the Maine State motto, meaning "I lead" in Latin.


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