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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

American Ship Phineas Pendleton

In 1866 in the small town of Brewer, near Bangor Maine, a new American sailing ship, the Phineas Pendleton, was built at the Dunning shipyard on the lower Penobscot River. This ship was destined to have a mere lifespan of 19 years. Per the book titled Brewer by Richard Shaw, the Phineas Pendleton sailed the China Trade and, per legend, only entered an American port once during 19 years. Shaw also noted that her lower masts were painted black as memorials to the death of three of the captain’s children following a diphtheria outbreak off the Peruvian coastline.

The owner and captain till 1873 of the sailing ship was Phineas Pendleton, Jr. and Company. His company had named the ship in honor of Phineas Pendleton, Sr.

Capt. Phineas Sr. is my 4th Great Grandfather and was born in Stonington, New London, CT in 1780 on September 26th.  He died February 26th in 1873 in Searsport, ME.  Searsport is the town famous for its China Trade sea captains and the home of many of my sea captain ancestors.  I descend from Phineas Sr. through his daughter Esther Houston Pendleton.

His son, Capt. Phineas Jr. is my 3rd Great Grand Uncle and was born in on August 29 in 1806 and died on the 19th of July in 1895, the same year as my husband's grandfather Charlie Cator was born. 

Jr's pic is right, Sr's is left.

The ship's dimensions were 185 feet long on deck, 37 feet breath of beam, 23 feet depth of hold and 1332 tons registered, with fastenings of copper and iron.

In 1885 she was scheduled for sale from Hong Kong to New York under Captain Blanchard of Searsport. On August 7th, the Ship Phineas Pendleton was scuttled to extinguish a fire that began while she was lying in port in Manila. When a ship is scuttled due to fire, it is deliberately sunk. Water is introduced into the ship’s interior by means such as valves being opened, hatches being flooded, and even by setting explosives.

The Phineas Pendleton was a total loss.

In 1869 the ship was immortalized in an oil painting by Irish-born artist Charles Waldron of Liverpool, England. His studio was located in Seacombe from which he was able to observe the many vessels entering and leaving Liverpool Harbor.


                                                                                      Donna Cator