On Sunday, August 20, 2023, a new flagpole was raised at the RSU 24 District Services Facility on US Route 1 in Sullivan. Friends and family donated the pole and flag in honor of Mrs. Barbara Potter, longtime Sullivan resident and her late husband, Robert “Bob” Potter. Life members of S-SHS, Barbara and Bob contributed much to the growth of the Society for many years.
Barabara was curator for a number of years and still keeps in touch on a regular basis. Bob researched the early history of the area, and his works are an important part of the Society’s collection and some are in the archive of the Maine Historical Society as well.
We are glad to see the flag put in place and even more so that Barbara could be there to see it happen.
Last Friday on May 26th, 2023, students from the Charles M. Sumner Learning Campus volunteered to place flags on the graves of the veterans at York Hill Cemetery here in Sullivan. Alex Figueroa, Nate Bucci, Arick, Hector Orozco-Delgado, Victor Orozco-Delgado, Drew Dyer, and Chase Atwater stepped up to help out. Jeanne Edwards was there, representing SSHS and the Town Cemetery Committee.
Community service is a wonderful way to honor the service of others.
We thank you all!
We welcome you to join us via Zoom for the first in our Winter 2023 History Hour series on January 18th at 7pm. Our featured guest will be Tim Whitten, one of the world’s few remaining experts on marlinespike, which is the maritime art of rope work and knots. Tim is the owner of Marlinespike Chandlery in Stonington and will share his story of how he came to learn his craft as well as the history of it. He will also demonstrate examples of his work and the tools used.
Knot work is familiar to anyone who sails, but with the advent of new fasteners in the modern age, the intricate art of knots and ropes as used in marlinespike is a relic of the past – especially at the level of Tim’s fancy marlinespike seamanship. Tim was a 2021 recipient of the Maine Arts Commission Belvedere Craft Fellowship Award and his work has been featured around the globe.
Here is the link for the Zoom presentation:
Topic: Marlinespike Seamanship with Tim Whitten
Time: Jan 18, 2023 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 812 5666 4040
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Meeting ID: 812 5666 4040
Find your local number: https://us06web.zoom.us/u/kyDbU7Pv9
When a new boat is built and christened, it is generally a happy time for all involved.
But in the case of the Spindrift, no one could have expected it to truly live up to its name! The boat was built in the Machias River in the winter of 1918 with Sullivan to be her home port under Captain Mitchell of Milbridge. Her inaugural trip in March of 1919 was to be a simple one to Halifax to pick up a load of lumber, with a partial crew of 9. The names we know to be on the crew were Clarence, Howard and Leonard Martin, Alfred and Ott Preble, and E.E. and Jessie Bragdon. Years later, Clarence Martin would give a detailed account of what happened on that fateful maiden voyage.
To start, the ship wasn’t loaded with much ballast as it was thought the trip would be short and sweet. On board there was enough bread and coffee for the four days expected. However, after one full day in the Bay of Fundy, a great gale struck and carried the Spindrift with it. The ship, being lightweight and bobbing like a cork over the water, was at the mercy of the wind, and on the high seas, the planks began to loosen. The crew focused on keeping the ship afloat as the gale blew her further and further off course.
Out of food, some of the boys wanted to try their luck on a lifeboat but were persuaded by the others that the rough seas would swallow them up. After a couple of weeks, there was a lull in the weather, and a Patagonian ship passing by gave them some beef and flour, but it wasn’t enough. The drinking water they had on board went bad and sickened all of the men. 32 days later, when the winds finally eased up, the men found themselves in the Azores – on the other side of the Atlantic!
There, they were given enough victuals and a course for Nassau, with the ship barely making the trip. The crew spent a month there while repairs were done, and then were sent to Jacksonville, Florida, where the Spindrift and its crew were sent by train up the East Coast back to Maine. Amazingly, none of the crew perished in their ordeal, but the experience did turn a few of them off to mariner life for good. As for the Spindrift, it made one more trip – to deliver a load of lumber to Puerto Rico – but sprang a leak on the way back and sank off Norfolk, VA, bringing an end to the short career of the ship built in Machias.
Merriam-Webster gives the definition of a spindrift as “spray blown from waves during a gale”; and true to its name, the Spindrift was indeed blown across the tops of the waves during a gale.