Governor Ames

Governor Ames circa 1895, Library of Congress

The month of December seemed to be a curse for the Governor Ames, the first five-masted schooner. Only one of fourteen people survived her sinking on December 13, 1909. In her day, she was distinguished as the world’s largest cargo vessel.

Owned and operated by the Atlantic Shipping Company in Somerset, Massachusetts, she was launched on December 1, 1888 and named for a former Governor of Massachusetts, Oliver Ames.

But disaster struck just a few days later as Ames made her way Baltimore, Maryland. A ferocious wind storm broke her foremast, knocking down the others, thereby completely dismasting her. In addition, her anchor chain snapped, causing her to run aground on George’s Bank.

Subsequently, she was fitted with shorter masts and after full repairs were made, she sailed from Maine to Buenos Aires, Argentina with a huge load of spruce and pine lumber. For the next five years, Ames was employed to carry lumber to Australia from Pacific ports.

By 1894, Ames was commissioned to carry coal for which she was built to do. Another mishap occurred in spring of 1899 when she run aground. Unfortunately, much of the coal on board had to be jettisoned in order that the ship could be refloated.

A December storm would finally take the Governor Ames near Cape Hatteras on the coast of North Carolina in 1909. She was carrying a load of railroad ties from Brunswick, Georgia to New York when she broke up on Wimble Shoals and sank within two hours.

Text source: Wikipedia under Creative Commons licence.

Photo credit: Wikipedia public domain image.

© Copyright Vince Capone 2013