Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Wreck Of The Schooner A. B. Goodman

above example of a two-masted schooner it is not the A. B. Goodman

The schooner A. B. Goodman was built in Laurel Delaware in 1875.  The ship was two masted, 91 ft long  23 ft beam 8 ft depth   It was rated at 122 gross tons 115 net tons.  The Merchant ship number was 105581.  In 1881 it was valued at $8,000.  The ship had Seaford owners of; D. J. and Benjamin  F. Fooks, Dr W. Wolff, Dan’l Hearn, J. B. Quillen and Co.,  Johnson Moore of Delaware, Capt Burton of Philadelphia and Capt Seward.   The name for the vessel may have come from Abraham Goodman, a clothing merchant in Laurel. 

On the 21st of February 1881 the ship commanded by Captain Hearn of Delmar left Seaford to sail to Baltimore to load wood.  While in Baltimore Captain Hearn sold his share of the ship to James H. Cook and sons 118 Light Street Baltimore, Maryland.and Captain G. Frank Seward.  It is unclear if Captain Hearn was Nutter Hearn, who after selling his share, accepted a lesser position on the vessel as Steward.

The crew at this time consisted of; Captain G. Frank Seward, Commander of the ship, Nutter Hearn, steward on the ship, A. A. Thompson, Mate, James W. Walston , seaman, and Louis Beck, seaman.

1909 ad
 On March 29th the ship left Baltimore for Newbern, N. C. with a cargo of 200 tons of guano owned by the Patapsco Guano Company. The Patapsco Guano Company was started by George Washington Grifflin about 1865.  Located in the Canton area of Baltimore, the company had a large amount of business in the southern seaboard states.  The A. B. Goodman had a net tonnage of 115 tons, if they had 200 tons of bagged guano they were overweight or the newspaper article reported the tonnage incorrectly.  The ship had difficulty in the Chesapeake Bay due to the weather but by April 2nd they were in the ocean.
Note: In looking at James E. Marvil's book "Sailing Rams"  he talks about the Clara M. Goodman a schooner owned by a number of the same owners of the A. B, Goodman and how it was always overloaded.  The Clara M. Goodman was rated at 191 tons but it was loaded with up to 325 tons at a time.  So there is a contributing factor in the sinking.
On reaching Currituck North Carolina, storms hit them from all directions.   The shoals off Cape Hatteras have conflicting currents that collide and when combined with gale force winds will create havoc with any sailing ship.  The area is referred to as the Graveyard of the Atlantic due to the number of ships sank. Since record keeping started from 1526 there has been over 5,000 ships sunk.

On April 4th about 6:30 in the evening the gale storms forced the ship onto inner diamond shoal, four miles from the shoreline of Cape Hatteras. The ship settled and in 20 minutes the water was four foot over the deck.  All hands jumped for the mast riggings. As they raced up the riggings Seaman Beck was caught by a wave and crushed against a boom.  He was killed and his body disappeared.  With only two mast stuck out of the water the four men hung to the riggings in the rain, snow and freezing weather for the next 17 hours.  A. A. Thompson said the wind blew so hard it blow gulls into the rigging and the impact force would kill them.  Thompson had been following the water for nine years at that time.


A description of the rescue of the crew of the A. B. Goodman is written in several newspapers of the time and books, however there is a website called North Carolina shipwrecks

That gives a good description.   In summary the wreck was spotted by Life Saving Station No. 22 North Carolina keeper Benjamin. B. Daily who saw it at dawn on April 5th.  The ship was about three miles from shore. The rescue boat crew was composed of; Keeper Benjamin. B. Daily, Surfmen Thomas J. Fulcher, Damon M. Fray, Erasmus H. Rolison, Benjamin F. Widbee Christopher B. Farrow John B. Whidbee.  After two to three hours of rowing they reached the A.  B, Goodman.  The survivors were on the main cross trees and after a number of attempts they were pulled into the rescue boat.  After rowing back they arrived at the beach about 2 PM in the afternoon.  The sailors were taken to the light house and feed as they had not eaten since 11 AM the previous day.   The rescue crew returned to their quarters. 

On Thursday they started up the coast in company with Captain Mooney of the schooner Nellie Crowell (also loaded with Guano, three-masted schooner at 368 tons)  which had wrecked on the beach at the same time.  They walked and caught rides in open boats, where possible, arriving finally in Norfolk.   The crew had lost everything and Augustus Thompson had to beg ten dollars off strangers with the promise to pay once he got home.  Some clothing was given them by kind hearted people on the way home. Thompson returned to Bethel, Walston returned to Galestown and Hearn returned to Delmar.

1869 the Schooner Nellie Crowell being launched

The crew;

Captain G. Frank Seward, Commander of the ship,   Born about 1842 in Maryland Gave up being commander of a vessel in 1892 but continued owning various vessels until his death.

Wicomico News 1920

Nutter Hearn, steward on the ship, Parents were William Winder Hearn and Sallie Lavinia Culver.  He was born 7 Oct 1850 died 1 Oct 1920 Nutter never married.  He lived  east of Delmar at Smith Mills gave up sailing turned farmer with his brother Harvey. Harvey would include Nutter’s name in the name of his first born; William Nutter Hearn.

Augustus A. Thompson, Mate, From Bethel Delaware, born 1845 parents Augustus A. Thompson and Eleanor M. Baker Thompson.  He would marry Jursha W. and they would have Clara E born abt 1867 and Edward Lewis Thompson born 1875. Jursha would died abt 1885. In 1891 he would marry Virginia D. Stanley (widow) of Norfolk Va.  Augustus would continue following sea and would move to Norfolk Virginia.  In the 1920 census at the age of 74 he was a bookkeeper for a tug boat company.

James W. Walston , seaman, from Galestown Md Born in 1860 to Clement F. Walston and Margaret Alcey Calloway.  He would marry Margaret A. Marine in 1885.  They would have James R. Walston (1887-1942), William Clyde Walston (1893- ), and Margaret Agnes Walston (1900-1978).  James would give up being a seaman and work as a plaster and farmer in the Hurlock area. .  He would die in 1939

Louis Beck, seaman. 35 years old in 1881 and was from  Nova Scotia .


Paul Grubb said...

Great Story Howard.. My Mom was born and raised on Cape Hatteras. Her dad was a Lighthouse Service officer, later to be a Commander in the Coast Guard. He served many years as Captain on a buoy tender based in Baltimore, and was involved in rescues along the Atlantic coast. These are always great stories. Seeing historically, what people endured over the years is amazing.

Larry McC said...

Very interesting story, enjoyed reading it.

Howard said...

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it