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 Working schooner in Boston Harbor
 Life on a small tern schooner like Nantucket's Mary E. Crosby
  This striking picture shows the beamy, no-nonsense deck layout of a tern schooner (a three-masted schooner) of about the size of the Mary E. Crosby. Five people are visible. Two are aft; two are well forward; and a child is astride the foresail gaff. A tug brings her up Boston Harbor, full of coal. If you look closely, you can see that the mainmast is set off the centerline; this is done to make room for a center board, which is useful in the coastal waters and shallow harbors.
  Tern schooners had three masts, each with fore-and-aft sails (and with no square-rigged sails). This made them maneuverable in shifting coastal winds. They had enough canvas to drive a cargo, but the gaff-rigged sails were small enough to be managed by a small crew. Those of them with center boards could enter shoal harbors like Nantucket's. They were adaptable work horses.
    At left is a typical small-schooner "coal pocket" (an off-loading berth) with an off-loading trestle similar to the one in Mina Goddard's paintings of the Crosby and the coal wharf. This coal pocket is well up the Mystic River in Medford in 1894. (This photo shows a two-masted schooner.)
     Coal is being discharged from schooner via a hoist to a coal car on a gantry at Commercial Point, Boston. The bailed bucket and coal car are larger but similar to those in two of Mina Goddard's paintings--of the Mary E. Crosby and of an island coal [Peleg's?] wharf. The schooner's mast is mostly obscured in the right background.

 And next are two photographs of small tern schooners under way, of about the size of the Mary E. Crosby.

At the left, the main sail of this Newburyport-built coaster, the Cox & Green, is set wing-and-wing, as she is running before a soft April breeze. And...

     Newly built in 1891, this tern schooner, the Frank W. Howe, was riding high in this photo. Ice is visible in the harbor and on the distant shoreline. She was built in East Boston for the southern hard pine trade. She perhaps was slightly larger than the Mary E. Crosby, for in their final years the tern schooners grew as they attempted to compete with trains, steamships, and, increasingly, the truck.
  Aground on Nantucket  This big tern schooner was wrecked on Nantucket only about five years before Mina Goddard visited there. A breaking wave obscures her lower foremast, her port shrouds, and part of her foresail. She was the Warren Sawyer, and she was carrying a thousand bales of cotton from New Orleans to Massachusetts' mills. To read about her demise, click here. Mina may have seen her bones on the beach.

 Four photographs on this page are from the excellent Portrait of A Port: Boston 1852-1914  by W.H. Bunting (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1994). The names of the vessels are:

  • Charles L. Jeffrey of Boston (deck)
  • Emma M. Fox of Bangor, Maine (2-master at wharf)
  • Cox & Green of Greenport NY in 1892. (underway)
  • Frank W. Howe of Boston in 1891 (fourth)
  • The Warren Sawyer is from Edouard Stackpole's Life Saving Nantucket (1972).

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