Jos. W. Bartlet

Ship Wreck of the Lavinia Belle off Seguin Island – 1898
Ship Wreck of the “Jos. W. Bartlet”, May 21st, 1880
Three-Masted Square Rigged Barque of
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Leaving Boston, Mass. on course to Bangor, Maine, the Jos. W. Bartlet made a navigational error by mistaking Seguin Island Light for the Light on Mohegan Island further along the coast. This trip was to procure lumber, then a staple product of Bangor. To reaffirm his position that fateful Friday night, the captain turned inland with the wind nipping his tail. Unprepared for the ebbing tide, he entered the strong swirling currents of the Kennebec River.

Three masted Barque with square rigging (image sourec www.norwayheritage.com)

Three masted Barque with square rigging
(image sourec www.norwayheritage.com)

Hearing the surf crashing against the Seguin cliffs on the south end of the island, the crew scrambled to stations in an effort to haul off. The duplicity of a flowing river, converging tide and inland blowing winds left no place for a vessel of this size to adjust. Striking the rocks of the southwest shore of Seguin Island, the Bartlet was gashed and began taking on water. This no doubt increased the draft, stranding the coasting vessel upon the cruel rocks.

South view of Seguin Island(Lawreston/Distinct Views)

South view of Seguin Island
(Lawreston/Distinct Views)

“The following day a rescue attempt was made when the tug “Knickerbocker” arrived at the wreck site.” This effort was just that: an effort. The attempts to remove the water-filled vessel from its resting site proved more than impossible and the tug wrote it off as hopeless. The captain, feeling the weight of his mistake, vacated the wreck and was transported to Bath. Later he learned that his vessel had gone to pieces on the cliffs of Seguin Island.

The “Knickerbocker” rebuilt 1904 (Naval Historical Center)

The “Knickerbocker” rebuilt 1904
(Naval Historical Center)