17th cen­tury re­turn­ing to St. Michaels

Mu­seum to build replica of 1630s ship Mary­land Dove

The Star Democrat - - FRONT PAGE - By KAYLA RIVAS kri­[email protected]­dem.com

ST MICHAELS — The Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Mar­itime Mu­seum on Thurs­day, Jan. 10, an­nounced it has been awarded a $5 mil­lion con­tract from the state of Mary­land to build a new Mary­land Dove, a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the late 17th­cen­tury trad­ing ship that ac­com­pa­nied the first Eu­ro­pean set­tlers to what is now Mary­land.

Mary­land Dove is owned by the state of Mary­land, and op­er­ated and main­tained by the His­toric St. Mary’s City Com­mis­sion.

“This is in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing news for the Eastern Shore of Mary­land,” CBMM Pres­i­dent Kris­ten Green­away said. “It’s phe­nom­e­nal.”

The pre­vi­ous replica of the ship was built in 1978 by the late James B. Richard­son of Cam­bridge, a life­long res­i­dent of the Eastern Shore. Then 70, Richard­son was coaxed out of re­tire­ment in 1977 to be­gin con­struc­tion on the ship along­side five as­sis­tants.

Richard­son was from a long line of ship­wrights, and his crew worked on Mary­land Dove for 15 months at his boat­yard

off the Chop­tank River on Le­compte Creek. Richard­son died in 1991.

The ship de­sign is based on the small 42-ton mer­chant ves­sel that es­corted 400-ton Ark and the first colonists to Mary­land in 1634. Mary­land Dove was used in shal­low wa­ter­ways along the coast while the state’s first cap­i­tal was es­tab­lished.

Green­away said the build­ing op­por­tu­nity will be of great eco­nomic ben­e­fit to the Eastern Shore, as she ex­pects the two-year con­struc­tion process,

open for pub­lic view­ing, to at­tract many vis­i­tors.

Naval ar­chi­tect Iver Franzen al­ready has started de­sign­ing the ship, and Green­away said she ex­pects the project’s con­struc­tion to be­gin June 1. She said com­ple­tion will be in late 2021, lend­ing “vis­i­tors an op­por­tu­nity to visit mul­ti­ple times.”

Green­away said the project is per­fect for the mu­seum.

“It’s ex­actly what we’ve been po­si­tion­ing our­selves to do, to take on projects of this size,” she said, list­ing the many nec­es­sary tools the mu­seum is equipped with that any ship­build­ing func­tion would need to build a ship of Mary­land Dove’s size.

Such re­sources in­clude a spacious work­ing area, ma­rine rail­way, mo­bile crane, fork­lift, strip saw and ship­wright ex­pe­ri­ence. Green­way said the mu­seum has four of the 10 ship­wrights needed to com­plete the project, “a great op­por­tu­nity for lo­cal peo­ple to be in­volved.”

Also, this ship will be built to U.S. Coast Guard stan­dards as op­posed to the pre­vi­ous replica, lend­ing bet­ter use for education and pub­lic

pro­gram­ming pur­poses, the mu­seum pres­i­dent said.

Green­away said no­body re­ally knows what the orig­i­nal Mary­land Dove looked like; it was based on what was typ­i­cal of the 1600s Dutch Bri­tish Pin­nace. In the past 25 years or so, more rigs have been dis­cov­ered in the Baltic Sea, and given its cold, dark weather con­di­tions, they were well preser ved.

Green­away also said work with the Vasa Mu­seum re­search staff in Swe­den and part­ner­ing with His­toric St. Mary’s City have re­vealed a bet­ter vi­su­al­iza­tion of the ship. There­fore, in the new

model, two masts will be built in­stead of three.

The Mary­land Dove Stor y, as pro­vided by the mu­seum:

The two ships set sail from the Isle of Wight on Nov. 22, 1633. Three days later, on March 25, a storm arises in the Chan­nel and Dove is seen fly­ing dis­tress lanterns at her masthead be­fore she dis­ap­pears into the storm. Those aboard Ark as­sume she has sunk in the storm. It is not un­til six weeks later that they dis­cover oth­er­wise, when Dove ar­rives in Bar­ba­dos and re­joins Ark.

The two ships ar­rived at Old Point Com­fort on Feb. 24, 1634, after a voy­age of three months (of which 66 days were spent at sea). After spend­ing a week at Old Point Com­fort, they de­parted on March 3 to sail up the Ch­e­sa­peake to the Po­tomac River, where they landed on St. Cle­ments Is­land.

They spent the rest of March ex­plor­ing and ne­go­ti­at­ing with the In­di­ans for a place to set­tle. On March 25, Fa­ther An­drew White held a Mass of Thanks­giv­ing to cel­e­brate the pur­chase of 30 square miles of land on the East Bank of the St. Mary’s River, and on March 27 the colonists de­parted St. Cle­ments to oc­cupy the land they had pur­chased, nam­ing their set­tle­ment “St. Mar y’s.”

At the end of May, Ark re­turned to Eng­land, leav­ing Dove be­hind to pro­vide trans­porta­tion for goods to be traded up and down the At­lantic sea­coast. In the fall of 1634, Dove was sent nor th to Bos­ton to trade corn for salt cod and other com­modi­ties. In Au­gust of 1635, Dove was sent back to Eng­land with furs and tim­ber to trade. Dove was never seen again, prob­a­bly lost at sea.

To learn more about Mary­land Dove, visit bit.ly/ mary­land­dove. For more in­for­ma­tion on CBMM, visit cbmm.org.


Mary­land Dove, His­toric St. Mary’s City’s float­ing am­bas­sador, sits docked out­side the ship­yard of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Mar­itime Mu­seum in St. Michaels, where a new ship will be built dur­ing the next sev­eral years.

Mary­land Dove, His­toric St. Mary’s City’s float­ing am­bas­sador, sits docked in His­toric St. Mary’s City.


Mary­land Dove, His­toric St. Mary’s City’s float­ing am­bas­sador, sits docked out­side the ship­yard of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Mar­itime Mu­seum in St. Michaels, where a new ship will be built dur­ing the next sev­eral years.

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