Sea History 072 - Winter 1994-1995

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that dark afternoon, October might be of some purpose to go 12, 1942, when we furled the over with you once more the heavy canvas on the yards. story of the early days of the museum, its founding and the I mention this becau se less struggles of the first few years ." than six weeks after we de\ \ parted Grays Harbor to begin The asperity of hi s remarks our voyage (the last American reflects the anger that I encounsquare-rigged merchant ship) tered the year before when I another vessel, the Charles W. first met Carl Cutleron a visitto his home in Mystic . Jim KleinMorgan (the last American square-rigged whaler), deschmidt took me to see him . parted New Bedford on an But as he continued his address equally historic traverse. The at the Annual Meeting, Cutler reached for the peace pipe, and Morgan was bound for salvawent back in time. He told the tion . . . a hundred mj]es away Carl Cutler made a voyage from New York to Auckland, New Zealand, at Mystic, Connecticut. The in the bark Alice in 1898. She is seen here in Mystic, Connecticut, in membership gathered under the man who was saving her was 1907, where she was converted to a four-masted schooner. Seaport marquee the circumCarl C. Cutler, the author of a stances under which the Charles famous book on clipper ships called in the record" at an Annual Meeting at W. Morgan was saved. Mystic of the Marine Historical AssoGreyhounds of the Sea. "I remember very well the situation Cutler was one of the three founders of ciation that he had co-founded. Carl had whenlreportedinJune 1941 to the ExecutheMarine Historical Association at Mys- been estranged from the Seaport Mu- tive Commjttee in New York that the ship tic, Connecticut, in the 1920s. But as time sewn for a decade. He resigned when the was available if we wanted her, and that I went on he had a larger vision than collect- Board of Trustees created a "bu siness had secured an offer from a New England ing and displaying srup models and log manager" out of a local jeweler and contractor-the same one who put the books and scrimshaw; he wanted to as- moved this person up to Cutler's level in Morgan in her berth at the Green estatesemble some actual ships and create an the organization-a not uncommon con- to biing her down from Mystic for $7,500, fusion of the visionary and the so-called wruch was a very low price. The only old-time New England seapo1t. Years before, Harry Neyland, a New practical that Boards of Trustees some- other offer I had was $40,000. Bedford marine artist, had persistently "When I reported this to the Committried to wake up that community to the tee, it developed that opinions were diimportance of saving the Charles W. vided. You will recall that this was 1941 Morgan, the last whaling vessel surviving and Pearl Harbor was only a few months in the old whaling port. He had success, away. England and France were fighting finally , when Col. Edward H. R. Green, a with their backs to the wall and several wealthy man, preserved her at his estate, of the Directors felt that instead of spend"Round Hills," across the Acushnet River. ing more money bringing the ship to Col. Green's mother was Hetty Green , Mystic, we ought to fold up for the "The Witch of Wall Street." It was said duration. There was considerable disthat her son lost a leg to infection because cussion pro and con, but finally Mr. she was too money-conscious and penuri[Clifford] Mallory said, 'Well, I am goous to call in a doctor. Her father, Edward West meets East. Shipsavers Karl Kortum of ing to stick my neck out. I' 11 put up the "Black Hawk" Robinson, was principal San Francisco, Left, and Carl Cutler of Mys- $7 ,500 to get the ship to Mystic and trust tic meet in Mystic in 1960. owner of the Charles W. Morgan from others to carry on from there.' That is the 1849 to 1859. times stumble into. real, inside story, and if Mr. Mallory had The hurricane of 1938 struck and At the end of the decade of estrange- not taken the action he did, the Morgan shifted the ship in her sand berth , swept ment, Carl was asked to make an ad- would never have come to Mystic." away the carved golden eagle on the dress. He began: In his address, Carl Cutler then cast transom (never found), and did other "You will recall also that Franklin back even further and described a meetdamage. Col. Green had died not long Cole (then president of Mystic) said ear- ing in 1928 with Kurt Stillman, of local before and, unfortunately, left no money lier in his remarks that he would wel- family, a distinguished New York docin his estate for her continued preserva- come any kind of constructive criticism. tor, by then retired, and with Ed Bradley, tion. It was Carl Cutler who stepped into I ought to warn you to take that with a a manufacturer who as a lad had sailed the breach. He went up to look at the grain of sa lt. I offered him some very around Cape Horn in the Stonington whaleship ; she was "cocked up on her fine constructive criticism and he clipper Mary Whitridge. The three of bow, her stern high in the air, broken wouldn't even listen to it. Why he de- them formed the Marine Historical Asyards on deck, and her deck rotten and cided that I should come here and talk to sociation and set out to gather like minded full of holes." (A new deck had to be laid an audience like this after ten years in people as members. Dr. Stillman, in parbefore she ever left New Bedford.) retirement without a chance to address ticular, was a stalwart in the early years. Twenty years after she had come to an audience of even half a dozen in the Clifford Mallory, soon recruited, left the Mystic, on July 21, 1961, Carl Cutler meantime, I couldn't understand. But as bu si ness world in New York once a had an opportunity to make a "correction I thought of it, it occurred to me that it month and never failed to attend the 20