Sea History 143 - Summer 2013

Page 35

supposed that Macdonald rook the side of Arthur Brown, who had died several months before in D ecember 1900. It was a nice sentiment, bur from the eviden ce, George Steers deserves the whole credit for her design and building. G ive n Wi lli am Brown's flamboyant and self-promoting nature, the challenge of the all-or-nothing proposal to bui ld America as stated in the Schuyler letter co uld well have com e from him. One co uld speculate that, from a statem ent Brown m ade a t the triple launch abo ut all his ships having a particularly sharp entry, he might h ave had so me influence on Geo rge Steers in the design of the now-famous schooner.28 0 n the face ofit, however, while he might have been tempted to be a bigger part of the America story, in reality his financial problems wo uld not have allowed him to do so. ,!,


New York Morning H erald, New York, NY,

29 January 1850. 2

The Triple Launch, manuscript located at the Darien Historical Society, Darien, C T, "Brown genealogy fi le." This abstract is most likely taken from several newspapers from the end of January 1850. 3 Ibid . 4 New York Court of Common Pleas, john Eng/is against William H Brown and William P Furniss, 19 M arch 1855. 5 Wi lliam H . Ewen, Days of the Steamboat (Mys ti c CT: Mystic Seaport Museum,

1998), 88-93. 6

John H. Morrison, History of American Steam Navigation (New York: Stephen Daye Press, 1958), 273-274. 7 John W. Griffiths, Early History of Shipbuilding in New York, The US Nautical Magazineand j ournal, Jul y 1857, Vol. Vl, No. 4 & 5, p. 438. 8 In The Triple Launch, WHB mentions his U ncle Noah. WHB was in fact the so n of Doctor Brown, brother to Adam and Noah Brown. David Brown was the son of Francis Brown, another brother ofAdam and Noah. Noah Brown had adopted David after the death of Fran cis. 9 Pacific, Independence, Sea Bird and New York. 10 R. G. D un & Company Credit Report Volumes, Vol. 366, p. 238, Baker Library Historical Collections, H arvard Business Schoo l. SEA HISTORY 143, SUMMER 20 13

The schooner built at Willam H Brown's shipyard in lower M anhattan would become one of the most famous sailing vessels in history. H er construction, from her keel to her sails, changed the way schooners and other vessels built for speed would be designed for generations to come. 11

New York Superior Court, Zachary Peck to WHB by George Schuyler on his order. vs. William Minot f r., Executor, and Mary 2 1 Ibid., Payments for America are listed in Ann Bryant, Executrix and others. This case this accounting. is detailed in New York Court Records and 22 Peck vs.Minot, testimony ofArthur Brown. 23 Briefs, Court of Appeals, 1867 Vol. 13. R. G. Dun & Company Credit Report 12 John Rousmani ere, The Low Black Schoo- Volumes, Vol. 366, p. 238, Baker Library ner, (Mystic, CT: Mystic Seapo rt Museum Historical Collections, Harvard Business Stores, 1986), 7-9. School. This is also co nfirmed in several 13 Howa rd I. C h apell e, The Histo ry of court cases, including Peck vs. Minot. American Sailing Ships, (New York: Bonanza 24 New York Times, 3 October 185 1. 25 Books, 1935), 308. New York Times, 10 January 1852. 14 26 Rousmaniere, p. 10. New York H erald, New York NY, 23 D e15 Winfield M. Thompson and Thomas W cem ber 1900; an earlier article in the New Lawson, The Lawson History ofthe America's York H erald, 9 October 1893 m entions Cup (Boston , 1902), 6-8. The authors say a meeting berween WHB and G LS. The this letter "was composed and written by information is again from Arthur Brown Mr. Sch uyler." and states the letter is in the handwriting 16 "New York, New York," R. G. Dun & of GLS. The whereabo uts of this letter are Company Credit Report Volumes, Vol. 366, today unknown, and Sea H istory welcomes p. 238, Baker Library Historical Collections, any inform ation from readers who might H arvard Business School. know more abo ut it. 17 27 Peck vs. Minot. Lecture by Thomas H. Macdonald, His18 New York Court of Common Pleas, tory and Development of the Racing Yacht # 18 5 5- 13 13 ,james H. Quimby against Cor- Forest and Stream, A Weekly journal of the nelius Vanderbilt, derails how the Schuylers Rod and Gun, New York, 20 April 1901. 28 stepped in to take the ship Independence. The Triple Launch. 19 Peck vs. Minot. 20 Peck vs. Minot, Exhib it 22Z, William H. James G. Brown manages investments in Brown in acco unt with R. & G. L. Schuyler. Providence, RI. H e is a long-time amateur On 30 August 1851 a total of $4,3 13.01 maritime historian and genealogist and reis paid out and deb ited to the account of cently became a trustee ofthe Destroyer Escort WHB for "the following bills paid fo r the H istorical Museum/USS Slater in Albany, yacht America." These bills includ e such NY H e is writing a biography of New Yo rk items as sails, water casks, towing to Screw shipbuilders Adam and Noah Brown and Dock, furniture, crockery and hardware, their nephews, David Brown, William H enchinaware, refrigerator, ship's lamps, and ry Brown, and Charles Brown. William H. knives, and one entry indicating $1,200 paid Brown is his first cousin six times removed.


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