Sea History 145 - Winter 2013-2014

Page 22

Charts That Tell a Story: Captain "Tiger" mong the most fasc inating charts in the extensive chart collection at the Maine Maritime Museum are those that once belonged to Captain Zaccheus Al len (1843-1913). Captain Allen, like most mariners th en and now, made extensive notes directly on his charts to guide him on return voyages across the world's oceans and upon inland waters close to home and beyond. Researchers can glean much from these notes on the actual charts he took to sea o n voyages that took place 100 to 130 years ago. Those who have an opportunity to view them can almost imagine being in the captain's cabin looking at his chart table and plotting the ship's positio n and planning the next course. Allen himself was equally interesting. He was born in Bowdoin, Maine, and grew up in nearby Richmond, where he later maintain ed a residence thro ughout his life. His commands included four ships of the Sewall shipping fleet from 1874 through 1904-the last being the Sewall 's Down Easter Benjamin F Packard, in which he was master from 1889 to 1895 and from 1897 to 1904 . There are m any references to Captain Allen in Live Yankees: The Sewalls and Their Ships, by W H. Bunting, a wonderful chronicle of that nineteenth-century shipping dynasty and its sea captains and ships. Other sources about Allen include Paul C. Morris's Portrait ofa Ship: The Benj . F. Packard, which tells the story of Al len's more than thirteen years as master of that vessel, and American Merchant Ships by F. C. Matthews, in which Allen is described as "a very competent navigator, a just man though a strict disciplinarian." Sailo rs nicknamed him "Tiger" Allen and the Packard was called a "hard" ship (meaning a ship run by "bucko" m ates and a captain who was a driver of ships and men).


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(above) The 244~. Benjamin F. Packard was built in 1883 in Bath, Maine, and sailed under the command of Captain "Tiger" ALLen for 14 years between 1889 and 19 04. (righ t) Captain ALLen's 1881 South Atlantic chart with a multitude of hand-drawn course Lines and positions for passages to and from North America around Cape Ho rn and the Cape of Good Hope.


SEA HISTORY 145, WINTER 2013- 14

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