John Smith and the St Mary
So what next for Past Finders? A trip to see the wreck of course! John has kindly agreed to accompany the group on this excursion in December 2018. Thank you to John Smith for taking the time to come in and talk to the group about this magnificent ship.
We were so captivated by the talk by John Smith that we completely forgot to take pictures!
25 children and adults attended this fascinating lecture by local historian John Smith on the St Mary and the sad fate of Capt. Carver.
The St Mary, a square-rigged, 3 masted ship made from white oak and yellow pine, was built in 1889 in the Charles Minnott yard, Phippsburg, Pennsylvania USA.
On 6th August 1890 she was struck by the Magellan off Cape Horn, this collision was immediately followed by a strong gale. The Magellan sank with all hands and the crew of the St Mary struggled to keep their ship afloat. They decided to head for Stanley.
The St Mary was wrecked at Kelp Lagoon on Pinnacle Rock (although John thinks the rocks she hit were actually described as a 'pinnacle of rocks' as opposed to actually being 'Pinnacle Rocks') located between Burnt Island and Elephant Island. What is left of this impressive ship now rests at Whale Point on East Falklands.
The crew launched a boat to head for the nearby Fitzroy settlement for help, Capt. Carver refused to leave the ship, when the carpenter returned the next day the Capt. was dead. He was found foaming at the mouth - undoubtedly distraught at the loss of his ship, (the Capt. had invested a lot of money in her) he saw no other way out other than to kill himself.
Her cargo was mixed – coal, whisky, iron pipe, boxes of tacks and toy trains. John described how the residents of East Falklands turned out in their masses to salvage whatever they could before Falkland Islands Company representatives showed up.
The Maine State Museum salvaged a section of the hull and shipped it back to America in 1978. We are grateful to the Main State Museum for allowing us to use their photograph below.
The St Mary now
Falkland Islands Museum & National Trust
The historic heart of Stanley
Photo: Maine State Museum