We mortals know that there is "a time to be born and a time to die.” Down to the sea we know that vessels are built to ply the waters but eventually meet their demise. I would like to tell you about a two more Camden built vessels and their fate. Both of them were built in the H. M. Bean Yard down by Camden's Launching Ramp.
One was launched on a beautiful day, Nov. 27, 1902, when almost 3,000 people viewed the spectacle as the ship started down the ways before the last blockings were split out.
The ship was christened by little Myrtle Bean, granddaughter of the builder.
The five-master T. Charlton Henry was named for the son of Charles W. Henry, of Philadelphia, one of the prominent summer residents. She was built for the coal trade for the Crowley fleet. The length over all was 400 feet; the vessel drew 23 feet and her net tonnage was 2,149.
My phone was ringing off the hook one day, as a gentleman had found a shipwreck of a Camden-built boat and wanted some information to identify it. He said he hoped to find gold on it, but I told him it would be "black gold" (coal). The ship met her demise when in a thick fog she collided with the British steamship Chelston on June 22, 1907.
They were only yards apart when they saw each other and the Chelston rammed a hole in the schooner, so large you could have driven an automobile through it.
With 4,100 tons of coal, the ship sank in about 10 minutes.
The other was the Alma A.E. Holmes and she was the 56th vessel Holly Bean and his crew had built.
The date of that launching was Aug. 29, 1896.
The owners were H. M. Bean, Joseph Holmes, and his son, Joseph Homes, Jr., who would be the captain and controlling officer.
Her net tonnage was 1,069, length overall 225 feet and depth of hold was at 18 feet. Her keel was laid four months before launching and double–decked. She hailed from Philadelphia, and was towed to Bangor to load ice for that city.
On Oct. 10, 1914 the Boston Boat, Belfast, collided with the Alma A. E. Holmes in heavy fog off Graves Light. The four-masted schooner was heavily loaded with coal and quickly sank.
The Belfast rescued the crew and her Capt. Brown had his license suspended for three months due to speeding in the fog.
These are only two shipwrecks of many Camden-built boats.
"Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
That is why we call today a present."
Barbara F. Dyer has lived in Camden all of her life, so far.
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