Alert “06880″ reader Jean Paul Vellotti fills in the back story from yesterday’s post on the sunken vessel spotted in the mud at low tide, just south of the Bridge Street Bridge:
The hulk below the blue bridge is the Mary E., which was an onion schooner and the last ship built in Westport. You can tell it’s a ship and not a barge because the centerboard housing is visible. It would be possible to see who owned/built this vessel with some research; a fairly easy task since it would have been involved in the “coasting trade” and therefore taxed yearly on revenue. Point being, it would have been given a number and records would have been kept. Generally, a hulk is a floating ship that is unable to sail but still has some function. During the wars in the days of sail, captured vessels were often referred to as hulks and used for prison ships.
The best story I heard about how it came to rest in the mud is that an local old oyster pirate named Ford “40” Macheskie (might have that last name a little botched), brought it up-river and tied it ashore. The owner of the property kept saying move it, move it, and Ford never would. Eventually, he threw three sticks of dynamite in the hold and it sank. Then he told the owner it’s stuck in the mud and walked away.
Ford is long gone, but that story was told by him to someone I know.
PS: Re the Black Duck, what irony to list it on Westport’s historic register. You know, if that happened, there could be no changes to the exterior without the Historic District Commission’s approval. Putting it on the register could actually preserve its un-preserved condition.