sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : The schooner Conquest, shrouded in secrecy and mystery
The schooner Conquest, shrouded in secrecy and mystery

'The vessel America under sail'   

When the four mutineers of the ship Saladin were hung for piracy in Halifax in 1844, Nova Scotians might well have thought they had seen the last of the seafaring criminals to sail in their waters … but another vessel might well have attempted to carry on the tradition of Captain Kidd or Edward 'Ned' Jordan, the Nova Scotia mariner who raided ships from 1794-1809.

The story of the schooner Conquest is one shrouded in secrecy and mystery, caused largely by the loss of both the ship and its crew, which included ten men from Halifax, in 1883. First mate William Hilchey, second mate Fred Hilchey, cooper Joseph Matthews, and seamen John Spicer, John Carrigan, James Deady, John Purcell, David Fraser, Edmund Little and P. Byrnes, may all have gotten more than they bargained for when the signed up to sail with Captain John Esmond on August 15th of 1882.

Even the ship’s genesis is a matter of speculation. Built either at Aylesford, Nova Scotia in 1858 (hull number 37920, 91 tons) or Maitland, Nova Scotia in 1841 (hull number 9004978, 107 tons), Conquest had been used for fishing off Newfoundland when she ran ashore and lay abandoned there until purchased for $100, by George E. Forsyth & Co. and put back into service. Forsythe sold the ship in 1882 to Captain F. Tarr of Gloucester, Massachusetts, who was said to be the agent of Gen. Benjamin Butler, the Union Civil War hero who had just then become governor of the state.

Butler is an unlovable historical figure, despite his heroics in the Civil War. Chester Hearn wrote in his 1997 biography that the general died in 1893 leaving an estate worth more than seven million dollars, and questions about how he came into such a fortune. It is Hearn who suggests that while Butler was a student in the Lowell, Mass., high school, he developed a habit of stealing from classmates — a practice that followed him all of his life. Part of that estate included the yacht America, the ship that gave its name to the celebrated transatlantic race, and played a part in the strange story of Conquest.

Capt. Tarr took Conquest to Halifax, and began refitting the ship, purportedly for an Antarctic whaling expedition. It was at this point that rumours began to swirl.

Described by the Toronto Daily Mail of Aug. 17, 1882 as a 'a gloomy, black, piratical looking craft, with extraordinarily high bulwarks for a vessel of her size,' the ship was well suited to carrying guns, a large number of which had recently been delivered in Halifax. Enough stores for 'thirty or forty men for nine months' were taken aboard, in spite of the rumour the ship was said to have sailed with only the captain and two boys aboard.

The Halifax Recorder of March 21st 1891 suggested Butler’s yacht America had sailed from Halifax two days before Conquest, and there had been a meeting at sea, when the 10 Halifax men and others went aboard.

Despite Tarr’s claim, it was suggested Conquest had been headed for Cuba for a 'filibustering expedition,' but the clearing papers showed it was bound for Port Crockett, on the Island of Madagascar. There was, however, no such port on the island east of Africa, and a new story was advanced by the Recorder:

'Some time previous to 1882, a Newfoundland captain was engaged in a trading voyage to the South Pacific, loaded with a rich cargo of oil, etc., was cast away on a desolation island in the South Pacific and he was the only man saved, it is said. He succeeded, so the story goes, in having a large part of the cargo, amounting to between $20,000 and $30,000 worth. At last he was picked up by a passing vessel and brought home. He did not forget the wealth he had left behind, however, and he interested a number of Gloucester shipping men in a project to fit out a vessel to the Southern sea and recover it. Gen. Ben Butler was also interested, and it was he who advanced the necessary cash. Capt. Tarr of Gloucester came to Halifax in search of a suitable craft for the work, The schooner '‘Conquest' was purchased, amply provisioned and fitted out, and put in command of Capt. John Esmond, the man with whom the secret lay as to the whereabouts and the extent of the booty.'

Read more | http://thechronicleherald.ca/thenovascotian/421506-the-mystery-of-conquest


by Jay Underwood

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=105553

10:19 PM Sun 13 Jan 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World

America's Cup: Alameda makes overtures on Venue hosting for San Fran *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,
















America's Cup: Group agrees to co-operate in London Meeting by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,












































2014 Pacific Cup - Scarlet Runner wins by Vanessa Yates, Hawaii






BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 6
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Wind teases competitors on day 2
Women’s Match Race Golfe du Morbihan - Action-packed day of racing
Herreshoff Marine Museum announces successful fundraising campaign
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - The most comprehensive victory yet
Anna Tunnicliffe holds fourth at mid-point of Reebok CrossFit Games
2014 29er North American Open Championship - Australians win
INSA Sabot II Invitational Regatta - Erik Hou claims victory
CMRC Summer Invitational Series - Maxi Soh wins Doubleheader A event
International Moth World Championships - Nathan Outteridge wins
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - First blood to Toselli and Angulo
Melges 24 Nationals - Record entries for 2014 and 2015 venue revealed
Women’s Match Race Golfe du Morbihan - Anna Kjellberg claims the lead
Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race at Long Beach YC
Laser Radial Men’s World Championship - Poland tops the leaderboard
America's Cup - Four teams confirm full support regardless of venue
Plastic Classic takes place at Mariposa Hunters Point YC
Six Metre European Championship - No champion declared for 2014
J/Teams sail tough Chicago Mackinac Race
Anna Tunnicliffe wins first event of Reebok Cross Fit Games + Video
2014 Pacific Cup - Skill and luck required for victory   
Six Metre European Championship - Action resumes on day 4   
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 4   
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam on the horizon   
Rolex Big Boat Series - Golden Jubilee to take place this September   
DH Pacific Cup - Running with the pack + Video   
Women's Match Race Golfe du Morbihan - Testing day in Vannes   
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Ireland establishes solid lead   
International Moth Worlds: Outteridge charges into the lead + Video   
Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race - First blood to Team Brunel   
ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds - Competition heats up on day 2   
Laser Radial World Championships - Competition aplenty on day 3 +Video   
Extreme Sailing Series - Penultimate Act to take place in Nice   
Leukemia Cup - Images by Leighton O'Connor   
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - Meeting of the grand designs   
29er North American Championship - Final series kicks off   
29er World Championship 2014 set to start in Kingston, Ontario   
Barcelona and Parnu chosen for 2015 ORC championship events   
2014 Race for Rady Yacht Race - Benefiting Rady Children’s hospital   
CMRC Summer Invitational Series - Doubleheader events start tomorrow   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT