Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pratt Stories - The Bartram Family X (revised)

It was a nice story, the wreck of the brigantine Defence in Maine being the same vessel as the brig our ancestor Ebenezer Bartram served on during the battle in Boston Harbor in 1776. Too bad it isn't true.
The last line in the 4th paragraph of yesterday's message said "...nevertheless I think the inevitable conclusion is that they were one and the same ship." I'm glad I weasel-worded that sentence because I was wrong. It turns out that our Defence was already kaput when the Penobscot Bay action started in August of 1779. 
My newly annointed research associate and fact checker, nephew Allen Woodruff, found the following: "On March 6, 1779, the ship Defence still under Captain Smedley, when returning from a cruise struck on Goshen Reef, bilged, and soon after overset. Her guns and most of her stores were saved. As no further notice of her appears, she must have been proved a total wreck." (From the Records and Papers of the New London County Historical Society).
Little Goshen Reef is actually a sandbar about a mile off the shore of Harkness Memorial State Park in New London, Connecticut. Foundering on a sandbar that close to land was not exactly a noble end for a valiant fighting privateer...and  the Captain in charge was trained by our ancestor.
Oh, well...we still have the pistol.......

Emailed Oct. 2

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