"Of all national assets, archives are the most precious:
they are the gift of one generation to another,
and the extent of our care of them marks the
extent of our civilization." Arthur Doughty.

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San Juan Archipelago, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 650, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

13 January 2017


ON 145943

Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
"One of the largest sailing vessels ever built was the seven-masted schooner THOMAS W. LAWSON. The tremendous steel giant of the age of sail was built at Quincy, Mass, in 1902, for the Boston millionaire, stock broker, author of that name. She had the distinction of being the largest schooner and the largest sailing vessel ever built without an auxiliary engine, costing c. $250,000. She had a length between perpendiculars of 375' and an overall length exceeding 475', carrying 43,000 sq. ft of sail. The LAWSON had a gross register tonnage of 5,218 making her far greater in size than most of the steam propelled vessels of her day.
      As the world's first and only seven-masted schooner, the LAWSON utilized a tremendous spread of sail and could carry almost double her weight in coal. She was originally intended for the Pacific trade but instead was used as a collier along the US East Coast. 
      The strange thing about this vessel that crossed back and forth on the Atlantic for most of her brief five years, was that she was named after Thomas W. Lawson. And who was Thomas W. Lawson? He was a renowned author, his most famous mystery novel being, Friday the Thirteenth. The vessel was wrecked on Annet Island in the Scillies off the outlying tentacles of the English coast on Friday the 13th, with the loss of 17 lives, all but two of her crew. She had a cargo of 58,000 barrels of light paraffin oil aboard." 
The Unusual Side of the Sea. Gibbs, Jim. Windward Publishing Co. Seattle; 1971.
Captain George W. Dow
Pilot Billy "Cook" Hicks,
Engineer Edward L. Rowe, both of Boston, were the only survivors.
      The broken and scattered wreck was relocated in 1969. One of her anchors is now built into the outside wall of Bleak House, Broadstairs, the former home of Charles Dickens.
Model of the Thomas W. Lawson
being viewed by Christopher Greef, age 13, at the 
Science Museum in London, Eng.

Original photo dated 26 Feb. 1960
from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

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