Updated 03/20/2012 09:48
Although our Sea Scout Ship 25 - SSS YORKSHIRE is named primarily for our sponsor, Yorkshire United Methodist Church, the name YORKSHIRE also has ancient and honorable nautical antecedents. These include the celebrated clipper ship Yorkshire. We hope the following information from the web about this clipper ship will be of interest to members and friends of our Sea Scout Ship. For our Ship 25's modification of an old sea chantey to tell the story of the packet clipper YORKSHIRE, click here.
The Clipper Ship Yorkshire
The Yorkshire [i]
The following information is from
the Palmer List of Merchant Vessels [ii]
The U.S. ship YORKSHIRE was built at New York by William H. Webb
(hull #13), and launched on 25 October 1843. 996 tons; 167 ft x 36 ft 6 in x 21
ft (length x beam x depth of hold); two decks; draft loaded 18 ft 3 in. Prior to
her maiden voyage in early 1844 she was presented with a set of flags, signals,
and cabin cutlery by a group of Yorkshiremen living in New York.
The YORKSHIRE was the second ship Webb built for C[harles] H.
Marshall & Co's Black Ball Line of sailing packets between New York and
Liverpool, and the fastest sailing packet that ever served on the North
Atlantic: during her 18-year packet career her westbound passages averaged 29
days, her shortest passage being an incredible 15 1/2 days (sailed from
Liverpool 2 November 1846, 7 days to the banks, arrived at Sandy Hook, night of
17 November, and at New York, noon 18 November), her longest 58 days. Her early
reputation for speed was probably enhanced by the reputation of her first
master, David G. Bailey, of whom the New York Herald wrote on the eve of
the YORKSHIRE's maiden voyage
It is a common remark among the sharks when Captain B.
goes to sea, that 'it is useless to attempt to follow that ship, for Bailey is
on board of her.' Such is his reputation for speed even among the inhabitants of
On 2 February 1862, the YORKSHIRE, under the command of Edward R.
Fairbanks, sailed from New York for Liverpool, with three passengers and a crew
of 23; she was never heard from again. It was stated at the time that
"probably no ship in the Liverpool trade has realized a larger amount of
Sources: Robert Greenhalgh Albion, Square-riggers
on schedule; The New York sailing packets to England, France, and the Cotton
Ports (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1938), pp. 45, 87, 89, 118,
151, 153, 163, 179, 193, 196, 198, 200, 226, 262, 276, 320-321, 332, 336, 341,
344; Carl C. Cutler, Queens of the Western Ocean; The story of America's mail
and passenger sailing lines (Annapolis: United States Naval Institute,
c1961), pp. 254-257, 271, 377, 564-565; Edwin L. Dunbaugh and William duBarry
Thomas, William H. Webb: Shipbuilder (Glen Cove, New York: Webb Institute
of Naval Architecture, 1989), p. 162. An abstract of the YORKSHIRE's log
for her record passage from Liverpool to New York in November 1846 is among the
papers of Lt. Matthew Fontaine Maury, U.S. National Archives, RG 27, Records of
the National Weather Service (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1160),
Abstract Logs, Vol. 387.
The YORKSHIRE was the pride of the Black Ball
Line and a masterpiece of the shipbuilder's art, so there is considerable
pictorial material concerning her. William H. Webb himself published his plans
for her in his Plans of Wooden Vessels Selected as Types from One Hundred and
Fifty of Various Kinds and Descriptions, from a Fishing Smack to the Largest
Clipper Ships and Vessels of War, Both Sail and Steam, Built by Wm. H. Webb in
the City of New York, from the Year 1840 to the year 1869 (New York, n.d.
[about 1895]). Howard I. Chapelle, The Search for Speed under Sail (New
York 1967) discusses the YORKSHIRE, and other vessels built by Webb, in
some detail. There is among the collections of India
House, Hanover Square, New York, a lithograph of the YORKSHIRE, 17 x
23.5 inches, published by Day & Haghe, from a painting by W. R. McMinn,
inscribed "Dedicated to the Friends of Capt. D. G. Bailey" [A
Descriptive Catalogue of the Marine Collection to be Found at India House
(2nd ed.; Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, c1973), pp. 118-119, no.
379]. A reproduction of a painting of the YORKSHIRE by Richard Schlecht
appears on the 28-cent international surface postcard issued at Mystic,
Connecticut on 29 June 1988 (it replaced a reproduction of Donald McKay's
clipper FLYING CLOUD). In addition,
offer a model of the YORKSHIRE.
Here is the the above-referenced reproduction of a painting of the Yorkshire by Richard Schlecht that appeared on the 28-cent international surface postcard issued at Mystic, Connecticut on 29 June 1988:
In the newspaper Liverpool Mercury for May 21, 1847 you would have read the following item:
If you sailed on the Yorkshire from Liverpool to New York on October 27, 1847, your fellow passengers would have been:
27 October, 1847.
Mary Black, Thomas Brady, Joseph Brown, Ellen Carrol, Catherine Coile, Catherine Coleman,
Pat Dailey, Francis Farrel, Bess Flinn, Michael Gillooly, Mary Griffin, John Griffin,
John Irving, Ann Leonard, William Longhead, Mary McCarty, Catherine McGowan, Peter McHugh
Thomas McMahan, Ann Morrison, Edmond Quin, Johannah Scanlan, Mary Spencer, and John Wall
This presumably translates as “The packet ship Yorkshire, under the command of Captain Briggs, having departed Liverpool on July 17, 1851 with 414 passengers and merchandise consigned in care of C. H. Briggs, Agent, in New York, on August 16, 1851 was at latitude 41 degrees 31 minutes North, 65 degrees 30 minutes West, where she exchanged communications with the British brig Hope.” The label in the reference work suggests Yorkshire eventually completed that trans-Atlantic crossing in the time of 36 days, slower than her average crossing time of 29 days and her fastest crossing time of 15 ˝ days but far better than her slowest crossing time of 58 days, all as reported at http://www.geocities.com/mppraetorius/com-yo.htm.
Here is some information on the shipyard that built the clipper ship Yorkshire:
William Webb [viii]
Finally, here is a brief note that shows travel by clipper ships in the golden age of sail wasn't always rapid or necessarily safe:
Endnotes and Sources:
[i] Image and identification from Era of the Clipper Ships website at http://www.eraoftheclipperships.com/page22web3.html. Permission has been requested for this citation.
[ii] From Michael Palmer’s Palmer List of Merchant Vessels website at http://www.geocities.com/mppraetorius/com-yo.htm. The HTML of that website is Copyright © 2001 Michael P. Palmer with All rights reserved, Last revised: 16 March 2001. Permission has been requested for this citation.
[vii] From Martin Peterson’s United States Postal Cards website at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Crete/9404/post8.html, copyright 1988. Permission has been requested for this citation.
[viii] Quotation and image from Era of the Clipper Ships website at http://www.eraoftheclipperships.com/page22web3.html. Permission has been granted for this citation.
This page is from the website of SSS YORKSHIRE - Sea Scout Ship 25, York, PA, USA - http://ship25bsa.org