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Three ships were reported lost on Delta Shoals one mile east of Sombrero Light in the 19th century. One shipwreck that is situated immediately north of the shoal on a sand and grass flat in 14 feet of water may be the North America.

Frames from the North America.
Frames from the North America. (Photo: David Whall/Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary)

Admiralty Court Records show that a three-masted, square-rigged vessel by the name of North America, carrying dry goods and furniture, was lost November 25, 1842 on Delta Shoals while enroute from New York to Mobile, Alabama. Local wreckers provided assistance to Captain Hall and his crew during a three-day salvage effort. Four ships were registered by the name of North America during this period, however the size of the remaining wreckage and Captain Hall's name in the court records suggest it may be the North America built in Bath, Maine in 1833. James B. Hall of New York and George S. Hall of Bath, Maine were part owners of the North America based in New York. This ship-rigged vessel had two decks, three masts, was 130 feet long, and had a beam of 29 feet.

The vessel remains consist of a large section of a wood hull filled with ballast. The wreckage measures approximately 112 feet long and 35 feet wide. Only small sections of the lower hull protrude above the sandy bottom and the majority of the structural remains are covered with ballast. The southwest extremity of the site consists of the keel and several iron drift bolts that attached the keel and keelson to the floor timbers. The majority of the remaining hull is mostly covered by sand and only small sections of the keel can be found exposed. The ballast pile is oval shaped and appears to be largely contained within the surviving hull structure. The longitudinal axis of the ballast pile is southwest to northeast and extends for 85 feet. Beyond the ballast the remainder of the hull structure is covered by sand and turtle grass. The ceiling and planking are primarily attached by wooden trunnels (treenails). A few 3/4  square copper spikes can be seen where they held the planks in position during construction before the trunnels were installed. Cement can be found between several of the frames where it was probably used as a temporary patch material. The remains of two barrels containing cement can be found within the confines of the ballast scatter, one near the north end and one at mid-section.

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