Minerva shipwreck

Nature of Casualty

The Bringhampton Republican publishes the following private letter from Capt. William H. Kelley, of the that city, who was Captain of one the fleet of whalers deserted in the ice Point Belcher a year ago, and is again in the Arctic in command of a vessel: The bark Minerva lies at the entrance of Wainwright inlet, as good as when abandond, in hull, but her cabin is marred considerably. She lay on the edge of the beach, and she swung in shore clear of the heavy ice which grounded outside of her, and she received no damage.... Lots of things were wantonly destroyed, and the Minerva was a sight to behold. They [natives] cut into the flour cask, and rolled out and stewed the contents all over. there was nothing but the wanton wretches cut into that they could get at. The debris in the cabin was knee deep, with articles off all kinds, dirt, &c. Everything in the run was broken open and the contents strewn all over. New York Times 10-31-1872

Captain Ravens (schooner Urania) thinks the Minerva will be the only vessel saved of the fleet, as the rest are aground and badly stove by the ice. Boston Daily Globe 09-30-1872

1872: They [salvors] first came to the Mary she had been pushed ashore and crushed. Then they found the Minerva over on her beam ends in shallow water near the inlet. Apart from some chafing from the floes and a hold full of solid ice, she was sound..... Ned Herendeen set to work at once on the best ship, the Minerva. They chopped the ice out of her hold, took out what remained of her cargo, thus lightened, they got her afloat and at anchor. They refitted her with some new gear and sails, bought all the baleen they could from the natives, and collected the oil that had washed ashore in casks from the Reindeer and Champion. The other ships took some gear and cargo from the wrecks. No records remain of the Eustace's and Francis Palmer's salvage. Captain Williams put Herendeen charge of the Minerva and then moved on to the Seneca, just as the ice surrounding her was beginning to break up. He took the Seneca in tow and was heading south when a strong northwesterly came up. Williams had to cut the Seneca loose to save his own ship. The Seneca went ashore and was lost; nevertheless, the Florence and the Minerva arrived in San Francisco in October with a combined cargo of 1,300 barrels of whale oil and $10,000 worth of baleen -- as well as walrus oil and ivory. Thus the Minerva had been twice lucky: she had escaped the Shenandoah and she had escaped the season of 1871, the only one of thirty-two that were abandoned. Bockstoce, John R., Whales, Ice, and Men: The History of Whaling in the Western Arctic, University of Washington Press, Seattle Washington, 1986:163-165

Official Number: 17560

Type: Bark

Length: 109 Feet

Home Port: New Bedford, MA

Place Built: Duxbury, MA

Date Lost: (Abandoned Sept. 1871, Recovered 1872)

Captain When Lost: Hezakiah Allen

Where: Wainwright Inlet

Cause: Trapped in Ice

Cargo: 130 Barrels of Whale Oil