Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Death and Decay of Mary D. Hume


 When the steamship Veruna, was wrecked, on the Rogue River sand bar in 1880, her engine was salvaged and re-used in the new Mary. D. Hume, which was built in Gold Beach, Oregon (then named Ellensburg)  She was built from white cedar, and now lies mouldering,  just within a few hundred feet of her birthplace. The journey in between was one of bitter cold, with frozen bodies stored inside her hull through the log winters. She was in active service for 97 years and is rare in that she never changed her name from 1881 to today.


The information sign reads in part, “The Mary D. Hume recorded the largest catch of whale baleen, valued at $400,000”
 (Wikipedia says that is from 37 whales caught between 1890 and 1892)

“after a 29 month voyage, she then made Arctic whaling history with the longest recorded whaling voyage of six years.  During he long arctic voyage, numerous sailors died from scurvy, cold and lunacy caused by privation.  There bodies were stored, frozen in ice until the spring thaw allowed burial on nearby Herschel Island”

  Then she lost two more sailors washed overboard in a storm before becoming a tow boat on the Nushagak river in Alaska.  She also served as a Halibut Dory and as an ocean tugboat.


 There was an effort to preserve her but she sank and there were lawsuits and the money was used in those instead of repairs, so now she sits, un-repaired yet loved and still somehow,  lovely.

                                                                   Feb. 2, 2012

a model of the Mary D. Hume built in Kid Castle

1 comment:

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