An update to “Shipbuilding in Scarborough”

By Don Taylor, Historian

I wrote a short article about Shipbuilding in Scarborough for the July/August 2022 issue of Owascoag Notes. In it, I included a photo of the barque Oak Hill. I also posted the article to the Historical Society website.

The great-great-great-grandniece of the ship’s first captain contacted me about the photo. Although she had a description of the vessel, she had never seen a photo and was very interested in the source of my picture. I sent her the info, and she sent me a copy of the 1856 ships log where the first page described the ship. The log indicated the barque was heading from Pensacola to Buenos Ayres in 1856. It reads:

1856 Logbook from the Barque Oak Hill.

The Oak Hill, was built at Scarborough Me in the year 1856. Her frame is of oak, mostly cut on the spot from which she was named. Her tonnage is 509 86/95 Register and her sailing qualities, about an average with the generality of freighting ships. She now belongs to Boston.

Her cargo consists of hard pine lumber. Her crew 14 persons, all told. no passengers.

Sept. 22nd. 7.30 A.M. got under weigh from Navy yard with a moderate breeze from northward and thick raining weather….

The 3rd great-grandniece also provided a short biography of Captain James Pope Martin (1827-1919), the first captain of the Oak Hill, a copy of which is now in the society’s “Shipbuilding in Scarborough” files as is a copy of the log’s first page.

Sadly, the original painting of the ship was likely destroyed in the Oakland Hills firestorm (aka the Tunnel Fire) of 1991, which destroyed over 3,000 dwellings. Our black and white Xerox copy of the Oak Hill may be the only surviving image of the ship named for the Oak Hill area of Scarborough.

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