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Forgotten Wreck: Jane (1749)

Continuing with our early New Jersey shipwrecks theme, this short blurp from the New York Gazette on February 27, 1749 describes the wreck of the snow Jane, driven on Sandy Hook by ice.

NEW YORK: February 27, 1749

The Beginning of last Week, the Snow Jane, Capt. Abraham Keteltas of this Port [New York], being coming in from Jamaica, was drove ashore on Sandy Hook by the Ice; but we having had favourable Weather since, ’tis hoped she is got off again by this Time without much Damage.

A week later–March 6th- the Gazette noted “The Snow Jane, Capt. Keteltas, was still ashore at Sandy-Hook when the last News came from thence.”

As was the practice at the time, Captain Keteltas sent regular updates on the salvage effort to the wreck’s owners/insurers. These letters usually included any intelligence on vessels he gathered during the voyage.  The content of these letters often found their ways into newspapers. Keteltas’s letters brought no good news. The Pennsylvaniz Gazette printed the following on March 14th:

…By letters come in Capt. Keteltas, we learn, the ship Carming Rachel, Capt. Davis, and the brig. William, Capt. Richie, who both sail’d from hence the beginning of December last for Jamaica, met with a violent gale of wind a few days after they sail’d, in which Capt. Davis lost his top-mast, and Capt. Richie was obliged to throw all his horses overboard.

Not all news from Keteltas was bad news however. Another week of favorable weather and brute labor paid off. On March 12, Keteltas brought the Jane into New York. A month later the Jane, still under the command Captain Keteltas, sailed for Jamaica. Shipwrecks happened all the time. More often than not, however, they were speed bumps rather than finales for a vessel’s career.


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Filed under Forgotten Wrecks, Notes from the Field