Welcome to another Wooden Boat Wednesday!
The legend of Barnegat Pirates, being those local inhabitants of our area who took advantage of shipwrecks to fill their cellars with goods rather than provide proper assistance, is well known in the legends and tales of our area.
Below is one such account, first covering the details of the unfortunate wreck, followed by what amounts to a poor review upon the people of our area, by its captain upon his return to New York City.
New York Spectator
May 6th, 1825
"The packet ship Franklin lost at Barnegat, had a cargo said to have been worth from 70 to 90,000 dollars, a considerable portion of which was not insured. It is supposed she went to pieces on Friday night. The master of an Egg Harbor schooner, states that he passed within 200 yards of the wreck on Saturday morning, when the hull appeared to be broken in two near the middle. Captain Munro, came up this morning and brought with him about one fourth of the Franklin’s cargo, in a damaged state."
"To the Editors of the Mer. Advertiser.
Permit me through the medium of your paper, to express my indignation at the treatment I received when unfortunately cast ashore in the ship Franklin, on Island Beach, six miles north of Barnegat Inlet [around the northern third of what today is Island Beach State Park]. I fondly hoped the unpleasant situation in which my crew and self were placed, would elicit feelings from the inhabitants entirely different from what we received—I thought we were cast upon a hospitable shore, where we should find civilized things, but I regret to say that not more than twenty, out of the two hundred or more, who assembled on the beach, but what plundered us of every thing they could get hold of although every precaution in our power was used to guard against it. It is impossible for me to say what amount of property they embezzled: I have no doubt that valuable goods were frequently buried in the sand, in order to be removed at night. A new main topsail, which with much difficulty we got on the beach, was taken from us. In fine it is impossible to enumerate the many instances of a similar nature. In the Offing, there were several vessels picking up valuable goods, the names of which I have in my possession but presuming they will deliver the goods to the Agents of the ship, I forbear at present to name them. I feel under great obligations to Mr. William Platt, for his attention while there—I conceive if 10,000 are required to protect our commerce in the West Indies an equal number is necessary on Beach Island.
New York, May 3, 1825"
Ouch! We can still feel that one, 194 years later.
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