General Hunter

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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A bit of a side question to your interesting story: I have a John Stevens drawing also (of the Great Lakes schooner St. Louis, 1961) and after some research I assume it was drawn by the John Stevens that you are referring to. How did you definitively connect that drawing with "that" John Stevens? I'd like to do the same, but all I have is a name on a print, no copyright, no organisation name, etc.

Edit: never mind. I just zoomed in on the hand lettering on the Steven's drawing. It is distinctive and the same on my laker as on the Hunter drawing. That is sufficient for me to link it to "that" Stevens".

You are presenting a fascinating detective story by the way.



i connected the drawing of the General Hunter to John Stevens curator of the Museum of the Atlantic from an old article he wrote and published back around 1952 or 1953. The article was published in a couple places one being volume 3 of the Nautical Reasearch Guild Journal. I would post that article but the NRG is known not to be very friendly and not willing to share information. You will quickly get threating Emails if you try use anything even with fair use. So a way around it is to contact the museum and use the original article. John Stevens did leave a volume of research, articles, photo collection and drawings in the museum archives.
I am using John Stevens archives on another project and the museum staff is very willing and heplful to share.
 
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A bit of a side question to your interesting story: I have a John Stevens drawing also (of the Great Lakes schooner St. Louis, 1961) and after some research I assume it was drawn by the John Stevens that you are referring to. How did you definitively connect that drawing with "that" John Stevens? I'd like to do the same, but all I have is a name on a print, no copyright, no organisation name, etc.

Edit: never mind. I just zoomed in on the hand lettering on the Steven's drawing. It is distinctive and the same on my laker as on the Hunter drawing. That is sufficient for me to link it to "that" Stevens".

You are presenting a fascinating detective story by the way.



i connected the drawing of the General Hunter to John Stevens curator of the Museum of the Atlantic from an old article he wrote and published back around 1952 or 1953. The article was published in a couple places one being volume 3 of the Nautical Reasearch Guild Journal. I would post that article but the NRG is known not to be very friendly and not willing to share information. You will quickly get threating Emails if you try use anything even with fair use. So a way around it is to contact the museum and use the original article. John Stevens did leave a volume of research, articles, photo collection and drawings in the museum archives.
I am using John Stevens archives on another project and the museum staff is very willing and heplful to share.
You mean the museum in Halifax? If so, great. I will be there in the next year or two hopefully. I need to look that up.
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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"Amherstburg around 1800 was a French settlement". How do you mean? It is a pretty little town, I wish I knew more about it, but it was part of the Brutish colony of Upper Canada. Do you mean that there were largely French speaking (francophones we call them in Canada whereas French implies nationality) people there?


From the start there are towns records every person and business you can find everything you need to know about the fort the shipyard and the town
An interesting fun fact William Bell the master shipwright spent his money buying land all around Amhersburg so when the shipyard needed timber guess who sold it to them? William left amhersburg a rich man after the war of 1812.

img119.jpgimg118.jpgimg117.jpg
 
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Ah, I understand now. Because of the history of Canada, when we see "French", in that period we think country of France or owned by France. And of course in the Amherstburg area, different places bear French place names (Detroit, Raisin River, etc.) but were French, British, American and Canadian over time. That area was of course also only ceded by indigenous people by treaty around that time. Today in Canada we might say people there were of French descent or francophone (and there are still francophone communities not far from there today). But anyway the article you posted makes it clear.
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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lets toss another plan into the mystery of the General Hunter story.

according the historical accounts the General Hunter was between a 71 and 80 ton vessel so that is what we are looking for.
and this is what i found another drawing signed by William Bell no date or name.
BUT

then length of keel is close to the wreck which was 41 feet same breadth measurement and within 1 foot of depth of hold and LOOK it is 73 tons

plan2 a.JPG


the angle of the stern post matches exactly to the wreck

plan2 d.JPG

you would think we found the plan used to build the General Hunter but it starts to fall apart looking at the bodyplan. Deadrise of the floors are no where close to the wreck in red.

plan2 c.JPG

the when we lay the wreck drawing (in red) over the drawing like the General Hope drawing the wreck is to small. We went from a 93 ton vessel the General Hope down to a 73 ton vessel this drawing and the wreck is still to small.

plan2 e.JPG

if you recall the angle and shape of the stem of the wreck matched that of the drawing of the General Hope but look at this. Not even close.

Even though the tonage of this drawing match the historical accounts of the General Hunter and the measurements are sort of close to the wreck this plan is ruled out because the stem is not a match nor is the bodyplan close and once again a 73 ton vessel is just to big.

plan2 f.JPG
 
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Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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what i find interesting in the Canadian archives you will find the William Bell collection. William went from signing his name to at some point in time added master builder. in this last drawing it is signed master buuilder so checking the archives it could come close to dating this last drawing
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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William Bell was a very busy man he built all the war ships on Lake Erie, when the Americans took over Fort Malden and Amhersburg William Bell went to Kingston where he had his hand in building the fleet on Lake Ontario.

schooners.jpg

he was still building armed transports after the war according to the above. But i got a little suspicious because if William Bell designed and built a ship he always signed his name either William Bell or William Bell master builder. On this drawing there is no signature. The recorded date of the launch of the twin schooners is August 07, 1815.

Look at this it is a letter from William Bell note the place and date and the first line of the letter.

LB07 montral.jpg

look at the maps William went from Amhersburg to Kingston and from Kingston to Montreal he was in Montreal on July 5th and the twin schooners were launched August 7th at Street's Creek. So he rushed 200 miles from Montreal to Street's Creek and built 2 twin schooners in less than a 30 days, how did he do it?

map2.JPG


map1.JPG
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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here is another question

there are no plans of the ships built at Amhersburg or Kingston. There are plans but they are "as built" so the ships were built first then from the ships, plans were drawn. Except for the General Hope and that was because Bell had to submit a drawng for approval.
Even the American fleet built by Noah Brown and Henery Eckford seem to have been built with no plans. This tells us theres shipwrights were good at their job they could built a ship straight away from imagination.

hum?

maybe this is something we here on SoS should consider. If real shipwrights could build a ship from the keel up with no instructions, no detailed plans, or no plans at all then we can assume ships were built from knowledge of how a ship is built and passed on from master to apprentice. Rather than keep pointing out the short comings of kit instructions and plans we should turn our focus and create a knowledge base on how all ship kit are built.
William Bell was not born with the knowledge of ship building he did go to school and he did serve as an apprentice for years. Rather than Ship of Scale collecting research information and information about the hobby then preventing the general public from getting it, unless you are willing to pay for every scrap of information, we need to build a data base free to the hobby sort of a not for profit group.
 
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