The Old Mast Ship

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From the book "More New Hampshire Folk Tales"
Collected by Mrs. Moody P. Gore & Mrs. Guy E. Speare
Compiled and published by Mrs. Guy E. Speare
Plymouth, New Hampshire - 1936

Most famous tale of the Hampton Shore is that of the "Mast Ship" used to carry huge logs from the forests of New England to old England for the navy of the king. Becoming too old to be longer safe for service, the British sold her to a merchant who loaded a cargo of cloths, china, buttons, copper utensils and even cannon, put the ship under heavy insurance and sent her to Boston paying her officers to never bring her back to England.

At Boston the cargo was partially unloaded and the ship left port for Portsmouth but the weather was too calm for a wreck. When off Boar's Head, a squall of snow was encountered and despairing of better opportunity, the skipper "put her onto the rocks" on North Beach. General Moulton and Colonel Tappan, two most prominent citizens of Hampton, laid foundations for large fortunes by buying and retailing the salvaged articles "for," said the Colonel while at one of the auctions. "I made a thousand guineas on that bid."

The captain and mate, fearing to return to England remained in Hampton and the captain wooed and won a fair wealthy widow Mistress Prudence Marston, "Aunt Prue" to many, and settled on her farm. Today may be found bits of china, buttons, and knives taken from the wreck and a few years ago when the tide was at unusually low ebb, the keel of the ship was discovered.

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