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Annabella: A North American Coasting Vessel

Stefan Hans Claesson
Thesis: May 1998
Chair: Crisman
Nautical Archaeology Program


The coasting schooner Annabella was built at Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1834. Originally constructed as a sloop, the vessel was built specifically for transporting raw materials such as cordwood, brick, coal, and perishables to markets and industries along the northeast United States coast. During its lengthy 50-year career, ownership of Annabella was transferred among numerous merchants in Philadelphia, Plymouth, Boston, and, finally, Cape Neddick, Maine. The vessel was finally abandoned on October 17, 1885, in the Cape Neddick River, in Cape Neddick, Maine, beyond repair and no longer fit for service.


This study covers the following topics: the 1994 and 1995 archaeological field seasons, including hull and artifact descriptions and analysis; the history of the coasting trade and the cordwood industry during the 19th century in the vicinity of southern Maine; and an analysis of historical documents that detail the history of Annabella. Toward these ends, this thesis will present a description and analysis of a type of craft that once was common to the eastern seaboard, including discussions about how the craft was designed and built for transporting specific cargoes, and how this ship may be representative of maritime activities and shipbuilding technologies of the 19th century.

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