Conservation Research Laboratory Reports

Site 8SJ3478, possibly the Industry: a British 18th-century shipwreck

Historical & Archival Context

Florida was ceded from the Spanish to the British by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Though East Florida remained a British possession until only 1783, considerable strides were made in the occupation and development of East and West Florida during this brief period. Florida's location, situated directly along the routes for both trade and navigation between the Old World and the New, guaranteed a large amount of vessel traffic. Coastal navigation also served as the main means of trade and distribution between the Floridas until the development of the railroad in the 19th century. 

Documents discovered in 1998 suggest that the identification of the vessel lost at site 8SJ3478 may have played an integral part in Britain's occupation of the Floridas. The following excerpts from SOAR's Survey Report No.3, published in May of 1999 detail the historical and archival context of site 8SJ3478 (Franklin et al, pp23-26).

Preliminary research into the identity of this vessel has provided a strong candidate. The sloop Industry was wrecked on the bar near St. Augustine on May 6, 1764 (Gage Papers, Reel 1,Vol.18,6, 13 May 1764, Ogilvie to Gage). The vessel set out from New York carrying the subsistence money, 6-pound guns and ammunition, and "artificers tools" as requested to supply several of the outposts and settlements being taken over from the Spanish after the ownership of East and West Florida was ceded to England by the Treaty of Paris of 1763.

The following document transcript excerpts from the Gage Papers tell the story of the vessel's loss and its devastating effect on the British who were struggling to cope with the protection of East and West Florida quite succinctly. Gage was the Commander of British Forces and stationed in New York. Ogilvie was the Commander of the Garrison at St. Augustine. 

(Reel 1, Vol. 16,3)
5 April 1764, New York, Gage to Ogilvie
Colonel Eyre, sends you by this occasion a proportion of the tools for the use of the garrison of St. Augustine, for which you will give the master of the transport a separate receipt, and you'll be pleased to take charge of the same, and be particularly careful, that they are not Mislaid, or abused , but solely made use of in such Publick Works, as may be carryed on for the King.

I am,

(Reel 1,Vol 18.1) 
6 May 1764, Gage to Ogilvie
"I hope the ship Industry arrived safe with my letter on ___ and that you have received the Provisions, Artillery, & subsistence money, which I forwarded to you by this opportunity". 

(Reel 1,Vol.18,2)
7 May 1764 
Gage to Forbes, Commander of Pensacola
sent 1400 pounds on board the INDUSTRY to the 9th Regiment (Ogilvie) 

(Reel 1,Vol.18,6)
13 May 1764, Ogilvie to Gage
I have the Hon'r of Your Excellency's letter, I am extremely sorry to acquaint you that the Industry Transport, Commanded by Captain Lauranes (sic) was unfortunately cast away off the Bar of St. Augustine the 6th Inst. Sent all boats in this Post out to her Assistance ordered a Guard to take care of the wreck, fortunately sav'd six Boxes of Money some Flower and carpenter's tools. Shall send a Return of them to Col. Robertson in order to lay it before you. Now Sr. I ant by leave to observe that this Post must be ruined & undone if their is not some step taken to put a stop to the Villainous proceedings of Loseing Vessels on the Bar here which are insured above their value: I am told that Capt. Laurences's Vessel was insur'd, he never sent to acquaint me that he was off, by that means the (Reg't (?)) was lost, not having Boats to bring him in. The Inhabitants of East Florida consist of a set of People who have absconded from other Colonies for Debts & other Causes, as the wreck was greatly scattered along the coast it was impossible for the Guard to extend itself so far, so that the inhabitants have taken a great many of the King's Arms, propose making a search in order to see if I can detect any of them. If I do I shall be glad to know from your Excellency whether or not my power extends so far as to make an example of some of them, which would be absolutely necessary for the good of this Colony, have sent express the sloop Anne to acquaint you of this disaster. A Mr. (Furst ?) informs me that the Creek Indians are very tardy in giving Satisfaction for the murder they have Committed in the back Settlement of a South Carolinian. In case an Indian War the small artillery are absolutely necessary for the defence of the advanced Posts, you may be assured I'll do everything in my power for securing these Posts in the best manner possible. The Capt. of the Transport who I have sent to you with the Express have chartered his am to pay for the vessel two hundred and thirty mill Dollars she is obliged to go to New York & return to St. Augustine. Is not to be...under the Penalty of three hundred pounds sterling money, he has acted as Pilot here, has good ability and has brought in all the vessels he went out for extremely well. Would have sent her to Pensacola, as most of the Artificers tools are lost thought it more proper to acquaint you of our misfortune than to send him there without those tools. Wrote to you by Capt. De.. which I hope came to your hand in which I told you I had received a letter from Capt. Harries in which he told me in his passing to Appalachi he was obliged to throw a great part of his Provision and Artillery over Board that he would be obliged to abandon the Post if their is not a supply sent him,....). Continues on for 2 more pgs. re Provo, Indians, 

Received May 30 by the sloop Anne, and answered by the Anne

(Reel 1,Vol.19,2)
3 June 1764, New York, Gage to Capt. Harries or Officer Commanding at Appalachi
I am sorry to acquaint you of the loss of the Industry Transport, in which the subsistence money for the troops in Florida, with the Artificers & (?) tools & ea for the several Forts were embarked. She was wrecked on the Bar of St. Augustine, and very little saved". 

(Reel 1, Vol.20,2)
20 June 1764, Gage to Harries at Appalcahi
You will have been disappointed in the stores intended which were forwarded from here some time ago in the Industry, which vessel unfortunately ran upon the bar of St. Augustine, was wrecked. I hope you will receive everything you shall be in want of by this opportunity". (saved 2 carriages for 6 pounders which were left at Pensacola & will send, should receive guns and carriages soon). 

Four sloops were detailed to supply the garrison at St. Augustine according to shipping manifests dated September 1764, covering a period between 4 April and 22 June, 1764. The vessels for St. Augustine were listed as follows:

"St. Augustine: 
sloop Industry, Captain Daniel Lawrence 
sloop Peggy, Captain James Devereaux 
sloop Anne, Captain Jonathan Porter 
sloop Live Oak, Captain Jonathan Lawrence" 
(Gage Papers, Microfilm, Reel #2 140G, On file at the P.K. Yonge Collection).

Further research into the scantlings of the vessel Industry, as well as a manifest of the exact cargo she was reported to be carrying should exist and may be located. Further historical research to supplement the archaeological evidence is currently being undertaken (Franklin et al, May 1999 23-26).

Letters dated after the wreck detail that 6-pound guns were sent to replace those that were lost on board the Industry. While no manifest detailing the exact cargo of the Industry has been discovered to date, this years recovery of more tools, including a box of axe heads, and the discovery of more shovel blades, seem to indicate there is a good chance that site 8SJ3478 may be positively identified as at least a portion of Captain Lawrence's lost vessel, the Industry.

Additional research has been discovered that describes the use of the vessel Industry by the Spaniards to evacuate St. Augustine's citizens to Havana before the British takeover (Gold 1969:72). Currently, back editions of the South Carolina Gazette and other 18th-century publications are being studied in order to further refine historical background and analysis of the vessel and her captain.

Citation Information:

Franklin, Marianne
2000, Site 8SJ3478, possibly the Industry: A British 18th-Century Shipwreck, Conservation Research Laboratory Research Report #10, World Wide Web,
URL, Nautical Archaeology Program, Texas A&M University


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