Surviving historic Schooner pays first visit to Port St. Joe

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 13:03 PM.

As it turns out, the Governor Stone has been through more than oyster-buying and questionable activities.

While under the ownership of Burns, the ship sank…twice.

In September of 1906, a hurricane devastated the gulf coast and destroyed a fleet of schooners in Heron Bay, Alabama that included the Governor Stone. While 21 men were lost in the storm, Capt. Burns survived and eventually the vessel washed up on shore with $600 worth of damage.

Burns kept the ship for another 33 years until 1939 when it sank in a storm. By that time, the wooden schooner was outdated, replaced by motorboats and Burns left the boat to the ocean.

Years later, Mississippi resort owner Isaac Rhea had the boat salvaged and fully rebuilt as a day-sailing ship. Once back on the water, the vessel was renamed Queen of the Fleet and ferried tourists around the area from 1940 to 1943.

In 1942 the boat was briefly commissioned by the U.S. government as a war ship and was used to train merchant Marines. In 1947 the boat was returned to Rhea with an upgraded engine.

The boat continued to cycle through various names and owners until it was purchased by John Curry in 1965. Curry and his wife were avid sailors and lived on the boat. They sailed the history of the boat and interviewed people who were connected with it ultimately learned out the original name and re-christened the ship as the Governor Stone.



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