Together apart

CITY fathers in 1876 planned a Fourth of July more memorable than any Key West had yet seen. They would not only mark the centennial of American independence, but use the occasion to dedicate a new city hall. Walter C. Maloney was commissioned to deliver an address on the city’s history, but with scant forethought … More Together apart

Fishermen’s friend

AS the Evan T. Ellicott, beating the final agonizing mile of its course against a sharp northerly wind, headed for the harbor of Key West, William A. Whitehead would have been forgiven for thinking the reception more than a little discourteous. But the auspices on this voyage had never been good. The Ellicott set out … More Fishermen’s friend

Fathers of invention

NEARLY ten times its breadth from stem to stern, powered by a compound engine that rendered the ride both swift and smooth, the John Potter offered as elegant and efficient a link as could be had between Manhattan and the railhead of the Camden and Amboy. Its passengers continued their trip from wharves on the … More Fathers of invention

Rough seas

LIEUTENANT Matthew C. Perry guided the Shark, battered by a spell of “boisterous weather,” into Havana harbor for repairs. The damage to the schooner, though slight, signified that its next assignment, to police the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, was to be no easy affair. Of late the Shark and its steely skipper had helped deter … More Rough seas

The entrepôt

GULLS danced a ballet around the spars of the Mary Lord with a semblance of exultation at her journey’s end. Laborers and clerks, meanwhile, joined in their own peculiar revels, hefting wooden crates from the hold, inspecting and recording the cargo dockside, wheeling it away to a waiting storehouse. Chests of exotic shape and design … More The entrepôt

Birth of a bank

THERE are two ways to sail from Newark to Perth Amboy. A boat leaving Newark Bay may head east through the Kill Van Kull, south through The Narrows and then southwest, skirting the seaward coast of Staten Island. A shorter but more sinuous course threads its way southward along the meandering Arthur Kill. The Whitehead family took one of these routes, both … More Birth of a bank

Vessels

ARRIVING in 1823 at Perth Amboy, William Whitehead could recall only one previous experience of travel by water: a crossing of the Hudson with his father on a shallow-draft, two-masted rig called a periauger or pettiauger. (The size and design of such craft were, like the name, variable.) If there had been another such excursion, … More Vessels