Monday, August 8, 2016

Who is Lizzie M. Parsons?

First things first!
Here's a little genealogy...
Ronald Sheppard Sharpley,  04/23/1947-
Ron's father was Winston Sheppard Sharpley, 07/01/1917- 11/23/1998
Winston's father was Walter Joseph Sharpley, 11/11/1888-07/26/1956
Walter's father was Bennum Henry Sharpley, 11/20/1862-03/23/1915
Bennum was a sea captain of 4 vessels---
      The Eleanora Pruitt,
      The Merrill,
      The James C Clifford, and
The Lizzie Parsons was a 4 mast cargo schooner. She carried coal and concrete to Savannah, and returned with sugar, molasses. and wood.
Here is a photo of Bennum and his crew. Capt Sharpley is seated on the left. His first mate is next to him. The rest of the crew is standing.

The Lizzie M Parsons was built in 1902. in Bath, Maine by Kelly and Spears contractors. Capt. Sharpley took command in 1903. He remained the Capt. until 1916 when he died. The launching took place in 1902 in Bath, Maine into Kennebec River. (Today, tours are given at BATH IRON WORKS, including the MAINE MARITIME MUSEUM)

Here she is...... LIZZIE M. PARSONS

Her length of keel is 160 feet, width 35.3 feet, and depth of hole 13.3 feet.
The ship sailed until 1925, under another Capt. During a storm the ship ran aground on a shoal near Atlantic City, NJ, broke up and sank in the heavy seas. All aboard were saved.

An oil painting of "Lizzie M. Parsons" was commissioned by well-known artist Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen. CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THE ARTIST. He was a Danish-born American maritime artist that painted more than 6,000 portraits of vessels.

Ruby M Sharpley LaGourge.....(Captain Bennum Sharpley's daughter) inherited the painting, and was later inherited by Winston Sheppard Sharpley, Ron's father.
In 1997, the framed 28"x42" painting was sold @ auction by Sotheby's to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine.

For once, here's hoping history doesn't repeat itself.
If this 35 yr old fine vessel crashes into the shoals, or into yachts, we are in big trouble, right Capt Ron Sheppard Sharpley?

From the Nautical Gazette - August 27, 1913: (New York Notes): Vessels at the William J Gokey yard undergoing repairs include the schooner "LIZZIE M. PARSONS", which is having the bottom painted and misc. repairs.
Seriously????? Our 'vessel' was taken out of the water for the FIRST time in 35 years and had the bottom painted!



  1. That is so cool! I love finding interesting ancestra stories. Ron's got a good one, and sailing seems to be a genetic trait. Love the photos!

    1. Thanks Janeson! Dot (Ron's Mom) left a wealth of information for us to devour...some things we knew, some things are new!

  2. Well, it's obvious that Ron comes by his love of water from is dad's side!