The National Park Service
with the support of the Salem Partnership is currently building a full
size reproduction of the Salem merchant vessel Friendship of
1797. Friendship will be permanently berthed at Derby Wharf at
Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Research was conducted to
determine the type of documentary evidence available on Salem's historic
vessels. By correlating ship models for vessels of the period 1760-1830
with paintings, it was found that the best documented vessel that meets
the interpretive criteria for Salem Maritime National Historic Site is
the ship Friendship.
Begun in 1796, the three-masted,
square-rigged, 342 ton vessel was finished and registered in 1797. She
was 102 feet long on deck, 27 feet wide and the depth of the hold was 13
feet, 9 inches. She was constructed by renowned shipbuilder Enos Briggs
(known for the second Grand Turk and the frigate Essex ).
Briggs' Stage Point yard was diagonally across from the current location
of Salem Maritime NHS. Friendship was jointly owned by the
merchants Jerathmiel Peirce and Aaron Waite.
Documentation for the
vessel consists of a 9-foot-long full model, built by Thomas Russell
between 1802 and 1804 while on a 26 month voyage to China, Sumatra and
Isle de France. The model, now on display in the Peabody Essex Museum,
accurately represents the appearance of the vessel so familiar to Mr.
Russell. In addition to the model, three paintings of the vessel exist,
in the Museum's collection by Giuseppe Fedi (date unknown), George Ropes
(1805), and William Ward (1799).
reportedly made at least 15 voyages that can be confirmed, to China,
Java, Sumatra, Madras, London, Hamburg, Archangel, St. Petersburg, and
other European ports. She was captured by the British during the War of
1812. Her story is one of the risk and excitement of international trade
and the disruption of commerce by war.
In addition to the
paintings and the model of Friendship, the Peabody Essex Museum
possesses a wealth of records relating to her career. Ship's logs
documenting several of her voyages are available at the Museum, as well
as Aaron Waite's shipping papers, which contain a great deal of
historical information related to the vessel's accounts. All of these
sources combine with the Custom House impost records and manifests, also
found at the Museum, to make Friendship one of the best
documented ships in Salem's history and a good one from which to learn
about our maritime past.