J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

The Wreck of the Industry, 1764

The Museum of Underwater Archeology website offers an interesting virtual exhibit on the wrecked British sloop Industry. The introduction explains:
In 1763, the Treaty of Paris brought the Seven Years War to an end. As part of the peace negotiations, Spain’s territory of La Florida was ceded to Britain. After almost two centuries of Spanish rule, all of Spain’s troops, military supplies, and citizens living in Florida were transported to Havana, Cuba, and the colony was re-populated by British troops from the Royal Army headquarters in New York. Four sloops were sent from New York to St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the present-day U.S., loaded with much-needed supplies for Florida’s new inhabitants.

One of these ships, the Industry, captained by Daniel Lawrence, never reached her destination. Falling victim to the notorious shifting sands off St. Augustine’s harbor, she struck a sandbar and was lost on May 6, 1764. She had been loaded with artillery, ammunition, and tools that had been intended for the newly established British garrisons in Florida. . . .

The shipwreck was discovered in 1997 by archaeologists from Southern Oceans Archaeological Research, Inc. (SOAR), after conducting extensive archival research and a magnetometer survey. Excavations were conducted between 1998 and 2000 first by SOAR and subsequently by the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP), the research arm of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum. A variety of artifacts reflecting the Industry’s cargo of munitions and tools were uncovered and recorded, including eight cast-iron cannon, an iron swivel gun, crates of iron shot, three iron mooring anchors, several millstones, and boxes of tools such as axes, shovel blades, knives, trowels, files, and handsaws. Many of these finds, including one of the cannons, were recovered, conserved, and are currently on display at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum.
There’s a broken link to the museum website, but I think this is where it should go. The photo above comes from the Texas A. & M. University Conservation Research Laboratory; it shows a swivel gun from that wreck before treatment.

As reported in a Jacksonville Times article that the M.U.A. site links to, two other cannon were taken from that site without authorization in the spring of 1999.

The M.U.A. highlights a lot of other underwater finds as well.


mary said...

I am always confused about the term longest "continuously occupied" moniker for St Augustine. Santa Fe is often overlooked.

J. L. Bell said...

The Spanish settlement of Santa Fe appears to date to 1608, though Native peoples lived in that location for centuries before. St. Augustine claims to date from 1565. But I don’t know the details of “continuously occupied” for the Florida city; this article talks about a complete replacement of Spanish colonists with British ones, and a couple of decades later the Floridas changed hands again.