Object of the Week: Highlighting the LCHA Collections

The Josephus

Cabin of the Josephus, Capt. Joseph H. Park and daughters taken 1898.

The Josephus was built by Ebenezer Haggett of Newcastle in 1876.  It was a Down Easter type of vessel and was rated at 1570 tonnage.  The photo shown above shows Captain Joseph Henry Park and his two daughters enjoying some quiet time in the family’s cabin.  To note are the  wooden carved cornices that were used to accented the wall paneling (top portion of the photo).

Above the photo are two of these cornices now in the collections of the Chapman-Hall House. 

Another piece of Josephus history is a painting done of the vessel.  The information that documents the painting noted that it was done in Hong Kong, it is not dated.  It was recorded that artists who lived in the port would have backgrounds painted on canvas’s waiting for a commission.  When a ship’s captain arranged for a painting, the artist had only to concentrate on painting the vessel.  Having the background all prepared was a time saving custom, as the painting would have to be finished before the ship sailed.

In his book “No Pluckier Set of Men Anywhere,” Mark Wyman Biscoe referenced a number of sources for his piece on the Josephus.  Among the details Mr. Biscoe wrote about was that Newcastle was the ship’s home base for almost 20 years; she had a number of Maine men as her captains, and the ship was known to make voyages in “better than average time.”  The Josephus sailed for almost 50 years, being lost due to fire while at harbor in Scotland, Virginia in 1924.

Louise Miller, LCHA Education Director