Flora A. Price


Broken up, 2013.

Flora A. Price, 13 February 2009

More Photos


Flora A. Price was one of the biggest skipjacks, built in 1910 by Sylvester Muir in Chance, Maryland. As with many of the oldest boats, the details of her early years are murky, with only occasional glimpses of her in the records we found.

Around 1915, she was probably working out of Deal Island, carrying about 1200 bushels of oysters. In World War I, there is a report of her acting as a mine sweeper in the Chesapeake Bay off Cape Charles, Virginia.

She was once owned by Elbert Gladden, and Capt. Millard Price owned and worked her out of Deal Island until he retired in 1961. It appears that Flora A. Price was then acquired by Bill Combs, who likely was the one who had her restored at James B. "Mr. Jim" Richardson's boatyard in Cambridge, Maryland, in the 1960s.

Most of her keelson was replaced at that time, with Jim Richardson, David Wheatley and Jim Brighton working on her. They reported that the boat was not in good shape at that time.

Around 1967, Flora A. Price was donated to the Sea Scouts program in Wilmington, Delaware, which used her as an educational vessel. It was about this time that she was converted into a yacht, with a large cabin added amidships, cutting many of the deckbeams in the process, which weakens the hull. Marine surveyor Fred Hechlinger later said she had the most extreme hog he had ever seen, with rainwater running off the deck by the wheelbox. The same happened to Skipjack Ethel Lewis when she, too, had a large cabin added.

By 1990, she was owned by Capt. Douglas Darby West, who also owned Sigsbee. Both boats needed a lot of work, and, of the two, West decided to focus on the bigger boat, selling Sigsbee to the Living Classrooms Foundation in Baltimore. He refurbished Flora A. Price, put winders and dredges back on the boat and dredged for a couple of years before trying to sell her. There was talk of the Richardson Maritime Museum in Cambridge taking her on in a joint effort with the Dorchester Skipjack Committee, which would use her as an excursion vessel with its skipjack Nathan of Dorchester; but that idea never took off, and West finally donated her to a new museum in Denton in 2001.

The Old Harford Town Maritime Center and Museum was starting up along the Choptank River. Also called The Wharves at Choptank Crossing, the facility was home to two other skipjacks, F. C. Lewis Jr. and Maggie Lee. The former was restored as a land exhibit while the museum was being built, and plans were for the restoration of both Maggie Lee and Flora A. Price. Maggie Lee had been hauled up onto the riverbank, but Flora A. Price was still afloat, tied up at the museum's dock. In a Star Democrat newspaper article dated 14 May 2003, it was noted that she "by next year could be the center's river excursion vessel," and that Coast Guard certification was underway, with a refurbished pushboat as one remaining item needed.

By 2007, however, with restoration stalled, the Denton group decided they could not afford to keep her afloat any longer, could not afford to put her up on land as an exhibit like F. C. Lewis Jr., and could not afford to take her apart. So they donated her to the Richardson Maritime Museum, and she was towed down the Choptank to the museum's Ruark Boatworks bulkhead on Cambridge Creek.

She reportedly made the trip without incident and without leaking, but Flora A. Price was clearly in need of a lot of work, which never got underway. She sank at the bulkhead in 2008 and was raised, but then sank again in 2009 and was left to rot on the bottom of Cambridge Creek. In 2013, with the space needed at the bulkhead, she was dredged up in pieces by excavator, a sad end to Flora A. Price.

Please help keep this information up to date by submitting news or corrected facts about any of these boats and letting us know of skipjacks not yet included on this site.