Lorraine Rose


Lorraine Rose was a wreck, visible on the Tilghman Island side of Knapps Narrows, in Talbot County, Maryland, just west of the draw bridge when we found her in 2009. She lay alongside the skipjack Ralph T. Webster, also a wreck, with Lorraine Rose the inside boat, in poorer condition, and almost gone. We received word in 2023 that both she and Ralph T. Webster had been removed and scrapped when the land was cleared. One hull, probably Ralph T. Webster's, was reported to actually have been in pretty good shape after being buried in the mud. A few items were salvaged from the boats and given to a local museum.

What's left of Lorraine Rose, 20 August 2015

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Skipjack Lorraine Rose was built in 1949 in Reedville, Virginia, by C. H. Rice for Capt. Clyde A. Evans. Evans apparently owned her for most of her working life, although a 1962 roster of boats from a Solomons race has him co-owning her with E. Kitching. A 1970 Chesapeake Appreciation Days roster has Evans as her captain, but no listing of ownership.

According to Dr. Kent Mountford in a November 2004 Bay Journal article, in 1975, she was the last skipjack working out of Ewell on Smith Island, although she also worked out of Solomons. At that time, Evans had worked her for 26 years, and she was reported to be in rough condition. Evans sold her that year, probably to Buck Garvin, who owned her in 1983. Evans may have stayed on to sail her for Garvin, as Lorraine Rose appears on the 1979 Chesapeake Appreciation Days roster with Evans as her captain.

She continued to work dredging oysters until 1983, sailing out of Tilghman Island. However, in that year, with disease decimating the oyster harvests, Garvin decided to retire from the oyster business and put four of his boats up for sale: Lorraine Rose, Ralph T. Webster, Esther F and Ruby G. Ford. He was asking $75,000 for Ralph T. Webster and $27,500 for Ruby G. Ford, with the other two somewhere in between. All four skipjacks are now gone.

Lorraine Rose and Ralph T. Webster were abandoned in Knapps Narrows on Tilghman Island, where for years, anyone passing through the Narrows by boat or across by the drawbridge could glimpse them rotting on the bank. A 1992 photo shows them still with their masts in place, but the spars eventually were removed, reportedly taken across the Bay to the boathouse of Herb Carden, who at the time owned Wilma Lee.

For almost forty years, the two skipjacks sat there dying side by side, less and less of them remaining until finally, in 2022, the land was cleared, and Lorraine Rose and Ralph T. Webster were gone.

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