Old St. Andrews



James Starkey, Shipwright



James Starkey, Shipbuilder


April 20/1870
Schooner “Nettie” launched from Smith’s Shipyard--88 x 26 feet. 118 tons. Master builder James Starkey. Owners J. Watson (our James), J. W. Street, A. D. Stevenson, P. Quinn, D. Budge, Capt. N. Clark, J. Burton, M. Andrews (also captain of vessel). June 22--laying keel for 300 ton vessel “at the building yard, near the railway,” seems to be a new business--Starkey’s.


June 22, 1870
New Vessel. We are happy to learn that Mr Starkey, the builder of the “Nettie” is laying the keel of a new vessel of upwards of 300 tons, at the building yard, near the Railway. It is to be hoped that every encouragement will be extended to our young friend in his efforts to establish shipbuilding at this Port, where so many large and fine vessels were built formerly.


April 19/1871
Launched from the building yard at the lighthouse this forenoon, a beautifully modelled and well finished vessel of 147 tons register; 314 carpenters measurement, which on entering her future element was named the “Greta.” She is constructed of spruce, with hackmatac top, the planks hardwood, and is to be commanded by Capt. Harry Stinson, who, with John Watson, A. D. Stevenson, Jas. Scallion, Jas. Starkey and others are owners. T his is the second vessel built by our young townsman, Mr. James Starkey, whose fame as a builder is now established.


Dec 10/1873
Schooner Greta lost in Nova Scotia. [built in St. Andrews by James Starkey]


July 7/1875
Anna P. Odell launched at Indian Point. 380 ton brigantine. James Starkey’s yard. Owners Stinson, T. T. Odell, A. Lamb, Capt. Wren, Capt. Outhouse, J. M. Hanson, and Robinson and Glenn.


Dec 2, 1880
Mr. James Starkey is going into the woods with a crew of men to get out the frame for a hundred and fifty ton schooner he is going to build at the point. She will be owned by a company.


April 14, 1881
Mr. James Starkey in his shipyard at the point has laid the keel of a schooner for the coasting trade, to be owned by a company in town and commanded by Capt. John Maloney, her dimensions are to be keel 95 feet, beam 27, dept 10, tonnage 150 tons, frame hackmatac. The model was designed by Mr. Starkey, who is celebrated for building vessels that prove to be good carriers and fast sailors.


St. Croix Courier
April 21/1881
Mr. Jas. Starkey, who has a first class reputation as a master builder, has laid the keel of a coasting schooner, in his shipyard at Indian Point, in St. Andrews. It will be commanded by Capt. John Maloney, who was formerly in charge of the Julia Clinch.


St. Croix Courier
July 14/1881
James Starkey’s yacht Seven Bells . . .


Aug 31, 1882
The new schooner building at the Point by Mr. James Starkey for Mr. Andrew Lamb and others, will be launched this day (Thursday) at about one o’clock pm. As she will be the first vessel ever launched in this port, broadside on, no doubt a large number of persons will be attracted to witness it. She will be called the George Lamb. We hope that the good schooner will be launched with safety into her future native element.


Sept 7, 1882
The schooner George Lamb was launched from Starkey’s shipyard Thursday last at 12:30 o’clock pm. From the fact that the schooner was to be launched sideways, one hundred feet, a large number of spectators were present. The launch was effected without difficulty, the noble vessel glided gracefully into her native element amid the hearty cheers of the onlookers. The George Lamb was modelled and designed by her builder, Mr. James Starkey, and is another proof of his skill as a master workman. Her lines are very symmetrical with a clear run fore and aft, her frame is hackmatac and her dimensions are as follows, keel 95 feet, beam 27 feet, depth of hold 9 feet. She has a half poop cabin and forward house, and is fitted with all the modern improvements in naval architecture. The George Lamb is owned by Mr. Andrew Lamb and others, and is to be commanded by Capt. John Maloney, who is a part owner. Immediately after the launch she was towed to Gove’s wharf, where she will receive her spars and outfits. We hope that the George Lamb ill meet with favouring winds and bring her owners a rich reward for their enterprise.


Aug 12, 1886
Mr. James Starkey launched last week, a very neatly modelled and well finished fishing schooner of about 12 tons burden; which he has named “Crusoe.” Nautical men who have seen the pretty craft, decide that she will, like the vessels previously built by Mr. Starkey, prove a good sea boat and fast sailer. The Crusoe is for sale.


Aug 2/1888
James Starkey’s yacht “Crusoe” being used for local visits around the Bay and as far as Digby. “The Crusoe is a good seat boat and a fast sailer.”


April 23/1891
The lighthouse wharf, generally known as the steamboat wharf, which as been rapidly going to decay for some years past, is about to be placed in thorough repair again. The Local Government have generously granted $1500 for the purpose, on condition that the company expend a like amount. This the Company have decided to do at once. Mr. James Starkey, of SA, has been awarded the contract for the work, and it will be pushed forward to completion as rapidly as possible.  It is expected that a great portion of the coal business of the railway will be done on this wharf. The New York Steamship Company are anxious to secure a landing there also, so that the prospect for a fair business being done over this wharf would seem to be quite bright.


April 13/1893
Robert Starkey, while playing around the derelict schooner “Mary Ellen” one day last week, fell off her deck and struck very heavily on the ice in her hold When picked up he was in a semi-conscious state, and blood was flowing from one of his ears. Dr. Harry Give was summoned. The boy is out again.


April 13, 1893
Before leaving town, Mr. Van Horne purchased a boat from Mr. James Starkey, and also obtained figures for the construction of a larger vessel for deep-sea fishing.


Aug. 5/1897
A sociable little party set out from the Algonquin on Thursday last, tempted by the promise of day’s fishing and one of Capt. Starkey’s famous chowders.


Oct 7, 1897
New tenders for the care of the buoys in St. Andrews harbour have been received. Capt. James Starkey’s tender of $78 was the lowest, and he received the contract.


March 28/1901
Suicide by Drowning
Capt. Starkey, A Victim of Melancholy, Takes His Own Life
A shocking tragedy, and one that is fortunately very rare in this community, occurred early on Saturday mornign last, when Capt. James Starkey, the well-known boatman, ended his life by his own hands.
            For some time past, Capt. Starkey had been in a despondent mood. The recent deaths of his two sons (both remarkably brilliant students) the serious illness of another son at Aitken, South Carolina, and the discovery that he himself was affected with a cancer, so preyed upon his mind that the became melancholy and unable to sleep. Dr. Gove, his attending physician, tried to shake off this melancholy feeling, but in vain. On Friday, the doctor paid him two visits, and left with his wife a prescription to induce sleep. The doctor warned Mrs. Starkey that her husband was in a dangerous frame of mind and that he should be watched.
            About midnight, the unfortunate man went out of his house, but soon after returned and warmed his hands at the stove. Between 1 and 2 o’clock, he left the house again. This time he did not return. His wife waited half an hour for him to come back, and the, becoming thoroughly alarmed, she visited Mr. James Ross, a neighbor, and imparted her fears to him. He aroused Mr Thomas Pendlebury and together they went over to the Starkey wharf to begin their search. With aid of a lantern hey soon discovered the body in the water, with a heavy weight fastened to it. The painful discovery was at once made known to his family and as soon as the tide receded the body was lifted. Coroner Wade, who viewed the remains, did not consider an inquest necessary.
            The deceased was 64 years of age and leaves a wife, two sons and a daughter, for whom the heartfelt sympathy is felt. He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence, with a great deal of personal independence about him. His integrity was undoubted.  As a mechanic, he had few equals.
            During his time, he built some very fine vessels. Among those whose construction he directed were the schooners Nettie, Greta, Nellie Clark, Christina, Annie P. Odell, George Lamb and Telephone, all of which with the exception of the Nellie Clark were constructed at St. Andrews. The Clark was built at Robbinston.
            Of late years, Capt. Starkey has devoted his time to building boats and taking out pleasure parties in his little schooner Crusoe. He was well known and greatly respected among the summer visitors. He was also buoy contractor for the port of St. Andrews.
            On Monday, the remains were taken to Robbinston, Maine, for internment. Before leaving, a short service was held at the house by Rev. A W. Mahon.


November 28/1901
Mrs. James Starkey has sold her dwelling-house to Mr. Wheeler Mallock and proposes leaving for Boston


St. Croix Courier
March 4/1943
A piece by J. F. W., author of Shiretown Items.
The above photograph of a bit of waterfront in St. Andrews was taken by the late W. D. MacKay about 1890, of which a copy was made by Archie Shirley to serve the present purpose.  Many the happy hour I have spent playing around those two old schooners.  Having come from inland I was of necessity always obliged to serve before the mast as a greenhorn.  More experienced boys my own age or younger composed the officers.  Frank Guerney always wanted to be captain.  A tough captain he was, ordering us aloft in all kinds of weather.  Leo Armstrong was usually the cook, and his unvaried menu of raw clams at times becoming monotonous, we were forced to forced to supplement it with soda crackers filched from our mothers’ pantries.  In our imaginations we sailed the distant seas to far-off unknown lands. 
            The two schooners in the picture, which no doubt had been built many years before, in the shipyards of St. Andrews and given long and faithful service, in the time of which I write all lay high and dry on the beach in their last days in peace and repose.  The one on the right is the Crandall, H. P. Crandall I think; and the other is the Mary Ellen.  On the extreme left is the home of Mr. Starkey, ship carpenter, . . . schooner yacht Crusoe which he was then building.  The square partly finished house on the left in the background was being built by Theodore Holmes.  The small house in the center foreground was occupied by James Ross and family.  Behind it to the left is the stove foundry, then operated by Michael McMonagle, called Mike Mulligan.
            Behind Ross’s to the right is the home of Bat Donaghue, then conductor on the railway.  And the large house further back was the home of Patsy Sheehan.  I have forgotten who lived in the house showing just over the stern of the Crandall, unless it was Thomas Pendlebury, the present occupant, who has been there for a long time.
            Also I notice the railway running up the waterfront, which was “the extension.”  The wharf in the center was later extended by B. F. DeWolfe and is now known as the upper CPR wharf, and has rails running out to its end. Where the Crandall rests is now occupied by a thriving industry.


St. Croix Courier
March 18, 1943
Shiretown Items
What Happened to Daisy?
I have had a very interesting letter from Mrank McLeod, a former St. Andrews boy, now living in Boston. Frank was one fo the gang that used to play aroudn those old schooners the “Crandall” and “Mary Ellen.” He recalled many amusing incidens of those far-ffo days. The wonderful ball games on Smith’s green, the refreshing drinks of cool water at Brown’s pump, where one day Frank Rooney drank 16 dippers full on  abet and almos died, and how on being given a choice becaue, of our increasing size an age, between bathing suits or leaving our favortie swimming spot at Starkey’s beach, we decided to mvoe to a more secluded place at Osborn’s (or Anderson’s) wharf. He recalls how King Murchie used to dive off this wharf and come up holding a sculpin by the tail! But his best sotry I think is the one about the lost cow. He says: “One of those old docks by the H. V. Crandall holds special interest for me. We lost a cow onec,e and after she had been gone for ten days, some one prevailed on us to get Obediah Conley to come to the house and read a tea cup and tell us about her, for she had been hunted all over town without avail; so  at last we tried him, and he said he could see her very plainly, that she was alive but couldn’t get antying to eat and was all surrounded by water but coulnd’t get any to drink, and she would be found within a 3. Sure enogh eithin three days some one happened to walk out on this old dock and found the cow. She had fallen through oto the logs covered with rocks for ballast.” The story ends there, but I think the public is entitled to know something of the subsequent history of the unfortuante animal. Was she still alive when found? How did they get her out? Did she recover from the experience and decide to go no move a-ro-o-vin? Come on Frank a few fruther details please.


St. Croix Courier
April 8/1943
Shiretown Items
A letter writen on the stationery of the Gardner-Templeton Street Railway Co., and dated at East Templeton, Mass., shows in the letter-head the name of Louis Starkey as Treasurer and General Supt. Here is another St. Andrews boy who has made good. Louis was so much younger than myself that I had really forgotten himalthoug I remember his father, his three brothers and his sister Natalie quite well. By the time he was growing up I had finished school and left St. Andrews for several years. I am sure Louis’ letter will be of interest to others and is given in full herewith.
            “To the author of Shiretown Items:
Dear Sir:
It was with a gret deal of pleasure that I read the Saint Croix Courier of March 4th, and March 11th, especially the part telling about the St. Andrews of 40 years or more ago. The photograph of the water front brought back memories of mhy childhood, as the Mary Ellen and the Crandall were both there within my memory, although the Mary Ellen was farther down the beach. The Crusoe was completed and I enjoyed very much sailing with my father when he took out fishing and sailing parties. The two Starkey boys mentioned were my older brothers both of whom died when nineteen years of age, and before I left St. Andrews after the death of my father in 1901. My brother, Justin, sent me the papers. I believe he subscribes to it. Sincerely yours, Louis Starkey.”


St. Croix Courier
Sept 21, 1944
Shiretown items
Information Please!
A very interesting letter written to the Mayor of St. Andrews (R. F. Keay) has been handed to me to use as I see fit and I am having it published here in full in the hopes that some reader may know some facts bearing on the case. I am curious to know it the Capt. Starkey weremember as the builder and master of the “Crusoe,” would be the person of the firm “Starkey and Inch” which flourished in the 60’s and 70’s. If so he would be a comparatively young man at the time. One fo his sons, Louis, from whom I had aninteresting letter a year or so ago, is living in the States and is a reader of the Courier so he may be able to tell us something. Here is the letter from H. M. Starkey of Kent, Washington:
“To introduce myself, I will say I am a native of Queens county, NB, was born in 1862 and have lived in the west since 1881. My great-grandfatehr and his brother were Loyalists and landed in Saint John in th epsring of 1783. They took up homesteads on the upper Washedomoak, where my great-grandfater, Mordecai Starkey, remained and raised a large family. Many of his descendant sare living there and others are scattered over the west and the New England States. His brother, Kezekia, only remained two years and left for New Jersey their former home and was not heard from afterwards. A short time ago I read in an old Vancouver paper of one Harrry Mowatt (now deceased) a native of St. Andrews, who was an apprentice at Starkey and Inch’s shipyard in your city. This was somewhat about the 60’s or 70’s of the last century. Afterwards he was captain of sailing vessels, among them the “Timandra,” “Salicia,” “Christina,” the “Andromeda,” and others. In the west he got into steam and was Port Captain for the Canadian Pacific at Vancouver. The name Starkey appearing as one of the shipbuilding firm in St. Andrews gave rise to a suspicion that he might be a descendatn of Hezekiah Starkey who may have got that far on his way to his former home, and for some reason changed his mind and remained in that location. The old paper also said that the shipbuilding company was of St. Andrews and Saint John. I can remember very plainly all the Starkeys of the first and second genration, and am sure none had interests in shipbuilding in the port of Saint John. My father and uncle operated ayard where we lived and built a number of large schooners. The yard in your city was apparently a large outfit as large ships were turned out there. There may be still old-timers who remember that far back, or there may be some of the Starkey family living in your city who could throw some light on the matter. If you could put me in touch with someone who would know something of the history of that family it would do me a favor as I have never been able to learn what becameof my great-uncle. Thanking you for whatever trouble I have put you to, I am yours sincerely, H. M. Starkey, Route 5, Box 460, Kent, Washington.”
            If I remember correctly, I have heard Thomas Pendlebury, still living here, speak of the “Christina,” mentioned in the above letter. Once when she was lying at Street and Forster’s wharf Tom climbed the top mast and hung his cap on the peak. There is also a Miss Fortune, formerly of St. Andrews, now living in Boston, who may remember something of these matters. I am told that Miss Fortune is now 97, is as bright as a button, and is a regular and interested reader of this column. I at least expect to hear from Louis Starkey, who I am sure will be interested in the foregoing.