A while back I posted a note about a project I worked on as a youngster, restoring the fishing smack Emma C. Berry. Recently, I received an email from Pete Smith who was a Cadet at Admiral Farragut Academy in the 50's. I attended in the 60's. Pete found me by doing a search for the Emma C. Berry ,and he stumbled across my short blog about her.
We both have an interest in the Emma C. Berry because she was berthed at Admiral Farragut Academy in Pine Beach New Jersey for several years. Our Band master was a Great teacher by the name of Dayton Newton who was a skipper of a Maine charter boat called the Adventurer off the coast of Maine during the summer. Pete had a much closer relationship with him because Pete was actually in the school's band. I was in 2nd Company.
We are both irked at the fact that no matter what literature you read about the Emma C. Berry launched in 1866, there is never any mention of the Cadets who honed their nautical skills under Mr. Newton's Tutelage. I think its grossly unfair because who knows without our care under Mr. Newton she may have sunk to the bottom right there in New Jersey.
A few years after I was graduated from AFA, I was on vacation in Maine. I went into a Marine Antiques store and almost suffered cardiac arrest. There on a wall was the stern name plate of the Emma C. Berry. I wanted to purchase it in the worst way. As I was haggling with the guy behind the desk, I stopped for a moment and looked at him very carefully. He looked like a younger version of Mr. Newton. When I said that, a wide grin appeared and he said that he was Mr. Newton's son and was glad to make my acquaintance. Still wouldn't sell me the stern name plate though.
I have a small model of the ECB which I will build one of these days when I have the time. She means a lot to me because it was my first foray into ship preservation. I have since gone on and become the Historian for the Zuni Maritime Foundation. We are restoring the former USS ZUNI/USCGC TAMAROA to sailing condition so we can educate today's kids about America's role at sea and what may be available for them in the future.
At any rate, I hope more Farragut alumni see this and get aggravated enough to not be shy about the role the cadets played in helping the ECB survive into this century.