I was browsing for information about my greatgrandfather, Capt. Samuel Veazie, and his ship, the Llewellyn J. Morse, and came across a true story of murder and suicide that concerned the prior Capt. of that historic ship (which starred in the role of Old Ironsides in the silent film of 1926). So amazing to see details about both Capt. Ames and his wife (the ship being named after her father, a member of the Maine legislature). I have posted the verbatim account from the NY Times of May 10, 1882 as a page on my author website.
I absolutely loved the level of detail in the article, the ship’s cargo of sugar and hemp, the description of Mrs. Ames as “one of the loveliest women in Maine”, the location of the pistol-shots, the “north” and “south” positions of the bodies in the bed. As a psychologist, I was fascinated with a possible cause for Capt. Ames “insane” behavior. The article mentions a liver disorder and sudden alarming symptoms of mental aberration. Could it have been end stage alcoholism with delirium tremons that drove him to his last desperate act? Journalism at this personal, detailed level, so common in Victorian days, no longer exists.
Regardless, from what I’ve learned about my family history, my greatgrandfather probably become Captain of the Llewellyn J. Morse immediately after Capt. Ames’ untimely demise. I wonder if the crew, having been abandoned by their former Captain in the Philippine Islands, were fearful that yet another quite mad Down Easterner had taken the helm? This is a photo of him next to one of his wife Zilpha plus a photo of the ship and their marriage license. All on the wall of the home he built on the island of Islesboro in the middle of Penobscot Bay in Maine. Memorabilia from his many sea journey’s fill the home, now owned by one of my cousins.