The F.D. Crockett’s Heritage

This past weekend, April 10, 2011, about 70 descendants of the original builders and owners of the F.D. Crockett gathered at the Deltaville Maritime Museum and Holly Point Nature park to celebrate the lives of their waterman and boat builder ancestors with a covered dish picnic. They included as many as four generations— hordes of great-great, great-great-great, and great-great-great-great grandchildren and nieces and nephews of F.D. Crockett, Alexander Gaines, John and Kirby Smith, and William S. “Pretty” Green, and even more friends and museum folks. That’s a lot of covered dishes ! It all would have made Lucy Green Lindsay, owner of the boat captained by her brother “Pretty,” proud; she liked to have the family over for dinner after church on Sunday, then have them go out on the boat.

Builder Alexander Gaines constructed the F.D. Crockett in 1924 in his yard in Dare, VA, using techniques like the ones used in this picture of Darling’s Railway in Hampton circa 1939. When he was done, he floated the hull across the creek to Smith Marine Railway for further work on finishing up the boat.

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In the process of log construction, logs were squared off to fit together, then pinned with trunnels or drift pins,then shaped into the boat. The F.D. Crockett was built with 7 major logs and two smaller ones rather than 5 as shown here.

John Franklin and Kirby Smith were young men when they helped complete the F.D. Crockett at their family’s marine railway. They are shown here 35 years later standing in front of a boat that they are repairing. Founded in 1842, the railway is still operational today. Tim Smith, a grandson, is recording information about the railway at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Smiths-Marine-Railway-Inc/116929491658393.

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The F.D. Crockett was built for Ferdinand DeSota Crockett of Seaford, shown here with his wife Betty. This past weekend, Alberta Flowers, their grand-daughter, and her brother Wayland Crockett, were videotaped sharing their memories of the boat. Alberta was born the year the F.D. Crockett was built. Her grand-father sold the boat when she was a teenager to Marvin and Lucy Lindsay. Ferdinand and Betty’s great-great-great-great grandsons attended the reunion.

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William S. “Pretty” Green was the captain of the F.D. Crockett for 50 years. The brother of Lucy Lindsay, he ran the boat for her and her invalid husband, giving half the income from the boat to support them. He became the owner of his beloved F.D. Crockett when his sister died. Because of his affection for the boat, his nieces and nephews arranged to have its picture engraved on his tombstone when Pretty (also known as “Purdy” or “Purtty” by his waterman companions) passed away in 1998. He was called that by his many older sisters because he was such a pretty baby, and the name stuck all his life.

Purdy Green for blog
(Photo by Frank Moore, circa 1980)

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While he did not have children of his own, “Captain Pretty Bill” is survived by many many nieces and nephews who cherish his legacy. There were so many of them at the picnic that they brought a family tree to keep them all straight.

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A young member of the Hollingsworth family, the great-great nephew of Captain Pretty, takes the helm of the F.D. Crockett during the picnic.

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