Sea Stories in Stone
Henry Rush (1844-1874) - Maple Grove, Bath
NOT Buried at Sea
Henry Rush's father, James, was a sailor. Although he married the sister of a successful Bath shipbuilder(Alexander Robinson), James never rose through the ranks. He died suddenly when Henry was 24.
FRIGHTENED TO DEATH
While four men, in a boat, were grappling for goods in Broad Cove, about 9 O'clock last evening, a shot was fired from the cutter which fell a short distance astern of the boat and so frightened one of the men-James Rush-that he commenced bleeding at the lungs and died in about twenty minutes after. The deceased was 55 years of age and belonged in Bath.
-Portland Press April 19, 1864.
Henry had gone to sea by the time he was 17 years old, but about six-weeks after his father's death, he applied for a Seaman's Protection Certificate at the Bath Customs House. His application described him as 5' 8" tall, with a dark complexion, dark hair and dark eyes.
Probate records reveal that on June 16th, 1870, Henry received a 1/16th share, and was made Captain, of the Itasca, a Bath-built ship of nearly 1400 tons. The ship was built and mostly owned by Lemont & Robinson, as in Henry's uncle Alexander Robinson. (The previous commander, Capt. Tarbox was Lemont's son-in-law). Among Capt. Rush's crew were his boyhood friends Edward Cotton and Jere D. Robinson, the ship's First Mate and Second Officer.
They set sail from Antwerp for Cardiff and then to New Orleans where they arrived October 5th. Less than eight weeks later, on November 26th, Capt. Rush married Sarah Ann Jacobs in New Orleans.. Three days later they sailed for Liverpool. The next three and a half years of their marraige included European voyages and a journey to Japan, as well as the birth of two children.
The couples' final voyage began January 22nd, 1874. The Itasca set out from San Francisco, bound for Queenstown (Ireland). Sarah Rush was 26, little Alexander was 3 and baby Florence was only 12 days old. March 17th, 59 days at sea, Capt. Rush succumb to consumption at age 30 years and 10 months. A private dispatch, bearing the tragic news, arrived in Bath June 1st. Finally, July 13th, the Itasca arrived in Antwerp under the command of first mate Edward Cotton.
Appropriate services were had over the remains of Capt. Henry C. Rush at the Wesley church Saturday afternoon. Capt. R. died on the 17th of March last, while on the passage of his ship, the Itasca, from San Francisco to Queenstown. His body was taken to Queenstown, from thence to Antwerp, and from thence forwarded to this city, where it arrived Saturday. He was a man of examplary character, and much respected by all who knew him. He leaves a widowed mother, other relatives and many friends in this city; also a widow and two children in New Orleans but who were with him when he died.
Bath Daily Times, Monday, August 17, 1874
Henry's body had been shipped home via steamer to New York (where a casket was purchased for $25) and then by railroad to Boston and then transferred to the Maine Central Railroad for the trip to Bath. Meanwhile, in Antwerp, the Itasca prepared to set sail for New Orleans under Capt. Cotton, Henry's widow and children still aboard.
The ship arrived in New Orleans October 10th. Following Henry's example, Edward Cotton was wed in New Orleans within weeks of achieving the rank of Captain. On November 25th, Capt. Cotton married Zelinda Jacobs, Sarah Rush's sister.
Sources: cemetery records, MMM Captains Index, MMM Ships Index, Bath Daily Times, Probate records
NEXT: Angier Curtis (1815-1875)
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