The loss of Captain Stiles

5th June, 1693. Minute of the Provincial Council.

The Lieut. Governor and Council being informed of the arrival
of the Brigantine Ann from Barbados, and that the Master George Stiles was Lost at sea, did call before them the brigantine’s Company, and passengers, to give an account of his death, whether it was casual, or whether any on board was instrumental therein.

Emanuell Marius, a Spaniard, deposed that being sailor aboard the brigantine, came out from Barbados about five weeks ago, their Company consisting of the Master, another seaman, who was pressed from them by a man of war three days after they came thence, Christopher Hodges and the deponent; when they were in sight of Land, eight leagues southward of the capes of Delaware, wind southeast, they gybed, and the boom knock’t the Master overboard, and the deponent saw him in the sea, and immediately they cut the boat lashes and got out after the Master and saw the sharks bite his hat, and as they came up to him with the boat, he sunk. Marius said that the Master had no wife, and nothing on board but a few old clothes and instruments, and that he, the deponent, cannot take an observation, and knows only the North Star.
Christopher Hodges deposed that this accident happened of the
25th day of May last, between the hours of 4 and 5 in the afternoon,
after they had made land and ran to it, and came below the Inlet, and then the Master did bid us get ready the anchor and drop it,
thinking it was the Whorekill. Ned Burch, a passenger, and shoe-
maker by trade, being at the helm where the Master, as he was showing him which wind to keep, brought the sail to gybe and struck
Burch, whose head was a little above the deck in the steerage, and
struck the Master, who was standing aloft, quite overboard; and that
this deponent saw his heels turn over his head, and so fell overboard
and cried to bring the vessel to, which they did, and got out the
boat, and flung out a barrel, and the passengers flung out ropes, but
he could get hold of none of them; they saw him swim, and at
last sunk, just as they got to him.

Later that month, Edward Burch petitioned that when the Master was knocked overboard and lost, to the hazard of the ship, goods and passengers, the people on board desired him to go ashore, which he did, at great hazard of his life, and agreed with a person to pilot the ship to a safe harbor for £20. After an easy and speedy passage into the Whorekills, the pilot was willing to take £10, which Burch paid him. Now Burch wanted the owner or present Master of the ship to repay him and to allow him some reasonable reward for his extraordinary service and danger. Jasper Yeats, to whom the vessel was consigned, agreed to repay the ten pounds. The Council could not help with Burch’s assertion that the passengers had promised him 40s each for his care. They told him to take his remedy at law for it.

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