Amaranth (barquentine)

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For other ships with this name, or a similar name, see Amaranth (disambiguation).
Amaranth (barquentine).png
Amaranth under sail
United States
Name: Amaranth
Builder: Matthew Turner, Benicia, CA
Launched: 1901
Fate: Wrecked at Jarvis Island, Aug. 30, 1913, 0°22′50″S 159°59′56″W / 0.38056°S 159.99889°W / -0.38056; -159.99889Coordinates: 0°22′50″S 159°59′56″W / 0.38056°S 159.99889°W / -0.38056; -159.99889
General characteristics
Class and type: 4-masted barquentine
Tons burthen: 1,109 [1]
Sail plan: Barquentine[1]

Amaranth was a four-masted barquentine built by Matthew Turner of Benicia, California in 1901. Amaranth sailed in the China trade between Puget Sound and Shanghai. She was wrecked on a guano island in the South Pacific in 1913 while carrying a load of coal.


Barquentine Amaranth Co. incorporated in San Francisco on Sept. 14, 1901 with capital stock of $76,000 and was assigned state corporation no. 33,965.[2] Captain Turner, a master shipbuilder, was known for his Bering Sea pelagic sealing schooners, codfishing schooners, South Seas schooners, and sugar packets.[3] Amaranth measured 1,109 tons, and was a sister ship to Turner's 1,167 ton barquentine Amazon.[1][4] The ship was named after the amaranth plant.

In 1975, a half-hull model of Amaranth was on display in the San Francisco Maritime Museum.[5] By 1941, the Historic American Merchant Marine project had collected and deposited the complete plans of Amaranth at the US National Museum.[6]

Voyages to China[edit]

Amaranth sailed from Astoria, Oregon to Shanghai in 23 days. She also made four voyages under Captain E.C. Boles from Puget Sound to Taku, (Shanghai), "in 100, 110, 118, and 123 days."[3]

Delivery of drydock materials to Pearl Harbor[edit]

In April 1910, Amaranth delivered materials for construction of a drydock facility at Pearl Harbor. Amaranth was the fourth deep-sea, cargo-carrying vessel to venture into the newly dredged harbor, where a naval station was planned, having been preceded by the three-masted schooner W.H. Marston on March 8, and the schooner Ariel and bark Marston a few days later.[7]

Shipwreck at Jarvis Island[edit]

NASA picture of Jarvis Island; note the submerged reef beyond the eastern end.

On 30 August 1913, Amaranth, under Captain C.W. Nielson, was carrying a cargo of coal from Newcastle, New South Wales to San Francisco when she wrecked on the southeastern shore of Jarvis Island.[1][8] On shore, the Amaranth crew could see the ruins of ten wooden guano-mining buildings, including a two-story house. "The captain and crew took to their boats and landed next morning. The vessel broke up. With salvaged provisions and water, the crew managed to reach Samoa in the two boats 3 weeks later."[9] One lifeboat reached Pago Pago, American Samoa and the other made Apia in Western Samoa. Two beige-colored wool blankets used by the crewmembers evacuating the ship survive, at the San Francisco Maritime Museum.[10]

The Amaranth's scattered remains were noted and scavenged for many years, and rounded fragments of coal from the ship's hold were still being found on the south beach in the late 1930s.[11] "A memorial cairn and plaque that commemorate the grounding are still present on the island."[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Gibbs, Jim (1968). West Coast Windjammers in Story and Pictures. Seattle: Superior Publishing Co. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-517-17060-1. 
  2. ^ Report of Secretary of State, p. 27
  3. ^ a b Gibbs, Jim (1968). West Coast Windjammers in Story and Pictures. Seattle: Superior Publishing Co. pp. 40–45. ISBN 978-0-517-17060-1. 
  4. ^ Riegel, Martin P (1987). California's maritime heritage. San Clemente, CA: Riegel Pub. Co. p. 21. OCLC 17212276. 
  5. ^ Kranz, Jacqueline Longaker (1975). American nautical art and antiques. New York: Crown Publishers. p. 55. ISBN 9780517518915. 
  6. ^ Lyman, John (1941). The sailing vessels of the Pacific coast and their builders, 1850-1905. San Diego: Maritime Research Society of San Diego. p. 20. OCLC 16000833.  ("The Historic American Merchant Marine project has collected and deposited in the US National Museum lines of the schooner Lily and complete plans of schooner Commerce, barkentines Kohala, Amazon and Amaranth, and bark Newsboy.")
  7. ^ Thrum, Thos. G (1910). All about Hawaii. The recognized book of authentic information on Hawaii, combined with Thrum's Hawaiian annual and standard guide. Honolulu,. Honolulu: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. pp. 163–164. OCLC 1663720. 
  8. ^ Bryan, E H (1942). American Polynesia and the Hawaiian Chain. Honolulu, Hawaii: Tongg Pub. Co. p. 134. OCLC 1036237. 
  9. ^ a b US Fish & Wildlife Service. "Jarvis Island National Wildlife Refuge". Jarvis Island National Wildlife Refuge Interpretation. US Fish & Wildlife Service. Retrieved Feb 26, 2011. 
  10. ^ San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. "Museum collections, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park". BLANKET SAFR 9774, SAFR 9775. ParkNet, National Park Service. Retrieved Feb 26, 2011. 
  11. ^ Bryan, E.H. "Jarvis Island" Retrieved: 7 July 2008.

External links[edit]