Governor Parr

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Name: Governor Parr
Owner: A.F. Davidson (1918-1920), V.C. Henschell (after 1921)
Operator: Captain A.D. Richards
Route: Buenos Ayres, Argentina via Ingramport, Nova Scotia
Builder: W.R. Huntley & Sons
Launched: November 30, 1918
Identification: 141163
Fate: Derelict
General characteristics
Type: Schooner
Masts: 4
Signal letters: T N W D
Tonnage: 912
Length: 200ft
Depth: 18.6ft

Governor Parr was a four masted schooner built in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia in 1918. Built by W.R. Huntley & Sons for Archie Davidson and Captain Angus D. Richards, she is claimed to be the "most handsome schooner built in Atlantic Canada” [1] and was also the last schooner built in Parrsboro.[2] She was named after early Governor of Nova Scotia John Parr.[1]

Governor Parr met an unfortunate fate on October 3, 1923 while carrying one million board feet of lumber from Ingramport, NS to Buenos Aires, Argentina.[1] During this voyage she lost her mizzen and spanker in a storm. Captain Angus Richards and one seaman lost their lives during the incident.[1] The remainder of the crew were rescued by S.S. Schodack.[1]

The damage incurred by Governor Parr was significant to the masts and deck of the ship; however, she did not sink. Instead, she remained afloat and drifted throughout the Atlantic. Several attempts were made to either destroy or tow this derelict to shore, but all failed. On January 1, 1924, the American Coast Guard's USCGC Tampa attempted to tow Parr towards Halifax, NS. Parr broke away from the tow line on January 2 in a heavy gale. Tampa had to give up this attempt to return to shore to refuel.[3]

Governor Parr was sighted for many years after her 1923 abandonment but managed to remain afloat and cover large spans of the Atlantic Ocean. She remained a derelict and a “menace to navigation,” drifting as far as the Canary Islands.[1] Her ability to make this journey without a captain or a crew demonstrates high-quality shipbuilding. It is unknown what happened to Governor Parr in the end, but she is remembered as the phantom ship from Parrsboro.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Parker, John P. Sails of the Maritimes: the story of the three-and four-masted cargo schooners of Atlantic Canada (Great Britain: Hazel Watson & Viney LTD, 1960), 147.
  2. ^ Nova Scotia Archives, "Schooners: Workhorses of the Sea," copyright 2013. (accessed 13 February 2013).
  3. ^ Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Niels Jannasch Library, file 24400-60: Governor Parr, New York Maritime Registers.

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