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The Fate of The Endeavour

The Endeavour's sternpost
The Endeavour's sternpost
Doug Gibson's article about the Endeavour (see pages 18-20) explained how she was renamed La Liberte and ended her days at Newport, Rhode Island, USA. An article in the journal of the Newport Historical Society gives more details.

According to a letter written by John Deering in the 1890s about the Endeavour "In 1791-1793 was chased by a British frigate into Newport Harbour."

And a letter by Robert Stevens in 1828 says the ship "came to my wharf September 2, 1793 and lay there until the 30th May 1794, when she attempted to move to Mr Gibbs' lower wharf where she was grounded."

Apparently La Liberte was given a thorough examination, was found to be rotten and unseaworthy, and was condemned. She began to disintegrate, and was eventually sold for the benefit of the underwriters. Some parts were removed and incorporated into two other ships, the Wareham and the Concord.

At first the ship's destruction was limited to that made by thoughtless children in the neighbourhood and the petty theft of indifferent adults. But it was not long before she gained the attention of souvenir hunters. Canes, boxes and other curiosities were made from her wooden hull, and sent to friends throughout the United States.

Large parts of the ship found their way into various places within Newport. Mr Joshua Sayers had for a number of years the sternpost displayed in front of his home. It now resides in the Newport Historical Society's marine museum. The label attached to it states that the ship was broken up in 1796.

A small sliver of wood from the Endeavour accompanied the US astronauts during the Apollo 15 flight to the moon 26 July - 7 August 1971, and is now also in the Newport museum (see page 15).

Does anyone know the whereabouts of other relics?

From information supplied by Ian Woolford

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 491, volume 10, number 1 (1987).

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Nicola, it is thought that the Endeavour ended her days as a hulk in the harbour at Newport, Rhode Island. I have read stories of people visiting the wreck to remove timber to make things with. So if you can trace the history of the box back to somebody in the USA in the early 1800s, then the story of your box just might be true.
By Cliff Thornton on 5/25/2014 10:08:15 AM Like:0 DisLike:1
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I have just received an old writing box passed down several generation in our family and the story that goes with it is that 'it's got some connection with the Endevour, possibly made from the wood'. The wood looks like oak. It was passed on from my grandfather to my uncle to me - we all live or lived in Brisbane, Australia. I don't think there are any stamps on the wood indicating it was from the timbers of the vessel. Any suggestions on how to find the history of this piece?
By Nicola on 5/24/2014 8:03:54 AM Like:0 DisLike:1
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Six were recovered and restored. One was gift to the Museum of New Zealand in 1969.

Cannon, from HMB Endeavour
By Martin Lewis on 11/6/2012 3:28:41 AM Like:0 DisLike:1
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In 1969 artefacts were salvaged from the Endeavour Reef. There are cannons and other objects in the James Cook Museum in the town named for him in Queensland, Australia.
Endeavour ballast
By Irene Shanks on 9/3/2012 4:27:07 AM Like:0 DisLike:1

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