Zoe Ellen Parker looking at sailors' tools displayed inside the House of Refuge Museum - Stuart, Florida

82554
Date
1965
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
C651573
's numerous shipwrecks. The Gilbert

Zoe Ellen Parker looking at sailors' tools displayed inside the House of Refuge Museum - Stuart, Florida

82555
Date
1965
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
C651574
's numerous shipwrecks. The Gilbert

Zoe Ellen Parker watching relics displayed inside the House of Refuge Museum - Stuart, Florida

82556
Date
1965
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
C651576
's numerous shipwrecks. The Gilbert

Roberts v. Cargo Ship Ajax

260667
Date
1836
Collection
Supreme Court Records
Description
With its long coastline, numerous bays, inlets, and treacherous reefs, Florida presented unique problems for the creation and enforcement of maritime law. In 1836, the Superior Court for the Southern District of Florida, located at Key West, considered the case of Roberts v. Cargo Ship Ajax. As with many cases originating in the Southern District, this case involved the business of salvaging. Indeed, numerous shipwrecks and the subsequent legal battles over salvaged goods provided the impetus for the creation of a branch of the Territorial Court at Key West. In October 1835, the cargo vessel known as Ajax, en route from New York to Mobile, ran aground on Carysfort Reef in the upper Florida Keys. Beginning on October 14, wrecking vessels arrived on the scene to usher crew, passengers, and cargo to safety. The first wrecker to arrive was the Splendid, whose crew worked for several hours until “wind and waves” forced them to seek shelter on the leeward side of Key Largo. Next came the Sudlow, whose crew successfully evacuated about 40 passengers and their baggage before sailing for Key West. The Hester Ann and the Mount Vernon followed, sending men into the submerged portion of the Ajax to recover cargo. Over the ensuing four days, these vessels quickly filled their decks with crew, cargo, and passengers salvaged from the Ajax and set sail for Key West. The next month, the owners of the four wrecking vessels petitioned the high court to recover costs associated with salvaging the Ajax. As the case unfolded, more vessels appeared who claimed a part in the operations. These included the Caroline, the Fair American, and the Thistle. Also, the Van Buren and the Sarah Isabella joined in salvage operations between October 20 and 25. The judge presiding over this case ordered a public auction to take place at the warehouse of O.O. Hare in Key West. Before the sale could commence, the owner of the Ajax pleaded with the court to further examine the circumstances of each wrecking vessel as it pertained to the salvage of the Ajax. The owner of the Ajax claimed that while several of the vessels did indeed prevent the loss of life and valuable goods, two ships, Sarah Isabella and Thistle, should forfeit their portion of proceeds from the public auction. Based on evidence supplied by the captain and crew of the Ajax, it appeared that both the Sarah Isabella and the Thistle absconded with the goods they recovered, rather than depositing them in Key West as was required by the law. Apparently, they made off with valuable items including “linens, silks, cottons” and other “ready made” goods. The judge agreed with the evidence presented against the Sarah Isabella and the Thistle. He ordered the public auction to continue, and excluded the offending vessels from partaking in the profits. This case highlighted some of the complex issues arising in cases involving salvaging in Florida waters. As demonstrated here, salvaging was not an easy process; multiple parties often became involved in the quest for profits derived from the many unfortunate vessels wrecked along the Florida Keys.
Lower Court
Monroe County
Type
text
shipwrecks and the subsequent

A County Governed by an Island

274305
Date
2015-01-23
Collection
Blog Posts
for their shipwrecks, and men like Houseman

Why We Treasure the Treasure Coast

295242
Date
2014-12-19
Collection
Blog Posts
, shipwrecks, Spanish Florida

Shipwreck of the Atocha

295222
Date
2014-09-26
Collection
Blog Posts
shipwreck-of-the-atocha

Shipwreck - Stuart, Florida

8337
Date
19--
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
PR09883
Shipwreck near Jensen

George Leffler with copper pot from the Genovesa shipwreck

63445
Date
1979
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
AM0209
on the Genovesa shipwreck.

Sun bather at Shipwreck Island Water Park - Panama City Beach, Florida

89595
Date
1983
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
C820773
Shipwreck Island

Visitors at Shipwreck Island Water Park - Panama City Beach, Florida

89596
Date
1983
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
C820774
Shipwreck Island

Children at Shipwreck Island Water Park - Panama City Beach, Florida

89597
Date
1983
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
C820775
Shipwreck Island

Divers on old "Shipwreck" off Key West.

98004
Date
1984
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
DM0655
Divers on old "Shipwreck

Fish swimming by shipwreck at Silver Springs amusement park - Ocala, Florida

13884
Date
1964
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
PR20355
by shipwreck at Silver Springs

View of "The Great Shipwreck" amusement ride at the Shipwreck Island Waterpark attraction located at 12201 Middle Beach Road in Panama City Beach, Florida.

93720
Date
Not before 1983
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
COM02929
The Shipwreck Island

Art working edge of ballast pile of what is believed to be the Genovesa shipwreck

63443
Date
1979
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
AM0207
The Genovesa shipwreck

Lifeguard at the Shipwreck Island Waterpark attraction located at 12201 Middle Beach Road in Panama City Beach, Florida.

93679
Date
1988
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
COM02888
Shipwreck Island

Employee at the Shipwreck Island Waterpark attraction located at 12201 Middle Beach Road in Panama City Beach, Florida.

93685
Date
1988
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
COM02894
Shipwreck Island

Jack Haskins with metal detector on what is believed to be the Genovesa shipwreck

63442
Date
1979
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
AM0206
to be the Genovesa shipwreck

Jack Haskins with metal detector on what is believed to be the Genovesa shipwreck

63447
Date
1979
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
AM0211
Shipwrecks--Jamaica

Silver bars retrieved by treasure hunter Art McKee

63452
Date
1979
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
AM0216
from the Genovesa shipwreck

Plundering of a shipwreck - Florida Keys, Florida

153264
Date
1911
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
N045294
shipwreck - Florida Keys, Florida

View of visitors riding inner tubes at the Shipwreck Island Waterpark attraction located at 12201 Middle Beach Road in Panama City Beach, Florida.

93719
Date
Not before 1983
Collection
Florida Photographic Collection
Image Number
COM02928
The Shipwreck Island

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