MAILBOAT NAME: S/V Hero
DIMENSIONS: not known
CONSTRUCTION: wooden two-masted schooner
YEAR BUILT: not known, estimated c.1900
BUILDER: Mr. Thomas Demeritte, Governor’s Harbour Eleuthera
EARLY CAREER: served Governor’s Harbour Eleuthera from Nassau to 1926 and beyond
BAHAMAS CAREER: rescued survivor Napoleon Rolle of the Mountain King off Crooked Island 1926
CAPTAINS: not known
OWNERS: presumably Thomas Demeritte since he built her
FATE: appears to have survived the hurricanes of 1926 and beyond
NOTES: Source: Mr. Kendal Butler.
Here is an account by Rev. Henry Pratt regarding Napoleon Rolle, the sole survivor of the loss of the mail schooner “Mountain King” in the Hurricane of 1926:
“When he got near to the land on a cay called Bird Cay, the storm surge pushed him well over fifty feet into the bushes on dry land and for a brief while he kept on swimming not realizing that he was now safe on dry land. He remained on that cay for quite sometime without food or water. He was finally rescued when he placed the shirt of his back on a tall stick and beckoned the passing ship Hero to his rescue and it would only be much later that he would learn the fate of the other passengers.”
Pages 182, Wayne Neely’s book “The Great Bahamian Hurricanes of 1926,” 2009
Mr. Butler discovered another “Hero” in the Bahamas at roughly the same time. Though it was not a mail boat, it may have been the boat which rescued the “Mountain King” survivors, since it could thus have been in the more southern Bahamas and not dedicated to a route to North Eleuthera.
Here is what Mr. Butler wrote: “I found two vessels with the name “Hero.” One was built by Uriah Saunders of Abaco. I have no b/d dates for Saunders but suspect that he lived entirely in the nineteenth century. If he he did, he would have lived to the very early part of the twentieth century. In the records that I found, he was simply listed under generic Abaco. I could not tie him to Green Turtle Cay which is where most of the Saunderses are found. Saunders’ Hero, a two masted schooner, was 68ft in overall length.”
Perhaps readers can assist in learning and contributing more about Uriah Saunders?