Schooner Grace Bailey Owners
When researching ownership dates for the article on Capt. Black, I was struck by the fact that Captain Herbert Black was the first person to own the "Mattie/Grace Bailey" outright. Prior to that time she always had multiple owners.
In their heyday, a coaster was a thriving business and when the "Grace Bailey" was launched in 1882 she had 13 owners with shares ranging from 1/32nd to 1/8th. Share holders would have received a percentage of the vessels revenue. Edwin Bailey, who commissioned her building by Oliver Perry Smith owned 1/8th, his captain, Seymour Ketcham, another 1/8th and Josiah Still another 1/8th. The remaining 10 owners held either 1/16th or 1/32nd of the shares.
Over the years Captain Ketcham bought out several other owners shares accumulating 7/32 ownership. In I897 he sold his shares to a new captain, Charles S. Terry. He was part owner of a Sayerville lumber mill, Terry & Rayner, which eventually became a unit of Bailey Lumber Mills. From the time of his purchase of Ketcham's shares through 1918, Terry and members of his family managed to accumulate 7/8 ownership. The remaining 1/8 were Edwin Bailey's original shares which had been gifted to his granddaughter Martha "Mattie" Bailey in 1906 on the occasion of the Grace Bailey's rebuild and rechristening as the schooner "Mattie". In 1919 the Terry shares were purchased and Martha reluctantly sold hers as well to Captain Herbert Black, making him the first person to own the Grace Bailey/Mattie outright.
When tracing the changes in share ownership from the Grace Bailey's launching to 1919, an interesting picture of Patchogue, lumber mills and the Grace Bailey began to unfold. Perhaps another story to be told.
Owners subsequent to Herbert Black were William Shepard, Frank Swift, Jim Nisbet, Leslie Bex and current owners, Captain Ray & Ann Williamson.
A debt of gratitude is owed to Grace Bailey's owners past and present. Their care has made it possible for this magnificent example of a 19th century two masted coasting schooner to grace our waters for well over a century. She sails today, earning her keep carrying precious cargo just as she has for the past 137 years.