Musings About The Mystery of Tybee Light
Allot of scenarios pop up in to my head when I think of the fact there was no mention of the Carrier Dove's grounding in the light house log books. I learned there was a fire in which records were destroyed. But there is a log book of that month and it pretty much skips over that week?
The other reason's seem more ominous. Was there a conspiracy? Was there a cover up of the light house keeper just not doing his job that week? Were they all incapacitated?
What if the Carrier Dove didn't run aground? What if she was merely sold off to some nefarious group of conspirators and sailed away in the middle of the night, a fraud perpetrated against the underwriters? If so then the reporter for the Savannah News Press would have had to be complicit. Sails and rigging could have been taken off and then the ship towed away to be sold again.
Or possibly there would be no record if no one was lost over the side, if no one came trudging up the beach from a life boat or launch. If the pilot boat had seen her in the morning light and steamed over to her then Tybee Light may have just not bothered to report her. The Canterbury, a steam vessel, had run aground on Stone Horse Shoals just the year before but apparently she had sunk with loss of life.
From a distance of three miles, even from the height of the Tybee Light Carrier Dove could have appeared merely at anchor. However I would not think that likely since there was a storm that morning with gale force winds.
I reached out to some of the history professors in the area and got a suggestion from Jon Bryant, Director of Graduate Studies in History at Georgia Southern University that I try the National Archives in Morrow GA.
What a great suggestion it was.
I spent the day there with the wonderful staff who took so much time with me and gave me a lot of good ideas.
I got to see the lighthouse records as well as the mortgage books and crew list of ships and their departure and arrival records along with the vessel mortgage records.
Were the records destroyed? Was there a fire, hurricane, epidemic at the time Carrier Dove went ashore pretty much right in front of the light house (just 3 miles southeast)?
My next stop will be back to the Tybee Light and see if there is any evidence for not recording the wreck.