Some of the relics from the Port Hunter that were salvaged this summer by a group of young and enterprising Vineyard skindivers from that “ghost ship” sunk on Hedge Fence Shoal in November, 1918, have been presented to the Dukes County Historical Society. They are now on display in the Squire Cooke House, and serve as real life illustrations of the two informative articles written by Sammy Hart Low which appeared in the Gazette recently, illustrated by pictures he had taken.
In the display are several items of ship’s chinaware bearing the crests of the Commonwealth and Dominion Line Ltd. and the Milburn Line; silverware; a porthole cover; an as yet unidentified navigational instrument, a taffrail log for the reckoning of knots of speed; and many interesting items of a personal nature, such as spectacles, a brass button, a Masonic stud, a Star of David medallion, and a wristwatch.


From a Medicine Chest

There are also three bottles from a medicine chest, still containing medicaments. One is marked “lung tonic.” Another smells strongly but not at all unpleasantly of old fashioned liniment. And the third contains a liquid that seems to be more akin to salad dressing than anything else.
The freighter went to its shoaly resting place some time after it collided with the sea-going tug Covington on Nov. 2, 1918. Allegedly, the Port Hunter had refused the aid of the Covington after the accident, although nobody ever ascertained why. During the intervening forty-two years, salvaging the cargo of the vessel has been of periodical interest both professionals and amateurs. The story that a large shipment of brandy had gone down with the vessel had a great deal of appeal to Vineyarders for a number of years.
Henry Franklin Norton, the curator of the Historical Society museum, expressed the appreciation of the society this week to the youthful skindivers who made the gift of the relics. Besides Sammy Low, the undersea hunters include Willy and Dick Jones and Arnold Carr.