When: Sunday, November 11, 2018, 3-5pm
Where: Vergennes Opera House – 120 Main St, Vergennes, VT
Light refreshments. Free and open to the public.
Speaker: at 4pm, Kevin Crisman, Ph. D., Director of the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation at Texas A & M University, will share stories of Jahaziel’s adventurous life and recent archaeological discoveries of Sherman’s early steamboats in Lake Champlain.
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) has just received on loan the only known portrait of steamboat pioneer Captain Jahaziel Sherman of Vergennes (1777-1844), and his second wife, Harriett Daggett Sherman (1792-1873). LCMM invites the community to this special free event to preview the paintings, hear about Jahaziel’s adventures, and help us bring the portraits home to stay.
Nautical archaeologist Kevin Crisman, who participated in the field investigation of Sherman’s steamboat Phoenix more than 30 years ago, has just co-authored an article on Captain Jahaziel Sherman in the fall issue of Vermont History.
“Sherman’s importance in local, regional, national, and technological history is indisputable,” says Crisman, who has been searching for a likeness of Sherman for 38 years. “He was at the forefront of the world’s steamboat revolution.” After running a steamboat on the Hudson in competition with Robert Fulton, Sherman moved to Vergennes in 1813 to command the first boat of the Lake Champlain Steamboat Company (LCSC). He oversaw construction and operations of six Lake Champlain Steamboats: Phoenix I, Phoenix II, Champlain, Congress, Franklin, and Water Witch, as well as projects on the Hudson River, Lake George, and the St. Lawrence. Remarkably, two of these vessels survive as Underwater Preserves, and a third was recently identified at the Shelburne Steamboat Graveyard.
“The portraits of Sherman and his wife left Vermont by 1874, and their location after that time was completely unknown. A concentrated research effort in 2017 turned up no trace of the portraits until their owner contacted LCMM this summer. This is a truly momentous event in Vermont’s – and the Nation’s – rediscovery of one of the pioneers of the early steamboat era,” Crisman declares. “In the ideal world, LCMM will be able to acquire the portraits.” LCMM’s 2019 season will feature a special exhibit and related programs to celebrate “Jahaziel Sherman’s Steamboats.”