Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Captain Willis B. Wormell

Willis B. Wormell
The Carroll A. Deering was built in Bath, Maine by the G.G. Deering company. She was a huge five-masted schooner designed for cargo service, and was christened on April 4, 1919 after G.G. Deering's son, Carroll.

In August 1920 the ship set sail from Norfolk, Virginia, with a cargo of coal bound for Rio De Janeiro. The captain was William M. Merritt, who signed on his son, S. E. Merritt, as first mate. As fate would have it, Captain Merritt was taken suddenly ill and the Deering had to put in at Lewes, Delaware. He was so ill, that he could not continue on the voyage and left ship. His son also left to attend to his father. This left the Deering without a master and mate.

The G. G. Deering company hired on Willis B. Wormell, a very distinctive looking man of age 66. At 6'1" and 198 lbs., he was bigger than any of his crew. Captain Wormell was born in Lubec, ME on 16 Sep 1854 and has been described as follows:

His hair was light "with a prominent streak of gray, slightly wavy". His eyes were blue and he had a light mustache. His forehead was described as "strong and high," is teeth "somewhat yellow from tobacco; one tooth noticeable for a large gold filling ... large frame, well filled out. Round shoulders, one shoulder especially rounded." He also had a ridge on his thumb nail.

Captain Wormell was considered a religious man and a very reliable captain who adhered to the old standards of the sea. He also had a peculiarity which was especially noticeable when slightly nervous or intently watching his men "... if they were doing something that did not seem to him quite up to standard." He would hold his hands at his side, with the palms facing down at the deck and would repeadedly open and shut his hands. He would sometimes do this with his hands "... partly behind him. The first shut is rather deliberate, and the successions are quick and closely following one another."


Model of the Carroll A. Deering
On Display at the Hatteras Maritime Museum

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