©Robert S Greenberg 2013

In 1646, in an effort to trade with England, a group of New Haven merchants banded together a 150-ton cargo vessel and loaded it heavily with about all the tradable goods the people of New Haven could scrape together, more than a half-dozen of the colony's most prominent citizens were also aboard for the trip, and the maiden voyage of the "Great Shippe" was ready to begin.

The "Great Shippe" sailed into the icy mists of Long Island Sound with the fate of the New Haven Colony, never to be heard from again. Six months later, after a heavy June thunderstorm, a joyous rumor spread through the colony. Their lost ship had been sighted, emerging from the clouds over the harbor. Scores of people rushed to the waterfront rushed to witness the answer to their prayers.

The vessel came as close to the shore as the water depth would allow, and then the masts and the sails began to collapse and the ship rolled over on her side and disappeared into the mists surrounding her.

The ship was gone, but the desire for the colony to succeed was not.

The "Great Shippe" became known as the "Phantom Ship" which became legendary in New Haven's history. The event was later commemorated in a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

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