Does anyone know of Henry Eckford born 1775 Scotland died 1832 Turkey
The following is an extract from "The Eckford Family in Australia - The Early Years" by Ian P Eckford and Doug Huxley (with permission).
Henry was born in Kilwining, near Irvine, Scotland on 12 March, 1775, and at the age of 16 went to Quebec, Canada to study shipbuilding under his uncle, John Black. Five years later he went to New York and started building his own ships. By the early 1800's his shipyard was on the Long Island side of the East River, near the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Henry's ships became known for their strength and speed and he developed new designs for rigging and hull shape. He often asked returning captains about ship performance and refined his designs. When the war of 1812 broke out, he had a prosperous business, and Henry was aksed by the U.S. Navy to supervise ship building on Lake Ontario, the "Madison", a sloop-of-war with 24 guns, was one ship Eckford supervised, and was construced within 40 days of cutting the timber. Following the war, he returned to New York and President Monroe appointed him Naval Constructor at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a position he held from 1817 - 1820.
The author, J. Fenimore Cooper paid Eckford tribute for his genius and resourcefulness as a naval constructor.
Following a disagreement with some Naval Department officials, Eckford resumed work in his own yards. He built the "Robert Fulton", which made the first successful voyage by steam from new York to New Orleans and Havanna (1822). The vessel was later converted to sail and became the fastest sloop-of-war in the Brazilian Navy.
President Jackson asked him to develop and present a plan for re-organising the Navy.
In the 1820's, Eckford became interested in politics and contributed to Crawford's 1825 Presidential campaign.
On 13.4.1799, Eckford married Marion Bedell and bought a country estate on Manhattan Island.
In Eckford's later years, an insurance company in which Eckford had an interest, failed and he lost a large part of his fortune. The last ship he built was for the Sultan of Turkey. He sailed to Turkey on this ship, where he was placed in charge of naval construction. He died in Turkey in 1832.