The Dove Story

An artist's conception of the Dove showed the vessel with a two-masted rig, though square-rigged on the mainmast, which is now thought to be unlikely. R. Hammond Gibson, c. 1970. Collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, 1970-28-1.

An artist's conception of the Dove showed the vessel with a two-masted rig, though square-rigged on the mainmast, which is now thought to be unlikely. R. Hammond Gibson, c. 1970. Collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, 1970-28-1.

 
 
 
Pen-and-ink drawing of plaster ornaments that adorn Hook House, home of Anne Arundell Calvert in Tisbury, Wiltshire, England. Figures 16 and 17, Colonial Vessels: Some Seventeenth-Century Ship Designs (1962), William A. Baker. Barre Publishing.

Pen-and-ink drawing of plaster ornaments that adorn Hook House, home of Anne Arundell Calvert in Tisbury, Wiltshire, England. Figures 16 and 17, Colonial Vessels: Some Seventeenth-Century Ship Designs (1962), William A. Baker. Barre Publishing.

Ark and Dove

Ark and Dove were the two ships that began the Maryland Colony. Ark was a 400-ton capacity cargo ship hired by Cecil Calvert to transport about 140 colonists and their equipment and supplies to Maryland. Dove was a much smaller 40-ton capacity cargo ship purchased by Cecil Calvert and investors so that the colonists would have their own ship to use once Ark had sailed for England.

The two ships set sail from the Isle of Wight on 22 November 1633. Three days later, on 25 March, a storm arose in the channel and Dove was seen flying distress lanterns at her masthead before she disappeared into the storm. Those aboard Ark assumed she had sunk in the storm. It was not until six weeks later that they discovered otherwise, when Dove arrived in Barbados and rejoined Ark.

The two ships arrived at Old Point Comfort on 24 February 1634, after a voyage of three months (of which 66 days were spent at sea). After spending a week at Old Point Comfort, they departed on 3 March to sail up the Chesapeake to the Potomac River, where they landed on St. Clements Island. They spent the rest of March exploring and negotiating with the Indians for a place to settle. On 25 March, Father Andrew White held a Mass of Thanksgiving to celebrate the purchase of 30 square miles of land on the East Bank of the St. Mary’s River, and on 27 March the colonists departed St. Clements to occupy the land they had purchased, naming their settlement “St. Mary’s.”

At the end of May, Ark returned to England, leaving Dove behind to provide transportation for goods to be traded up and down the Atlantic seacoast. In the fall of 1634, Dove was sent north to Boston to trade corn for salt cod and other commodities. In August of 1635, Dove was sent back to England with furs and timber to trade. Dove was never seen again, probably lost at sea.