Shipyard with two boats under construction with small buildings nearby

Thomas Petersen Shipyard at Little River, with schooners under construction, c. 1875. The ship on the left is nearing completion while the other has been planked up to the deck and her bulwarks ready for planking. The shipyard was located on the side of Little River Harbor. (Gift of Cora Hervilla, Ole and Cora Hervilla Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

September 15, 1878 – The schooner Phil Sheridan sank off the mouth of the Umpqua River in Oregon following a collision in a thick fog with the wooden sidewheel steamship, Ancon. The Phil Sheridan had been built in 1869, the first of 14 two-masted schooners built by Thomas Petersen in his shipyard at Little River. The vessel was named for the Union general of Civil War fame.

The passengers and crew were saved by the steamer, but the schooner Phil Sheridan was a total loss.

“Thomas H. Petersen Master Shipbuilder” by Louis A. Hough. Thomas Petersen built about three dozen wooden vessels: sailing schooners, a barkentine, steam schooners, steam tugs and lighters. Based on Petersen’s memoirs. $15.