Tricia J. Dodds
THE SCHOONER AS AN ECONOMIC TOOL IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA'S COMMERCE.
(Under the direction of Professor Carl Swanson) Department of History, April 2009.
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the role that schooners played in the development of North Carolina's economy. Despite its agricultural advantages, the province struggled to profitably export its products because the perilous coastline and inland waterways hindered shipping. The schooner offered the solution to North Carolina's problem. With its large carrying capacity, speed, and maneuverability, this sailing vessel offered an efficient and economical means to shipping. Using vessel construction documents and treasurer and comptroller records from six ports, the schooner's role is statistically analyzed and compared to other vessels to determine the schooner's significance and evolution in the growth of North Carolina's commerce. The thesis shows the schooner's dominance as the primary merchant vessel in North Carolina's shipping from the mid-eighteenth to the early twentieth century. The Pettigrew family is examined as an example of North Carolina's commercial expansion, because they successfully developed plantations and engaged in shipping. Since the schooner was compatible to North Carolina's maritime environment, they chose to own and build schooners to assist in their commercial gains. The thesis demonstrates the schooner's impact on trade, allowing North Carolina to effectively compete in the world market, and shows why this vessel became the dominant trading vessel.