The Sea Captains and The Old Bible

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From the book "More New Hampshire Folk Tales"
Collected by Mrs. Moody P. Gore & Mrs. Guy E. Speare
Compiled and published by Mrs. Guy E. Speare
Plymouth, New Hampshire - 1936

Captain James Philbrick was a navigator. He was born in 1651 and lived on the home place where Mrs. Clara Philbrick Miner now lives. Eight generations of Philbricks have owned the land. Before 1700, the captain traded with Martha's Vineyard in lumber, wool, hides spices, molasses, woodenware, cloths, and other products. He sailed the high seas, and at one time was captured by a French privateer, England and France being at war. A fierce storm arose and the French Captain was not able to manage his vessel. Captain Philbrick offered his services, and took the wheel, steering the craft through the storm to safety. When the tempest was over the captors proceeded to divide what they had seized. While so doing they came across an English Bible which had doubtless been found on some other vessel and overlooked.

"Throw the heretic book overboard," shouted some Catholics of the French crew. Captain Philbrick begged the book of the French Captain, who in gratitude was glad to give it. When Philbrick reached London the silver clasps of the old Bible being worn he took it to a bookshop and had new corners and clasps of brass put on. The Bible is in black letter and was published in 1583, and has always been in the Philbrick family.

Captain Samuel Palmer probably "the teacher of Navigation" was born in 1685.

On one voyage he was captured by a French vessel and thrown into prison. He was a Free Mason and waited his chance. One day some officials were visiting the prison and happened to come near or into his quarters. He thought one of the men must be a Mason and giving a sign received a response, which caused him to hope for release. The official found an opportunity to interview him, and in a short time he was again free.

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