Frederic B. Hill will visit the Southwest Harbor Public Library on April 29 to talk about his book, "Ships, Swindlers, and Scalded Hogs." PHOTO COURTESY OF FREDERIC B. HILL

Hill to talk about ships, swindlers

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Author Fredric B. Hill will talk about his book, “Ships, Swindlers, and Scalded Hogs: The Rise and Fall of the Crooker Shipyard in Bath, Maine” at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Saturday, April 29, at 1:30 p.m.


This well-researched book tells the story of the rise and fall of two well-respected brothers and how they turned against each other and lost a booming shipyard. One of the brothers was Hill’s great-great-grandfather.

In the mid 1800s, the brothers, Charles and William Crooker, began their careers with a general store before building a shipyard that could turn out one or two new ships every year. Unfortunately, at the shipyard’s busiest time, they were cheated, which caused the brothers to turn on each other. Also, the shipbuilding industry was changing. This story is rich with historical details and famous figures. One of the charlatans was involved with the political machine of Tammany Hall in New York. Mark Twain had a connection to the story, as did William Jennings Bryan.

Hill served as director of the Office of Special Programs at the Foreign Service Institute in the U.S. Department of State from 1986-2006. He was legislative director for foreign affairs for Sen. Charles McCurdy Mathias Jr. in 1985-1986. From 1965-1985, he was a correspondent and editorial writer for The Baltimore Sun. Since retiring in 2006, he has played an active role in Maine’s First Ship, the nonprofit effort to reconstruct the first ship built by English settlers at Popham Beach in 1607. He is a member of the Camden Conference and an occasional columnist for The Sun, Bangor Daily News and other newspapers. He is co-editor of “The Life of Kings: The Baltimore Sun in the Golden Age of the American Newspaper.”

Hill will have books available for purchase and signing. Call the library at 244-7065.

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