The town now has another reminder of its seafaring past, thanks to a gift from resident and former selectman Jack Merrithew.

At its regular meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 15. Merrithew presented the Board of Selectmen with an original painting of the last and largest full-rigged ship that was built in Searsport. The ship, called the William H. Connor, was completed in 1877 and was the creation of Searsport resident and shipbuilder Marlboro Packard, Merrithew said.

Merrithew said it cost about $100,000 to build the 209-foot-long vessel, and that over its lifetime, four Searsport-based sea captains were at its helm.

Captain Benjamin Franklin Colcord was one of them, Merrithew said, and he took the ship to Australia on at least six occasions. Colcord often brought his family along on the trips, and at one point the captain and crew maneuvered through a typhoon — Merrithew added that one of Colcord’s children was born during that particular excursion.

Some time after that, Merrithew said, the ship was salvaged and was later used as a barge. Then in 1906, the William H. Connor collided with another vessel and it sank.

“A few years back, we as a town adopted a motto, or a slogan, stating the fact that our seafaring heritage was going to be used to help chart the future course of the town,” he said, noting that the William H. Connor is indeed the ship that is featured on town letterhead as part of the municipal logo.

Merrithew said when he spotted the painting at a recent auction, he bought it with the intention of giving it the most appropriate home he could think of.

“I would ask that the board accept this as a gift to the town,” said Merrithew.

After offering Merrithew words of thanks for his generosity, selectmen voted unanimously to accept the painting.