Workboat visits Wilson Creek after 70-plus years

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Aug 24, 2011 - 04:52 PM

Photo: The Muriel Eileen, a Chesapeake Bay dredge boat, recently visited one of its early homes on Wilson Creek in Gloucester for the first time in over 70 years, the dock of Colraine. Photo courtesy of Brownie Haracivit.

The Muriel Eileen, a Chesapeake Bay dredge boat, recently visited one of its early homes on Wilson Creek in Gloucester for the first time in over 70 years, the dock of Colraine. Photo courtesy of Brownie Haracivit.

Photo: The granddaughter and great-grandchild of the Muriel Eileen's former owner, E. Wright Noble, were given a chance to spend the day on the vessel. Shown, from left, are John and Brownie Haracivet of Gloucester, and Zachary McMurphy, their grandson, of Oklahoma City, Okla.

The granddaughter and great-grandchild of the Muriel Eileen's former owner, E. Wright Noble, were given a chance to spend the day on the vessel. Shown, from left, are John and Brownie Haracivet of Gloucester, and Zachary McMurphy, their grandson, of Oklahoma City, Okla.

History came alive on Wilson Creek recently, as a Chesapeake Bay dredge boat returned its Gloucester home for the first time in more than 70 years.

The boat docked the weekend of Aug. 13 in front of Colraine, the 17th century home once owned by the late E. Wright Noble and Brownie Neff Noble, grandparents of Gloucester resident Brownie Haracivet.

Noble owned the Muriel Eileen, the Chesapeake Bay dredge boat, or buy boat as some call it, for nearly a decade. Haracivet tracked down the boat’s current owners, who have restored her and now use her as a pleasure vessel, for a reunion of sorts on Wilson Creek.

More than 80 people filled the yard and dock to enjoy the stories and history of the boat and mingle with close family and friends during the reunion.

According to Haracivet, her grandfather bought the boat from its original owners, the Smith family, in 1928. "He used it as a workboat to haul watermelons and produce to Baltimore from Virginia’s Eastern Shore," she said. "Then it was loaded with building materials and brought back down the bay."