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The Edna McLain

The tale of the Edna McLain begins in a boatyard in Perrin in 1932, travels through decades of hard work on the Chesapeake Bay, and ends in the woods at Glass.

This newspaper printed a photo of the Edna McLain of New Point on Nov. 19 and asked readers for information. We tapped a deep well of knowledge of a boat that was owned and worked in both Gloucester and Mathews counties during her long life.

Today, as is the case with most of the beautiful wooden boats that once anchored the local economy, her remains are returning to nature.

Jim Smith and Sidney Smith built the rounded-stern, 43-foot vessel in Perrin in 1932, according to Larry Chowning’s book, “Chesapeake Bay Buyboats.” Drift bolts secure the side planks and the boat is of traditional deadrise design, with the bow most likely shaped by hand-wielded adze, as the old-time builders plied their trade.

This boatbuilding family included Big Jim Smith, and his sons Sidney Smith and Little Jim Smith, said Hamilto...

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