Hine, Ephraim Curtiss

by Thomas Farel Heffernan (2000)

HINE, EPHRAIM CURTISS (1818?-1853). Sailor and author raised in Genoa, New York, Ephraim Curtiss Hine is best known today as the model for the nautical poet Lemsford in Herman Melville’s novel White-Jacket (1850). Melville, who was Hine’s shipmate on the frigate United States during 1843-1844, treats the poet in the novel with a gentle irony; while there is no other record of relationship between the two, the title of one of Hine’s novels, Orlando Melville: or, the Victims of the Press-gang (1848) is suggestive. Hine’s poems, mailed home during his navy service, were published in Auburn, New York, newspapers and collected in a volume, The Haunted Barque (1848); they are travel pieces, naval sketches, romantic tragedies, melancholy musings, and other popular types. His novels and short stories include Roland de Vere; or, The Knight of the Black Plume (1848), The Signal; or, the King of the Blue Isle (1848), and Wilson McFarland (1850?).

After leaving the navy, Hine joined the Revenue Cutter Service and died in the shipwreck of the cutter Hamilton off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. By odd coincidence, another revenue cutter, the Jefferson Davis, which made a vain rescue attempt, was captained by William C. Pease, the son-in-law of Valentine Pease, the captain under whom Melville served on the whaleship Acushnet.

Haunted Barque (1848)


keywords: white, male

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