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Cape Cod Shiverick’s Shipyard

Asa Shiverick and his sons built many fine clipper ships in the famous shipyard, now marked only by a plaque on a large boulder, at Dennis. The plaque is located on Sesuit Neck Road just as you come over the hill before the entrance to the west side of the town harbor.

Two of the best known clippers designed and put together by the Shivericks were the Wild Hunter and the Belle of the West. The latter was lost in the Bay of Bengal. The last launching of a Shiverick clipper was in 1863.

The Shiverick boats, most of them running about 1000 tons, were launched on high course tides as bare hulls. They were then either towed, or sailed under a jury-rig, to Boston, where the masts were stepped and the rigging attached.

Of the many fine clippers built and launched in Dennis; eight of them were captained by native sons. The Shiverick shipbuilding enterprise was principally financed by Christopher Hall, also of Dennis. Thomas Hall, son of Christopher, sailed in Shiverick vessels as a boy, and later wrote a history of the shipyard, in the form of a monograph.

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Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 02/14/06
Categories: DennisHistoryPlaces
Keywords: dennis, history, maritime, places


FYI I am the proud owner of 8 original pen and ink drawings of the 8 clipper ships built at Shiverick Shipyards. They were drawn by my late Great Aunt Dorothy Hambly Ellen of East Dennis, MA, I believe for the centennial (1963?) celebration of the last Shiverick ship launched. As I recall, her pen-and-ink drawings were used to print commemorative ceramic tiles and notecards for the occasion. I haven’t been to Cape Cod in 30 years and do not know whether there is a historical society interested in these drawings.

Posted by Carol L Young from Escondido, CA on 04/20/08 at 08:55 PM | #

Carol,  There is a historical society and you can reach them at their website.  I am sure they would be very interested in them.

Posted by Jeff from E. Dennis on 05/04/08 at 04:15 PM | #

Carol, I am Dorothy Ellen’s Grandaughter.  I have 4 of those tiles, several original water colors, but only partial sets of prints of the ships.  Would be interested in connecting with you.

Posted by Lynn Ellen Barrett from Dillon, CO on 11/13/08 at 04:56 AM | #

Dorothy Ellen was a member of East Dennis Ladies Aid Society many years ago. The drawings were made for a fundraising project developed by this group. It was, and still is, a very successful idea. The group currently offers sets of all 8 Shiverick Clipper ships on ceramic tiles, individual ships on tiles, and also note cards—-all created from the pen and ink drawings that you have.

Dorothy started the artwork on the project in 1959/60, and Laurence Lippard was the original screen printer for the tiles. His son, Gerald, took over the screen printing for us in 1999.  I am now responsible for tile & note card sales for East Dennis Ladies Aid and all the money raised goes to Cape Cod charities and to local scholarships.

Posted by Terri from South Dennis, MA on 11/30/08 at 08:51 AM | #

I am Asa Shivericks Great Great Great Grandson

Posted by James Higgins from orleans on 01/16/09 at 04:08 PM | #

I am Dorothy Ellen’s grandson and I would like to contact both of my other cousins to share news of our Hambly/Ellen family.  I, too, own eight of the prints of the Shiverick ships she drew.

Several of the tiles that were made of these prints now surround one of the fireplaces in her former East Dennis home.

Posted by Scott Fisher from Mahopac, NY on 07/12/09 at 05:47 PM | #

Scott, The wonders of the Internet!  I would love to be in touch with you and family as well.

Posted by Lynn Ellen Barrett from Dillon, CO on 07/14/09 at 01:32 AM | #

My sister and I both live in the San Diego area.  We are also Shiverick relatives.  My grandfather Frank S. Shiverick also did a series of pen and ink drawings of several of the Shiverick clippers. Frank’s one remaining live offspring is his daughter, Ruth, is now 91 and lives near us.

Posted by Marilyn Williams from Bonita, CA on 03/22/10 at 02:21 AM | #

My grandfather, Myron Davis Shiverick, grew up on the Cape in Falmouth.  His brother Deke also lived in Falmouth.  Not sure they are related to the shipyard Shivericks though.  I always wondered.  Coincidentally I have a daughter in La Jolla.

Posted by Joe Caruso from Hudson Valley, NY on 07/08/10 at 12:41 AM | #

The Shiverick family was in Falmouth in the 1700s.
Asa Shiverick, the patriarch of the ship building family in Dennis,came to Dennis in 1800 to apprentice and work in the shipbuilding trade. He eventually married Susannah Howes,a local girl, bought property on Sesuit Creek and started a shipyard where he successfully built schooners, sloops and coastal traders.  In the 1840’s clipper ships were in demand, and three of Asa’s sons,who had been working with their father, wanted to build them. The the shipyard was moved nearer to the bay and the 1st clipper was launched in 1850, with local financial help. Eight beautiful clippers were built in East Dennis, that found fame and fortune around the world, commanded by local captains and crew.
Dennis is the only Cape Cod town that produced clipper ships.
Asa & Susanna are buried in the Dennis Village Cemetery. Their stones read   “ Asa Shiverick died April 12, 1861 ae 71 years   “Arisen to Newness of Life”
Susannah widow of Asa Shiverick died July 2, 1862 ae 71 years
“Gone but Remembered”
Their other children and grandchildren are also buried in the Dennis Village Cemetery, save for one son,who moved back to Falmouth and is buried there.

Posted by Terri Fox from South Dennis, MA on 07/11/10 at 01:13 PM | #

If you would like my father knows alot more than I do. Email some questions you have about the Shivericks to jamesfhiggins at and I can help you put your family puzzle together the best we can.
Thanks 4 writing James F. Higgins

Posted by James Higgins from Orleans on 07/11/10 at 06:22 PM | #

Very interesting history about Shiverick shipyards; amazing as only thing that remains is the marsh. Must have been a fascinating site during the construction of those clipper ships!

Are there any photos of the pen-ink drawings, or are they available at the historical society to view?


Posted by Douglas Hatch from South Dennis, MA on 09/08/10 at 08:27 PM | #

My grandfather’s drawing are located in 3 locations.  My house, my sisters house and my mother’s apartment.  We all live within 7 miles of each other.  We have not photographed them, but it sounds like a good idea.  To view them at this point you would need to contact us for a visit.

Posted by Marilyn Williams from Bonita, CA on 09/13/10 at 04:18 PM | #

My grandmother, Jenny Sears (1871-1973), lived in a Shiverick house ... there are a few ... on Sesuit Neck Rd. She lived next door to Olive Shiverick, daughter of one of the boys. “Miss Olive” used to invite my brother and I in for ice cream and pudding. She spoke of carraiges being lined far up along the road for the launchings; I don’t know if she witnessed that or was told about it.

Posted by Dick Gallagher from Middleton, MA on 09/18/10 at 04:09 PM | #

I am Asa Shivericks great great great grand daughter. Yes that would make James Higgins (comment above) my younger brother. My father is very proud of our family history. I was the lucky one that got to carry on the Shiverick name. I will also carry the name on with one of my children. My brothers and I are 13bnth generation Cape Codders. This is just a little piece of the history my family carries on, but this one is my personal favorite wink

Posted by Eliza Shiverick Higgins from Orleans, Ma on 10/21/10 at 10:04 AM | #

Hello out there!

Does anyone have any COLORED prints or know if there were any painting done of the Shiverick clippers?  My father is a well know marine artist here on the Cape and is in the process of painting them but he doesn’t know any of the colors the ships might be showing.  thanks for your help.

Leslie Kenney, East Sandwich, Cape Cod

Posted by Leslie Kenney from East Sandwich MA on 10/08/11 at 01:10 PM | #

I am one of Captain Milton P. Hedge’s great great great grandsons.  Captain of the Webfoot for 12 years.  I was raised in East Dennis, not far from his home on Center Street.

-John King

Posted by John from DC on 02/21/13 at 10:36 PM | #

Hi there, my name is Sam Shiverick, son of Paul Shiverick, and his father Asa Shiverick Jr.  My dad, one of 4 brothers and a sister was raised in Cleveland Ohio.  We are very fond of the clipper ships that our ancestors built and have some collections around the house. I would love to continue this collection.  We even named our dog Griffer, short for Hippogrif (1 of the clipper ships).  My dad named his motor boat Webfoot in tribute to another of the clipper ships.  i can be reached at samshiverick AT

Posted by Sam Shiverick from Tulsa, OK on 06/25/15 at 04:23 PM | #

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