Briggs, Enos

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Enos Briggs (1746-1819) was a master ship-builder and builder of the original Friendship in 1797.

Born in Pembroke, Mass., he trained there as a shipwright by his father. Elias Derby hired to build the "largest ship ever built in this country". The 650 ton Grand Turk was finished in 1791. Briggs moved to Salem after building the Grand Turk and employed 20 men, eventually building fifty vessels before his death in 1819. Briggs built ships for both Elias Derby and Joseph Peabody, two of Salem's most successful merchants.

He also built for Simon Forrester and George Crowninshield.

Some of his innovations were using half-models in the design process and one of the first in America to launch a ship sideways.

The apex of his career was the construction of the Frigate Essex in 1798-9, the only warship ever built in Salem. Nearly $75,000 was raised through public subscription to finance the Essex and only Essex County materials were used in its construction.

Briggs died in Salem in 1819 but his reputation has been sustained 200 years by the constant retelling of the Essex story by naval historians.


See Also