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Gotts Surname Family History


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There are actually a lot of references to Captain Gotts in the newspapers in 1867. This is because he was the captain on the ‘Gibraltar’ ship which sank on the Dogger Bank. The main reason it was a headline was who the ship was previously. This is the story as carried by several papers, including the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser:

Only two papers give the Captain’s first name, one as Thomas Gotts and the other as Thomas Gott. It is clear that this is Thomas 1865 from all the records.

The final record we can find is a one-line entry in the York Herald, Saturday Feb 16th 1884 newspaper for Thomas's death:  

“GOTTS- on the 13th Inst (Feb) at Hull,  aged 70, Thomas Gotts, Pilot.“

The Gibraltar and Thomas Gotts

The Sumter

A three-masted Steamship

The Last of the Confederate cruiser Sumter

“The Gibraltar (Captain Gotts) belonging to Mr TH Lyon of Hull, and formerly the Sumter, of the Confederate government, closed her eventful career on Thursday morning. She set out for London on Wednesday, and on the evening of that day, and when off the Dogger Bank, it was found that the ship had sprung a leak below the engine room. The water came in fast and all hands were called to the pumps; but after working for six hours the pumps became choked and no hope remained of saving the vessel. The crew took to their boats and were picked up by a fishing smack and landed at Grimsby on Saturday morning, and afterwards passed on the Hull.”

What is interesting is the level of detail varies between papers. Some give more detail of the Sumpter, others describe how a Leith steamer, the Warsaw, checked to see if they could tow the ship to port, but they decided it couldn’t make it. Because they were on the Dogger Bank and the sea was calm they decided to get a fishing smack to take them off if they couldn’t rescue it. Two other papers give more detail about the history of the ship that year, and describes what they had been carrying from Helsingborg in Sweden and Helsingfors in Finland, and why the pumps got choked.

For more details of this click on the link below:

040 - Thomas 1865 Gotts - CSS Sumter

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The history of the ship is interesting. It was called the ‘Habana’ before being renamed by the Confederate Navy, but then as the Sumter it was fast and used less coal per mile than many Union ships. It captured, harassed and sank several of them, before sailing to Cadiz then Gibraltar for repairs. It was blockaded in there for several months, during which the captain and crew returned returned to USA and took on other ships. Eventually it was sold and renamed as ‘SS Gibraltar’ (an easy choice of name!)

The 290 Foundation has details of CSS Sumter. Click on the image above