February 5, 2023 – by Andy Ciesla and Jill Ocone
The Point Pleasant Historical Society and Museum is pleased to announce that a new Coast Guard Cutter was named after Point Pleasant native William P. Chadwick in a ceremony on November 10, 2022.
The Chadwick family has a long and rich history at the Jersey Shore. It appears that the earliest Chadwick ancestor to emigrate here from Great Britain (c 1700) was John H. Chadwick. The Chadwick family made their way to New Jersey and first settled in Sea Bright, then part of Shrewsbury Township. Eventually, the Chadwicks migrated to the Squan Beach area, which today spans from Manasquan to near Ortley Beach.
They settled near both the Manasquan River and the Barnegat Bay and were well-known fishermen, baymen, and watermen.
William Chadwick was born in 1830 to John P. Chadwick and Anne Longstreet. In 1854, he married Anne Maxson, the daughter of John Maxson, one of Point Pleasant’s largest landowners and local maritime wreckmasters.
In his capacity as a wreckmaster, John Maxson often was involved in the rescue of wrecked ships and their crews along the Squan Beach Coast as a member of the United States Lifesaving Service, which was the predecessor to the United States Coast Guard. The most famous of Maxon’s successful rescues was the survivors of the British sailing ship Ayrshire on January 12, 1850 bound for the Port of New York that ran aground off Squan Beach. This incident marked the first time a life car was successfully used to rescue individual from stranded or sinking vessels.
Chadwick followed in his father-in-law’s footsteps, and in October 1868, Chadwick was appointed a station keeper at Green Island by New Jersey Senator John G. W. Havens, who was the superintendent of the lifesaving service for the entire New Jersey coast. He maintained his office on Arnold Avenue in Point Pleasant. Green Island is now known as Chadwick Beach.
On February 3, 1880, William Chadwick and his crew from the Green Island station responded when the schooner George Taulane, which was enroute from Virginia to New York ran aground on a sandbar between the Green Island and Mantoloking life-saving stations during a severe nor’easter. The epic struggle to save the seven-man crew of the Taulane lasted nearly six hours in horrific weather conditions. Chadwick and his men had to brave dangerous surf, high wind, freezing torrential rain, and exhaustion, but successfully rescued the men.
After a review of the actions of the lifesaving team that day by Superintendent Havens, he made the determination that their actions were worthy of the Congressional Gold Life Saving Medal.
Chadwick stayed as the keeper of the Green Island Station until he retired in 1886. He remained active in this area until his death in 1914. He and his wife are buried in the Methodist Episcopal Cemetery at the base of the Route 88 Canal Bridge in Point Pleasant.
In a ceremony on November 10, 2022, the United States Coast Guard commissioned and named its new Fast Response Coast Guard Cutter in honor of William P. Chadwick. The Coast Guard Cutter William Chadwick (WPC-1150) is the first of six Fast Response Cutters to be stationed at Coast Guard Base Boston. The 154-foot cutter will conduct missions offshore of the Northeast United States with a commander and 24-person crew.
Harry Chadwick, current member of the Point Pleasant Historical Society, is a relative of William P. Chadwick (second cousin, three generations removed).