by Dawn Merrill Edwards member of the Blue Ridge chapter
Sixty-six years ago, our boat began our family story. In 1954, A.H. Merrill Company, our family run general store in Norwich, Vermont, purchased the 13’6’ Clinker-Built built in Old Town, Maine. My grandfather, Leon Merrill purchased the boat for my parents, Arthur and Dorothy Merrill. She was purchased and picked up from the factory, with an exterior coat of white paint; Dorothy and Arthur varnished the interior. A canvas always covered “On Account” from the harsh New England elements. She was originally outfitted with a 10hp tiller steer. The name comes from all the billing my grandfather allowed our customers, especially when funds were short!
Memories were made with family and friends at numerous locations around Lake Champlain. Small bays were Dads preference, as he often stated perhaps he should have gotten the next larger length, due to Lake Champlain’s wide fetch often bringing three-foot waves.
A wheel and 35hp Evinrude were added in the seventies so my brother and I, both learned to love the water, fish, and water ski with this old woody. Our children remember water gushing into the boat almost as fast as they could pump it out, when the wood had not completely swollen
Fiberglass gave way to the old clinker, however, “On Account” was safely stored away in dry conditions. The only debris it collected over the next twenty years was dust and remains of an occasional raccoon. She sat waiting for the right time.
“On Account” currently resides in South Carolina. She has zero dry rot and needs minimal repair. Varnish and paint will be removed as we prepare to restore her to the way I remember. We are excited to share a love of boating with the fifth generation, as a boat in the same family for 65 years, makes a remarkable story.
A special thanks to Old Town for digitizing the old records so we have a copy of the original build order, and all the folks at the Georgetown, SC boat show, for sharing their knowledge and encouragement for refinishing our boat.