The Legacy of Captain Steadman A. Parker (1897 – 1966)
While searching through my accumulated trove of old records and documents I came upon a fascinating exposé written by Captain Steadman A. Parker. Captain Parker was one of those people who played a key role in history but was denied the recognition of that critical role. We all know people like that. Someone who had the idea, the dream, lead the way for others to follow, only to come up short in the recognition department. In a way, Parker reminds me of a football player who recovers a fumble and runs 98 yards only to be tackled on the two-yard line just as he laterals the ball to another player who scores. Who gets the recognition? The guy that scores.
Captain Parker’s story is like that. Growing up as a young man in the early 20th century he was bitten by the treasure bug while searching the beaches with his father near Sebastian Florida. Convinced that there were wrecks in the area he kept his dream of finding them alive. But working and raising a family took priority and so he was never able to act on his dream until the mid-1940s. It was around that time he met Kip WagnerKip Wagner (1906 – 1972) was instrumental in the formation of the team that later became the Real Eight Company and one of the greatest salvage groups that ever explored the 1715 Fleet wrecks. He ... and introduced him to the idea that a treasure was “out there”. But lacking the financial resources Parker was never able to recover it. Parker had planted the idea and Wagner took it a step further. With his determination and drive, Wagner was able to assemble the means to actually salvage the treasure that Parker absolutely knew was there. His “dream” was realized, but not the way that Parker had hopefully expected.
In many ways, luck had a lot to do with it. Wagner had a lot of luck on his side which Parker did not have. In the end, it is Wagner who is credited with finding and recovering the lost treasure of the 1715 Fleet. This is not to diminish in any way Wagner’s significant contribution to the shipwreck community. He deserves this credit. After all, he was the one that scored. But Parker was the one who, metaphorically, ran the ball 98 yards. He was the prophet who preached to many and was laughed at and considered a “dreamer” or, worse yet, some sort of “screwball”. In the end, though, he was proven right. A small consolation but I think to him it was most gratifying.
The exposé that you are about to read in the images below is from Parker’s perspective, so you can take it for what it is worth.
To view/download a PDF of the exposé, click HERE.
NOTE: Special thanks to author Randy Lathrop who inspired me to write this story about Captain Steadman A. Parker after reading Randy’s recent book “ O Treasure Where Art Thou’ which he published in 2022. Also, I wish to thank him for supplying the images of Captain Steadman A. Parker used in this post.
President, 1715 Fleet Society