Skip to content
Antiques, salvage and repurposing are somewhat of a family tradition. My ancestors, the Sawyers, settled in East Boothbay in 1830 right in the middle of a busy ship building community. My great great grandfather, William Melvin Sawyer, like his father before him, traded spice in the West Indies as a master of his own vessels. Toward the latter part of the 1800’s, while watching a growing number of derelict ships and boats pile up along the coast, he realized there was a great deal of money to be made in salvage.
Setting up shop in Boothbay Harbor on the wharf where the Tugboat Inn now sits, he began purchasing and salvaging ships. He salvaged so many ships in fact that when a vessel was towed into the harbor, listing and ready to be scrapped, the locals used to say ”there’s another one leaning toward Sawyers.”
At his wharf they were stripped of everything that could possibly be re-used or re-purposed. Then the hulls were towed around the horn to the head of Mill Cove where they were set on fire and burned down to the ribs. At low tide a crew salvaged the metal fittings from the mud flats. Nothing of use was wasted. Eventually William’s son, Billy Sawyer, took over the business and ran it until his death in 1941.
Fast forward to today. We don’t salvage ships but we do salvage and rescue antiques and objects from local barns, attics and cottages to be sold to the highest bidder.
Jeff & Jen Dowdy
Owners/Sawyer’s Way Auction Company