The Puc-Puggy Sailboat Donated to BTSF

The Puc-Puggy with builder Bob Cole
Photo by Bob Griffin

The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners has donated the Puc-Puggy, a conceptual replica of William Bartram’s sailboat, to the Bartram Trail Society of Florida.  Puc-Puggy is the Indian name given to Bartam by Ayaha, the Cowkeeper, Chief of the Seminoles, and the name given the vessel by its previous caretakers. The Puc-Puggy is the builder’s interpretation of the vessel William used during his travels on the St. Johns River in 1774. It is a valuable part of the Bartram story in Florida. Bartram called it “My trusty and fortunate bark.” When William left the Lower Store at the conclusion of his 1774 travels in Florida, he gave the vessel to his trusted interpreter and guide, Job Wiggins.

The Puc-Puggy will be used in our educational programs such as our annual Frolic on the St. Johns Education Program in partnership with the Putnam County School District and the St. Johns Riverkeeper. The Puc-Puggy was on display along with Billy Bartram and was an important part of our educational presentations to over a thousand young people this year.

The Puc-Puggy under sail on the St. Johns during the Bartram Frolic

We had five special interpretive events in 2024 celebrating the 250th anniversary of William Bartram’s trip on the St. Johns River. They were in Nassau County (4/12/24), Clay County (4/20/24), Putnam County (4/27/24); Alachua County (5/4/24) and St. Johns County (5/11/24). However, the Puc-Puggy was part of our Bartram interpretation only at the events that either celebrate the entire Trail, or at those where Bartram actually used his vessel.

The Puc-Puggy on the shore of the St. Johns

The Society looks forward to displaying the vessel and appreciates the opportunity to include the Puc-Puggy as part of our Bartram Heritage presentations where it will receive the attention it deserves.

William Bartram (Mike Adams) and Job Wiggins (Robert Wilson) with the Puc-Puggy at Camp Chowenwaw.