Just after midnight on December 18, 1903, a schooner left the Belize City harbor bound for Pensacola. On board was a shipment of mahogany logs and a crew that no doubt was looking forward to a quiet voyage home. The journey to Belize, which had begun in early August, had been anything but quiet. A storm wracked the schooner for days after its departure from Pensacola, reportedly causing it to take on water at an alarming rate. The inexperienced captain finally brought the vessel safely into port only to discover that the and the crew diverged seven hundred miles off course: they were in Mexico, not Belize. To make matters worse, hostile creditors and corrupt customs officials detained the ship. Luck just was not with the Richard A. Bingham. In fact, throughout its short life of just 350 days, the schooner faced more than its share of problems. After extricating the ship from financial problems, the owner-Frasier Franklin Bingham-and crew finally sailed it safely to Belize to conduct business and began their return trip to Pensacola. Convinced that all was finally in order with his ship. Bingham left it in Belize and embarked for the United States aboard an ocean-steamer. A few days later, as the schooner passed the outer ranges of the harbor and headed into the open sea, a violent storm churned off the Caribbean and "whirled the ship steadily onto the coral reef. Ship and cargo were lost; captain and crew made it to shore safely. Sometime after the event, Bingham penned a final succinct entry in the ship's account book: "Sailed Dec. 17 from Belize to Pensacola and that night went on a coral reef outside of Belize harbor and became a total loss. Crew saved." So ended the short career of the schooner Richard A. Bingham.
Heier, Jan Richard
"The Short Life of the Richard A. Bingham,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 79:
2, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol79/iss2/3