A Flick of Sunshine and the Remarkable Adventures of a “Bath Boy”

Saturday, May 7

2 p.m.

In the Community Room and on Zoom

Join local author Fredric B. Hill for a lively discussion of local history and a reading from his latest book “A Flick of Sunshine.” 

Hill’s talk will focus mainly on the story of a shipwreck, survival in the latter days of the great three- and four-masted sailing ships, and Bath’s prominence in shipbuilding in the mid and later 19th century.  Will Jackson, a “Bath Boy” (as sailors from the city of ships were often known) was born at the beginning of the Civil war.  He was the grandson of William Donnell Crooker, who, with his brother, led one of the most successful shipbuilding companies in the middle of the century before they ran into hard times, the panic of 1857, and fiscal challenges.  Because of the decline of the shipyard, Jackson, Hill’s great-uncle, went to sea at age 21. He was the youngest, lowest paid, and last member of the crew and effectively saved all members of the (Sewall) ship Rainier when it wrecked on a reef in the Marshall Islands in January 2, 1884- only to get marooned there himself for several more months.

This program will be presented in the Community Room and live on Zoom.  Books will be available for purchase at the event and at Mockingbird Bookshop. Registration is required for the Zoom webinar only.  With support from Sagadahoc Preservation, Inc.

Register for This Event


Frederic B. Hill was a reporter, correspondent and editorial writer for The Baltimore Sun, including tours as Bureau Chief in London and Paris, covering Europe and  southern Africa.  His award-winning articles on corruption in Baltimore county and the state of Maryland led to major reforms and convictions of high-level government officials.  He was Foreign Affairs Director for Sen. Charles McC. Mathias, Jr. (R., MD) in 1985 and 1986, and assisted and advised the senator on a number of path-breaking legislative achievements, including the U.S. sanctions against South Africa’s apartheid regime and several arms control initiatives.

He then helped establish and headed the State Department’s first Office of Special Programs. The office conducted policy planning exercises (wargames) and senior-level  discussions on security, political, economic and global issues for the Department of State and key national security agencies from 1986 to 2006.

A native of Maine and graduate of Bowdoin College, he is the author of “Ships, Swindlers and Scalded Hogs, the Rise and Fall of the Crooker Shipyard in Bath, Maine” (Down East Books, 2016) and co-editor with Stephens Broening of “The Life of Kings; The Baltimore Sun and the Golden Age of the American Newspaper “(Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).  Mr. Hill wrote the preface of the collection and a chapter detailing his investigative articles on corruption in Maryland which led, indirectly through subsequent investigations, to the resignation of Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew.

Another book, Dereliction of Duty: The Failed Presidency of Donald John Trump, was published by Amazon Books, in summer 2020.  With endorsements from senior State and Defense department leaders and journalists, the book is a collection of his op-ed columns on national security issues and the former president’s disdain for the rule of law for national and regional newspapers, including the Dallas Morning News, The Baltimore Sun, the Bangor (Me.) Daily News and Portland Press Herald.

His most recent book, A Flick of Sunshine, written with his son, Alexander Jackson Hill, has just been released by Lyons Press in February, 2022 after a Covid-related delay.  Two more books, a biography of Senator Charles “Mac” Mathias, Jr. and a collection of short stories of a popular Maine author, Richard Matthews Hallet, are due to be published this summer.

He is a member and former president of Maine’s First Ship, an organization building a reconstruction of the first vessel built by English settlers in North America, at Popham Beach, Maine, in 1607-08, and for ten years was co-director of a leading doubles squash tournament, the Maine/Maryland at Meadow Mill (M4) Doubles Championships.

He resides in Arrowsic, Maine and Baltimore.  Email address: fhill207@gmail.com

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