At the time of Hesper's construction, the vessel's owners were undecided as to whether it should be called the Hesper or Hesperus (the latter having bad connotations relative to Longfellow's poem The Wreck of the Hesperus). When it was found that the name Hesper had been cut on its capstan, they kept the name. However, there is no difference in the meaning of the two words. Hesper is the evening star and in Greek mythology was a brother of Atlas, the father of the seven sisters known as the Hesperides, "who guarded the golden apples that Hercules obtained after a long fight." The Hesper had a reasonably uneventful career and was operated by the Bradley Fleet until it was lost in 1905. The vessel was always well cared-for and was considered an efficient ship.
During its career the Hesper was associated with the sinking of the Samuel P. Ely. According to Duluth News Tribune of Oct. 31, 1896, the
... Ely, in tow of the Steamer Hesper, left Duluth on Thursday about 11 o'clock in the forenoon. The steamboat had a load of wheat for Buffalo, but the schooner was light. They were bound for Two Harbors, where the Ely was to load ore. The strong head wind and heavy sea which she encountered made a slow voyage and it was after dark when the Hesper and her consort made the western breakwater, now under construction at Two Harbors. The sea was running mountains high and the Hesper, in heading for the slip between the ore docks, let go the towline of the Ely, or it parted under the strain. Whatever the case the Ely went adrift. She let go both her anchors, but they would not hold, and she dragged them and her toward the shore.It blew across the harbor onto the west breakwater under construction. The ship was pounded to pieces.
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