Page 13: Historic boat returns to South Mississippi

It's quite a sight to behold. A 137 year old schooner. The Governor Stone is steeped in maritime history and the story began right here in South Mississippi.

"The Governor Stone was built in Pascagoula in 1877. It is the oldest boat built in the Gulf of Mexico that is still sailing," said Senior Captain Bill Hamilton who works with the nonprofit Friends of the Governor Stone organization.

The vessel has been given national historic landmark designation.

Built in 1877 and named for John Marshall Stone, Mississippi's first post civil war Governor the Schooner was used to transport freight in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

As you can imagine, It's a thrill to sail the Governor Stone.

"The experience of hoisting the sails and standing at the helm is living history. You can read about boats like this in history books, but you can't understand what it was like to sail one in the 1800's," said Hamilton.

The Governor Stone has been brought to Master Boat Builder Bill Holland's D'Iberville boat yard.

Holland knows this schooner well.

He repaired the boat in 1989 and appreciates the effort to preserve the Governor Stone.

"It makes me feel good to know these people are putting so much effort into making the boat what it is today and bringing it back to its original condition." Holland said.

The 63 foot Governor Stone is based in Panama City, Florida.

The vessel is used to promote historic and cultural tourism.

Returning home to South Mississippi for restoration will allow the Friends of the Governor Stone to continue the boat's legacy