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The painting “Ecce Homo” hangs in Wilmington's St. James Episcopal Church. It got there in a most unusual way. During King George's War, 1739-1748, the English and Spanish governments fought for power in the Caribbean. On September 4, 1748, two Spanish ships, the Fortuna and Loretta, arrived at the shore of the North Carolina town of Brunswick. The townspeople fled the area as the Spanish entered the town. The attackers plundered the city for several days before the colonists fought back. Under the leadership of militia captain William Dry, the colonists pushed the Spanish soldiers out of the town, killing ten and taking thirty prisoners. The Spanish retreated to their ships and shelled the town. The Fortuna caught fire and suddenly exploded, sinking in shallow water. Left without her companion, the Loretta sailed back down the Cape Fear River and headed out to sea. The Spanish had stored their plunder in the Fortuna, however, and fortunately the citizens of Brunswick were able to recover it. They also found the Captain's belongings, which included the painting “Ecce Homo.” They took the painting and placed it in a local church. Eventually, the painting was given to the St. James Episcopal Church in 1770.
The State (NoCar F 251 S77), Vol. 51 Issue 5, Oct 1983, p18-20, il, por
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