Charles W. Morgan (ship)
Charles W. Morgan at Mystic Seaport, CT
|Career (United States)|
|Owner:||Charles W. Morgan, 1841–
J. & W. R. Wing Company, c.1863 – c.1912
Col. E H R Green, c.1925–1941
Whaling Enshrined, Inc., 1941
Mystic Seaport, 1941–
|Builder:||Jethro and Zachariah Hillman, New Bedford, Massachusetts|
|Length:||113 ft (34 m) LOA|
|Beam:||27 ft 6 in (8.38 m)|
|Draft:||17 ft 6 in (5.33 m)|
|Sail plan:||Double-topsail bark rig; 13,000 sq ft (1,200 m2) of sail|
Charles W. Morgan
|NRHP Reference #||66000804|
|Added to NRHP||13 November 1966|
|Designated NHL||13 November 1966|
Charles W. Morgan was a US whaling ship during the 19th and early 20th century. Ships of this type usually harvested the blubber of whales for whale oil, which was commonly used in lamps. The ship is an exhibit at the Mystic Seaport museum in Mystic, Connecticut, and is the world's oldest surviving merchant vessel.
The ship is named for her original owner, a Quaker whaling merchant who ordered its construction from the shipbuilders Jethro and Zachariah Hillman of New Bedford, Massachusetts. The ship's maiden voyage began on September 6, 1841, with a journey around Cape Horn and across the Pacific Ocean. Following Charles W. Morgan's initial three-year, four-month voyage, she came home with 1,600 barrels of sperm oil, 800 barrels of whale oil and 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) baleen (whalebone) which was worth around US$56,000.
The hull and deck of Charles W. Morgan reflected the three typical functions of a whaling ship. They served as:
- a mother ship to a fleet of small whaleboats, which were stored on the davits when not in use,
- a factory and a refinery ship with tryworks for extracting oil from whale blubber,
- an oil tanker.
In her 80 years of service, she made 37 voyages ranging in length from nine months to five years. Charles W. Morgan, in total, brought home 54,483 barrels of sperm and whale oil and 152,934 pounds of whalebone. She sailed in the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans, surviving ice and snow storms. Her crew survived a cannibal attack in the South Pacific. Between 1888 and 1904 she was based in San Francisco.
Charles W. Morgan had more than 1,000 whalemen of all races and nationalities in her lifetime. Her crew included not only Americans, but sailors from Cape Verde, New Zealand, the Seychelles, Guadeloupe, and Norfolk Island. The ship's crew averaged around 33 men per voyage. As with other whaleships in the 19th century, Charles W. Morgan was often home to the captain's family. Charles W. Morgan was owned and managed by the J. & W. R. Wing Company of New Bedford.
On the night of June 30, 1924, Charles W. Morgan caught fire when struck by the flaming wreck of the steamer Sankaty, which had drifted across the Acushnet River from New Bedford harbor. Badly charred, Charles W. Morgan narrowly escaped destruction.
The Charles W. Morgan seemed to be fated to be scrapped, but in 1924, E.H.R. Green single handedly saved the ship from destruction by providing funds necessary to save her. Col. Green was one of the world's richest men, and the start of his family's fortune was in the 1800s when they were in the Whaling industry, and even owned The Charles W. Morgan for a few years. The whaling days came to an end with the advance of petroleum refining. Charles W. Morgan was under the care of Whaling Enshrined, Inc. until 1941, when she was transferred to Mystic Seaport, where she remains. The ship is the only surviving wooden whaling ship from the 19th century American fleet.
Charles W. Morgan arrived at Mystic Seaport in December 1941. The ship was declared a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. In 1971, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring Charles W. Morgan.
An initial restoration and preservation project was undertaken in 1968. In 2010 Mystic Seaport was engaged in a multi-million dollar restoration, intended to restore the ship to seaworthy status.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charles W. Morgan.|
- National Register of Historic Places listings in New London County, Connecticut
- List of museum ships
- Schroer, Blanche Higgins; Bradford, S. Sydney (11 December 1974). "The Charles W. Morgan" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination. National Park Service.and
"Accompanying 4 photos, from 1974 and undated" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination. National Park Service. 11 December 1974.
- "Charles W. Morgan – Whaling Ship". Mystic Seaport. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 23 January 2007.
- "Charles W. Morgan (Bark)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-03.
- "Successful whaler returns" (pdf). The New York Times. 30 October 1900.
- The Dukes County Intelligencer 24 (4). May 1983.
- "Title unknown". The American Neptune (Peabody Museum of Salem). 1949.
- "Pacific Steam Navigation Company". Sea Breezes 56 (443). November 1982.
- Broad, William J. (16 August 2010). "A Quest to Make the Morgan Seaworthy". Science. The New York Times.
- "Charles W Morgan - Mystic Seaport". Mystic Seaport Museum. Retrieved 2013-06-22.
- Bond, Michaelle (21 July 2013). "Museum Relaunches Wooden Whaler Built in 1841". N.Y. / Region. The New York Times.