Nantucket shipbuilding

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In spite of limited financial incentives and few natural resources, numerous vessels were built and launched from Nantucket in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Whaleship Essex, original sketch by Thomas Nickerson. Rammed and sunk by a whale, in the South Pacific, 1820. Image from the collection of the Nantucket Historical Association.

Shipbuilding at Brant Point[edit]

Brant Point Lighthouse, Nantucket, 1856

Nantucket, Massachusetts island lies 30 miles off the southern coastline of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. By the late 17th century, the few groves of forest trees on Nantucket were gone except for small numbers of isolated oak and beech trees. These relatively few Nantucket forest trees were cut for firewood, fence posts, and short boards for diverse construction projects. Land was taken for agriculture and stock raising. Any timbers needed for architectural and shipbuilding use were imported from the mainland, with the result that most Nantucket whaling, fishing, and maritime trade was carried on in vessels purchased from shipbuilders elsewhere in New England.

Brant Point on the north side of Nantucket harbor still has the sandy beach that was a good site for building large wooden ships[1] and it is the location of Brant Point Light.

The first ship built on Nantucket after the town moved to Great Harbor was the brig Dolphin, a West Indies trader launched in 1770.[2]

In 1802, the trading ship 'Rose' was built at Nantucket for use in the China trade. On her last voyage under the United States flag, the 'Rose' was captured by the British and finished her days as a dispatch ship for the Royal Navy.[3]

Whaling ships[edit]

'The Charles Carroll'[edit]

In 1832, the whaler 'Charles Carroll' was built for captain and 1/32 share owner Owen Chase the first mate and survivor of the Essex tragedy. This history is confirmed by other references to Capt. Owen Chase.[4][5] .[6][7][8]

Whaling Voyages of the 'Charles Carroll'[edit]

  • "The 'Charles Carroll', Owen Chase, October 10, 1832, and arrived March 3, 1836, 2610 barrels sperm."[9]
  • "The 'Charles Carroll', Owen Chase, August 1836 and arrived February 15, 1840, "nearly full."[10]
  • "The 'Charles Carroll', Thomas S. Andrews, May 29, and arrived December 6, 1843, 1926 barrels sperm, sent home 250 barrels sperm.".[11]
  • In 1844 – "A 'Charles Carroll' whaler was listed for Nantucket, weight 371 tons, Thomas L. Andrews, captain, W.C. Swain owner."[12]
  • "The 'Charles Carroll', Thomas S. Andrews, Pacific Ocean, May 16, and arrived May 29, 1848, 1261 barrels sperm, 473 whale."[13]
  • "The 'Charles Carroll', Josiah C. Long, December 2d, and arrived December 29, 1852, 1050 barrels sperm, 93 whale. [Sold 35 barrels sperm and 200 whale on the voyage.] And the 'Charles Carroll' is sold to New Bedford."[14]

The Nantucket[edit]

At 350 tons, Nantucket was the first Nantucket Island ship built of Live oak with copper fastenings. The construction cost for the vessel was $52,000.[15] Nantucket's short life ended when she was wrecked in 1859.

Two whale ships under construction at Brant Point, Nantucket – on the launch ways and in dry dock, nd.

Whaling voyages of the Nantucket[edit]

  • "The 'Nantucket', (new) David N. Edwards, Pacific Ocean, sailed December 19, 1837, and arrived November 19, 1839, 1480 barrels sperm, 30 whale."[16]
  • "The 'Nantucket', George W. Gardner, June 16, and arrived May 12, 1845, 1279 barrels sperm, 1326 whale."[17]
  • "The 'Nantucket', Benjamin C. Gardner, August 17, and arrived January 7, 1850, 2051 barrels sperm."[18]
  • "The 'Nantucket', Richard C. Gibbs, June 8, and arrived August 31, 1854, 1022 sperm, 63 whale. [Sent home 769 barrels sperm, 100 whale.] Oil sold $1.50/gallon."[19]
  • "The 'Nantucket', Richard C. Gibbs, June 14, 1855, 1022 sperm, 63 whale. [Lost on Nashawena on her homeward passage with 756 bbls sperm, 794 whale on board.] Sold for $950."[20]

The 'Lexington'[edit]

Also built in 1838 of live oak and copper fastenings was the whaler 'Lexington' at 399 tons. She was valued at $24,000 and ended her life when wrecked in 1859. Mrs. Eliza Spenser Brock wrote a detailed and important history of a whaling voyage when she accompanied he husband, and Lexington's captain, on a Lexington whaling voyage in 1853.[21]

Whaling Voyages of the 'Lexington'[edit]

  • The 'Lexington' to Edgartown for fitting out. "August, ship Lexington, of this port, in tow of steamer "Telegraph," for Edgartown, to fit for the Pacific Ocean, upset when rounding Brant Point. She was towed in here and righted that night and left for Edgartown on the 29th, her topmasts all housed."[22]
  • The 'Lexington', Alexander Pollard, November 27, and arrived June 10, 1840, 2185 barrels sperm. [Capt. Pollard died, and Henry W. Davis finished the voyage."[23]
  • The 'Lexington', Henry W. Davis, August 29, and arrived March 14, 1844, 1336 barrels sperm, 1334 whale. [Sent home 125 barrels sperm. Capt. Davis left at Rio sick, Mr. Weeks took charge."[24]
  • The 'Lexington', Edward Weeks, June 26, and arrived July 7, 1848, 1780 barrels sperm, 1404 whale."[25]
  • The 'Lexington', David Bunker, 2d, November 10, and arrived January 22d, 1853, 742 barrels sperm, 229 whale."[26]
  • "The 'Lexington, Peter C. Brock, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, May 21, and arrived June 25, 1856, 310 barrels sperm, 1637 whale. Sold 20 barrels on the voyage. ..."[27]
  • "The 'Lexington', James Fisher, September 19. [Lost on Strong's Island in 1859. Saved 100 barrels whale. ..."[28]
Taking the blubber off, Nantucket Harbor by Josiah Freeman, ?1867–?1890.

The 'Joseph Starbuck'[edit]

In 1838, Joseph Starbuck built the last whaler constructed at Brant Point and named it after himself – the 'Joseph Starbuck'. [29]

Whaling Voyage of the Joseph Starbuck' –

  • "The 'Joseph Starbuck', (new) Sanford Wilber, November 15, and arrived April 3d, 1842, 3221 barrels sperm."[30]

Bibliography[edit]

Ocean Whaling Scene, E.Burdett (Nantucket), (1805–32)

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "SPLASH: Boatbuilding on Nantucket", by Joshua B. Gray, Nantucket Today, July 2008, Retrieved on October 7, 2008
  2. ^ [http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/APA/Nantucket/default.aspx#panel=home. Retrieved October 29, 2017
  3. ^ Ship 'Rose', Brant Point 1803 At usgennet.org, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Retrieved on October 5, 2008
  4. ^ Captain Owen Chase, whaler 'Charles Carroll' 1832-6, in [CHASE-L] Note from the chronicles 1918 by Lonnie Chase", July 2000 at Roots Web. Retrieved on October 3, 2008. The history of the 'Charles Carroll' began with some notoriety as her first captain was Owen Chase, who was First Mate on the whaler Essex. Owen Chase was one of only eight men to survive an horrendous journey over thousands of miles of ocean in whaleboats after an enraged sperm whale rammed and sank Essex in the central Pacific.
  5. ^ The Wreck of the Whaleship Essex, n.d. retrieved on October 3, 2008. Owen Chase was connected to several of the founding families of Nantucket. More about Owen Chase, in CHASE-L Archives by Jeffrey Chace, September 2004 at Roots Web. Retrieved on October 3, 2008. After recovering from his ordeal, Owen Chase assumed command of the whale ship 'Charles Carroll'.
  6. ^ "In 1832,a pair of Dorchester entrepreneurs – Elisha Preston and Charles O. Whitmore, formed a syndicate with several well-heeled Boston businessmen to establish whale and cod fisheries on the Dorchester shore. They built a second whaler named after 'Charles Carroll' in Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1828. On October 31, 1833, the snap of wind against canvas sails echoed along Commercial Point, Dorchester. This 'Charles Carroll', a trim 386-ton New England whaler glided out of her home port, bound for the Pacific Ocean. In 1836, she returned with 2,000 bbl sperm Whale oil and a fortune in whalebone." "The Stately Ships of Commercial Point", by Peter F. Stevens, The Dorchester Reporter, Boston Neighborhood News, Inc 2000. Retrieved on October 3, 2008. The whaler 'Charles Carroll' Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1828. In Good Old Dorchester: A Narrative History of the Town, 1630–1893. by William Dana Orcutt, pp.177–8. Published by the author, printed by J. Wilson, University press, 1893. Google Books, February 11, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008
  7. ^ A reference to crewman Elhu M. Pierson who sailed on the Charles 'Carroll' in the late 1850s likely refers to the Newburyport 'Charles Carroll.Elhu M. Pierson on the 'Charles Carroll' late 1850s. In Memorials of Old Bridgehampton, by James Truslow Adams, published by Priv. print. at the press of The Bridgehmapton News, 1916, p.275. Digitized Google Books, January 28, 2008. Complete text download, retrieved on October 3, 2008
  8. ^ Likewise Captain Henry E. Huntting whose 3rd voyage was the command of the 'Charles Carroll' on which he made several cruises to the Arctic shortly before 1863 is a reference to the Newburyport 'Charles Carroll'. Captain Henry E. Huntting, of the Charles Carroll. In Memorials of Old Bridgehampton By James Truslow Adams, published by Priv. print. at the press of The Bridgehmapton News, 1916, p.267. Digitized Google Books, January 28, 2008. Complete text download, retrieved on October 3, 2008
  9. ^ 'Charles Carroll' whaling voyage 1836. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson, Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.27. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  10. ^ Thomas Farel Heffernan Stove by a Whale: Owen Chase and the Essex Wesleyan University Press 1990 Pg 123 – 134 ISBN 978-0-8195-6244-9
  11. ^ 'Charles Carroll' whaling voyage 1843. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson, published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.34. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008
  12. ^ Whaler 'Charles Carroll', Nantucket 1844. In History of the American Whale Fishery from Its Earliest Inception to the Year 1876 By Alexander Starbuck, published by The author, 1878, p 412. Original from the University of Michigan Digitized September 13, 2007, at Google Books, complete text download, Retrieved on October 3, 2008.
  13. ^ 'Charles Carroll' whaling voyage 1848. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson, published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.37. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  14. ^ 'Charles Carroll' ?last whaling voyage 1852. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson, Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.41. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  15. ^ Whaler 'Nantucket' built Brant Point, 1836?, 1838? In Olde Massachusetts: Sketches of Old Times and Places During the Early Days of the Commonwealth by Charles Burr Todd. The Grafton Press, 1907, p.98. Digitized Google Books, January 28, 2008. Complete text download, retrieved on October 3, 2008
  16. ^ 'Nantucket' whaling voyage 1837-9. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson, Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.31. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  17. ^ 'Nantucket' whaling voyage 1845. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson, Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.35. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  18. ^ 'Nantucket' whaling voyage 1850. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson, Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.39. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  19. ^ 'Nantucket' whaling voyage 1854. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson, Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.42. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  20. ^ 'Nantucket' whaling voyage 1855. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson, Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.46. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  21. ^ Eliza Spenser Brock's journal, whaling voyage on the 'Lexington', The Journal of Eliza Brock- At Sea on the 'Lexington' by Sherri Federbush, Nantucket Historical Society, 1982, in the Historic Nantucket, Volume 30, Number 1, July 1982, p. 13-17. Retrieved on October 5, 2008
  22. ^ 'Lexington to Edgartown to fit for the Pacific.. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson. Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.30. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  23. ^ 'Lexington' whaling voyage, 1840.. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson. Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.31. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  24. ^ 'Lexington' whaling voyage, 1844.. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson. Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.34. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  25. ^ Lexington' whaling voyage, 1848.. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson. Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.37. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  26. ^ Lexington' whaling voyage, 1853.. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson. Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.41. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  27. ^ 'Lexington' whaling voyage, 1856.. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson. Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.44. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  28. ^ 'Lexington' whaling voyage, 1859.. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson. Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.47. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  29. ^ Whaler 'Joseph Starbuck', built Brant Point 1838. In Nantucket's Master Mason: Christopher Capen by James L. Dunlap, Nantucket Historical Society, n.d. Retrieved on October 5, 2008
  30. ^ 'Joseph Starbuck' whaling voyage, 1842.. In Catalogue of Nantucket Whalers: And Their Voyages from 1815 to 1870, by Hussey & Robinson. Published by Hussey & Robinson 1876, p.32. Google Books, June 27, 2008. Complete text download retrieved on October 20, 2008.
Nantucket Whaler "Rose", scrimshaw by E.Burdett (1805–32)