William T. Shorey

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William T. Shorey
Born (1859-07-13)July 13, 1859
Barbados, West Indies
Died April 15, 1919(1919-04-15) (aged 59)
Oakland, California
Occupation Ship Captain
Spouse(s) Julia Ann Shelton
Children Zenobia Pearl Shorey, Victoria Grace Shorey, William T. Shorey Jr

William T. Shorey (July 13, 1859 – April 15, 1919) was a late 19th-century American whaling ship captain known to his crew as the Black Ahab.[1] He was born in Barbados July 13, 1859 and spent his life at sea. He became the only black captain operating on the west coast of the United States in the late-1880s and 1890s.[2] He obtained his certification in 1885.[3] His whaling voyages were based out of San Francisco on the whaling bark John and Winthrop.[4] The John and Winthrop was the only whaling ship in the world to be manned entirely by an African-American crew.[5]

Shorey retired from whaling in 1908 and lived in Oakland until his death from the Spanish flu pandemic in 1919.[4][6] He is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.

WIlliam T. Shorey was of African descent through Barbados.[4]


  1. ^ Katz, William Loren (1987). The Black West. Seattle: Open Hand Publishing, Inc. 
  2. ^ "Shorey, William Thomas (1859-1919)". BlackPast.org. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Captain William T. Shorey". calisphere. University of California. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "African American History". San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. National Park Service. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Newell, Gordon R., ed. (1966). H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: Superior Pub. Co. LCCN 66025424. 
  6. ^ "A Captain's captain, William T. Shorey". African American Registry. Retrieved 28 March 2013.