You are looking at  1-17 of 17 articles  for:

Clear All

Article

Boyle, Thomas (29 June 1776?–12 October 1825), shipmaster and privateer, was born reputedly at Marblehead, Massachusetts, although little else is known of his early years. His first recorded appearance was on 15 October 1792, when he registered at the Baltimore Customs House as master of the schooner ...

Article

Burns, Otway, Jr. (1775–25 October 1850), privateer, shipbuilder, and state legislator, was born on Queen’s Creek, Onslow County, North Carolina, the son of Otway Burns and Lisanah (maiden name unknown), farmers. Little is known of Burns’s education or youth. Apparently he went to sea at an early age and became a skilled seaman. In 1806 the Onslow County Court apprenticed an orphan lad to Burns to learn navigation. Prior to the War of 1812, Burns was master of a merchantman engaged in the coastwise trade between North Carolina and New England....

Article

Decatur, Stephen (1752–14 November 1808), merchant ship captain, privateersman, and naval officer, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of Etienne Decatur, a French seafarer of Dutch descent, and Priscilla Hill, of Newport, where Etienne had settled about 1750. Stephen was baptized on 7 June 1752, and the family moved shortly thereafter to Philadelphia. Etienne died when Stephen was a youth, leaving the family with little money. Stephen also went to sea and was master of a sloop by 1774. On 20 December of that year he married Ann Pine, a Philadelphian of Irish and Scottish descent. Four of their five children lived to adulthood; one daughter married an officer of the Marine Corps, and three sons, the most famous of whom was ...

Article

Green, Nathan (1784–1825), privateer captain, was a resident of Salem, Massachusetts. Almost nothing is known of his early years, and even his lineage has not been positively identified. It seems likely, though not certain, that his parents were John Green and Patty (full name unknown) of Salem and that he was baptized in Salem on 6 October 1797 at the age of thirteen. The obscurity of his upbringing does not disappear until his activities during the War of 1812, which was the only well-documented period of his life....

Article

Halsey, John (01 March 1670–1716), privateer and pirate, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of James Halsey (occupation unknown) and Dinah (maiden name unknown). Born in North America’s principal seaport in a time of naval rivalry and consequent naval warfare, John Halsey is reported to have first gone to sea as a sailor in HMS ...

Article

Hunley, Horace L. (29 December 1823–15 October 1863), promoter and financier of three Confederate submarines, was born Horace Lawson Hunley in Sumner County, Tennessee, just north of Nashville, the son of John Hunley, a cotton broker, and Louise Lawson Hunley. In 1830, with his family, Horace moved, by way of Mississippi, to New Orleans, where his father had served during the War of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans under General ...

Article

Manley, John ( August 1732?–12 February 1793), naval officer and privateer, was born apparently near Torquay, England, the son of Robert Manley. His mother’s name is unknown. By 1757 he was living in Boston and was a captain in the merchant marine. In 1763 he married Hannah Cheevers. As of 1768 Manley was master of a vessel called the ...

Article

McNeill, Daniel (05 April 1748–1833), privateer and naval officer, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the son of William McNeill and Catherine Morrison. Little is known about his early life. He married Mary Cuthbertson in February 1770. She apparently died sometime before 1773. He married a second time, to Abigail Harvey of Nottingham, England. He had at least ten children with her, the first being born in July 1773....

Article

Newport, Christopher (1561– August 1617), privateer and sea captain, was christened at Harwich, England, on 29 December 1561, the son of Christopher Newport, a shipmaster, and Jane (maiden name unknown). Young Christopher presumably served a North Sea apprenticeship before venturing into oceanic waters. He was serving on the ...

Article

Olmsted, Gideon (12 February 1749–08 February 1845), seaman and privateersman, was born in East Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Jonathan Olmsted and Hannah Meakins, farmers. Little is known of his early life. Olmsted went to sea sometime in 1770 and soon became captain of a small vessel trading from Connecticut to the West Indies. At the outbreak of the Revolution, Olmsted, along with several brothers and cousins, joined the East Hartford militia company and marched to Boston to take part in the siege. With the British evacuation of Boston in March 1776 Olmsted returned home. In the spring of 1777 he married Mabel Roberts; they had no children. In July he purchased the sloop ...

Article

Ropes, Joseph (15 December 1770–29 September 1850), shipmaster and privateersman, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of David Ropes and Ruth Hawthorne. His father, a naval captain in the American Revolution, died of his wounds at Halifax, Massachusetts, in 1781. Joseph was raised by his mother, reputedly the only person he ever feared. As a youth Ropes made several voyages to the West Indies and in 1794 took command of his own ship, ...

Article

Tracy, Nathaniel (11 August 1751–20 September 1796), merchant and revolutionary privateer, was born in Newbury (later Newburyport), Massachusetts, the son of Captain Patrick Tracy, who emigrated from County Wexford, Ireland, and Hannah Gookin. The elder Tracy became a wealthy merchant and sea captain. After attending the Boston Latin School and receiving his B.A. in 1769 and M.A. in 1772 from Harvard College, Nathaniel followed in his father’s footsteps. In 1774 he went into business with his brother John and Harvard classmate John Jackson of Boston, who had married his sister Hannah. In 1775 Tracy married Mary Lee, the daughter of Colonel Jeremiah Lee of Marblehead, thus uniting the leading families of two maritime communities. They had eleven children....

Article

Truxtun, Thomas (17 February 1755–05 May 1822), naval officer and author, was born near Hempstead, Long Island, the son of Thomas Truxtun, a barrister, and Sarah Axtell. His father, an Englishman who had come to Long Island from Jamaica, practiced law in New York City. Truxtun’s mother died when he was six years old. His father wrote a will, left his son to the care of John Troup, and departed from Long Island; he died when Truxtun was ten years old. In the meantime, Truxtun attended school for two years before he went to sea at the age of twelve aboard the merchant ship ...

Article

Waters, Daniel (20 June 1731–26 March 1816), naval officer and privateer, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the son of Adam Waters and Rachel Draper. Daniel Waters took up seafaring at an early age and became a captain in the merchant service. In 1759 he married Agnes Smith; the couple had one child. In 1771 he moved from Charlestown to the nearby village of Malden. An early convert to the cause of the American Revolution, he joined the local militia. His company participated in the fight with the British regulars at Lexington and Concord on 19 April 1775; shortly thereafter the Malden committee of safety put him in charge of the town’s defenses. During the siege of Boston he commanded a gunboat on the Charles River....

Article

Whipple, Abraham (26 September 1733–27 May 1819), privateersman and naval officer, was born in Providence, Rhode Island. According to a family genealogy, he was the son of Noah Whipple and Mary (maiden name unknown); no official birth information is extant. After going to sea at an early age Whipple became associated with the Brown family in the West India trade. During the Seven Years’ War Whipple served as a privateersman under the command of ...

Article

Williams, John Foster (12 October 1743–24 June 1814), officer in the Massachusetts State Navy and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. The identities of his parents are unknown, although he is believed to be a descendant of Roger Williams...

Article

Wooster, Charles Whiting (1780–1848), commander of the Chilean navy, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Thomas Wooster and Lydia Sheldon. As the grandson of General David Wooster, of revolutionary war fame, he had deep roots in New England and came from a family with a long tradition of service in maritime commerce and the military. He went to sea on a merchant vessel at the age of eleven and in the next decade learned the ways of seafaring and ocean-borne trade. Master of the ship ...