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Fiske, John (11 April 1744–28 September 1797), naval officer and merchant seaman, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of the Reverend Samuel Fiske, a Christian minister, and Anna Gerrish. Besides the educational instruction he received from his father, Fiske attended local schools. At an early age, he determined to make his living as a sailor, and by the time he was twenty-one he commanded a brigantine in trade with Spanish ports. In 1766 he married Lydia Phippen, with whom he had a large family. An outgoing, garrulous man, he was appreciated by those who were employed by him because of his handsome largesse and his congenial spirit as a master....

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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....