Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | May 15, 2014

May 16 -18, 2014: 150 Years Ago Today….

Since Mary Brewster and Mary Lawrence made no journal entries from May 16 – 18, the following have been selected as alternative entries:

The American Civil War continued to rage across the United States….

The Union experienced victory at Mansura (May 16, 1864), while the Confederates succeeded at using delay tactics at Adairsville (May 17, 1864) and the Union had another victory at Yellow Bayou (May 18, 1864).

Yet the whaling industry continued throughout the Pacific, Okhotsk, Japan and Arctic oceans; mostly unaffected by the battles fought, lost and won throughout the continental United States. However, that all changed when the Confederate raiders, the Alabama (launched July 29, 1862) and the Scottish-built Shenandoah, laying at London set sail on October 19, 1864 to “seek and utterly destroy” commerce (Union vessels)in the area. Master and Commander James Waddell set the Shenandoah’s course for Cape of Good Hope, then Australia and headed for the Pacific whaling fleet. The Shenandoah scuttled the first ship on or about October 30, 1864 and continued her rampage through the remainder of 1864. By December 29, 1864, the Shenandoah had succeeded at claiming her first nine victims; all merchant, cargo, or whaling vessels. During the short career as a Confederate raider, the Shenandoah’s Captain Waddell and crew captured thirty-eight  ships. When the Shenandoah’s havoc ended approximately November 6, 1865, she had destroyed thirty-two of those thirty-eight vessels; valued at nearly $1.4 million, and taken 1,053 prisoners.  (Painting below, circa 1865, of the Shenandoah in Australia).

Twenty-five of those ships captured and/or destroyed by the Shenandoah were whaling vessels, fortunately the Charles W. Morgan was NOT among those scuttled vessels. She was indeed a “lucky ship” even then, in the early days of her eighty-year whaling career.

Now, once again, the ….


Charles W. Morgan sets sail for her 38th voyage….

on May 17/18, 2014 for New London, CT.  Yet….

One hundred and fifty years ago this month, the Charles W. Morgan was approximately five months from home and continuing her seventh whaling voyage under the expertise of Captain Thomas Landers. Moving west by northwest, she made her way toward and eventually through the 50th Passage headed for the Okhotsk Sea off the east coast of Russia. She reached her destination 25 May 1864, to continue whaling, as she had done six voyages before (beginning in 1841) and would have another thirty over the next fifty-seven years (through 1921).

Although this trip would be similar to many other voyages which were always marred by one or several crew members’ illnesses and deaths, storms, etc. this voyage would be marked by unparalleled tragedy impacting Captain Landers in a personal manner and affecting his ability to fully function and maintain good morale aboard ship. The first five months of this voyage were relatively routine with a few discipline issues, but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary occurred. The Morgan had left New Bedford, MA five months before, on December 1, 1863, with nearly a full crew, including Captain Lander’s youngest son Arthur (who was about 14 years old). The balance of a total of twenty-eight to thirty-two crewmen would be recruited by Landers along the way and at various ports. However, given Arthur’s age, determined by several Census records, Arthur was probably signed-on as a greenhand (first-time at sea) but still considered a valid member of the twenty-one men crew.

Throughout much of the first seven months of the Morgan’s (above) seventh voyage or until July 15, 1864, Arthur’s name only appears on the crewmen list He is not mentioned in any official log entries or in First Officer Charles C. Chace’s personal journal; hardly unusual if there were no discipline issues involving Arthur and/or he was perceived simply as another member of the crew. But that all changed, when on July 15, 1864, Arthur fell overboard and was drowned. Such tremendous tragedy struck and affected Captain Landers so deeply that the crew’s morale was indirectly impacted as evidenced by nearly four months of future Morgan logbook and Cahce’s journal entries dated July 15 through November 23, 1864, when Lander’s young, new bride, Lydia Ann Goodspeed Landers (photo below), boarded the Morgan. She was the first of five Charles W. Morgan’s captains’ wives to voyage aboard this whaleship. She remained on board for the duration of the voyage, which concluded June 12, 1867.

Lydia Ann Goodspeed Landers





  1. I have found a grave stone in the cushing cemetery mattipoisett mass with comments and dedicated to the Lander family. It says Arthur T Landers son of capt Thomas c Landers lost Over Board July 16 1864 age 14..this is what is on the stone. His wife is there as Nancy Lander Died Jan 22 1864 age 37 yrs
    I’m at

    • Captain Landers’s son Arthur was the son on Nancy (Landers first wife), and yes, she died in January 1864. Their son Arthur died on board the Charles W. Morgan while the ship was anchored in the Arctic (I think they were in the Arctic). Arthur was 14 years old and was voyaging with his father as a member of the crew.

      Captain Thomas C. Landers married his second wife, Lydia Ann Goodspeed. They were married about six months after the death of Nancy. Lydia was the first wife to live aboard the Charles W. Morgan. It is suspected, but not known, that Lydia was permitted to voyage aboard the Morgan because after the death of Arthur, Landers was so depressed and so devastated by the loss of his son, he was no longer an effective captain. Perhaps the owners of the Morgan felt that by sending Lydia to voyage with her husband, he would regain some of his abilities as master and captain of the Morgan.

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