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Whaling owner's flags displayed on the "Charles W. Morgan" - Part 2 (U.S.)

Last modified: 2020-01-18 by rob raeside
Keywords: whalers | charles w morgan |
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Flags on "Charles W. Morgan"

The restored "Charles W. Morgan" was enshrined on 21 July 1926. For the ongoing season, a different flag was hoisted every day at the mainmast of the ship, as described by press reports published in "The New Bedford Standard".
Ivan Sache, 31 January 2019

21 July - Dedication
21 July - Henry S. Hutchinson
24 July - Henry H. Crapo
25 July - Edward R. Hathaway
26 July - Clark W. Holcomb
27 July - J. and W. R. Wing
28 July - John Duff
29 July - Andrew G. Pierce
30 July - James Henry Howland
31 July - William A. Robinson Jr.
1 August - Rotch
2 August - Swift and Allen
3 August - James Henry Howland
4 August - Captain George Fred Tilton
5 August - John Avery Parker
6 August - George Howland
7 August - Jonathan Bourne Jr.
8 August - Abraham H. Howland
9 August - Harry Neyland
10 August - Jireh Perry
11 August - J. B. Wood
12 August - David R. Greene
13 August - Henry Taber
14 August - Lemuel Kollock
15 August - Abraham Barker
16 August - Rodney French
17 August - J. Dunbar / Henry F. Thomas
18 August - William Gifford
19 August - Benjamin Cummmings
20 August - T. and A. R. Nye
21 August - Edmund Wood
22 August - Isaac Howland, Jr.
23 August - J.D. Thompson
26 August - Charles H. Tucker & Co.
27 August - B. B. Howard
28 August - Edward W. Howland
29 August - Gideon Allen
30 August - Pope and Morgan
31 August - Nathan Church
1 September - Captain John A. Cook
2 September - I. H. Bartlett
3 September - Thomas Wilcox
4-5? September - Charles S. Ashley
6 September - William Watkins
7 September - West and Paine
8 September - Isaac B. Richmond
9 September - Gibbs and Jenney
10 September - Atkins Adams
11 September - Ezekiel Sawin
12 September - Philips and Ashley
13 September - William O. Brownell
14 September - Frederick Parker
15 September - Richmond and Wood
16 September - William R. Rodman
17 September - Andrew Robeson
18 September - Ship "Globe"
19 September - Philip Anthony
20 September - Asa Swift
21 September - O. and G. O. Crocker
22 September - Lemuel C. Tripp
23 September - T. and A. R. Nye
24 September - Alexander Gibbs
25 September - Captain James F. Avery
26 September - Sheffield Reeve
27 September - Lemuel Tripp
28 September - Warren Delano
29 September - Jabez Delano Jr.
30 September - Fish and Huttlestone
1 October - Zenas L. Adams
2 October - W.G. Blackler
3 October - Dexter Jenney
4 October - Furman Read Whitwell
5 October - Andrew Hicks
6 October - Reuben Fish
7 October - Zeno Kelley
8 October - Seth A. Mitchell
9 October - Lorenzo Peirce
10 October - Charles Hitch and Son
11 October - Kelley and Swift
12 October - William Wilcox
13 October - James H. Slocum
14 October - O. & E. W. Seabury
15 October - Oliver Ricketson
16 October - Azel Howard
17 October - Chapman and Bonney
18 October - F. and G. R. Taber
19 October - Wood and Nye
20 October - Tucker and Cummings
21 October - Cook and Snow
22 October - Lawrence Grinnell
23 October - Charles Almy
24 October - Allen Lucas
25 October - Abraham Ashley 2d
26 October - Weston Howland
27 October - Russell Maxfield
28 October - William Potter 2d
29 October - David B Kempton
30 October - Cornell and Penniman
31 October - John Arnold Macomber
Joseph Little

10 August - Jireh Perry

[Jireh Perry] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"Eighty years ago, this gay and distinctive flag [...] was flown as the flag of Jireh Perry. A little later it was known as the Jireh Perry and P. Tillinghast flag. Still later the names of W. C. N. Swift and Eben Perry were written beside it. The upper outside stripe is red, the lower one blue, the ground with letter "P" is white.
A good list of ships and barks sailed under this insignia, whatever name is carried. The bark "Canton", the "Hercules", the "Alexander", the "Jireh Perry", all flew this ensign, as did the bark "Josephine" and the "Osceola"."

Jireh Perry was intimately connected with the whaling industry during his entire business life, beginning as a clerk for Charles and Seth Russell, and becoming one of the wealthy owners and merchants.
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

11 August - J. B. Wood

[James Henry Howland ] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"A long list of ships stands beside the register of this old flag, owned by J. B. Wood and Company in whaling days.[...] The stripe with the "W", next the staff, is white, the center stripe red, the outside on blue. The ship "Cambria", the "Head", later lost in the Arctic, the "Arnolda", also lost in the Arctic, the "Hydaspe", and the "St. Peter", are a few of the ships that sailed under these colors."

J. B. Wood & Co. was established in about 1842 and engaged in the whaling industry as agents and owners of several vessels. The firm was comprised of James B. Wood (1809-1872) and his brother, Charles L. Wood (1813-1881), both of whom had previously been captains of whaling vessels. They acted as agents for such ships as "Arnolda", "Lemuel C. Richmond", "Metacom", and "Oliver Crocker". The firm ceased to function upon the death of James B. Wood in 1872.
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

12 August - David R. Greene

[David R. Greene] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"It is the flag of David R. Greene and Company, the blue stripe at the top, white in the center, red at the bottom. The ship "Junior", the "Bally Anne" lost at sea, the "Hercules" 2nd, the "Mount Vernon", also lost at sea, and the "Two Brothers", all carried this flag at the masthead once."
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

13 August - Henry Taber

[Henry Taber] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"Today's flag was once known in many ports as the flag of Henry Taber and Co. The field next the staff is blue, the pointed insertion in the white ground is red. The "Callan", the "Good Return", the "William and Ellen", the "Barclay", are a few of the ships that flew this ensign. Later, when the concern became Taber, Gordon and Co., this flag was displayed by the ships "Niger", "Eliza Adams" and "James Arnold"."

Members of several branches of the Taber family were active as merchants and businessmen at New Bedford between 1839-1887. Henry Taber (1795-1892) went to sea in 1809 and later became a master and part owner of several vessels. In 1832, he went into business as a ship chandler and a grocer, first with David Sherman as a partner, then with his son, William Gordon Taber (1821-1896) and son-in-law, John Hunt (d. ca. 1866). Henry Taber & Co. established a packet ship line between New Bedford and New York and owned vessels which took part in whaling and freighting ventures. In addition, the firm acted as whaling agents. When Henry Taber retired in 1866, William G. Taber and William Gordon Jr. (1825-1902) continued the business as commission merchants and whaling agents under the name of Taber, Gordon & Company.
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

14 August - Lemuel Kollock

[Lemuel Kollock] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"The striped flag [...] was that of Lemuel Kollock. The middle stripe is red, those on either side white, the two outside stripes are blue. In 1845 there were two ships on the Kollock coater, the "Cleern" and the "Copla", and two barks, the "Cornelia" and the "Persis". Later the "Cornelia" was lost and the "Copla" condemned. New barks, the "Alice Frazier", the "Helen Mar" and the "Richmond, took their places."
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

15 August - Abraham Barker

[Abraham Barker] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"Abraham Barker was the agent whose name was written beside this flag in the old books of whaling ships. [...] It shows a blue diamond on a white ground with narrow red stripe at top and bottom. The "Abraham Barker", the "Liverpool", the "Roman" 2nd, the "St. George" and the bark "Mount Wolluston" are some of the ships listed with Abraham Barker."
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

16 August - Rodney French

[Rodney French] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"Red and white with clear-cut initials in black, is the flag of Rodney French [...]. The ground is white with a stripe of red at top and bottom. The ships "Garland", "Margaret Scott" and "Seine", and the barks "Emma" and "Peri" were listed once by Rodney French, agent."

French's successes and failures were apparently measured in extremes. He failed enough to have it said in 1856 that he "owed everybody" according to the R. G. Dun & Co. who interestingly also described him as a "ranting politician".
However, his businesses were lucrative enough for him to possess land and whaling vessels. Whether he wisely "squirreled" away money to ride the waves of failure and successes, eventually learned enough to keep an even financial keel or just got plain lucky, he never experienced hardships or poverty and did well for himself. Enough to allow him to finance and run for political office - in this case mayorship in 1853 - and win. He would become the city's third mayor and served one term.

Leading up to the Civil War (1861-1865) he played an active role in the Underground Railroad freeing hundreds of slaves. In addition, French campaigned heavily for local African-Americans who wanted a military presence in the battle.

On November 2, 1861, French (1802-1886) sailed aboard the 243 tonnage vessel "Garland" (containing 190 tons of stone) with the historic stone fleet which was a combination of retaliation and tactical move to adversely affect the South's ability to ship and receive freight on its waterfront. This stone fleet and its second one, both allowed the North more manufacturing time to build more gunboats for the cause.
French gave himself the title "Commodore" in an candid anecdote. Upon arrival in Savannah Harbor, French ordered a cannon fired. Though there were some ships fitted with weapons, most where junks and old whalers. Those without firepower had Fiji Ports and Quaker guns. Fiji Ports were simply paintings of cannons, which at a considerable distance appeared to be the real thing. Quaker guns where false cannons carved out of logs to also give the appearance of the real thing.
An unnamed naval officer that was present demanded to know who gave an order to fire. French declared "Commodore of the stone fleet, Rodney French". To which the officer replied "There is only one Commodore in these waters, and he is Flag Officer DuPont of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Don't fire that gun again!"
New Bedford Guide, 18 November 2013
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

17 August - J. Dunbar / Henry F. Thomas

"The flag of J. Dunbar and Co., later the property of Henry F. Thomas [...]. The circles on the white grounds are red, the stripes at top and bottom are blue. The ships "Draper", "Emerald", "Kutusoff", and the bark "John A. Parker" all came to port with this flag in the old whaling days."

Henry F. Thomas was born at Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in 1824. He worked on his father's farm until he was fourteen, when he moved to New Bedford, and became a clerk for Joseph Dunbar & Co.. The company was active in the mercantile and whaling industries and served as agents for several whalers. In 1845, he became a co-partner in the company and took over the business in 1850. He continued the business until 1875, when he became President of the New Bedford Copper Company in which he served until his death in 1880.
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

18 August - William Gifford

[William Gifford] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"Another combination of red and white with a touch of black [...]. The white ground next the staff bears a great black initial, the other half of the flag is red. This was the flag of William Gifford, and the initial on it was changed for every ship. The "M" of today must have been for the ship "Minerva". When the "Caroline" flew the colors, the initial was a "C". The "General Pike" carried a "G F" on her flag. The rainbow, with her letter "R", was lost at sea."

William Gifford was born in Dartmouth in 1798. He acted as agent for numerous whaling vessels that sailed from New Bedford, including the "Charles Drew" (Ship), "Minerva" (Ship), and "William Gifford" (Bark). He later took his son, Charles H. Gifford (1833-1908), as a partner and called the firm William Gifford & Son. Charles H. Gifford continued the business for several years after his father's death in 1866.
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

19 August - Benjamin Cummmings

[Benjamin Cummmings] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"The blue initials on today flag [...] are not those of an old-time shipping agent. The B. C. stands for a name as well-known in modern New Bedford as any of whaling merchants of old days. They are the initials of Benjamin Cummings. When Harry Neyland asked Mr. Cummings if he had any idea for a design to be made for him, Mr. Cummings responded, without hesitation that a plain flag with his initials would be just the thing for him. So he is really the author of his own design."

To supplement their mercantile activities, William (1783-1872) and John Cummings (1795-1864), along with their brother, Benjamin Cummings (1797-1863), invested in whaling vessels through agents such as Gibbs & Jenney of Fairhaven, and William Gifford and Charles R. Tucker & Co., both of New Bedford. Benjamin's son, Charles Smith Cummings (1830-1906), formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, Abner R. Tucker (ca. 1818-1884), in 1853. The firm, known as Tucker & Cummings, was active at Dartmouth, in the grocery trade and in whaling as outfitters and agents. In 1881, Tucker withdrew from the business and his nephew, Benjamin Cummings (b. 1852), succeeded him in the firm C. S. & B. Cummings of New Bedford, Mass., which withdrew from whaling and concentrated on the grocery trade.
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

20 August/23 September - T. and A. R. Nye

[T. and A. R. Nye] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"Bright blue with blocked letters of white [...] T. and A. R. Nye agents owned this ensign with the name of the concern plainly to be read on it even at a distance. A long list of ships was written under their name on the shipping register once including the "Desdemona and Othello", the "Maria Theresa", the "Lancaster", the "Thomas Nye", and the bark "Hiawatha"."

The Fairhaven branch of the Nye family includes Thomas Nye (1768-1842) and his sons, William C. Nye (1792-1832) and Philip Nye (1799-1858), who were merchants, ship captains, and owners of vessels involved in foreign trade. Another son, Thomas Nye Jr., (1804-1882), became involved in the whaling industry and acted as agent in partnership with his brother Asa Russell Nye (1809-1858) for several vessels. Several more of Thomas Nye's sons also became involved in the family business.
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

21 August - Edmund Wood

"Back from the past and the galaxy of flags from other days we come again today to one of the new designs made by Harry Neyland for one of the "Morgan" donors. This flag was made from his own design for Edmund Wood. The white ground has a strip of red near the staff and a green tree in the center. The green is an unusual color for a ship's flag, all of the old flags being rendered in some combinations of red, white, or blue. But this gives distinction to Mr. Wood's ensign, which shows a decided individuality in design as well as color."

Edmund Wood (1854-1935) was elected President of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society in 1907, succeeding William W. Crapo.
Edmund Wood owned the Greene and Wood Lumber Yard, a chain of lumber warehouses based in New Bedford that dated back to 1835. In 1912 Mr. Wood saw potential for growth in Falmouth and decided to open a branch here. He bought James Cameron's small lumber yard on Locust Street and named it The Wood Lumber Company.
The Wood Lumber Company, by Deborah Griffin Scanlon
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

22 August - Isaac Howland, Jr.

"In honor of the 58th birthday of Colonel Edward H. R. Green, the house flag of Isaac Howland Jr. and Company, shipping agents of old New Bedford, was raised to the masthead of the ship "Charles W. Morgan" at Round Hills today. It is really a double observance, for it was Colonel Green's idea, in reviving the old house flag, to honor the man with whom they were associated in New Bedford's heyday as well as the men and women of the present who have contributed in the enshrining of the "Morgan". Red, white and blue were the colors of the old flag and are the colors of the flag flown today.
Isaac Howland Jr. was a great, great-grandmother of Colonel Green. The company handled an impressive list of ships, among them the "Morgan" himself. In 1853, they handled, besides the "Morgan", the "Bartholomew Cosnold", "California", "Eliza F. Mason", "Gideon Howland", "Gladiator", "Isaac Howland", "George Washington", "Logan", "Mary", "Mercury", "Minerva Smith", "Triton", "William Hamilton", and the barks "Catalpa", "Gypsy", and "Joseph Butler"."
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

23 August - J.D. Thompson

[J.D. Thompson] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"It was not unusual for a ship agent to display the initials of his ships instead of his own in the palmy days of New Bedford shipping history. J. D. Thompson, agent, flew the blue and white flag with the big "L" on the ship "Lewis" [...]. The other Thompson ships carried flags of the same design with different letters: "C" for the "Champion", "S. C" for the South Carolina, and so on for barks "Garland", "Emma" and "Pioneer"."
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

26 August - Charles H. Tucker & Co.

[Charles H. Tucker & Co.] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"Red, white, and red in horizontal stripes was the house flag of Charles H. Tucker and Co. [...] The Tucker ships in 1853 were the "Allen Mandell", "Adeline", "Benjamin Tucker", "Canton" 2nd, "Fabius", "James Maury", "Montreal", "Polar Star", "Triton" 2nd, "William C. Nye", and the barks "Mars", "Marcella", and "Saint Peter"."

Charles Russell Tucker was born in New Bedford in 1809. He began working in the counting room of Isaac Howland Jr. & Co, merchants and whaling agents of New Bedford in 1830. By 1836, Tucker was acting as an independent agent and established a partnership with Edward D. Mandell (1821-1897) known as Charles R. Tucker & Co. in 1844. This firm acted as agent for such whaling vessels as the "Benjamin Tucker" (Ship), "Canton" (Ship/Bark), "Nye" (Bark), and "St. Peter" (Bark) until Tucker's death in 1876. At that time, his son, John Fry Tucker (1839-1886), inherited the business and kept Mandell as a partner, calling the firm John F. Tucker & Co. They acted as agent for such vessels as the Bark "Bertha" and the Ship "California".
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

27 August - B. B. Howard

[B. B. Howard] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"A white pennant tipped with red [...] was the flag of B. B. Howard, agent at one time for the ships "Chile", "Cowper", "Henry Kneeland", "Morea", "Parachute", and barks "Bevis", "Lexington", "Malta", "Fenelon", and "Israel"."
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

28 August - Edward W. Howland

[Edward W. Howland] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"Brief notation in old signal books tell of the tragic fate of merchantmen and whalers who used to sail from New Bedford. "Lost in the Arctic" is one of the most frequent. It appears opposite the names of the "Cornelius Howland" and the "Reindeer", which flew a white pennant with red "H" of Edward W. Howland, agent. [...] There were many other ships besides these two in the Howland fleet: the "Archer", "Euphrates", "Herald", "Starbuck", Marcia", "Ohio", "Goloconda" 2nd, "Lucas", "Onward", "William Rotch", and the bark "Richmond."
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

29 August - Gideon Allen

[Gideon Allen] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"The red disk on a white ground of the Gideon Allen house flag [...] reminds of the flag of Japan. Gideon Allen was agent for the ships "Coral", "James Allen", "Congress" 2nd, "Nautilus", and barks "Millwood" and "Octavia".

Gideon Allen & Sons, a whaling syndicate based in New Bedford, made returns of 60% a year during much of the 19th century by financing whaling voyages - perhaps the best performance of any firm in American history. It was the most successful of a very successful bunch.
The Economist, 30 December 2015
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

30 August - Pope and Morgan

[Pope and Morgan] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"Back in 1845 the red pennant with white cross [...], flying from a masthead, told people peering through spyglasses, from lookouts, that one of the Pope and Morgan ships was in sight. Later the agency became William G. Pope. [...] It used to flight over the ships "Braganza", "Chandler", "Price", "Edward", and the bark "Clarice"."

Samuel Griffitts Morgan (1816-1893) was employed as a clerk by his uncle, Charles Wain Morgan, until about 1836. At that time, he formed a partnership with William G. E. Pope (1815-ca. 1869) known as Pope & Morgan. This New Bedford firm acted as agent for such vessels as the bark "Braganza" and ship "Chandler Price".
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

31 August - Nathan Church

[Nathan Church] image by Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

"There was not much chance of mistaking the Nathan Church house flag for any other in the old days whalers and merchant ships. The red pennant flown by the ships owned by this Fairhaven agent was bissected horizontally by a large blue diamond touching points with a smaller blue diamond. In the larger diamond appeared in white the initial of the ship, "H" for the "Heroine", "E" for "Erie", "K" for the "Kingston", "M" for "Martha", "O" for the "Omega"."

Nathan Church (1785-1859) was known as the wealthiest man in town during the early days of the whaling era. He was the owner/agent of a number of whaleships. In 1840 he built the large brick house at the northeast corner of Center and Green streets at a cost of $22,000. The obelisk that marks his grave features a carving of a hand pointing upward toward Heaven.
Riverside Cemetery, Fairhaven, MA - Map & Guide
Ivan Sache, 9 December 2019

Continued in Part 3