|Repository:||G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport|
|Title:||Buddington Family Collection|
|Dates:||1706-1986 (bulk 1830-1863)|
|Extent:||ca. 160 items|
|Abstract:||Papers of and relating to whaling masters James M. Buddington, Sidney O. Budington, cabin boy James W. Buddington, and other family members. Including protection certificate, death certificates, applications for admittance to Sailors Snug Harbor, and newspaper articles about Leroy Buddington’s brief escape from a state hospital and Captain Sidney O. Budington’s association with the Eskimo’s and Charles F. Hall’s arctic exploration. The collection also includes information relating to the Buddington family as a whole; a typed paper describing the family homes; a handwritten genealogical tree circa 1900; genealogical notes, many copied from published books, or worksheets; and xerox and photographed copies of legal manuscript documents from the seventeenth and eighteenth century signed by members of the Buddington family. The “Buddington Geneological Notes,” folder contains assorted papers including family worksheets, xerox copies of photographs, and copies of published material relating to the Buddington’s, primarily Captain James M., and Captain James W. Buddington, and their rescue of the HMS RESOLUTE.|
Members of the Buddington family have lived in the Groton, Connecticut area since 1689, serving in the army, including the battle at Fort Griswold, and working as farmers, teachers, merchants, and whaling captains. The most notable members of the family represented in this collection are Captains; James M. Buddington, James W. Buddington, and Sidney O. Budington. (James M. is James W.’s father and Sidney O.’s uncle.)
James M. Buddington (1817-1908) was a highly successful whaleman. Taking his first command, the whale ship WILLIAM C. NYE, at age 24, Capt. James M. subsequently sailed aboard more than 17 vessels in his life time. His most notable achievement occurred as he commanded the bark GEORGE HENRY. On her arctic voyage of 1855-1856 while sailing in the Davis Straits he found the HMS RESOLUTE. Commissioned by Sir Edward Belcher to locate Sir Franklin and his lost expedition, the RESOLUTE had become icebound. Unable to free her Captain Kettle abandoned ship. Captain Buddington soon freed the RESOLUTE, divided his crew between the two vessels and both returned to New London. Perkins & Smith, the owners of the GEORGE HENRY, received the $40,000.00 prize money, the president of the United States later received a desk made from the RESOLUTE’s timbers, but it is rumored that Captain James M. Buddington received nothing.
James W. Buddington (1839-1928), sailed as a cabin boy on board the GEORGE HENRY during the RESOLUTE salvage, and is credited with sailing the last whaling voyage out of New London, Connecticut in 1908. He also commanded several coasting schooners, fishing vessels and barges.
Sidney O. Budington (1823-1888), commanded several whaling and sealing voyages during his years at sea, but like his uncle James M. the most notable event of his life was not related to whaling. From 1860 to 1862, Captain S. Buddington commanded the GEORGE HENRY, which by agreement from her owners, Williams & Haven, carried on board the explorer Charles Francis Hall. Hall was deeply interested in the arctic natives, several of whom were friends of Captain Budington’s and often came to visit with him in his Groton, Connecticut home. Hall also wished to reach the North Pole, and Sidney Budington was well known for his skill in navigating the treacherous ice packed water. Nine years later, in 1871, Hall convinced the U.S. government to fund an arctic exploration voyage. Commanding the U.S. POLARIS, Hall hired Sidney O. Budington as navigator and returned to the arctic. On November 8, 1871, Hall died under suspicious circumstances, the POLARIS was lost, and the crew returned to the United States in two separate groups with conflicting stories. The “Polaris tragedy,” as it was called in contemporary newspapers, raised many questions about Sidney O. Budington’s character. He was portrayed as a murderer, an alcoholic and a tyrant. Eventually cleared of any wrong doing by the courts, his reputation never completely recovered.
Showalter, Lucille M. The Story of Sidney O. Budington; Whaling Captain Out of New London and His Plight as Sailing Master of the U.S.S. Polaris North Polar Expedition, 1871-1873, RF 113, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum
Loomis, Chauncey C., Weird and Tragic Shores; the Story of Charles Francis Hall, Explorer, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1971
Kimball, Carol, The Poquonnock Bridge Story, Groton Public Library, Groton, CT. 1984
Due to the large dimensions of several items in these papers, the Buddington Family Collection has been separated into two parts; Collection 257 and HFM 228.
Coll. 257 is contained in a small holinger box holding approx. 160 items. The first five folders are arranged chronologically and grouped by individual persons. The first folder contains a protection certificate, while the remaining four contain copies of death certificates, applications for admittance to Sailors Snug Harbor, and newspaper articles about Leroy Buddington’s brief escape from a state hospital and Captain Sidney O. Budington’s association with the Eskimo’s and Charles F. Hall’s arctic exploration. The remaining folders, 6-9, contain information relating to the Buddington family as a whole, and are arranged by type of material; typed paper describing the family homes, and handwritten genealogical tree ca. 1900, genealogical notes; many copied from published books, or worksheets, and xerox and photographed copies of legal manuscript documents from the seventeenth and eighteenth century signed by members of the Buddington family. The “Buddington Geneological Notes,” folder contains assorted papers including family worksheets, xerox copies of photographs, and copies of published material relating to the Budington’s, primarily Captain James M., and Captain James W. Buddington, and their rescue of the HMS RESOLUTE.
HFM 228 contains the larger Buddington family documents; three ship’s papers; a crew list of the Brig GEORGIANA, and whalemen’s shipping papers for the Schooner FRANKLIN, and the Bark GEORGE HENRY. It was on this 1855 voyage of the George Henry that Captain James M. Buddington salvaged the HMS RESOLUTE. The file also contains a magazine photo of the desk make from the RESOLUTE’s timbers and presented to the President of the United States by Queen Victoria, as well as a “Map of the Polar Regions” diagraming various polar explorations and a certificate of the Groton Monument Association.
NOTE: Several photographs of the Buddington family, and family grave sites are cataloged in the Historical Photograph Collection as #1997.135.
Restrictions on Access
Available for use in the Manuscripts Division
Restrictions on Use
Various copying restriction apply. Guidelines are available from the Manuscripts Division.
Certificate, Groton Monument Association; 1830
New York Times Magazine, RESOLUTE desk photo; 1986
Crew list, Brig GEORGIANA – Sidney O. Budington master; 1858
Whalemen’s Shipping Paper, Bark GEORGE HENRY – James M. Buddington, master; 1855
Whalemen’s Shipping Paper, Schooner FRANKLIN – Sidney O. Budington, master, 1863
“Map of the Polar Region,” Wm Bauman del. , The Graphic Co.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the G. W. Blunt White Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Buddington, James M., 1817-1908
Buddington, James W., 1839-1928
Budington, Sidney O., 1823-1888
Franklin, John, Sir, 1786-1847
Hall, Charles Francis, 1821-1871
Wheeler, Timothy Swann
Corporate Bodies (Including Vessels):
George Henry (Bark)
Arctic regions–Discovery and exploration Davis Strait
Cabin boys–Connecticut–Groton F
Coll. 257, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.
The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.
|Papers and genealogical material; 1706-1986|
|1||1||Timothy Swan Wheeler, protection certificate; 1806|
|2||James M. Buddington (1817-1908), related papers; 1856-1907|
|3||Sidney O. Budington (1823-1888), related papers; 1858, 1976|
|4||James W. Buddington (1839-1928), related papers; 1985-1928|
|5||Leroy Buddington, newspaper article; 1928 Apr 9|
|6||List and map of Buddington family homes located in Groton, Connecticut; undated|
|7||Buddington family genealogy; 1706-1895|
|8||Buddington genealogy notes|
|9||Xerox copies of documents containing “Buddington” signatures|