Table III: Documentation of Mystic Whalers

The data in this table are taken from the extracts of registers, enrollments and licenses of the port of New London and microfilm copies of the documents of the port of Stonington which are in the G. W. Blunt White Library.

For each of the twenty eight vessels which sailed on whaling voyages out of Mystic, there is a physical description, a list of the various documents giving the name of the customs house and the number and date of each document, and a composite list of owners in alphabetical order. Occasionally a small amount of other information is given.

A careful reader will note a few discrepancies between the dates of entering the Mystic fleet in Table I and the first mention of Mystic as home port on the documents. Perhaps a note of explanation is in order, First, the reader should know that where no home port is given he should assume that the port is the same as on all preceding documents. Where discrepancies exist, we can only state that we followed Starbuck’s listing and suggest that there is very often confusion when one uses the name Mystic during the nineteenth century. For most of that century, Mystic was actually the village at the head of the river. What is now Mystic was known as Porterville and later as Mystic River on the west, or Groton, side of the river and Mystic Bridge on the east, or Stonington, side. Neither side of the river, however, was an incorporated village. It is entirely possible that the customs house could have used the town names of Groton or Stonington rather than using names of unincorporated villages as home ports. One example of this could be the ship AERONAUT. Starbuck lists her first voyage out of Mystic as 1834. The first document to give Mystic as her home port is dated 1843. However, a document of 1830 gives Groton as her home port. It is possible that Groton means the town rather than the borough, If this is the case, the AERONAUT might have sailed out of Mystic as early as 1830, rather than four years later. Some evidence is given to this theory by the fact that none of the owners listed on any of the documents has Mystic as a place of residence. They are listed as residents of either Groton or Stonington, even though it is a known fact that they lived in the present village of Mystic.

The lists of owners for each vessel are as complete as possible. For the few vessels which entered the commercial service after having been used as whalers, we have included all owners, rather than only those who held shares during the whaling days of the vessels. Serious efforts have been made to assure that the names are correct. Since however, most of the names below were taken from handwritten extracts of original documents, some errors may well have crept in. In some handwriting of the nineteenth century it is very difficult to distinguish between capital I’s and J’s and M’s and N’s, for example. If the original transcriber erred in transcribing an initial, that error is probably repeated in this table. A complete alphabetical index of owners appears in Table IX.