Isaac Allen (Allyn) (AM0118)

​Little can be found about Allen’s personal life under either spelling of his last name.  Both names appear in sources. American Offshore Whaling Voyages shows his name as “Allyn (Allen)”; for this report Allen is used below for consistency with other sources.

Records show that Isaac Allen and Sarah E. Allen had a daughter Mary W. Allen who died in New London November 1, 1863 at age 6.  She is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in New London. Colby’s For Oil and Buggy Whips records Isaac Allen as one of many masters “who were lost to whales or shipwrecks” but no date or ship is given. Starbuck records that QUICKSTEP, Isaac’s last command, was lost in 1870 and, based on Colby’s book, Isaac was lost as well.

Isaac was master of one voyage on each of five vessels with New London as home port:

NEPTUNE (AS2032): (bark, 340 tons, built New Bedford 1809, broken up Sandwich Islands). Sailed May 1850-1857 to the Indian Ocean and North Pacific, agent Williams & Haven. Isaac, the outgoing master, left the ship. He was succeeded bySamuel Green, Jr. (AM2313), James M. Green (AM2299), and H.S. Comstock (AM1279) as replacement masters. AV10376.

DELAWARE (AS1198): (bark, 300 tons, built Damariscotta, ME 1848, lost Lower CA December 25,1860). Sailed July 14,1852-May 8, 1857 to North Pacific, agent Williams & Barnes. A logbook for this voyage is held at KWM (AL03659). Caleb Strong Holt (AM2657), the outgoing master, left the ship. He was succeeded by Isaac who also left the ship, B.F. Homan (AM2662), and Theodore Brown (AM0678) as replacement masters. Theodore may be Theophilus Brown (see AS0678). AV03659.

​INDIA (AS1645): (ship, 434 tons, built Portsmouth NH 1853, withdrawn 1858).Sailed 1854-1858. Williams & Havens were agents. Isaac was outgoing master who left the ship. He was succeeded by Thomas Long (AM3138) and John Rice (AM4065) as replacement masters. AV06997.

​AGATE (AS0795): (brig, 187 tons, broken up 1861). Sailed 4/16/1856-3/26/1859 to Arctic Ocean, agent C. A. Williams & Co. Charles Edmund Allen (AM0057) was outgoing master. He was succeeded by Isaac who left the ship, B.F. Homan (AM2662), Allen Comstock (AM1278), John Lawton (AM4855) and John Eldridge (AM1732) as replacement masters. AV00341.

​​QUICKSTEP (AS2249): (schooner, 103 tons, built New London 1858,lost in 1870). Sailed May 1869-1870 to Cumberland Strait, agent Williams & Barnes(AV12009).

​Isaac was also master of five voyages, some as replacement master, on three vessels with New Bedford (San Francisco in one case) as home port: HERALD (AS0276) (1854 – 1858 AV06505 and 1855 – ? AV06509);   MILLWOOD (AS0403) (April 1865 – November 1866 AV09820 and April 1867 – November 1868 AV09821); and DANIEL WEBSTER (AS0160) (March 1860 – January 1863 AV03570).

Note that NEPTUNE’s departure and arrival dates overlap with those for DELAWARE’s voyage. Based on the above information, one can perhaps reconcile Isaac’s service and the apparent conflicting dates.  He was initial master of NEPTUNE when she left New London in May 1850 with the North Pacific as one of its planned hunting grounds.  At some undetermined time after 1852 he left the ship. DELAWARE left New London in July 1852 for the same grounds. In all likelihood she would not have gotten to the Pacific until sometime in 1853. Thereafter her initial master left that ship and Allen came aboard as her first or second replacement master.  Both ships returned to New London in 1857.

MSM has several items in its collection that relate to NEPTUNE, one of Allen’s commands, but for periods before or after his time of service. These include: ​“Whaleship NEPTUNE 1848” – whale tooth, 1849 – (MSM 1939.1729); Bark NEPTUNE – photograph, after 1870 – (MSM 1976.1.184.4); Scrimshaw tooth, “1849 Whaleship NEPTUNE”, 1849 – (MSM 1939.1734); Ship NEPTUNE and schooner MARGARET, Grand Banks, Newfoundland ​– oil painting by John E.C. Peterson, 1886 – (MSM  1958.626)

Sources used: see sidebar and sources mentioned in text

​​​​​​​George Shaw

​Mystic Seaport Museum

​​​​​​​December 2019