Nicholas C. Anthony (AM0156)

Nicholas was born in Flores in the Azores, date uncertain. His gravestone (see below) recites his age as 73 at his date of death in 1880 making his birth date about 1807. Crew listsdescribes him as 5’8” tall, of dark skin. He married Lydia Ann Spencer in New London on June 30, 1830.  They lived for many years at 17 Tilley Street in New London, although Nicholas was almost constantly at sea after 1835. They had at least two children, Ellen (born about 1830) and John (born about 1837). NIcholas died on August 16, 1880 at age 73 and Ellen died on January 5, 1886 at age 74.  Both are buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in New London. Headstone at Find a Grave.

​Warrin (see sources) records that Nicholas joined the crew of WABASH (AS2572) in the Azores in 1829, but Anthony’s name does not appear in the crew list for that voyage. Warrin says that he “early settled in New London.” He served on several other vessels, often as first or second mate: CALEDONIA out of Stonington (AS1024, 1835-1837), FRIENDS out of New London (AS1420, 1839-1841 and 1843-1845), CERVANTES out of New London (AS1061,1841-1842), CYNOSURE out of Stonington (AS1180, 1845-1847), and WILLIAM LEE out of Newport (AS2614, 1848-1851).

​With that experience under his belt, he had his first, unfortunately short-lived, command in 1852, becoming one of the earliest Portuguese whaling masters:

TOPAZ (AS2504): (brig,138 tons, home port New London, built Somerset, MA 1833). Departed 6/23/1852 for the Atlantic (coast of Patagonia). While entering a harbor in the Falklands in April 1853, TOPAZ struck a rock, breaking her keel and causing a 20 foot hole in the garboard strake.  The crew managed to keep her afloat for three days and were able to get her into the harbor at Stanley. There the ship was condemned, the cargo sold at auction, and Nicholas and the crew were taken to Montevideo. The agent was Benj. Brown’s Sons. AV14008.

​After the ill-fated voyage of TOPAZ, Anthony served as first mate on PETREL (AS0545) out of New Bedford from 1853-1857, apparently his last voyage.

In addition to the trauma of the loss of TOPAZ, he had several other harrowing experiences: sailing on a worm-infested and badly leaking WILLIAM LEE in heavy gales and the desertion of most of the crew of PETREL in the Hawaiian Islands after a long sale from the Arctic.  These experiences, combined with his extensive periods away from home and his family, led him to have haunting nightmares in which he saw the loss of family members.  Sensitively and lovingly in broken English, he recorded these nightmares in his own hand in his journal.  Alog keeper on PETREL also reported these nightmares. These experiences ultimately led to his decision to end his whaling days. According to Warrin, Nicholas continued sailing after 1860. New London City Directories during the mid-1870’s show him living at 17 Tilley St. in New London and engaged as a “pedlar” or in “tinwares.” He was retired by 1880.

​Mystic Seaport Museum possesses a logbook that Nicholas maintained over several voyages (#37, AL140091).  It covers the years 1845-1854, but for the voyage of TOPAZ it records only navigational information. The last entry is March of 1853, before the ship grounded in the Falklands.

The Seamen’s Protection Certificate listings at MSM shows two certificates issued, one to Nicholas Anthony at age 33 on May 27, 1939 in New London; the other  to Nicholas C. Anthony at age 43 on March 18, 1848 in Newport when he serving on a Newport-based ship.

​Sources in addition to the sources shown in the sidebar include: Warrin, Donald, So Ends This Day: The Portugese in American Whaling 1765-1927 (a rich source of information about him).

George Shaw (Mystic Seaport Museum) February 2020