Luke Avery (AM0209)

Luke Avery was born on December 10, 1810 in Groton. His parents were Rufus(3/7/1785 – 1812) and Caroline (Latham) Avery (6/25/1763 – 11/14/1813). Luke was 5’ 6” tall with light skin and dark hair. He married Hannah Morgan Mitchell on September 12, 1838. She was born on December 18, 1814, daughter of David and Lucy (Avery) Mitchell. Luke died at sea on August 15, 1846 at age 35. A memorial stone marking his death is in the Col. Ledyard Cemetery in Groton and can be found at Find a Grave. She died on November 17, 1903. Luke was survived by one child.

​Sadly, both Luke and his father died at sea under different circumstances.

The Groton Avery Clan Genealogy records that Luke’s father, Rufus Avery, sailed on the schooner MARS from New London on November 17, 1812. After taking charge of a prize captured on December 5, 1812, the ship “came on a gale of wind and up to this date we have no account of him”, quoting from a family Bible.

Luke was master for two voyages on two vessels with New London as home port.

MAGELLAN (AS1828) (described as a brig in AOWV and as a schooner in the Connecticut Ship Database as a schooner, 96 tons, built in Stonington in 1851, condemned in Pernambuco in 1840). Peterson’s Mystic Built does not list her as built in Mystic. Departed in 1836, returned 1838, destination not recorded. This voyage is not recorded in Starbuck. AV08755

COLUMBUS (AS0143) (brig, built Westport, MA in 1822, 159 tons, condemned in September 1850). Departed November 12, 1842 for the Atlantic, returned May 25, 1844. Williams & Barnes was the agent. AV03098

Luke served as part of the crew for several voyages both before and after he became a master. He served on

CONNECTICUT (AS1144) 1825-1827

ELECTRA (AS1261) 1829-1830, 1830-1831, and 1831

HELVETIUS (AS1569) 1832-1834

JULIUS CAESAR (AS1737) 1838-1839

TENEDOS (AS2482) 1840-1842

ALIBREE (AS0802) 1842-1847 (see paragraph below)

ALIBREE, home ported in Mystic, departed July 22, 1844 for the Northwest Coast. Luke assumed command when the master, William T. Burrows (AM0772), departed the ship because of illness. As reported in The Friend of Honolulu (11/2/1846):

“Killed by a whale, Augt. 16, [1846] Capt. Luke W. Avery, of the bark Albree, of Mystic, Ct. The boat being capsized, he ​was thrown into the water and taken down by the line. It was about half an hour before he arose, when it was found his right thigh was broken, and right ankle put out of joint, which was probably done by the line. His remains were taken on board and buried the following day….[h]e left a wife and one child to mourn his death.”

The reported position of the ship at the time placed it east of the Kurile Islands off the coast of Japan. Luke was succeeded by A.G. Taylor (AM4977). AV00540

​If one looks closely at the dates of Luke’s many voyages, one will see that from age 16 (the age shown on the crew list for CONNECTICUT) until his death, Luke was rarely for any length of time, and that he and his wife, who he married in 1838, had little opportunity to live together as husband and wife.

Sources used in addition to those shown in the sidebar include: Peterson’s Mystic Built; Groton Avery Clan Genealogy; The Friend, Honolulu Hawaii, 11/2/1846.


George Shaw (Mystic Seaport Museum) July 26, 2021