Elisha Morgan Bailey (AM0226)

The source for information about Elisha Bailey is the multi-generational Genealogy of James Morgan and his Descendants. Elisha’s grandfather, Capt. Thomas Morgan, Jr., a descendant of James Morgan, was born about 1766 in Ledyard CT. Thomas was a sea captain who reportedly sold his ship in a foreign port and died as a passenger on another ship on his homeward passage. He and his wife Joanna (Allyn) had a daughter Phebe (1788 – 1822) who married Avery Bailey (born February 22, 1807).  Phebe and Avery, both born and died in Groton, had four sons (Avery, Joseph, Thomas, and Elisha) all of whom, according to the Genealogy, “became sea captains in the whaling service”.

Elisha was born in Groton (although records on AOWV show New London) on June 6, 1818 and died in Groton on June 6, 1893. His wife Frances was born on May 17, 1842 and died on July 27, 1882. They had seven children, the last three of whom died in infancy. Elisha and Frances are buried in Colonel Ledyard Cemetery in Groton.Gravestones can be found at Find a Grave.

Elisha began his service in the whaling industry by serving on the crew of NEPTUNE (AS2032), home port New London, on her voyages from 1839-1840, 1840-1842, and 1842-1844.

Elisha was master for two, really three as will be seen below, voyages on twovessels with New London as home port. He was issued Seamen’s Protection Certificate #5 on May 1839 in New London. The certificate recites his age as 30 when issued, which is inconsistent with being born in 1812. The certificate also recites New London as his place of birth.

COMMODORE PERRY (AS1137): (bark/ship, 270 tons, built in East Greenwich, RI in 1815, sold in 1847 and broken up in 1848). Departed on August 20, 1844 for the NW Pacific and Indian oceans, returned on May 24, 1847. Agent: Frink, Chew & Co. AV03176.

INDIAN CHIEF (AS1647): (ship, 401 tons, built in Portsmouth VA in 1812,lost in Artic on August 25, 1887). Departed October 21, 1847, was damaged in a gale five days later and returned to port. AOWV reports this brief trip as AV07010. After being repaired she departed November 18, 1847 for the NW Pacific and returned on February 15,1851. This delayed departure is recorded as AV07011. Mystic Seaport Museum has the logbook for this voyage. She departed again on July 26, 1851 for the NW Pacific and returned April 1, 1855. The mate was killed by a crew member in 1852. Elisha came home sick in 1853. AV07012

Following Elisha’s service on the two New London-based ships, he served asreplaced Joseph Holley (AM2635) as master on a New Bedford-based ship, POLAR STAR (AS0544) for its 1852-1856 voyage.

Elisha’s brother Thomas (AM0239) and Joseph (number not certain) were masters of whaling vessels with New London as home port.

Sources used: see sidebar and sources mentioned in text. Ancestry.com includes the Descendants of James Morgan that provides the information about Elisha’s grandfather and his family.

George Shaw (Mystic Seaport Museum) December, 2021