Ezra G. Bailey (AM0227)

Ezra G. Bailey was born in Groton about 1811 and died on March 16, 1843 under circumstances described below. He married Jane E. Turner (born March 21, 1810 in Groton) on April 30, 1837. She died on March 11, 1881. They are buried in Starr Burying Ground Cemetery in Groton. Ezra and Jane had one child, a son, Charles, born about 1839. The 1860 Federal census lists Charles as a mariner. He died on February 20, 1865 of diphtheria in San Francisco. He is buried in Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic. His grave stone shows him as Captain Charles E. Bailey.

Ezra began his service in the whaling industry by serving on the crew of CONNECTICUT (AS1144), home port Norwich CT, on her 1827-1830 and 1830-1831 voyages and CALEDONIA (AS1024), home port New London, on her 1831-1835 voyage. During this period, he was issued Seamen’s Protection Certificate #6642 in New London in September 1827 at age 16. He is described in it as 5’ 6” in height with light eyes, light hair and light complexion.

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

BINGHAM (AS0986): (ship, 375 tons, built in Philadelphia in 1804). Departed on June 25, 1839 for the South Atlantic, returned on May 14, 1840. AVOW contains a scanned logbook of this voyage. Dennis Wood abstract #1-102relates that the first officer became ill and was left at St. Helena. Starbuck shows several earlier voyages of BINGHAM but not this voyage or subsequent voyages. Agent: Charles Mallory. AV01866.

GENERAL WILLIAMS (AS1445): (ship, 446 tons, built in Stonington in 1831, burned by the Confederate SHENANDOAH on June 26, 1865). Departed on December 7, 1840 for the South Atlantic, returned on March 16, 1843. Starbuck describes the circumstances of Ezra’s death at the very end of the homeward voyage: “Encountered a heavy gale off Black Point L.I.; cut away masts and anchored, Captain Bailey and five men drowned going ashore in a boat for help.” Dennis Wood Abstract 1-215 recites that their whale boat “was swamped & all drowned.” The New London Gazette and Advertiser (March 22,1843, Vol LXXX, p.2) contains a more detailed description of the loss of the ship and Ezra’s death. Agent: Williams & Barnes. AV05527.

Prior to Ezra’s service on the two New London-based ships, he served as master on a Groton-based ship, TAMPICO (AS2716) on its 1835-1838 voyage.

Sources used: see sidebar and sources mentioned in text.

George Shaw (Mystic Seaport Museum) January 2022