Thomas Morgan Bailey (AM0239)

The source for information about Thomas Bailey is the multi-generational Genealogy of James Morgan and his Descendants. Thomas’s grandfather, Capt. Thomas Morgan, Jr., a descendant of James Morgan, was born about 1766 in Ledyard CT. The senior Thomas was a sea captain who 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”.

Thomas was born on April 17, 1814. He married Nancy A. Clark on his 23rdbirthday in 1837. He and Nancy had five children: Thomas (died at 18 months in 1839), Sarah (b. 7/11/1840), Joseph (died at 8 months in 1843), Denison (b. 1/18/1845), and George (died at 13 months in 1850). The crew list for his voyage described below reports that he was 5’ 9” in height with light skin and brown hair. The death of Thomas was reported in the New London Chronicle (June 19, 1862):

Death of a New London Whaling Captain. A letter from US Consul for the Fejee (sic) Islands, dated the 12th of February last, announces the death of Captain Thomas Morgan Bailey, of this port. Captain Bailey sailed from here nearly ten years ago in the ship Robert Bowne, and has not since been home again. He died of consumption on the 6th of last July at Kandava, one of the Fejee islands.

​​Prior to becoming a master, Thomas served on the crew for two voyages of CLEMATIS, the ship of which he would later act as master. His brother Joseph (AM0235) was initial master for Thomas’s initial voyage as crew (1837-1839) and replacement master for his second voyage (1843-1845). Between these two voyages he was issued Seamen’s Protection Certificate #12 in April 1839 in New London.

Thomas was master for one voyage on one vessel with New London as home port.

CLEMATIS: (AS1112) (311 tons, built Duxbury MA 1826, lost in Solomon Islands, Sept. 1861, home port New London). Departed September 3,1845 for the Indian and NW Pacific, returned June 3, 1848. AOWV lists Thomas as master; Starbuck and Decker show just _ Bailey (no first name). Agent: Williams & Barnes. AV02964.

Thomas’s brother Elisha (AM0226) and Joseph (AM0235) were masters of whaling vessels with New London as home port.

Sources: see sidebar and sources cited in text.

George Shaw (Mystic Seaport Museum) September 2022