Lorenzo Dow Baker (AM0258)

Lorenzo was born in Groton on January 15, 1815, son of Daniel (4/23/17833/27/1875) and Margaret Martin (born 1782). Daniel’s father Joshua (1752-1836) was a member of Wadsworth’s Brigade and was wounded at Fort Griswold. Daniel was issued a Seamen’s Protection Certificate on May 2, 1807, was a Civil War veteran and is buried in Colonel Ledyard Cemetery in Groton.

Lorenzo married three times. His first wife was Elizabeth Fenner(1817-2/28/1847). They had a son Lorenzo who died in infancy. His second wife, who he married July 18, 1848, was Eliza A. Morgan (1821- 11/3/1867), daughter of Jasper Morgan and Clarissa Holdridge, both of Groton. They had three children, Frances, Emma and Eugene. His third wife, who he married on November 11, 1869, was Sarah Agnes Baker (7/11/1840-1/9/1923). They had a son Lawrence who died at age two.

Census records describe Lorenzo variously as “mariner”, “shipmaster”, “seaman”, and “sailor”. Crew lists describe him as 5’ 9” tall. The 1891 Groton city directory shows him living on 24 Broad St. in Groton with occupation as shipmaster.”

Lorenzo died in Groton on December 3, 1894. Lorenzo and Eliza are buried in Colonel Ledyard Cemetery in Groton along with Lorenzo’s father. Gravestone can be found at Find a Grave.

Lorenzo was master for one voyage on each of three vessels with New London as home port.

GEORGE & MARY (AS1450): (bark (ship), 356 tons). Departed New London on June 19 1843 for the Indian and NW Pacific oceans, returned February 25, 1845. She was lost in Okhotsk, June 9, 1860. Her agent was Lyman Allen. Her logbook is held by Mystic Seaport Museum. AV05628

ROBERT BOWNE (AS2303): (ship, 505 tons, built in Stonington CT in 1832). Departed June 7, 1845 for the Indian and NW Pacific oceans, returned May 8, 1848. (See the information below about LEANDER for possible conflict). Her agent was Lyman Allyn. AV12417. AOWV will show the last name of the ship as BOWNE, matching Decker and Colby. Starbuck shows the last name as BOURNE (1842 voyage) and BOUNE, perhaps W misread as U (1845 voyage).

CORNELIA (AS1157): (schooner, 148 tons, built Chatham MA 1841, withdrawn 1870). Departed on April 18, 1966 for Hudson’s Bay, returned on October 31, 1867. Starbuck lists her under Groton, not New London, and notes that she was “Bought from New London 1866.” Zane includes her as a “whaler out of Mystic”, noting that she was registered in Stonington in 1857 with Mystic as her home port, enrolled and registered in New London in 1862, then re-registered in New London on April 17, 1866 (the day before leaving for Hudson’s Bay) with Groton as her home port. Her agent was Ebenezer Morgan (partner of Havens & Smith). AV03372.

Lorenzo was also master five whaling vessels with Groton or Mystic as home port:

​​BLACKSTONE (AS0989 – Groton), 1839-1841 and 1841-1843

LEANDER (AS1781 – Mystic) from 8/15/18457/7/1847. AOWV lists three masters for this voyage, each followed by +, indicating “another name for master”. Starbuck lists the first of those three as the master; Lorenzo is the third listed. The dates for this voyage conflict with the dates for Lorenzo’s voyage on ROBERT BROWNE, suggesting that he was not the master for LEANDER. The logbook for this voyage (held by MSM) shows “Baker” barely legible in the very beginning of the first page where the master’s name would typically appear, suggesting the Lorenzo was initial master.

​​ROBIN HOOD (AS2305 – Mystic), 1848-1849 and 1849-1851

​​ROMULUS (AS2312 – Mystic), 1851-1854 and 1854-1857

​​CORNELIA (Groton), 1866-1869

Lorenzo was master of the clipper ship HOUND on a trip to Hong Kong in 1858. She was built by Charles Mallory & Sons of Mystic in 1853.

His brother William Baker (AM0269) was a master of several New London homeported vessels.

Mystic Seaport Museum owns the portrait of Lorenzo shown above attributed to Isaac Sheffield (#1936.5).  

Sources: see sidebar and sources cited in text, also Peterson, Mystic Built; Zane, Whalers Out of Mystic. Photo copied from Starbuck (before p. 21).

George Shaw (Mystic Seaport Museum) December 2022