Dexter Bellows (AM0429)

Dexter was born on March 26, 1816 in Killingly CT, son of Lyscom and Lydia (Albertson) Bellows. He married Sarah A. Darrow (1819-1880), daughter of Nicholas Darrow of New London, on April 14,1841. They had several children, including Sarah, Adelaide, Annie, Dexter, Gertrude and Leslie. The 1850 census lists two children (Sarah and Adelaide), the 1860 lists five. Dexter died in New London on October 1, 1890. Sarah died in August 1880. They are buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in New London. Gravestone can be found at Find a Grave. Dexter’s parents and at least four of their children are buried there as well. Adelaide and Gertrude are listed on their parents’ gravestone. New London city directories show that Dexter and presumably Sarah lived in New London at several different addresses between 1855 and 1888.

Dexter was master for three or possibly four voyages on three ships with a home port of New London:

BENJAMIN MORGAN (AS0970): (ship, 408 tons, built in Philadelphia PAin 1826). Departed on June 25,1846 for Chile and the Northwest Coast, returned on May 16, 1848. Perkins & Smith were agents. AV01762

CLEMATIS (AS1112): (ship, 311 tons, built Duxbury MA 1826, lost off Chatham Islands, September 1861). Departed on October 5, 1848 for the North Pacific, returned on March 21, 1851. Williams & Barnes were agents. AV02965

ERA (AS0712): (schooner, built Boston MA 1846, lost off St. Pierre, Miquelon Is., July 1906). AOWV describes an 1864 voyage with no departure or ​​return dates (AV04559); Starbuck and Decker add dates: departure August 31, 1864, return September 20, 1864 (Decker adds “returned because of trouble”). AOWV then describes a second voyage 1865 to 1866 with no departure or return dates (AV04561). Starbuck and Decker add dates: departure May 17, 1865,return November 9, 1866. Colby shows two voyages.Wood Abstracts (4-357)confuses the issue by describing a single voyage departing August 26, 1864, returning November 8, 1866. Query whether the month-long 1864 voyage should be considered a separate voyage? Darrow, Moses was the agent for this/these voyages.

After TIMOR (AS2502) returned from her last whaling voyage in 1859, Dexter became her master to join Stone Fleet #1. The New London Daily Chronicle (December 9, 1861) reports that during a heavy blow off Cape Hatteras the sails were badly torn and the ship began leaking. He intended to come to New London for repairs, but because his chronometer was not working, he found the ship off Cape Cod rather than Montauk. He managed to get TIMOR to Gloucester for repairs, after which she will sail to Savannah, presumably her final resting place.

Sources: see sidebar and sources cited in text.

George Shaw (Mystic Seaport Museum) July 2023