John C. Brooks (AM0630

 John was born about 1816 in New London. On May 4, 1843 he married Caroline Grinnell of Stonington, also born about 1816. Caroline predeceased John, dying on April 17, 1847 in Mystic CT and is buried in Elm Grove Cemetery there. John died on February 25, 1852 and is buried in Trinity Church Cemetery in Portland CT. HIsgravestone can be found at Find a Grave. There is no record of children.

On June 24, 1819, when John was age 14, he was issued Seamen’s Protection Certificate #5931 in New London. The certificate describes him as 5’ 1” in height with light complexion, hair, and eyes. Three years after receiving his certificate, John began serving as crew. He served as crew on five ships, four with New London as home port, one with Norwich as home port. ANN MARIA (AS0879) 1822-1823, JONES (AS1723) 1824-1825, CONNECTICUT (AS1144) (home port Norwich) 1825-2827, SUPERIOR (AS2448) 1827-1830, and GENERAL WILLIAMS (AS1145) 1840-1843.

John served as replacement master for one voyage of one ship with a home port of New London.

HANNIBAL (AS1529): (ship, 441 tons, built New York NY in 1821, crushed by ice and abandoned in Cumberland Sound in October 1861). Under the command of John W. Brown (AS0667) as master, sailed on October 12, 1843 for the NW Coast, returned on June 9, 1846. Her agent was Benjamin F. Brown.AV06130.

Dennis Wood Abstracts describe the circumstances of John becoming replacement master. Abstract 1-283 records that HANNIBAL sailed from Honolulu on April 12, 1844 for the NW Coast and “Returned to Honolulu on May 28 on Acct. Capt. Brown’s illness.” She continued whaling, returning to Maui on October 12 when shesailed for New Zealand,Brooks Master Capt. Brown remains sick.” Abstract 2-316 picks up the story in a new logbook: Brown Master sailed Oct. 12 for the NW Coast….Brooks Master. Capt. Brown having returned home sick.” Starbuck records that “Captain Brown left the ship and came home in the Daniel Webster, sick.”

Several years after HANNIBAL’s voyage, John returned to serving as crew, serving on two ships with New London as home port. ATLAS (AS0928) 1851-1857 and ATLANTIC (AS0924) 1856-1857.

​​​​​Sources used: see sidebar and sources cited in text.

George Shaw (Mystic Seaport Museum) January 2024