Vineyard Gazette
On another page is printed a poem by J. C. A. about the old whaler, Charles W. Morgan, who in her last days is serving the movies in a local color capacity.
Charles W. Morgan


No single event finished off whaling, of course. It was doomed from the moment in 1859 when geologists discovered oil in the crust of Pennsylvania. Then came the piracy and scuttling of whaling ships during the Civil War (including the Edgartown whaler Ocmulgee, sunk by the Confederate raider Alabama), the loss of most of the New England fleet to Arctic ice in 1871, and the transfer of investment by the richest Vineyarders from whaling to the resorts at Oak Bluffs and Katama during the post-war building boom.


Capt. Ellsworth Luce West, last of the Vineyard whaling captains, died at his home on the Middle Road, Chilmark, on Sunday nigh, following some months of failing health. He was in his 85th year and although feeble physically for some time, his faculties had remained active until his death. As an authority on the Arctic, his last days had been spent in the dictation of a volume on Arctic phenomena and his Alaskan experiences. He was also collaborating with Vilhjalmur Stefansson the explorer, in recreating in print various phrases of the whaling era.


The whaleboat in which Vineyarders out-pulled all others who met them here and elsewhere, has been presented to the Dukes County Historical Society by Captain Isaac Norton of Vineyard Haven, commander of the craft, George Smith of Oak Bluffs, the only surviving member of the crew, and Captain Norton’s nephews, Benjamin, Frank, Orrin and James Norton. The historic craft has been stored in the barn of Cyrus Norton, brother of Captain Isaac, for more than thirty years. It was last used in an historical pageant at Lake Tashmoo.


Twenty-four hours after she had sailed bravely from New Bedford on what was to be her “last voyage,” the staunch old bark, Wanderer, last of New Bedford’s once glorious fleet of square-rigged whaling vessels, came to a tragic end off Cuttyhunk island late Tuesday afternoon, when mountainous seas and a shrieking northeast gale drover her on to the jagged teeth of Middle Ground shoals.


On another page is printed a poem by J. C. A. about the old whaler, Charles W. Morgan, who in her last days is serving the movies in a local color capacity. The following facts about the famous old craft may be of interest:

Built at New Bedford 1840.

Length - 105.6 ft., breadth 27.7, depth 17.6, tonnage 351.

Sailed on her first voyage, to Pacific Ocean, Sept. 4, 1840, Thomas Adams Norton, Edgartown, Master. Arrived home Jan. 1. 1845: 1500 sp., 800 wh., 10,000 lbs bone.


The following named Vineyarders are officers of the whaling fleet for the season of 1901 sailing out of San Francisco:

Steamer Narwhal - Alonzo M. Ripley, second mate.

Steamer Balaena - Ward P. Vineen, first mate.

Steamer Beluga - H. H. Bodfish, master; Andrew W. Look, first mate; Thomas G. Fisher, fourth mate.

Bark Gay Head - Charles W. Fisher, master; Tisdale S. Pease, first mate; Abram L. Joab, fourth mate.

Steamer Alexandr - B. T. Tilton, master.