Saturday, October 26, 2013

Nantucket Families

I descend from Nantucket families who are found on the island from 1659 until just before the Revolutionary War.

The below is taken from Wikipedia:


Nantucket's settlement by the English did not begin in earnest until 1659, when Thomas Mayhew sold his interest to a group of investors, led by Tristram Coffin, "for the sum of thirty Pounds...and also two beaver hats, one for myself, and one for my wife". The "nine original porchasers" were Tristram Coffin, Peter Coffin, Thomas Macy, Christopher Hussey, Richard Swain, Thomas Barnard, Stephen Greenleafe, John Swain and William Pike. Seamen and tradesmen began to populate Nantucket, such as Richard Gardner (arrived 1667) and Capt. John Gardner (arrived 1672), sons of Thomas Gardner (planter).[9]
In his 1835 history of Nantucket Island, Obed Macy wrote that in the early pre-1672 colony, a whale of the kind called "scragg" entered the harbor and was pursued and killed by the settlers.[10] This event started the Nantucket whaling industry. A. B. Van Deinse points out that the "scrag whale", described by P. Dudley in 1725 as one of the species hunted by early New England whalers, was almost certainly the gray whale, which has flourished on the west coast of North America in modern times with protection from whaling.[11][12]
Herman Melville commented on Nantucket's whaling dominance in Moby-Dick, Chapter 14: "Two thirds of this terraqueous globe are the Nantucketer's. For the sea is his; he owns it, as Emperors own empires." TheMoby-Dick characters Ahab and Starbuck are both from Nantucket.

Whale weathervane atop the Nantucket Historical Association Whaling Museum
By 1850, whaling was in decline, as Nantucket's whaling industry had been surpassed by that of New Bedford. The island suffered great economic hardships, worsened by the July 13, 1846 "Great Fire" that, fueled by whale oil and lumber, devastated the main town, burning some 40 acres.[13] The fire left hundreds homeless and poverty-stricken, and many people left the island. Another contributor to the decline was the silting up of the harbor, which prevented large whaling ships from entering and leaving the port. In addition, the development of railroads made mainland whaling ports, such as New Bedford, more attractive because of the ease of transshipment of whale oil onto trains, an advantage unavailable to an island.

If one is is descended from one Nantucket family, one is likely descended from most of the Nantucket families.  And that is part of the reason that my 5-gr-grandfather must have moved his family to Guilford County, NC just before the Revoution.  It is said that the families who moved made their move because they were worried about the vulerability of the island if a war would begin.  But also because it was getting hard to find perspective spouses for their children who were not cousins because the families were so intermarried.  Quakers did not believe in marrying cousins.

The below information is taken from The History of Guilford County, North Carolina (1902)  by Sallie W. Stockard

This source can be read on-line at:  https://archive.org/details/historyofguilford00stoc  What I have copied below is on pages 16-17 in this source:


 In 
1780 two-thirds of the inhabitants of Nantucket were Quakers. Among 
their leaders were the Coffins, Starbucks, Folgers. Barnards, Husseys. 

■'During a period of five years there were no less than forty-one cer- 
tificates recorded at New Garden Monthly Meeting from Nantucket out 
of a total of fifty certificates received. 

'In this number there were eleven families, including many that have 
since been prominent in Guilford County. Among them were : Libni 
Coffin, William Coffin, Jr., William, Barnabas, Seth (and wife), Samuel 
(and family), Peter and Joseph Coffin; Jethro Macy, David. Enoch, Na- 



iVO/v'77/ CAROLINA. 17 

thaniel. Paul (and family). Matthew (and five children) and Joseph Macy ; 
William. Gayer. Paul (and family), and William Starbuck; Richard, Wil- 
Ii:im, Stephen and Stephen Gardner; Tristrim. Francis and Timothy Bar- 
nard; Daniel. Francis and Jonah Worth; John VVickersham. William 
Recce. Jonathan Gifford. Reuhen Bunker. Nathaniel Swain, Thomas 
Dixon " 

The Pennsylvania and Xantucket Quakers did not mingle and 
inter-irarry with the Scotch-Irish, whose whole modus vivendi 
was the opposite of their own. 

Ahnost all the members of the denomination at the present 
day who are "birth rij^ht," can trace their descent from one or 
both of these sources, and those who cong^ratulate themselves upon 
their Xantucket origin may be interested in the followinjr doggerel 
which was supposed tersely to describe those same ancestors. 

The Rays and Russells coopers are, 

The knowing Folgers lazy. 

A lying Coleman very rare. 

And scarce a learned Hussey. 

The Coffins noisy, fractious. loud, 

The silent Gardners plodding. 

The Mitchells good, 

The Bakers proud, 

The Macys cat the pudding. 

The Lovetts stalwart, brave and stern. 

The Starbucks wild and vain. 

The Quakers steady, mild and calm. 

The bwains sea-faring men, 

And the jolly Worths go sailing down the wind. 

The reason that I chose to add this blog post this morning is that I wanted to put a link to the Nantucket Historical Society as a reminder for future study:

http://www.nha.org/library/librarydatabases.html

I was lucky enough to visit the library several years ago....I would also like to add photos and information about that trip to this post.


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