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CHARLES MORGAN

CHARLES MORGAN - click to enlargeCHARLES MORGAN
The Charles W. Morgan was launched at New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841 when whaling was at its peak. In 37 voyages over 80 years she traveled more leagues of the world's oceans than any other American whaling ship in history. The Morgan endured everything the sea could bring against her, including typhoons in the China Sea, the wintry gales of Cape Horn, and the crushing ice of the Bering Sea.

The Morgan was a full-rigged ship of 351 tons, measured 111 feet from stem to stern, and carried a full suit of light sails in addition to her working canvas. Technically, she was known as double top-sail bark. To pursue the whales that were her quarry she carried six or more whaleboats.

The Morgan served under many masters during her long career. It was not uncommon for some to be accompanied by their wives. In fact, some wives served as navigators and log-keepers.

Near the end of her service, the Morgan participated in a series of Hollywood films, including "Down To The Sea In Ships" starring Clara Bow and "Java Head" featuring Leatrice Joy.

Now in retirement at Mystic Seaport Village in Mystic, Connecticut, she is one of the few tangible reminders of a vanished era, when men and women endured enormous hardships and risked their lives and fortunes under the most perilous conditions at sea to bring home whale oil and other commercial products.

The home of the Charles Morgan:
Mystic Seaport Museum.

Whaling: An American Tradition,
History Channel.