Capt. Benjamin Rodman Carpenter Wilson (1805 - 1869)

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Birthplace: South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
Death: Died in New Bedford, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States
Occupation: Sea Captain
Managed by: David Leeman Wilson
Last Updated:

About Capt. Benjamin Rodman Carpenter Wilson

Capt. Benjamin Rodman Carpenter Wilson, the "King of Whalemen, and Prince of the Sea."

Birth: May 25, 1805, South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island

Death: Aug. 22, 1869 New Bedford, Mass

Marriage (1) New Bedford, 26 July 1829

Wife: Amelia Dallman, d. 23 November 1829

Marriage (2) circa 1830

Wife: Sarah Knowles Wilson b. 15 Nov 1812 (calculated) South Kingstown, RI; d. 30 August 1863, South Kingstown RI


Sarah Knowles Wilson and Benjamin Rodman Carpenter Wilson were second cousins. Sarah's grandfather Col. John Wilson and Benjamin's grandfather Samuel Wilson were brothers.

Children: probably all born at South Kingstown

  • Benjamin Arnold Wilson b. ca. 1831; d. at N. Kingstown 27 Nov. 1904
  • Amelia Jane Wilson b. circa 2 Jan 1834 (calc); d. 4 Sept 1837
  • Sarah Caroline Babcock (Wilson) b. Mar.,1837, South Kingstown, RI; d. 1 Feb. 1898, South Kingstown, RI
  • Henry (Harry), Wilson b. ca. 1839

August 1850 US Census South Kingstown, Washington Co, RI lists: Benjamin R.C. Wilson, 44, occupation: Seaman; Sarah K. Wilson, 38; children: Benjamin A., 19, occupation: Seaman; Caroline, 13; Horace, 11. All residents born in Rhode Island.

June 1860 US Census for South Kingstown, Washington Co, P.O. Peace Dale, RI lists: Benjamin R.C. Wilson, 54, occupation: Sea Captain; Sarah Wilson 46; John Wilson 58 occupation: Carpenter. All residents born in Rhode Island.

"Perhaps one of the most romantic lives was that of Captain Benjamin Wilson, the "King of Whalemen, and Prince of the Sea." This man was born in South Kingstown, in May, 1805. He was early sent to school, and received such instruction as the limited facilities of the times afforded. Being of a somewhat restless and romantic nature, he early manifested a liking for the sea. At the age of eighteen, he obtained a position on a whaler, and set sail from New Bedford, on a whaling voyage to the South Pacific Ocean. His aptness and ability soon attracted attention, and he was delegated to keep the ship's reckoning. He made several voyages, and rapidly rose in the favor and estimation of his fellow-whalemen, as well as the ship-owners themselves. He married, and, after remaining on shore a few months , he was given command of a ship, and set sail for the coast of Brazil. This voyage proved a successful one, and he returned at the expiration of a few months, with a full cargo. It proved a profitable one, not only to his employers, but to himself as well, as his share of the profits amounted to eighteen hundred dollars. He soon after sailed upon another voyage to the "Banks," and this, like the former, proved a success, as he returned in about seven months with a full and complete cargo. His profit, out of this voyage, amounted to some eleven hundred dollars.

During his first voyage, his wife died, and, after the completion of his second voyage, he purchased a small tract of land in South Kingstown, and married Miss Sarah Wilson. Soon after, he started out on another voyage, and during his absence a relative died and left him several thousand dollars. On his return, he engaged in the cultivation of his farm. He was permitted to remain in this avocation but for a brief period, as his services were of more value in the pursuit of his profession on the sea. He was again given command of a whaler, from St. John's, and set sail for the Indian Ocean. He was taken sick on this voyage, and passed the command to another man, until returning to the Cape of Good Hope, when Captain Wilson assumed command again.

While here, he formed an intimate acquaintance with a Mrs. Pitcher, the widow of a rich East India merchant. He lived in a sumptuous manner, and the gay widow found in the captain an agreeable companion, easily captured by her personal charms. He lived in a style that soon attracted attention, and caused no little amount of gossip. One Captain Nye, an acquaintance of Wilson's, took occasion to publicly reprimand him for his conduct, and divulged the fact of his marriage, and his relations as a man of family. This outraged the "gay deceiver," and he called Captain Nye to account, and pistols for two were then in demand. They met upon the wharf, surrounded by an excited crowd, and Wilson, advancing, presented the pistols for his antagonist to choose one, when Nye seized them both and threw them into the sea. They immediately clinched, and engaged in a regular rough-and-tumble fight, until separated by their seconds. Captain Wilson immediately confessed himself in the wrong, and treated the party to an excellent dinner. Soon after, he set sail for St. John's, and the fair widow accompanied him. Report says that they were afterwards married. He finally retired to his estate at South Kingstown, where the widow followed him, and demanded an interview, which took place at the hotel on Tower Hill, and in presence of his lawful wife. The captain, undoubtedly, bestowed upon her a sum of money, as the next day after this interview, he procured $2000 from a friend, and the widow Pitcher departed. He afterwards engaged in the hotel business at New Bedford, and his genial ways and social affability made his house the rendezvous of a large course of admiring friends. His reckless manner of business soon depleted his purse, and he soon removed to South Kingstown, where he died Aug. 22, 1869, in the sixty-fourth year of his age, and was buried at Tower Hill."

History of the State of Rhode Island (with Illustrations from Original Sketches). 1636-1878. , Published by Hoag, Wade & Company. Philadelphia. 1878

"Captain Benjamin R. C. Wilson, the king of whalemen and prince of the sea, was born in South Kingstown May 25th, 1805. At the age of five years he was placed at school, under the instruction of Robert F. Noyes, who was succeeded by William Nichols. At the age of eighteen he sailed from New Bedford on a whaling voyage to the South Pacific ocean. On this voyage he studied navigation and kept the ship's reckoning. He performed his next voyage in the capacity of a boat steerer, and his third voyage as chief mate, and in that capacity he sailed around Cape Horn. He next took charge of a ship and went upon the coast of Brazil, and in ten months and seven days returned with a full cargo. His share amounted to eighteen hundred dollars. He sailed the second time around Cape Horn, and afterward around the Cape of Good Hope and into the Indian ocean. He afterward, in company with Ellet L. Perkins, run the Cory Hotel, in New Bedford. His life was one of adventure, and it reads like romance. He died August 22d, 1869, aged 64 years, and was buried in the Presbyterian grounds at Tower Hill. "

History of Washington and Kent counties: Rhode Island, including ..., Volume 1, By J. R. Cole

Burial:

Presbyterian Ground at Tower Hill, South Kingstown, RI; also known as the Congregational Churchyard; Also known as: Rhode Island Hist. Cemetery South Kingstown #26

"Most of the graves in the burying ground have been plowed over." History of Washington and Kent Counties, Rhode Island by J. R. Cole, W.W.Preston & Co., New York, 1889

Sources:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=81528178

Source:

"The King of Whalemen and Prince of the sea (rem)" Narragansett Times, Oct. 10, 1873

Descendants of Samuel Wilson of South Kingstown, RI - New England Historical & Genealogical Register v144, Page: 314



      
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Capt. Benjamin Rodman Carpenter Wilson's Timeline

1805
May 25, 1805
South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
1829
July 26, 1829
Age 24
New Bedford, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States
1830
1830
Age 24
1831
1831
Age 25
South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
1834
January 2, 1834
Age 28
South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
1837
March 1837
Age 31
South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
1839
1839
Age 33
South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
1869
August 22, 1869
Age 64
New Bedford, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States
????
South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island, United States