Captain Ezra Nye

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Captain Ezra Nye

Birthplace: Sandwich, Barnstable County, MA, United States
Death: April 17, 1866 (67)
Newark, Essex County, NJ, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Nye and Mahala Nye
Husband of Nancy Freeman Nye
Father of Nannie Jane Jackson; Joseph Nye; William Fessenden Nye and Martha Freeman Patton
Brother of Temperance Nye; Lucinda Smith; Nancy Fish Allyne; Abigail Fish Clark; Jane Fish Nye and 5 others

Occupation: Steamship Captain
Managed by: John H. Nye
Last Updated:

About Captain Ezra Nye

  • He resided in Baltimore, MD
  • Later he moved to New York, NY
  • After retiring from the command of the steamship Pacific he lived in Newark, NJ.


Ezra's career spanned the years of packet ships and extended into the years of steam.

In 1829 the "Amethyst", commanded by Nye, set a Liverpool to Boston speed record that halved the usual crossing time.. He took the "Independence" during her first eleven years and set another Atlantic record of New York to Liverpool of 14 and a Half days in 1836. Later he commanded the luxurious 1207 ton "Clay" and finally the steam-driven "Pacific" which was the first vessel to cross the Atlantic in 10 days. He was not in command of the "Pacific" in 1856 when it was lost with all on board.

When the "Clay" ran aground off New Jersey, he rigged a breeches buoy and saved the 300 passengers of the British vessel "Jessie Stephens" during a mid-Atlantic storm. For this feat, he was awarded a gold chronometer by Queen Victoria.

19th Century Seafarers, NYE, George P Nye, editor; Nye Family of America Association, Inc. Publisher, 1993

"He was born in nearby Spring Hill Village, was a captain by age 21, and set speed records for sail and steam on the New York to Liverpool route, and after his career at sea he owned and managed vessels. At this time he lived in Newark, New Jersey, where he died in 1866.

Capt. Nye is best known for a risky rescue operation conducted in the stormy mid-Atlantic in 1852. The English Barque Jesse Stephens was sinking, and Capt. Nye was able to remove all passengers and crew. For this he gained national recognition in this country, and the gratitude of the British admiralty and Queen Victoria, who presented him with a gold chronometer (a captain's precision time-piece) and a beautiful gold medal." - Benjamin Nye Homestead & Museum April 2014 Newsletter corrected

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Captain Ezra Nye's Timeline

November 3, 1798
Sandwich, Barnstable County, MA, United States
August 5, 1835
Sandwich, Barnstable County, MA, United States
April 17, 1866
Age 67
Newark, Essex County, NJ, United States
Pacific, United States