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Thomas Nickerson

Birthplace: Harwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States
Death: February 07, 1883 (73-81)
Nantucket, Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Nickerson and Rebecca A Nickerson
Husband of Margaret B Drew

Occupation: sailor; boarding house proprietor
Managed by: Elwin C. Nickerson
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Thomas Nickerson

Added by Elwin C. Nickerson -"Whaling Ship Essex- Thomas was a member of the ill-fated ship the Essex, at age 15. There were twenty men in the crew aboard the whaleship, George Pollard, Master, when she sailed out of Nantucket in Aug. 1819, and reached the Pacific whaling grounds in Oct. 1820. The three small whaling boats, with the crew, were lowered to commence the chase for whales. Thomas was in First Mate Chase's boat which was twice damaged and capsized by a whale, and twice hoisted onto the ship for repairs.( "What My Family an I were taught to call A Nantucket Sleigh Ride") Thomas was at the helm of the ship when "the whale had struck the ship with his head directly under the larboard forechains at the water's edge with such force as to shock every man upon his feet. That blow was followed by a second which stove in her bows. The Essex started to sink and the other two whale boats returned with just enough time to save some food, supplies, navigation instruments, knives and pistols before abandoning ship". They headed south-southwest in the three open boats for the coast of South America 2000 miles away. After one month they reached Henderson's Island where three men remained, and the others "replenished with spring water and fish to dry and eat, continued the quest for the mainland". In Jan. 1821 Thomas' boat with Owen Chase and three others became separated from the others by a storm. "One man died and another succumbed to madness and died". Thomas writes that "on Feb. 15 we were about 300 miles from the Island of Massafuera with our last morsel of food-two cakes of ship bread for three of us. Death seemed truly to be hovering over us and staring broadly in our faces...We consented that in case one should die first the others, if they thought proper, could subsist upon the remains with the hope that someone might carry the news to our friends". /ECN/


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Account of the Ship Essex Sinking, 1819-1821. Thomas Nickerson
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Thomas Nickerson's Timeline

March 20, 1805
Harwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States
February 7, 1883
Age 77
Nantucket, Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States