William Foster Nye

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William Foster Nye

Birthplace: Sandwich, Barnstable Co., MA, USA
Death: Died in Fairhaven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
Place of Burial: Fairhaven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Ebenezer Nye and Syrena Nye
Husband of Mary Sturtevant Nye
Father of Joseph Keith Nye; Martha Elizabeth Stoddard and Mary Athalia Nye
Brother of Angeline Keith; Capt Ebenezer Franklin Nye; Lieut. Ephraim Bassett Nye; Albert Gallatin Nye; Syrena M Nye and 2 others

Occupation: Wood Ship Builder, Bricklayer and Oil Maker
Managed by: John H. Nye
Last Updated:

About William Foster Nye

When he was sixteen he went to New Bedford, MA and entered and apprenticeship with Prince Weeks, a master builder. After finishing the apprenticeship he worked at organ building in the employ of a Boston firm. Later he shipped as a carpenter on an East India merchant ship.

From India he went to California when the gold rush was at its peak. He crossed the Isthmus of Panama on foot, arriving in San Francisco after the fire. He erected some to the first brick structures in San Francisco.

In the beginning of the Civil War, when he joined the army in Virginia as a sutler of the Massachusetts cavalry. He participated in the famous march from Fredericksburg to Gettysburg and was with the advance guard which entered Richmond April 5,1865. His regiment first raised the flag on the capitol building. For many days he was the only tradesman on the streets of Richmond. His regiment was mustered out in November 1865.

Mr. Nye is the largest manufacturer of oils for watches, clocks, sewing machines, etc., in the world, and his large factories are located on Fish Island. New Bedford. Mr. Nye commenced to manufacture oil in. Fair-haven on a small scale in 1844, hut later moved to New Bedford. His success has been remarkable. Mr. Nye was the chief promoter of the Onset Bay Grove association, said to be the largest organization of spiritualists ever founded.

William F. Nye began refining whale oil in the kitchen of his Fairhaven home in 1865. In 1871, Nye Oil Company's fine machine oils won the highest award at the Paris Exposition. By 1889, the company was producing 2.1 million bottles of oil a year. Although Nye Lubricants stopped refining whale oil in 1972, the company Nye founded still distributes synthetic lubricants from its Fairhaven, MA, plant.


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William Foster Nye's Timeline

May 20, 1824
Sandwich, Barnstable Co., MA, USA
Age 15
New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA
May 6, 1852
Age 27
New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
Age 30
New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA
February 28, 1858
Age 33
Massachusetts, United States
March 22, 1862
Age 37
New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
August 12, 1910
Age 86
Fairhaven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
Age 85
Fairhaven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
Boston, MA