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Salty Dogs, Captains, and Mariners

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  • Capt. Darby Lux, Sr. (1695 - 1750)
    Capt. Darby Lux Sr. was a mariner, merchant, and Justice of Baltimore County, Maryland. Biography Capt. Lux was the son of an English clergyman. Capt. Lux was born in Kenton Parish, Devonshire, E...
  • Otto Emerson Davis (1905 - 1973)
    Barely surviving scarlet fever as a boy weakening his heart he went on to live an colorful life. With the mind of a poet he would share his observations on American life. He saw the good and the bad an...
  • Capt. Thomas Coffin (1766 - 1815)
    5. Thomas Coffin [Whaler;Trader] (Benjamin, Thomas) died 1815.
Thomas owned real estate and pasture lands for sheep; a parcel of ground in "the Fishlot shares"; and land at School Street, bought in 179...
  • Howell Williams (1769 - 1819)
    Howell Williams was a Connecticut sea captain. He was a descendant of Robert Williams, the founder of Roxbury, Massachusetts. --------------------------------------------------------------------------...
  • James Babbage Wells (1811 - 1880)
    James B. Wells, Texas naval officer, was born about 1812 in Georgia. He was a New England Puritan by descent and was educated in Boston. After sailing out of Boston on merchant ships, he was the capt...

“Salty Dog” is nautical slang for an experienced sailor who has spent much of their life aboard a ship at sea. A salty dog is often given increased credibility by ship mates in matters pertaining to ship-board life and duties. Also known as an “old salt.”

This project will include captains and crew of the following kinds of vessels:

  • Riverboats - A riverboat is a watercraft designed for inland navigation on lakes, rivers, and artificial waterways.
  • Steamboats - A steamboat or steamship, sometimes called a steamer, is a ship in which the primary method of propulsion is steam power, typically driving propellers or paddlewheels. Steamships usually use the prefix designation SS, S.S. or S/S.
  • Schooners - A type of sailing vessel with fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts, the foremast being no taller than the rear mast(s). The most common type of schooners, with two-masts, were popular in trades that required speed and windward ability, such as slaving, privateering, and blockade running. They were also traditional fishing boats, used for offshore fishing.
  • "Clippers" - A clipper was a very fast sailing ship of the 19th century that had three or more masts and a square rig. Clippers sailed all over the world, primarily on the trade routes between the United Kingdom and its colonies in the east, in trans-Atlantic trade, and the New York-to-San Francisco route round Cape Horn during the California Gold Rush. Dutch clippers were built beginning in 1850s for the tea trade and passenger service to Java.
  • Fishing Smacks - A smack is a type of traditional fishing boat that has a well amidships. The well was filled with circulated external water, which kept fish alive until delivered to land and sold. It was a modified form of fishing smack.
  • Passenger ships
  • Whaling Barks - The term bark refers to a particular sail-plan, with three (or more) masts, fore-and-aft sails on the after most mast and square sails on all other masts. A major advantage of the bark's rigging was that they needed smaller crews and were therefore cheaper to run. Whaling barks averaged between 250 and 400 tons, and were little more than 100 feet in length on deck. The ratio of beam to length was one to four, as opposed to one to six on clipper ships. The whaler was built for stability, not speed. It carried a large amount of specialized equipment, such as the heavy brick and iron try-works. On the port side it held three or more whale boats suspended from wooden davits, with another carried at the starboard quarter, and another at the starboard bow on larger ships. A number of features on deck were particular to the whaling bark. Around the base of the try-works was a low wooden framework, a foot or so in height called the goose pen, kept filled with sea water. Two small deck houses were built on the stern end, one for the cook's galley and the other to store the cooper's tools and supplies. The two cabins were connected overhead to provide shelter for the helmsmen at the steering wheel, in the "hurricane house." Aloft, the whaling bark differed from other ships only in that it had masthead hoops for looking out for whales. Also spelled barque or barc, the bark was the most popular type of whaleship from the 1860s to the end of the 19th century because it could sail closer to the wind with a smaller crew than a full-rigged ship.

This is also the place to find Maritime Pilots. A pilot is a mariner who guides ships through dangerous or congested waters, such as harbors or river mouths. Pilots are expert ship handlers who possess detailed knowledge of local waterways.

And let's not forget about the brave captains and sailors who served their countries:

Notable Captains