Update about blog

Come on over to my other blog, Alchemy of Clay and Living in Black Mountain NC, where the scenery and my ceramic arts life are combined. I've moved some personal blog posts, (as well as those that are about my ancestors) back here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Captain of what ships?

Captain Alexander Swasey sailed at least from Charleston, South Carolina, to New Orleans, LA, and then later to Cuba.

What ships did he sail?
I've already mentioned his brief stint as a Blockade runner on the Ella Warley.

That ship had actually been commisioned the Isabel, built in 1848 in Baltimore.  It was owned by Charleston businessmen. It was constructed specifically to serve the United States postal service, as well as coastal passenger trade, between the eastern United States and the Spanish colony of Cuba.

Since Swasey was captain of it when it was turned over the the Confederacy in 1861, until its capture by Union forces in April, 1862, I will try to see if Captain Swasey had command of it from 1848, or when he indeed did take over its sailing.

Here's a painting of the Ella Warley.

The Ella Warley

Here's a manifest from 1843, when he captained the Schooner Caluo from Charleston to New Orleans from April 6-28.

I don't have a picture of the Caluo, but here's a 3 masted schooner, the Regina Maris.

Schooners were developed in North America from the early 18th century, and came into extensive use in New England. 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.
Essex, Massachusetts was the most significant shipbuilding center for schooners. By the 1850s, over 50 vessels a year were being launched from 15 shipyards and Essex became recognized worldwide as North America’s center for fishing schooner construction. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)

This slave manifest for the same ship, June 6-29, 1843, is more disturbing for me to read.  These are women, the oldest being 50, and children from 4 years of age.  Incidentally the ship is now spelled Callao.

Captain Swasey was born on April 14, 1812 in Newburyport, Essex, Massachusetts.

If he became a sailor as a young man, or at least was involved in the shipping business (a family business probably) he would have been aware of all kinds of ships and boats.  By 1843, when he was 31, he was Captain of the Schooner Caluo (Callao).

When did he move south from Newburyport MA?  I don't know.  

In the census of 1840, he was living in St. Augustine FL, where his first daughter was born that year.  His next daughter was born the next year, also in FL.  Then the family didn't change size again until 1849 when another daughter was born in Florida. Then in 1853 their only son was born, Alexander John Swasey  in Charleston.  

So though Captain Swasey was working out of Charleston in 1843, his family life was in St. Augustine.  And that was before Florida became a state in 1845.  For some reason his family was back in Charleston by 1853.

AG Swasey Home at 22 Savage St.
Captain Swasey's home, 22 Savage St., Charleston, SC

I just discovered an Official records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 1861-1865, where there's an A.G. Swasey with some kind of classification "II, 4"  as well as Alexander Swazey with "II, 8" following his name.  I wonder what that means?  This is on  page 495 of the microfilm, and original document page number 935.  So to find the key to meanings I'll have to do more research.

AG Swasey Home at 1 Limehouse St.
Captain Swasey's home? This is 1 Limehouse St, his place of death.

I have copies of innumerable Prisoner of War documents from the Civil War with Captain A.G. Swasey listed...with amounts of money.  I don't understand them, so will wait till I have someone to walk me though the meanings.

NOTE:  The documents show he was interred in Fort Warren, MA, a Federal prison. First entry I have found is Nov 11, 1863.


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