Sea Captains Lindsey

Lindsey, Benjamin
Bpt. April 21, 1782.

1809 Schooner “Abigail,” 78T. (Lost G. C.)

Lindsey, Nathaniel
Bpt. March 17, 1771.

1775 Collector of Taxes. Appointment in possession of Marblehead Historical Society.
1775 First Lieutenant in Capt. Francis Felton Co., for Coast Defense. His Commission dated July 30, 1775 now in possession of the Marblehead Historical Society.
1775 Second Lieutenant in Francis Felton’s Co.
1776 Captain in Col. Timothy Pickering’s Regiment.
1770 Captain of a Company raised to reinforce the Continental Army.
1782-1798 Selectman.
1802 Schooner “Two Brothers.”
1806 Ship “Print.” Captured April 1813, and ordered to England. (Essex Institute Records.)
____ Brigantine “Washington.” Sold at Maranham, in 1830. (Essex Institute Records.)
1812 Captain of the Privateer “Growler” of Salem, his appointment with instructions when and how to proceed, now in possession of N. Allen Lindsey his great grandson.
1812 Captain of Brigantine “Growler,” April, 1812 captured the Brigantine “Ann” of 10 guns from Liverpool to New Providence laden with a cargo worth $100,000. Later captured two other vessels.
1813 Brigantine “Frolic.” (M. V. S.)
1816 Schooner “Abigail.”
1822 Brigantine “Four Sisters.”

Lindsey, Nathaniel Jr.
Born June 17, 1804.

1829 Ship “Candace.”
1831 Ship “Gov. Parris.”
1835 Schooner “Harriet.”
1835 Brigantine “Wilham.”
1837 Selectman.
1838-1841 Postmaster.

Captured By Pirates.

An Account Of The Robbery Of The Ship “Candace” Of Boston In 1829, Published In The Marblehead Messenger, Jan. 21, 1881.

The ship “Candace,” Capt. Nathaniel Lindsey, Jr., of Marblehead, master, sailed from Boston for the coast of Sumatra in October, 1829, supplied with 20,000 hard dollars to purchase a cargo of pepper. Samuel Graves of Marble-head was the chief-officer.

While in the track where Indiamen cross the equator, Nov. 18, 1829, she was chased many hours by a pirate brig, overtaken and robbed. The particulars of the affair we have gleaned from various sources, but principally from a graphic account by Capt. Graves which he kindly furnished us in writing.

The “Candace” was in latitude 9 N., longitude 24 W., and 28 days out of port. The night preceding the piracy was one of those warm, still nights so common in the tropics. The ship was becalmed and rocked lazily on the long and regular swell. The cabin windows being open, Capt. Lindsey heard at times during the night in the distance astern, the creaking of a heavy boom, as of some big vessel close behind. This was his first intimation of the pirates’ approach.

At day-break a large hermaphrodite brig was discovered astern and gaining on the “Candace.” Suspicion was at once aroused and every sail that would draw was ordered to be set. Still the chase gained, and at ten o’clock ran up a large red flag and fired a shot which dropped about half a mile astern.

The officers and crew of the pursued ship, strained every nerve to obtain some slight advantage which might allow them to escape, and many were the ominous glances at the dark-hulled brig which all the while crept nearer and nearer to them, and was now seen to be full of men.

At that time Spanish vessels, fitted out of Havana for a slaving voyage, in accordance with Spanish laws, then proceeded along the coast of Cuba where more men and guns were clandestinely taken on board, and then sailed for the equator in the track of Indiamen knowing they took species to purchase their return cargoes. These slavers often robbed every vessel they met with on their voyage and were guilty of the most shocking cruelty and barbarity known to man. The stories of piratical murders were house-hold words and every mariner’s heart sank at the dreadful prospect of encountering one of these robbers of the sea.

The feelings of those on board the “Candace” at the inevitable fate which apparently awaited them can be better imagined than described. They had no reason to expect that they would form any exception in the long wake of blood and horror which usually marked a pirate’s course, and as they saw that escape was getting to be hopeless, each man prepared himself for the worst.

That the chase was in dead earnest was easy to be seen. At intervals there were heavy squalls which obliged it to take in all sail and put the vessel before the wind. When the squall abated, the next instant all sail would be set again and the pursuit of the ship resumed.

At noon another shot was fired which fell about two hundred yards astern. At 2:45 a third passed over the fore-yard of the “Candace” and dropped a quarter of a mile ahead It was then discovered that the brig was full of men and was armed with a large gun in the waist mounted on a pivot, besides four long brass nines.

The armament of the “Candace” consisted only of two four-pound cannons, five or six muskets and as many pistols. Her crew numbered but sixteen men and boys. She was therefore totally unprepared to cope with her adversary and it was felt that resistance would avail nothing. “Had we been prepared to combat the enemy,” writes Capt. Graves, “no braver nor better man walked the deck of a ship than Capt. Lindsey, nor would have defended his ship with more stability.”

The “Candace” was hove to, and the pirate, with her men to quarters, also hove to, and ordered the boat of the “Candace” to come to them. The mate and four men proceeded to the pirate craft but when within a few yards of her, were met by their boat and ordered to return with them at once.

After boarding the “Candace” the pirates questioned the captain sharply, and getting what information they desired, returned to their brig. Immediately, two boats full of Spaniards and Portuguese, ferocious-looking fellows armed to the teeth with pistols and daggers, left the pirate craft and boarded the ship. There were thirty in all and by the aid of an interpreter they at once ordered the officers into the cabin and the sailors into the forecastle and stationed a sentry at each place.

It was agreed between the captain and the mate that in case a massacre was begun, one of them should fire into a barrel of gunpowder in the hold and explode the ship. It was thought to be a better fate, to kill all in one general ruin.

Soon the cabin swarmed with the miscreants who demanded the money or the lives of the officers. Regretting his inability to defend his ship, Capt. Lindsey very reluctantly gave up the money, which was quickly removed to the pirate vessel by another set of men, while the first lot consulted together on the deck as to whether or not the vessel had better be destroyed.

Mr. Graves, who had some slight acquaintance with the Spanish language, overheard their conversation, wherein some of them thought it advisable to supply themselves with provisions from the “Candace” (which was done) and then take the prisoners on deck, one at a time, shoot them, and set fire to the ship. Others proposed another plan.

While this discussion was going on they ordered the second mate on deck. The hearts of the other officers beat quick and each took a swift resolution to sell his life as dearly as possible. Having no doubt but that the pirates were about to slay their first victim, officer Graves seized his pistol, quickly dropped from the cabin to the hold, and leveled the weapon at the powder barrel. Just then a voice from the above shouted, “Stop! they have not killed him.” It was a timely warning, for in another second the occupants of the cabin and the privates on deck, would have perished together “in one red burial blent.”

However, the conversation still having a murderous tone, it was felt that danger was imminent. The chief mate went between decks, deter-mined to defend himself at all hazards, but five of the pirates dropped on him unawares from the after hatch, over powdered him, took away his weapons, and pointing a knife at his breast demanded his watch and money. The first he handed them, but the latter being the proceeds of a former voyage to India, he did not give up. They made a search and were near the money several times but did not get it.

One of the most singular circumstances connected with the whole affair and one to which it is not improbable all on board the “Candace” owed their lives is thus narrated by Capt. Lindsey.

“Our supercargo, having a brother an actor, he took with him theatrical dresses to wear ashore among the natives, an opportunity offering. He went to his room, dressed himself in a full black silk gown and a square white cravat, turned down the broad sides of an old-fashioned military hat (with a low round crown) and thus imitated a Spanish Padre.

“He seated himself in his room, looking very serious, counting a string of beads around his neck (saying his prayers of course). When seen by the pirates they crossed themselves and turned away with a hideous look.”

The supercargo thus lost nothing, although he had considerable gold in his possession.

The conversation of the pirates which was long and animated, took up time and brought night nearer, which proved to be a favorable circumstance. A heavy squall arose with rain, thunder and lightning. Suddenly and with much confusion the pirates took to their boats and pulled for their brig, it may be, not caring to be separated any longer from the precious money which had been transferred to the vessel and which, perhaps, they were not quite certain was in safe hands; but this is all conjecture.

The “Candace” had been heading east, but immediately wore around to the west, very cautiously getting everything in readiness, without attracting the attention of the pirates, whom it was feared might even yet change their minds, and return. At last all sail was cracked on and the good ship leaped across the waves, every man breathing freer as they widened the distance between themselves and the pirate craft. Darkness shut in and hope revived. In the morning the brig had disappeared.

Capt. Lindsey who was a diligent reader of the Scriptures, after retiring to his state-room that night, took down his Bible according to his usual custom. He opened the book at random at the one hundred and twenty-fourth Psalm, which so wonderfully fitted itself to circumstances that it seemed almost like a divine message to those on board and made a lasting impression on his mind. The reader will do well to turn to it.

On a stormy day in December the people of Marblehead were surprised at seeing a ship under full sail heading for the harbor, and surprise gave way to excitement when it was discovered that it was the “Candace,” which was supposed to be in another quarter of the globe. The news quickly spread and hundreds hastened to the wharves to ascertain the meaning of the un-looked-for return As the story was told, it may be imagined that interest was not in any degree lessened.

The “Candace” was the property of Bigsbee & Valentine of Boston, and a few days later sailed for that port.

The pirate craft was afterwards thought to be the Spanish brig Macrinarian, commanded by Mansel Alcantra, a Spaniard who had committed many outrages on the high seas.

A letter from Havana July 12 received at Baltimore states that the Brigantine “Manzanarez” which robbed the “Candace” of Boston has been sent into Sierra Leone with a cargo of slaves and sold and the Captain and crew set at liberty the captors being ignorant of their character. Marblehead Register August 7, 1830.

Lindsey, John Barker
Born July 21, 1799.

1812 On Privateer “Harpey.” (C. B.)
____ Brigantine “Polly.”
1834 Ship “Unicorn.”
1836 Ship “Ellen Brooks.”
1841 Ship ”St. Louis.”
1841-1846 Barque “Natchez.”
1848 Barque “Georgia.”
1858 Barque “Homer.”
1859 Supercargo of the “John Gilpin.”
1861-1865 Bark “Edwin.”

Barque “Georgia, “Lindsey, from Vera Cruz to Laguna, was driven ashore and lost on Laguna Bar, May 4, during a norther, while awaiting a pilot. He and the crew were rescued by a German vessel. (Salem Register, June 4, 1857.)

Capt. John B. Lindsey began his sea faring life at thirteen years of age on board a privateer. From that time until he retired from the sea in 1865 he was in twenty-five or thirty vessels of different kinds. In the early twenties he was in command on a voyage to Russia. One of his most thrilling experiences was in Massachusetts Bay while coming to Boston from the Mediterranean. Running into a terrific snow storm he was obliged to cut away his mast to avoid being driven on shore, laying too for a number of days, until assistance arrived, enabling him to proceed to Boston. On another trip from New Orleans to Liverpool with a cargo of cotton, got on fire which burned all across the Atlantic, the decks being hot on arrival there. During the famine in Ireland he carried a load of provisions across for the relief of the sufferers.

Ship “Ellen Brooks,” Capt. John B. Lindsey
Original painted in Liverpool owned by family of Capt. Lindsey

Barque “Natchez,” Capt. John B. Lindsey
Original painting in the Peabody Museum, Salem

Lindsey, Joseph
Born May, 22, 1803.

Brig “Corporal Trim.”

Lindsey, Joseph
Bpt. April 23, 1769.

1794 Schooner “Industry,” 66T.
1795 Brigantine “Mary,” 116T.
1797 Ship “American Hero,” 215T. Commissioned in 1812 as a Privateer.
1800 Ship “Fanny.”
1801 Ship Wels 205T.
1801 Schooner John.
____ Barque “Sardius.” (Lost G. C.)
____ Ship “Trescott.”
____ “Betsy.” (Condemned in 1812, G. C.)

Oct. 4, 1798. Ship “American Hero,” Capt. Jos. Lindsey bound to Copenhagen, returns with all her masts and bowsprit carried away. (Felt’s Annals, Vol. 2, p. 308.)

July 18, 1800. Information that Capt. Lindsey of the Ship “Fanny” bound to Martinico had an engagement with a French Privateer and forced her to bear away. (Felt’s Annals, Vol 2, p. 31’2.)


Source: Old Marblehead Sea Captains and the Ships in Which They Sailed, Compiled and Published for the Benefit of the Marblehead Historical Society, By Benjamin J. Lindsey, Treasurer, 1915


Lindsey, Benjamin J. Old Marblehead Sea Captains and the Ships in Which They Sailed Published for the Benefit of the Marblehead Historical Society, By Benjamin J. Lindsey, Treasurer, 1915.

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