Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pratt Stories - The Bartram Family VIII

The Bartrams as mariners--- It is plain that we have sea-going ancestors in the Bartrams. I have covered Ebenezer Jr's career at length and will add some more here. I have no proof that his father Ebenezer Sr was a mariner but he may well have been. His youngest son, Ebenezer Jr's brother Barnabas, was lost at sea returning from the West Indies. Ebenezer III was definitely a mariner even though he gave up the sea and moved to inland New York in 1818. He is the Capt. Ebenezer Bartram named in the "Pass" for the Ship Anne signed in 1801 by President John Adams which has become a family heirloom. I will describe it later.
The West Indies trade of those years involved ships carrying lumber, fish and flour, products of New England, to the West Indies and trading for molasses which was brought back to the colonies and turned into rum which was then sold to Indians, fishermen, lumbermen and other colonials. It was very profitable but a source of conflict with their British rulers which helped start the Revolution. The sea-faring Bartrams made their living in this trade and sometimes died in the process, as did a number of the Burr men.
I have found an entry in a history of Black Rock which says "four of his (Ebenezer Jr) six sons followed the sea or had their living therefrom. Three of the four died in the course of their nautical adventures.
Here is a story from another history of Black Rock that I took off the internet. You will remember that the adult Samuel Smedley was an officer on the Defence
                             The Training of Samuel Smedley
Samuel, a lad with a yen for the sea, in his early years haunted the docks at Black Rock Harbor in Fairfield...where Capt. Ebenezer Bartram, a seasoned master in the West Indies trade was frequently found between trips. From Capt. Bartram Smedley absorbed nautical knowledge of ships and sailing, latitudes and longitudes, quadrant and compass, winds and storms, and no less important dexterity with pistol and cutlass.
Wow! There is a picture for your mind's eye. Our ancestor as a vigorous sea Captain teaching an eager teenager how to shoot and swordfight.
Ebenezer would be called Captain on a trading ship when he was in charge but his military rank was First Lieutenant on the Defence where he was second in command.
NEXT: What happened to the Defence?

Emailed Sept. 29

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