Dorchester Whaling Company

“April 16, 1836  Elisha Preston, Josiah Stickney, Charles O. Whitmore, their associates and successors, are hereby made a corporation, by the name of the Dorchester Whaling Company, for the purpose of carrying on the whale fishery and manufacturing oil …”[1]

The following is from the 1859 History of Dorchester.

“In 1807, Joseph Newell and Ebenezer Niles purchase most of Commercial Point, where they built a wharf, erected a store, built vessels and commenced a large general trade.  It proved that the location was for the time unfortunate, and that their means and business capacity were not equal to the emergencies, and the project fell through, with the ruin of the parties, in 1813. …”[2]

From Other Merchants and Sea Captains of Old Boston.

“Few realize that Dorchester about 1832 was interested in whaling.  Codman describes how Nathaniel Thayer, a brother of John E. Thayer, founder of the house of the firm of Kidder, Peabody, & Co.; Elisha Preston, Josiah Stickney, Israel Lombard and Charles O. Whitmore formed a syndicate to whale in the Pacific, Indian, and North Atlantic Oceans. The ships bought by the company were the “Charles Carroll,” of Nantucket; “Courier,” “Herald,” and bark “Lewis,” “The wharf was at Commercial Point. Codman described how in his youth he used to board all these vessels, mount the shrouds, and creep through the lubber hole, conscious, as he expressed it, that he had performed a gymnastic feat that would have rivaled Blondin. The business was successfully carried on until 1840, when the syndicate disbanded, and, to use the description of an old merchant, “the rats then ran about the wharf with tears in their eyes.”[3]

From Good Old Dorchester.

“This syndicate equipped four vessels of rthe whale fishery, and twenty schooners, of which two — the ‘Belle’ and the ‘Preston’ — were built at the Point. They purchased not only the wharf, but quite a tract of land in its immediate vicinity, where they put flakes for the drying of their codfish.  They also built some cooper-shops and a store for the supply of sailors’ outfits and chip chandlery.  The store was built from the material used in the construction of the granary which formerly occupied the site o the Present Park Street Church in the city property.

No. 5190 Granary building. Painting on brick in the Huebener Collection at the Dorchester Historical Society.

[1] Private and Special Statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, from May 1830, to April 1837 …. Volume 7. (Boston, 1837), 709.

[2] History of the Town of Dorchester, Massachusetts. (Boston, 1859), 375.

[3] Other Merchants and Sea Captains of Old Boston. (Boston:  State Street Trust Company, 1919), 15.


Posted on

May 19, 2020