Dreadful Suffering at Sea! Westport’s Whaling Catastrophes

Westport suffered its share of disasters. The peak of the whaling industry in the 1850’s was matched by the peak in shipwrecks and other disasters. The dangers of the whale fishery were numerous. Logbooks and journals record the deaths of crew members, whether by disease, drowned while fast to a whale or by a foul line, or killed by a whale.

Janet, a tale of cannibalism

Catherwood was lost on the Galapagos Islands, 1855.

Barclay wrecked on Cape Antonio, 1855.

United States wrecked and abandoned at sea in 1856 with 550 barrels of sperm oil on board.

Kate Cory burned by Confederate raider Alabama.

Polly and Eliza wrecked and abandoned, crew rescued by English vessel in 1826.

Industry lost in 1836 in the Gulf of Mexico with 310 barrels of sperm oil.

Theophilus Chase reported missing in 1849.