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Herman Melville Sails from New Bedford

January 3, 1841
January 3, 1841

Herman Melville Sails from New Bedford

On this day in 1841, Herman Melville boarded the whaleship Acushnet and sailed out of New Bedford, the whaling capital of the world. As he later wrote about his character Ishmael, that ship would be...

Whaleship Essex Sinks

November 20, 1820
November 20, 1820

Whaleship Essex Sinks

On this day in 1820, an enormous sperm whale rammed and sank the Nantucket whaleship Essex in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. The first mate described the 85-foot whale's unprovoked attack as enraged and...

"Richest Woman in America" Born in New Bedford

November 21, 1834
November 21, 1834

"Richest Woman in America" Born in New Bedford

On this day in 1834, the wealthiest whaling family in New Bedford celebrated the birth of their only daughter. This little girl would grow up to be the richest — and, according to legend, the...

Paul Cuffe Sails for Sierra Leone

December 10, 1815
December 10, 1815

Paul Cuffe Sails for Sierra Leone

On this day in 1815, Paul Cuffe of Westport sailed for the west coast of Africa with 38 black emigrants and a cargo of goods on board his vessel. The goal was for the families...