MARINE JOURNAL. Port of New York.... May 10. ... Arrived. ... Brig Waredale, Shackford, Trinidad de Cuba, April 23, sugar &c to Yamaga del Valle & Co (New-York daily tribune., May 12, 1856, Page 8, Image 8)
Benjamin was born Aug 8, 1811 in Eastport, Maine, the first child of John Shackford (1782-1866) and Elizabeth Batson (1790-1830). He was the third great grandson of WILLIAM SHACKFORD (John (5), John (4), SAMUEL (3), JOSHUA (2), WILLIAM (1). Benjamin was born into a seafaring family. His grandfather John was a seaman who owned a large number of ships and was one of the founding fathers of Eastport[ii] . His father John was a sea captain who ran a regular ship between Eastport, Portland, and Boston[i], and his mother, Elizabeth Batson was also from a seafaring family. His uncles were all seamen as were his brothers Charles William Shackford and John L Shackford who both died at sea.
Benjamin's early life was most likely spent aboard his family's ships training for his shipmaster's qualifications. In 1833 when he turned 21 he married Harriet Bibber, daughter of Thomas Bibber and Dorcas Pettengill[iii]. They made their home in Eastport and had eight children.
Seventeen years later, the family was doing well financially as reflected in Benjamin's 1850 census report of having property valued at $1,400[iv] By then, Benjamin, the sea captain of the Brig Waredale was traveling to Baltimore, St Thomas, and Trinidad. In the year 1855 newspapers report the Brig Waredale and Captain Shackford sailing to the following locations: February - Norfolk to St Croix[v], May - Guayanilla, Puerto Rico to New York[vi] to St Thomas[vii], July - Maracaibo, Venezuela to Eastport[viii], October - Eastport to Calais[ix] and Eastport to Bathurst, Africa.[x] (See Photo below showing ports visited). In 1856-1858 he sailed to Trinidad[xi] multiple times bringing back molasses[xii] Around mid 1858 he started to sail to South Carolina, the Turks, Mobile, Alabama[xiii], Matanzas, Cuba, and Remedios, Cuba[xiv], and Surinam[xv]
By 1860, Benjamin reported in the census that he had real estate valued at $1200 and personal assets of $400[xvi]. That year he sailing on multiple trips to Puerto Rico, up and down the New England coast and to the Turk Islands[xvii] and by 1863 he was sailing the Waredale frequently to Jamaica and Cuba.
In 1864, Benjamin became the captain of the Bark Zelinda and as it ventured on it's second sailing trip from Matanzas or New Orleans to Philadelphia (reports vary)[xviii] he was was overtaken and boarded by the Confederate pirate ship Florida while off the coast of South Carolina. The crew was placed aboard another captured ship, the Schooner Howard and sent back to port[xix] while the captain of the Florida set fire to and destroyed the Bark Zelinda. It appears that the crew was not allowed to take much with them and after the Civil War ended, Capt Benjamin B Shackford filed a claim in the Alabama Courts reporting that he had lost his belongings and in 1875 he was reimbursed $2,303.85 for his losses[xx][xxi]. In 1883 he gave a deposition stating that another member of his crew had also suffered a loss of clothes, outfits, and articles[xxii].
In 1866, Benjamin's father John died without a will leaving properties valued at $3,200. The probate dragged out until 1872 and finally resulted in a division of the land which included some prime real estate in Eastport which was divided between Benjamin and the families of his siblings Charles William and John L Shackford.[xxiii]
This increased Benjamin's real esate holdings significantly and in the 1870 census, he reported real estate valued at $3,000[xxiv]. The American Bureau of Shipping lists him as the master of the LL Wadsworth around that time and newspaper articles show him sailing to Freeport, and Trinidad[xxv]. While his last trip on the LL Wadsworth was around 1872, Benjamin continued to list his occupation as sailor in the 1880 census[xxvi]. He had received his $2,303 claim from the Alabama courts in 1875 and in a publication in 1886 is reflected as registered with the American Shipmasters' Association and with a shipmaster identification number 2441[xxvii]
After a life of sailing and adventure to many places in the world, Benjamin Batson Shackford died in Eastport in 1884[xxviii]at the age of 72.
Joshua Shackford - (1834-????)
John Edward Shackford (1836-1862) - blacksmith, died in New York
Harriet Elizabeth Shackford (1838-1861)
Marietta Shackford (1840-????) - married Joseph R Gilman
Ann Pearce Shackford (1841-????) - married Andrew V Bradford, moved to Oregon by 1900, died in Oregon in 1924, gravestone is in Eastport, Maine.
Emma Shackford (1842-????)
Gertrude Shackford (1844-????)
Stella Woodwell Shackford (1853-1918) - married William Pearce Higgins, died in Oregon
To learn about the life of a Sea Captain in the 1850s, I recommend the book Captain Nathaniel Brown Palmer: An Old-Time Sailor of the Sea by John Randolph Spears which is available at book.google.com. Capt Palmer lived around the time of Benjamin Batson Shackford and the book about his life describes the life of a boy growing up in the family of a shipbuilder in Long Island who became a captain at age 18. While Capt Palmer traveled to different locations the book does a great job of describing how a captain learned new skills and the life aboard a ship traveling to distant locations.
Someday I'll make it to Eastport and visit the Border Historical Society and the Quoddy Maritime Museum to see if I learn more about Benjamin or others in his family.
If you want to collaborate on research regarding Benjamin or other Shackfords, please contact me via the Contact Form.
[i] Eastern Argus 1828-05-09 page 4
[ii] Willey, Kenneth L. (ed.), Vital Records from the Easport Sentinel of Eastport, Maine 1818-1900.
[iii] Maine, Marriages, 1771-1907," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F4FC-465 : accessed 11 Feb 2013), Benjamin B. Shackford and Harriet C. Bibber, 08 May 1833; citing reference , FHL microfilm 10840
[iv] Year: 1850; Census Place: Eastport, Washington, Maine; Roll: M432_273; Page: 248B; Image: 475
[v] New York Courier and Enquirer, Feb 23, 1855; fultonhistory.com, accessed Mar 4, 2013
[vi] Boston Traveler, Boston, Massachusetts, Tuesday, May 1, 1855; www.genealogybank.com, accessed Mar 4, 2013
[vii] Boston Courier, Boston, Massachusetts, Thursday, May 31, 1855; www.genealogybank,com, accessed Mar 4, 2013
[viii] New-York Daily Tribune, Monday, August 20, 1855, p. 8
[ix] Daily Atlas, Boston, Massachusetts, Wednesday, October 24, 1855
[x] Daily Atlas, Boston, Massachusetts, Saturday, October 20, 1855; www.genealogybank.com, accessed Mar 4, 2013
[xi] Boston Traveler, Boston, Massachusetts, Wednesday, May 7, 1856; www.genealogybank.com, accessed Mar 4, 2013
[xii] New York Herald, New York, New York, Monday, June 7, 1858; www.genealogybank.com, accessed Mar 4, 2013
[xiii] Boston Evening Transcript, Boston, Massachusetts, Friday, January 14, 1859; www.genealogybank.com, accessed Mar 4, 2013
[xiv] Boston Courier, Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, May 2, 1859; www.genealogybank.com, accessed Mar 4, 2013
[xv] Boston Traveler, Boston, Massachusetts, Wednesday, December 21, 1859; www.genealogybank.com, accessed Mar 4, 2013
[xvi] Year: 1860; Census Place: Eastport, Washington, Maine; Roll: M653_455; Page: 718; Image: 496; Family History Library Film: 803455
[xvii] Commercial Advertiser, New York, New York, Monday, November 12, 1860; www.genealogybank.com, accessed Mar 4, 2013
[xviii] THE PIRATE FLORIDA.; Capture of Six Vessels Below Cape May The Whaler Golconda, Barke Greenland Gen. Berry, Zelinda; and Schooner Margaret Y. Davis, Captured and Destroyed Schooner Howard Bonded Arrival of the Crews in Philadelphia, New York Times, July 13, 1864; www.nytimes.com, accessed Mar 12, 2013
[xix] THE PIRATE FLORIDA.; Capture of Six Vessels Below Cape May The Whaler Golconda, Barke Greenland Gen. Berry, Zelinda; and Schooner Margaret Y. Davis, Captured and Destroyed Schooner Howard Bonded Arrival of the Crews in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Press, July 12, Published July 13, 1864
[xx] An Account of the receipts and expentidures of the United States. Pubished Washington DC, Treasury Dept, Receipts and Expenditures, 1876 Civil, p. 59
[xxi] Records, 1882-85 v. 5 United States, p. 166; www.babel.hathitrust.org, accessed Mar 2, 2013
[xxii] Records, 1882-85 v. 5 United States, p. 166; www.babel.hathitrust.org, accessed Mar 2, 2013
[xxiii] Maine. Washington County, County Courthouse Records, 1785-1950, Probate Records, 1869-1872, v. 25, pt 1, page 64, image 37-39
[xxiv] Year: 1870; Census Place: Eastport, Washington, Maine; Roll: M593_562; Page: 238A; Image: 488; Family History Library Film: 552061
[xxv] New York Daily Tribune, Saturday, August 5, 1871, p. 5
[xxvi] Year: 1880; Census Place: Eastport, Washington, Maine; Roll: 490; Family History Film: 1254490; Page: 228C; Enumeration District: 177; Image: 0037
[xxvii] American Bureau of Shipping, Record of American and Foreign Shipping from Survey, List of Shipmasters-American Shipmasters' Association, New York, January 1, 1872, p. 43
[xxviii] Wiley, Kenneth L Vital Records from the Eastport Sentinel of Eastport, Maine 1818-1900, Maine Genealogical Society Special Publication No 24, Picton Press, February 1996, Vol 66 #35, 30 Jul 1884, Eastport Sentinel 1818-1900, p. 369
The Library of Congress Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers SHACKFORD family history genealogy series includes newspaper clippings that mention a SHACKFORD followed by a digital transcript and a short biography of the person mentioned in the article.
Copyright Joanne Shackford Parkes 2013, All Rights Reserved