Captain John E. Lindsey Manuscript, My Life Afloast and Ashore: The Life of Captain John E. Lindsey, 1900
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Brief Description:

This autobiography by Portland Captain, John E. Lindsey, chronicles the life of a Maine seaman as he begins his career as a deck hand and becomes a certified pilot, as well as master of several vessels. This collection is not made up of papers and correspondence, but rather it is a story of a Maine captain’s life.

            This manuscript contains the events of steam and sailing coasting vessels and their voyages on the Atlantic. The only international voyages are to the West Indies and Canada. This autobiography also gives a detailed insight to the life of a Maine seaman. Unfortunately, Captain John E. Lindsey’s autobiography has few dates, which makes recreating a chronology of his life extremely difficult. In addition to the lack of dates, there is little known about this Captain from Portland, Maine other than the Portland Directory and this autobiography. In this collection you will find descriptions of life at sea, travels along the north Atlantic coast, and life in Portland during the late 19th and early 20th century.

Held at:
Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog
243 Washington Street
Bath, ME 04530
Phone: 207-443-1316
extension 323
Email: garrison [at]
Created by: Lindsey, John E., Captain (1850-1919)
Volume: 3.0 Items
Biographical Note for Lindsey, John E., Captain (1850-1919) :

Captain John E. Lindsey was born in the month of October 1850 at Little Harbor Beach on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Captain Lindsey was born one of eight boys and had two sisters. He was educated at the local schools as a young boy in Mount Desert Island and Harrington, Maine and then was tutored at his family home at Pineos Point.

            Throughout his childhood, his family lived by the Atlantic Ocean and the desire to live on the sea was always present. His first glimpse of life at sea came while he was living with his eldest brother, Edward, and his wife, Abby (Wescott) Lindsey. Edward Lindsey worked as a cook on the ship Ezra Williams.

Soon after, Captain John E. Lindsey and another brother found work on the brig, Eva N. Johnson, which offered him his first experience working on the water. He began his life as a seaman at an early age and worked on many vessels in several capacities. As a young man he received his pilot’s license from the Portland district Inspectors of Steam Vessels. Over the course of the autobiography, he traveled to New York, South Carolina, Florida, and the French West Indies. During his travels he experienced everything from drunken ship owners to shipwrecks and everything in between.

            On Christmas night (year unknown), he married Clara E. Randall of Harrington, Maine. Her father, Captain Abner Randall, was a prominent shipmaster out of Portland during the late 19th century. Captain Lindsey and his wife had one daughter, Maud. She grew up in Portland with her mother while her father was at sea. Maud later married Ralph Philbrook of Portland and moved to Everett, Massachusetts.

Captain Lindsey is listed in the Portland Directory, years 1875 through 1919, as living on the following streets (in this order): Wilmot, Cedar, Clark, Howard, Beckett, Atlantic, Merrill, and again Atlantic. Along with the address, his occupation is also listed in the Portland Directory. The Directory states that from 1875-1883, Lindsey is employed as a mariner. For the years 1884-1885 Lindsey is employed as watchman of the steamer Tremont. From 1886-1889 John E. Lindsey’s residence is listed, but there is no occupation next to his name and from 1890-1902 his occupation is listed as master mariner. It should be noted that the entry in the 1896 Directory states that John E. Lindsey moved to Everett, Massachusetts which is where his daughter lived at that time. Captain and Mrs. Lindsey moved back to Portland in 1897 and he is listed again in the 1897 Portland Directory as a master mariner. Due to the fact that the Lindseys moved to New York, John E. Lindsey is not listed in the Portland Directory for years 1903 and 1904. In 1905 the Lindseys moved back to Portland, and he is listed as a pilot. Then from 1906 until 1909 Lindsey is listed as a master mariner. From 1910 until 1915, John E. Lindsey is listed as a pilot for the SS Camden, then from 1916-1917 on the steamer North Star. In 1918 Captain Lindsey is simply listed as being employed as a pilot. January 15, 1919 Captain John E. Lindsey passed away. The 1919 Directory states that his widow, Clara E. (Randall) Lindsey, continued living at 90 Atlantic after his death.

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on the use of the Captain John E. Lindsey manuscript.
Subject Index
Baltimore (MD)
Bangor (ME)
Bar Harbor (ME)
Boston (MA)
Cape Cod (MA)
Dirigo (steamer)
Forest City (steamer)
Harrington (ME)
Lindsey, Clara Randall
Lindsey, John E., Captain
Lizzie J. Clark (schooner)
Maine Central Railroad
Marjorie (steamer)
Merchant seamen--Diseases
Nantucket Shoals (MA)
New York (NY)
Norma (steam yacht)
Olive Elizabeth (schooner)
Philadelphia (PA)
Philbrook, Maud Lindsey
Portland (ME)
Providence (RI)
Randall, Abner, Captain
Vineyard Haven (MA)
Yacht racing
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: The material described herein is the physical property of the Maine Maritime Museum Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or the various items, or to their legal representatives, or to Maine Maritime Museum.  For further information, consult the library staff.
Acquisition Notes: Purchase, 1991
PreferredCitation: Captain John E. Lindsey Manuscript, My Life Afloat and Ashore: The Life of Captain John E. Lindsey, Research Library, Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine