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Kelsey, Chauncey Silas, Captain (1827-1904) | Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog

Name: Kelsey, Chauncey Silas, Captain (1827-1904)

Historical Note:

Captain Chauncey Silas Kelsey was born in Killingworth, Connecticut, in 1827, the son of Samuel Kelsey, farmer, and Hannah Wright. He was the eleventh of their twelve children, according to the records prepared by a descendent on Ancestry.com (2012). He appears to have resided in Clinton, CT most of his life. Captain Kelsey married Mabel Stannard in Clinton in 1852. They had six children whose names are known: Lucy Maria, Hester Chapman, Alden Pardee, Hannah Wright, Annie Rebecca, and Mabel Winnefred Kelsey. Hester and Alden did not survive into adulthood. In the 1900 census, Mabel is recorded as being the mother of 10 children, 5 of whom were alive.

In the 1850 census, Chauncey is recorded as a sailor, with his place of residence listed as still his parents’ home. His brother George A. Kelsey, also still at home, was also a sailor. There was a Captain George L. Kelsey, also of Clinton, CT, whose father was lost at sea, so there may have been a number of family members in nautical professions.

Chauncey Kelsey is listed in the 1860 census as a mariner, and in the 1870 census as a seaman. He is not found in the 1880 census, and in 1900, aged 73, is listed as a day laborer, presumably retired from the sea. At the time of the 1900 census, the Kelseys had been married 49 years.

In 1875, Kelsey became master of the three-mast schooner (tern schooner) Edward M. Reed, completed in November that year at the W. O. Nettleton shipyard in East Haven CT. He was also the managing owner of the vessel; the owners were listed as “C. S. Kelsey and Others,” and the hailing port was New Haven. The schooner was a centerboard vessel, measuring 421 gross tons, with a registered length of 133.6 feet. These manuscripts document Kelsey’s command of the vessel into 1878, but he likely commanded her for some time after that. American Lloyds and Record of American & Foreign Shipping do not agree on when he relinquished command of that vessel, but it may have been about 1881. Kelsey remained the owner of record, however, until about 1898. The schooner was wrecked in September or October of 1898, soon after ownership went to Magnus Manson, also of New Haven. Kelsey does not appear to have been the managing owner or the master of other vessels.

Chauncey S. Kelsey died at Killingworth CT in 1904. His wife Mabel had died in 1903.

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