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Thurlow, Mark, Captain (1818-1875) | Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog

Name: Thurlow, Mark, Captain (1818-1875)

Historical Note:

Captain Mark Thurlow was born on November 6, 1818 in Cutler, Maine to Carr Thurlow (1773-1857) and Molly Tyler Thurlow (1782-1874). He married Susan P. Randall (1832-1917) about 1851 and resided in Cutler. They had seven children—three daughters and four sons—Francis W. (1852-1885), Leffert A. C. (1855-1889), Charles B. (1856 -1921), Carrie E. (1860-1926), Melvin G. (b. 1864), Lillian A. (1868-1868) and Leon M. (1870-1949). 4

Mark Thurlow was shipmaster of the Carrie Estelle (Brig), Five Brothers (Brig), Susan (Brig), Rose Haskell (Schooner) and Virginia (Bark).  He also had a vested interest in these and other vessels. He was co-owner of the brig Carrie Estelle with Nathaniel Stevens of North Andover, MA. He owned 1/8 share of the brig Five Brothers, 1/8 share of the brig Susan, and 6/64 shares of the bark Virginia. Other vessels Capt. Thurlow had a vested interest in were the Bonny Doon (Bark — 2/64 shares), Emily Curtis (Schooner—1/16 share), Emma K. Smalley—(Schooner—2/64 shares), Fanny Flint (Schooner—2/64 shares), Harriot Stevens (Bark—1/16 share), Harry and Fred (Schooner—2/64 shares)1

Between October 1847 and June 1849, Mark Thurlow sailed aboard the schooner J. A. Simpson with George W. Simpson, owner and shipmaster. It appears Mark Thurlow may have been “first mate” of the J. A. Simpson (Schooner) as  indicated by his own writing in his account receipt book:

“Shiped [sic] on board the J. A. Simpson Schr at Machias Sunday October 10, 1847 with Capt. Geo. W. Simpson bound to New York at 30 Dollars per mont[h] Discharged Oct. 20th and Settled up.”2

It is unclear if or when Mark Thurlow took over the J. A. Simpson (Schooner) from Captain George W. Simpson during the time between 1847 and 1849.

The schooner J. A. Simpson traveled to various ports in the mid-Atlantic sea ports of the United States (New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Ipswich) to the West Indies (Nuevitas and Havana, Cuba, and Puerto Rico). Capt. Mark Thurlow kept an account book of purchases, disbursements and receipts for crew wages while aboard the schooner. He was responsible for purchasing supplies for the ship stores, assisting with freight and paying crewmen.

Capt. Thurlow left the J. S. Simpson (Schooner) for the brig Susan on December 1849. He stayed with the brig Susan until December of 1851.  The only other references Capt. Thurlow makes in his account receipt book is one page dated “Tusday [sic] June 20th, 1854” for the bark Virginia.          

Capt. Mark Thurlow’s brother, Charles T. Thurlow, was also a shipmaster as well as a merchant and is listed as owning a “country store” in the 1850 Maine Register. Capt. Mark Thurlow did business with his brother for the purchase of food and supplies.

Members of the Thurlow family and the community were involved in the building of the Cutler School House in 1875.  There is very little information about the Cutler School House other than an article written by Frank Andrews for the Down East magazine September 1997, the Cutler School House is described as:

“Just beyond that is an empty schoolhouse of a pale yellow. In its day the school’s facade must have glowed, its color so bright, and it looks all the more forlorn now that it’s faded. It’s been abandoned ...” 3

Captain Mark Thurlow’s career as a seaman and master mariner spanned forty-three years. He died on December 24, 1893 and was buried in Cutler, Maine.


1.  Ship registers and enrollments of Machias, Maine 1780-1930. Part I & II. Rockland, Maine: The National Archives Project , 1942.

2. Thurlow, Mark, Capt. Account Book, 1847-54.

3. Andrews, Frank. "The Real Thing." Down East. September 1997, pg. 44.

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