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Walker, Melville H. (Melville Hartley), Captain (1835-1899) | Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog

Name: Walker, Melville H. (Melville Hartley), Captain (1835-1899)


Historical Note:

Capt. Melville H. Walker, son of William H. (b.1814-?) and Lydia S. (b.1813-d.1894), was born September 17, 1835 in Kennebunkport, Maine.  He married Abbie (Abigail) Tripp (b.1838-d.1894) and they had three daughters; Julie S. (b.1872-?), Daisy (b.1874-?) and Mary A. (b.1885-?) and one son, William H. (abt. 1878).1,2

Little information is available concerning Captain Walker other than what can be found in the United States Federal Census and within the collection. The 1860 U. S. Federal Census tells us at age 24 Melville Walker was a “mariner” along with his younger brother William.  In the Civil War Draft Registry of 1863, Walker is listed as being a seaman. In the U. S. Federal Census of 1870, Melville Walker is recorded as shipmaster.1

According to American Lloyd’s Register of American and Foreign Shipping, Walker is captain of the ship Young Eagle in 1862. The Young Eagle’s principal owner was T. Nowell & Co.3 All the letters contained in this collection to Captain Walker while aboard the Young Eagle were sent from London, England. One of these letters contains an itinerary in which the ship was to voyage from London to the Chincha Islands off the coast of Peru and back to Europe.4

Also according to American Lloyd’s Register of American and Foreign Shipping, Walker is captain of the bark Sitka, from 1869-1871. The bark’s principal owner was George C. Lord & Co.5 While serving aboard the Sitka, Walker mainly sailed to Atlantic ports such as Gloucester (MA), St. John (NB), New Orleans, Galveston,  Cardiff, and Liverpool.  It seems through evidence of the collection that Walker was directed by Lord to ship whatever seemed most profitable:

“As soon as your inward cargo is out we are in favor of your accepting the best business to be obtained, and keep the Barque moving. We think if you can obtain as good as ½ cent for cotton to Boston, it would be better than going to Europe on a low freight.” 6

In 1871, Walker became captain of the ship Olive S. Southard 8 under the ownership of T. J. Southard & Co. While captain of the ship Olive S. Southard, Walker made voyages using many different shipping routes. Walker dealt extensively in near continent trading between ports in the United Kingdom (especially favoring London, Liverpool, and Cardiff) and France (favoring Havre), Far East trading (preferring the ports of Calcutta, India, Akyab, Burma, and Singapore), Pacific trading (preferring Portland and Astoria, OR, and San Francisco), South American trade (visiting both Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and Valparaiso, Chile), and Atlantic trading (favoring shipping between United States ports, such as Boston, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans and the United Kingdom).  Walker also frequented trade routes around Cape Horn, especially where East and West Coast United States trade was concerned. Of note, the Olive S. Southard (Ship) did extensive trade in locomotive and rail parts between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Portland, Oregon.

            According to the American Lloyd’s Register of American and Foreign Shipping, 1891, the ship Anahuac was commanded by Capt. Welden and its principal owner was Edward Lawrence.7 However, Capt. Melville Walker took over the ship Anahuac between November 1890 and August 1891 as indicated in an account summary.8

            Capt. Melville H. Walker died June 18, 1899 at the age of 64.1

Sources: 1. Ancestry.com, 1880 U.S. Census. 2. Wentworth Genealogy. Vol. II, 166. 3. American Lloyd’s Register of American and Foreign Shipping, (1862), 111. 4. Captain Melville H. Walker Papers, MS-343, box 1, folder 1. 5. American Lloyd’s Register of American and Foreign Shipping, (1870), 157. 6. Captain Melville H. Walker Papers, MS-343, box 1, folder 5. 7. American Lloyd’s Register of American and Foreign Shipping, (1891), 242. 8. Captain Melville H. Walker Papers, MS-343, box 3, folder 13.</li></ol>





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