Grandpa was a Pirate

One of the few remaining roadblocks in my dad’s side of the family was Sarah Adams (1765-1857), wife of the previously-written-about David Morse.  I could NOT find her parents, despite looking far and wide.  Given that Sarah and David were married when she was 38 and he was 47, my suspicion was that Adams was the name of a previous husband.  I looked everywhere given that too, but couldn’t find anything about this previous marriage.  Today a little note on her daughter’s entry made me aware that her maiden name could be Lathrop.  Once I had that, the information came flowing in, including, another organization dedicated to one of the branches of my family.  Sarah Lathrop’s father was Captain Elisha Lathrop and he was a privateer, which was basically a government-scantioned pirate during the Revolutionary War.  The book “History of Norwich, Connecticut” gives us an account of his exploits:

The privateering business was pre-eminently one of uncertainty and hazard ; strikingly varied with quick success and sudden reverse. Most of the adventurers from Norwich and New London were captured, imprisoned and exchanged during the war, and some of them more than once ; for no sooner were they released from bonds than they were ready for another chance, —acting ever upon the obstinate principle of up and at them again.

In the West India trade also, safe and remunerative voyages alternated with loss and capture. This trade resembled the continual running of a blockade. Several of the Norwich ship-masters fell with their eraft into the hands of the enemy. Of these we can name Jabez and Hezekiah Perkins, Thomas King, Ebenezer Lester, William Loring, Jabex Lord, and Elisha Lathrop. We get a few gleams of those vicissitudes from old account-books and the weckly newspapers. Capt. Elisha Lathrop was one of those who kept afloat and had a liberal share of both good and bad fortune. In August, 1781, while in the privateer sloop Mercury, he was taken and carried into New York. In February, 1782, in a trading voyage to Virginia, he was captured and carried to Charleston, which was then in possession of the enemy. His next voyage was to Guadaloupe, which he accomplished during the summer, and returned in safety Sept. 6th. On the 18th of October he sailed again, and the next announcement respecting him briefly states :

” Capt. Elisha Lathrop in a brig from Norwich, bound to the West Indies, is captured and carried to Bermuda.”

A Privateer Sloop

About cthomas1967

Seeking to bring my ancestors out of the shadows of history and into the light. I have always been interested in history, and at a few different times I tried to do a family tree, but wasn't able to do it with the technology that was available then. On a business trip I visited the World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO and it was a very impressive establishment. While I was there I remember thinking, "Didn't my great-grandfather father fight in World War I? And wasn't his brother killed alongside him in some famous battle? I wonder if I can find out where he died." That's what started it all. View all posts by cthomas1967

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