Whaling and Sealing Ships

  • Description
ST012136 Whaling and Sealing Ships Mint Set
ST012137 Whaling and Sealing Ships CTO Set
ST012138 Whaling and Sealing Ships FDC

In the nineteenth century Tristan da Cunha was important for American whaling ships for water and provisions and they in turn influenced the economy and general social life of Tristan islanders.

It was in 1828 that Captain Moses Sampson of ship Hercules, New Bedford, discovered Tristan da Cunha as a refreshment station in the midst of rich whaling seas known as the “Tristan Grounds”. Soon American whaling ships, especially from New London and New Bedford, flocked to the South Atlantic. These ships were interested in whale oil mainly from two species, the Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) and the Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis). Some whalers also turned to hunting seals for their blubber and fur seals for their pelts.

The continuous visits by whaling ships not only brought trade and relative prosperity to the island but also provided opportunities to the settlers to seek their futures off island. Likewise, there were whalers who decided to settle on Tristan and married islanders. The surnames of two American whalers, Hagan and Rogers, remain today.

Some sons of the settlers left to work on whaling and sealing ships over the years, especially after the Glass family moved to New London in 1856.

Regular sailors were William, James H., Robert Hill, John and Albert Glass as well as Joseph J. and Moses S Fuller. Others such as Thomas Rogers, Joseph Andrew Hagan, Robert Swain, Thomas Swain and Samuel F Johnson also sailed on various whaling and sealing ships.

This issue depicts whaling and sealing ships that sailed with Tristanian crew in the 19th century.

45p – Franklin

The schooner Franklin was built in Eastport, ME in 1833. She sailed from the port of New London, CT up until 1874 and from there sailed from New Bedford, MA. Islanders Robert H Glass, Albert G Glass, James H Glass and John Glass all sailed on the Franklin during journeys to Desolation Island, South Shetland Islands and the South Atlantic Ocean.

70p - Francis Allyn

This sealing schooner of 106 tons was built in Duxbury, MA in 1869. She sailed out of New London, CT & New Bedford, MA. On 15 July 1902 she was destroyed by fire in Hudson’s Bay.

The Francis Allyn was captained by Robert H Glass from 1869-1877, Joseph J. Fuller took command of the vessel in Aug/1883. Earlier in 1880, the Francis Allyn had rescued Capt. Fuller and his crew after his schooner, the Pilot’s Bride, was wrecked off Desolation Island. John Glass, Moses Fuller and Thomas Rogers were all part of the crew in the 1870s.

In 1887, skippered by Joseph Fuller, the Francis Allyn, left a sealing party at Gough returning in 1888 to pick up the team. The party had kept meteorological records and listed plant and bird species at Gough Island during their stay.


£1.15 – Stafford

The Stafford was built in Kingston, MA in 1848. The whaling bark sailed from its home port of New Bedford to destinations in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans making over eleven voyages, four of those for her agents J. & W. R Wing. Joseph Andrew Hagan (Hogin) sailed on her during her voyage in the Atlantic in 1879 to 1883.

£1.50 – Eliza Adams

This whaling barque was built in Fairhaven, MA in 1835. She broke up in 1897. The Eliza Adams embarked on four whale hunts from Fairhaven for agents Atkins Adams in the Pacific, then was sold in 1849 to New Bedford agents E.C Jones. From then she made over ten voyages hunting in the Pacific, North & South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Islander Robert Swain (Swaine) was part of her crew from 1879 – 1883.

FDC – The 1891 – 1893 voyage of the Francis Allyn.
Joseph J Fuller was master of the Francis Allyn on this voyage to the South Atlantic islands. They were on the hunt for seal and sea elephants for agent Thomas Luce.

Technical details:
Designer Andrew Robinson
Printer Cartor Security Printing
Process Stochastic Lithography
Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 per 2cms
Stamp size 38 x 30.6mm
Sheet Layout 10
Release date 2 December, 2019
Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd