Captain Edward Penniman

The Life of Captain Edward Penniman, 1831-1913

1831 Born at Eastham, August 16, the second of nine children of Betsey (Mayo) Penniman.
1842 At age 11, shipped as cook on a schooner bound for fishing on the Grand Banks. Wrecked near Nauset Light, crew and cargo saved. Continued as a local fisherman until 1852.
1852-1855 Boatsteerer on the whaling bark Isabella, 3 years, 2 months.
1855-1859 Mate on the whaler Minerva, 3 years, 10 months.
1859 Married Betsey Augusta Knowles of Eastham, daughter of William Freeman Knowles, Jr. and Betsey Augusta Doane Knowles.
1860-1864 Captain of the whaler Minerva, 3 years, 11 months.
1860 Son Eugene Blanchard Penniman born at Eastham, September 11, 1860.
1864-1868 Captain of the whaler Minerva, 3 years, 5 months. Narrowly avoided capture by the
Confederate raider Shenandoah in the Arctic. Mrs. Penniman and Eugene along on this voyage.
1867-1868 The Penniman house was built on Fort Hill Road in Eastham.
1868 Daughter Betsey Augusta Penniman born at Eastham, September 2, 1868.
1870 Son Edward Damon Penniman born at Eastham, March 25, 1870.
1874-1875 Captain of the whaler Cicero, I year, 7 months.
1876-1879 Captain of the whaler Europa, 3 years, 2 months. Mrs. Penniman and Edward along on this voyage.
1881-1884 Captain of the whaler Jacob A. Howland, 3 years, l month. Mrs. Penniman and Betsey along on this voyage.
1884 Retired from the sea to the family home at Eastham at age 53, hoping for ten years of retirement as a gentleman farmer.
1913 Died at home, October 16. Buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Eastham.

During the 32-year period between 1852 and 1884, each of Captain Penniman’s seven voyages and over apporximately three years, two months, for a total time at sea of over 22 years. Mrs. Penniman spent more than nine years at sea over a twenty year period. Captain Penniman’s vessels produced 4,237 bbls. of sperm oil, 12,096 bbls. of whale oil, and 166,871 lbs. of whalebone.

Last updated: April 14, 2017

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