Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Stories / Blog

Mystic’s (bad ass) sea captains

Ok we’ve researched a wide array of sea captains with Mystic roots or Mystic connections. There’s a ton. If you look at typical living conditions and consider the weather and seas many of these captains faced, you could make a case that ANY 19th century sea captain was a bad ass.

That being said, here are a few of the notables that our Mystic history tours and Mystic Food tours, and Mystic walking tours consider the true “bad asses”.

Captain John E. “Kicking Jack” Williams (1816 – 1891)

Before the Panama Canal (1914), and before transcontinental railroads (1870s), the best way to move goods and people from New York to San Francisco was to sail around Cape Horn at the tip of Tierra del Fuego in Southern Chile. Because of massive seas and maniacal sea conditions “Rounding the horn” to this day is a supreme badge of honor for any sailor or Mariner.  This guy did it in 89 days.

Captain Joseph Warren Holmes (1824-1912)

Other than one dis-masting in a “white squall” 6 days out of New York this guy completed hundreds of voyages with no losses of ships or lives.  On top that he rounded the horn a record 84 times in a variety of ships.  No one else can make that claim.  I’ve read a lot about rounding the horn and quite frankly, this guy must have been insane.  (Plus, check out his dad…Jeremiah Holmes).

Captain Elihu Spicer (1825 – 1891)

This guy went to see at age 9. Yes, age 9. What were you doing at age 9? He became a cabin boy at age fourteen and by 22 was a shipmaster of the bark FANNY. He worked big clipper ships and eventually partnered in one of Mystic’s most storied ship yards. Captain Spicer became one of the wealthiest men in America and was also a major local philanthropist.

For a unique walking tour, food tour, historic tour or guided tour of Mystic, Stonington or Noank, please contact [email protected] the founder of Mystic Revealed.

Skip to toolbar