Author Topic: East India Company Captains - or a Free Mariner on a "Country" ship?  (Read 2643 times)

Offline helvissa

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Hello,

I'm trying to trace the career of someone who was, according to certain sources, a captain in the East India Company, from about 1800 to I suppose 1834 when the EIC folded. I picked up a copy of Richard Morgan's FIBIS guide, An introduction to British Ships in Indian Waters, and he recommended Farrington's A Biographical Index of East India Company Maritime Service Officers 1600-1834.

I couldn't find them in Farrington's book, so now I'm wondering - does that mean they weren't a captain in the EIC at all, or is Farrington's book not exhaustive? Or could it mean that he was a captain on a Country ship instead - is that a "Free Mariner"? I know that by 1840 he was a merchant.

Does anyone know?

Thanks,
Helen.

Online ShaunJ

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Re: East India Company Captains - or a Free Mariner on a "Country" ship?
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 17 May 16 22:51 BST (UK) »
The HEIC did not fold in 1834 - it survived until 1874 though its activities were largely curtailed in 1858 - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_India_Company.

Are you sure your man was a sea captain? Might he have been a Captain in HEIC's army?
UK Census info. Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline helvissa

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Re: East India Company Captains - or a Free Mariner on a "Country" ship?
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 18 May 16 09:42 BST (UK) »
The books I've been reading have made it sound like it changed a lot after 1834, hence my use of the word "fold".

Anyway - I'm writing a book about Alfred Swaine Taylor, the forensic doctor, whose entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography says that his father, Thomas Taylor, was a captain in the East India Company. Thomas married in Northfleet in 1804 (he was originally from Kings Lynn), and Alfred and his brother were both born there: I find this interesting given that the EIC used Northfleet Hope as an anchoring place (I think from 1804?). This I think explains why Thomas Taylor ended up in Northfleet.

The inscription on Thomas' headstone in Northfleet St Botolph's says:

Quote
in memory of Thomas TAYLOR late of the Hon. E.I. Company’s Maritime Service. He was born at Lynn Regis, Norfolk September 23rd 1771 And died at Northfleet September 28th 1840 Aged 69.

Might it be the case that Thomas worked for the EIC on dry land in Northfleet, rather than sailed about, if he doesn't appear in Farrington's book? That biographers assumed "he worked for the EIC" meant "he was a captain in the EIC"? Or is Farrington's book not complete? I'm planning a trip to Kent soon so if the headstone is still there, it might yield some clues - maybe a ship or anchor or something which might hint that he did go to sea!


Offline jamboree

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Re: East India Company Captains - or a Free Mariner on a "Country" ship?
« Reply #3 on: Monday 16 October 17 23:47 BST (UK) »
Country ship is the term applied to the ships that traded in the East Indies - they picked up goods and took them to entrepots where the EIC purchased them. They were restricted from sailing directly to England.  The captains were known as free mariners as they had no connection with the EIC.

If you think he was a captain in the East Indies Company then check out Google Books for A Register of Ships, Employed in the Service of the Honorable the United East India Company, from the Year 1760 to 1819, with an Appendix: Containing a Variety of Particulars and Useful Information, Interesting to Those Concerned with East India Commerce by Hardy. These are free to download and give the names of the commander, a few of the mates and purser.
Scott - Penang, Straits Settlements, Java, Singapore
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Offline helvissa

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Re: East India Company Captains - or a Free Mariner on a "Country" ship?
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 17 October 17 15:39 BST (UK) »
Thanks!

I recall looking at that one before, but couldn't find anything. There is a Captain Thomas Taylor listed but it's too early to be Alfred's dad. The other Thomas Taylors who appear in it around the time he was apparently sailing were lower down the pecking order than captain.

So the mystery lingers on!

Offline OzJane

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Re: East India Company Captains - or a Free Mariner on a "Country" ship?
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 07 June 20 07:01 BST (UK) »
Jamboree - Thank you!
Rootschatters are fabulous - did a search for 'East India Company' and found your post and reference to 'A Register of Ships, Employed in the Service of the Honorable the United East India Company, from the Year 1760 to 1819, with an Appendix: Containing a Variety of Particulars and Useful Information, Interesting to Those Concerned with East India Commerce by Hardy.'
I found a reference to an ancestor who served as a 4th mate and later a 2nd mate - have been searching for years and years! ;D ;D
DOWN/ANTRIM: May
DOWN: Morgan, Perry, McKnight
EDINBURGH:  Drysdale
HEREFORDSHIRE: Southan
LANCASHIRE: Waddington, Southan
LONDON Kempe, Whitby
SOMERSET Loxton