My great great grandfather was a whaling captain and his gold pocket watch was passed from generation to generation.
By the time it passed to me, I had very little knowledge of his story. It wasn’t until I visited the Sag Harbor maritime museum that I read about his life and adventures from letters he wrote to his wife.
My favorite story is about one of his whaling voyages during the California gold rush. He regularly would sail around Cape Horn from Long Island to San Francisco where he traded whale oil for fur. On one particular voyage, when he reached California, his sailing crew jumped ship, abandoning him to search for gold. The harbor was so full of abandoned vessels that he was told to sink his ship and salvage what he could. He sold his sails to none other than Levi Strauss, who converted them to miner’s clothing. When my grandfather returned home, he discovered that his fellow captains had all lost their crews the same way. Having no crews, they decided to band together and sail to California to search for gold as well. Their ship was crewed by sea captains, and my grandfather, Stephen Hand, was elected to lead them on their voyage.
If this story had not been uncovered in a museum, I would never have known the significance of the person who left that gold pocket watch behind.
Do you have a story you’d like to tell? Or perhaps there is a loved one with a story, an adventure or simply someone in your life you’d like to share with future generations.
View our sample biographies and you’ll experience the stories of a few of our clients or contact us to discuss how we can help you preserve one of your most valuable assets...the stories and people you love and care about.
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