Whales were always part of Hudson River life (they were spotted at Albany in 1647), and whaling was a major industry in New York, especially on the Hudson River, for over 60 years. It helped to shape the region’s economy and culture, and it left a lasting legacy. Today, there are several historical markers and museums in the Hudson Valley that commemorate the region’s whaling past and the Great Seal of the City of Hudson still includes a whale. [Read more…] about Hudson River Whaling Industry History
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, there were a growing number of adventurers anxious to explore the sea, find new lands, chart new islands, and if they made their fortune while doing it, all the better.
There were also those just trying to get away from home and signing on to a whaling ship seemed the adventure of a lifetime. [Read more…] about James Eights: An Albany Artist-Scientist Who Explored Antarctica in 1830
Well drilling was common with many recent improvements by the time the Drake well was sunk, although most were drilled for salt brine (a source of salt). Oil was sometimes found in these wells and pumped as an unwanted by-product, but by the late 1800s, several changes made oil more valuable.
Whaling had been the primary source for illuminating oil (lamp oil), but whales had been over-hunted and were becoming scarce, and the cost of harvesting them was increasing. Also, by the 1850s, scientist had discovered the potential for manufacturing kerosene from crude oil which was found to be an ideal replacement. [Read more…] about Russell Ormsbee’s Oil Adventure
In 2011, the nonprofit Gotham Whale recorded just five humpbacks spotted off New York City. Since then, the number has soared. By 2018, sightings had jumped to 272. Less than a year later, 377 whales of different species were observed.
A recent Discover Magazine article cites two main factors that drive the increasing presence of whales. [Read more…] about New York’s Whaling Industry: Some History
On this episode of the Long Island History Project, we speak with Brenna McCormick-Thompson, coordinator of the Whaling Museum and Education Center in Cold Spring Harbor. You’ll hear how she works to tell the story of Long Island whaling through objects, historical records, and even the streets of Cold Spring Harbor itself. [Read more…] about Gruesome, Lucrative: Long Island Whaling History (Podcast)
A whaling frenzy gripped the East End of Long Island in the mid-1600s. Prominent settlers in the area fought the elements and each other to pursue this often brutal, bloody, yet extremely profitable trade. And the most sought-after crews were drawn from the local Native American population: Shinnecock, Unkechaug, and Montauketts.
Dr. John Strong, professor emeritus of Southampton College, documents this history in his latest book, America’s Early Whalemen: Indian Shore Whalers on Long Island, 1650-1750. Combing records and primary sources from across the Island, he pieces together a portrait of a neglected period of American history. [Read more…] about Early Whaling on Long Island
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, there were a growing number of adventurers anxious to explore the sea, find new lands, chart new islands, and if they made their fortune while doing it, all the better. There were also those just trying to get away from home and signing on to a whaling boat seemed the adventure of a lifetime. [Read more…] about James Eights: Albany Artist, Explorer
The crew spent months at sea in leaking boats and endured the blazing sun, attacks by killer whales, and lack of food. The men were forced to resort to cannibalism before the final eight survivors were rescued. [Read more…] about Wreck of the Whale Ship Essex Illustrated
A new pictorial history authored by Lisa LaMonica, Hudson (Arcadia Publishing, 2014) features over 200 images depicting scenes of the City of Hudson and it’s surroundings’ history.
In vintage photographs, Hudson covers a history that includes the story of the Mohicans, whaling, and the multitude of factories in the Industrial Age, as well as the city’s modern-day transformation. [Read more…] about New Illustrated History of Hudson, NY