Name

Joseph Russell

Career

Business/Commerce

Occupation 1

shipowner

Occupation 2

whaler

Identifier

Rebecca

Region

NA/New England region

Era

Maritime Republic (1751-1815)

Born

1719

Died

1804

Source

DAB

Text

...prominent in the development of the whaling industry. Capturing whales by posting lookouts on shore and sending boats after those seen was practised early in Southampton, NY., and from there spread to New England settlements, though operations conducted from shore were gradually paralleled and finally supplanted by deep-sea whaling, in which vessels that constantly grew in size and made increasingly long voyages served as a base. As early as 1755 Russell owned ships that made whaling voyages or traded with the West Indies; he kept a store for the sale of imported goods, and he was a pioneers in the manufacture of spermaceti candles... In the Revolution (in which his sentiments are indicated by his naming one of his vessels No Duty on Tea) he not only lost his capital through the cessation of American maritime commerce but had most of his ships and buildings burned by the British when they raided New Bedford in 1778. After the Revolution, however, he rapidly recovered. His prominence and initiative are shown by his engaging George Claghorn, the builder of the frigate Constitution, to construct a ship for him of the extraordinary burden, for that day, of 175 tons; it was this vessel, the Rebecca, that in 1791-93 made the first whaling voyage around Cape Horn to the Pacific hunting grounds.