Thomas Mellen (1834-1911)

Thomas Mellen, 2nd was born to Archibald Mellen and Sarah Vincent on October 8, 1834. Born in Vineyard Haven (also known as Holmes Hole), his family moved to his father’s native Newbury, Vermont when Thomas was less than a year old. They returned to his mother’s native town of Edgartown (also known as Old Town) two years later.

Thomas attended school in Edgartown until the age of sixteen when he joined the crew of Captain Jared Fisher’s Whaleship Omega. After that successful 44 month voyage, he found his next berth as a boatsteerer on the California departing November 5, 1854. By the time they returned to port on April 23, 1858, he had been made third mate.

Six months later, in the Fall of 1858, Thomas shipped out as second mate on the Onward. That voyage ended July 5, 1862 and brought skyrocketing prices because of consequences of the American Civil War. Everyone involved received their share of the $300,000 proceeds. Reports from that voyage were favorable and young Mellen was on his way to becoming a very wealthy whaler.

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Martha's Vineyard Museum