Guide to the Captain William H. Caswell Letter, 1860

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Research Library at the Nantucket Historical Association. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the internet.

Collection Details

Collection Number:
Captain William H. Caswell Letter
Caswell, William H.
Nantucket Historical Association
Material is in English.

Information for Users

Restrictions to Access: No restrictions. Open for research.

Restrictions to Use: No usage restrictions.

Copyright Notice: Copyright is retained by the authors of items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], in the Captain William H. Caswell Letter, Nantucket Historical Association.

Acquisitions Information:

Gift of Peter Coccoluto of Lynn, Mass., in November 2017 (Acc. RL2017.16).

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Nantucket Historical Association assumes no responsibility.

Related Collections

  • MS220 Log 7A, Log of the ship Alpha, 1860-1865, Nantucket Historical Association

Subject Headings

  • Personal Name
    • Caswell, William H.
    • Wood, George W.
    • Wood, Susan.
  • Topical Term
    • Drowning—Atlantic Ocean.
    • Drowning victims.

Biographical Information

Captain William H. Caswell (1813-1891), son of John R. Caswell and Mary Barnard, married Elisabeth B. Starbuck. They had three sons. Captain Caswell, master of the Alpha, took two whaling voyages to the Pacific—a voyage from 1855-1859 and a voyage from 1860-1865. Captain Caswell was the first officer on the ship Sarah Frances in 1847.

Susan Wood (1812-1898), daughter of Reuben Bowen and Sally Folger, married Manuel Wood. They had four children; the oldest was George W. Wood.

Scope and Content

The Captain William H. Caswell letter is from Captain William H. Caswell to Susan Wood of Nantucket, Mass., dated August 3, 1860. It describes the death of Wood’s son, George W. Wood, who fell overboard and drowned while a crewmember on the ship Alpha and the efforts of his fellow crewmembers in trying to save him. Wood was previously a crewmember on the Alpha’s 1855-1859 voyage.


  • Folder 1 Letter from Captain William H. Caswell to Susan Wood, 1860

Processing Information

Processed by Alison Barr, July 2018. Finding aid written Alison Barr, July 2018.

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