The Morgan moored at Mystic Seaport, CT

Built by Jethro and Zachariah Hillman in New Bedford in 1841, the whaler made thirty seven voyages including several trips around Cape Horn and visits to the Artic and the Antartic. In 1941, the Morgan was moved to the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut where in 2006 she was hauled out for a three-year restoration. The Morgan is the only remaining American wooden whaling ship today.
-- For a brief overview of the Morgan's history, see the FAQ sheet at the Mystic Seaport website.

The Charles W. Morgan was a bark ship, a rig design type which was "a sailing vessel with three masts, square-rigged on the fore and main masts and fore-and-aft rigged on the mizzenmast." Barks were considered a popular and economical design in the 1800's because they required fewer crew members to handle the sails when the whale boats were lowered down in the waters whaling. This saved boat owners significant amounts of money.
-- information from the New Bedford Whaling Museum


LENGTH: 105.6
BEAM: 27.7
DEPTH: 17.6


Ship rigging and sail plan of the Morgan, from the Library of Congress American Memory Collection. Refer to the site for detailed views of the plan.


Charles Waln Morgan was one of six children born to Quaker parents in Philadelphia. He was born on September 14, 1796. He relocated to New Bedford, Mass., in 1819 where he married Sarah Rodman and began investing in whaling vessels. Morgan managed 15 vessels and owned shares in 18 others during his career. With his whaling profits, he invested in many other business enterprises. Morgan left the Quaker faith to become a Unitarian and was recognized as an abolitionist and a supporter of the temperance movement. While he was away on business in 1841, Morgan’s nephew took the liberty of naming the new whaling ship after his uncle. Morgan died on April 7, 1861. -- from the Mystic Seaport Website

JETHRO AND ZACHARIAH HILLMAN (born 1789 and 1796 respectively) Second generation New Bedford shipbuilders. Known for their thorough workmanship on vessels including the Argo, California, the Sea Nymph, Bonita and Sovereign of the Seas. The brothers did own shares of some of the ships they built and are believed to have received royalties from the Morgan as payment. -- information from Ricketson book and the //Shultz// article


"These impromptu snapshots, taken by the wife of Captain Earle, document routine deck activities of the offshore whaling industry. Exactly where these photographs were taken is unknows since the ship sought whales in both Pacific and Atlantic Oceans under Earle's command. Women who accompanied their husbands often wrote about their experiences aboard whalers, but few actually photographed them. "
-- from the Peabody Essex Museum collections



"Great Whaling Days Commemorated on the Screen" Current Opinion July 1, 1923.
1923 article desribes how the Morgan served as set in the motion picture Down to the Sea in Ships

GW Blunt White Library at Mystic Connecticut
Research library specializing in maritime history. Holdings include digital and print collections of maritime documents, ship logs, maps and architectural plans.

Haley, Nelson Cole. Whale hunt : the narrative of a voyage by Nelson Cole Haley, harpooner in the ship Charles W. Morgan
Mystic, Conn. : Mystic Seaport Museum, c1990

Hirshson, G. Warren. The Whale Ship Charles W. Morgan. New Bedford: Mass., Reynolds Printing Co, 1926.morganlightsatnight.jpg

Leavitt, John F. The Charles W. Morgan. Mystic: Conn., Mystic Seaport, 1973.

New Bedford Free Public Library Whaling Collection Archives
comprehensive index to men and ships on whaling voyages from the New Bedford Customs District from
1807 through 1925 including documents from the Charles W. Morgan.


National Public Radio.(Noah Adams) Oaks Felled by Katrina get a new Life at Sea
archive audiofile details how Live Oak trees felled in Hurricane Katrina are being used to restore the Morgan.

On Board the Morgan America's Last Wooden Whaler. Dir. Littlefield, David, Mystic Seaport Museum, and Film & Video Division. 1 videocassette (23 min.). Mystic Seaport Film-Video Services, 1992.

Ricketson, Daniel New Bedford of the Past. Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1903.
accessible through //Google Books//

Schultz, Charles R. "Costs of Constructing and Outfitting the Ship Charles W. Morgan, 1840-1841."
The Business History Review 41, no.2 (1967): 198-216.
accessible through the JSTOR database.

Westward By Sea: A Maritime Perspective on American Expansion
A Library of Congress American Memory Collection featuring selected items from the Mystic Seaport archives