Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and hope this blog will help with that. I am not an expert and I consider most of my research as a work in progress. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My Mayflower Ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, John Howland.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

David Howes 1768-1843 of Dennisport, Mass. Part II

I wrote about David Howes, my fourth great-grandfather, and his wife Rebecah Baker before. (Visit here for the post.) One thing that bothered me was not finding anything concrete about his maritime career, even though he’s referred to as “captain.” I got some great suggestions on where to look to find more, including trying the Custom House in New Bedford, but there never seems to be enough hours in the day to do the research I’d like to do!

A little recap: David was born Chatham about July 1768 to Thomas Howes and Hope Sears. Although his birth wasn’t recorded, he is shown to be their son through court records.  He married Rebecca/Rebecah Baker on 11 December 1788 at Dennis and they had 10 children, including my great-great-great grandmother Abagail who married Hiram Kelley. Rebecca was born 18 December 1770, the daughter of Shubael Baker and Rebecca Chase. Rebecca died 4 December 1841 and David on 5 February 1843. They are buried side by side at Swan Lake Cemetery in Dennisport.

This week another descendant of David and Rebecca, Marge Howes Perry, sent me information she discovered in the Dennis Historical Society’s on-line archives mentioning Capt. David Howes and the coasting Schooner Hope’s Lady.  Woooo! Marge has been incredibly generous sharing information she discovers with me, including correcting my information when I had the wrong ancestry for Rebecca Baker (those plentiful Bakers and Chases are certainly hard to trace!). Thank you, Marge!

Not great resolution, but here is David's signature from a document
For anyone who has a connection to Dennis and surrounding towns, the Society’s archives are tremendous! I can’t imagine the hours of work the volunteers put in to scan, upload and transcribe so many photographs and documents. Years ago I brought some old family photos for Burt Derick to scan and those have been put on the website. Talk about dedication!! The Society also has a nice monthly newsletter for members that I always look forward to receiving. To view the archives, go to dennishistoricalsociety.org and click on “archives.” They are adding new items constantly.

The Schooner Hope’s Lady was built in Harwich along the Herring River ca 1805 and owned by Job Chase.  Job was David’s step-father, but the only father he knew as his father died when David was five months’ old.  Job was a very successful business man with a large fleet of coasting vessels. He had a tendency for naming his vessels Hope—Hope and Polly, Hope and Phebe, Hope Mary, Delight in Hope, Hope and Hannah, Hope for Peace, Land Hope and more.  I like to think he named them after his beloved wife and that David was at the helm of a vessel named after his mother. Because of the size of his fleet, Chase gave his captains complete discretionary powers in deciding where to go and what to do.  Shipmasters of Cape Cod by Henry C. Kittredge has a nice write up on Job. His son Job continued and expanded his business (Job was son of Hope, so David’s half-brother).
1894 Gloucester Photo
A later schooner, the Effie F. Morrisey aka Ernestina

 Showing what a small world the Cape was, my ancestor Patrick Kelley, a shipwright of Harwich, did work on the vessel, making me wonder if he also built her. Patrick is my fifth great-grandfather, born 1753, died 28 October 1834, married Dorcas Chase.

13 February 1817, 
Bill/receipt, 6 September 1817, Capt. Job Chase from Patrick Kerley (aka Kelley)  for making bow sprit for Schooner Hope Lady, two days, $2.50. Includes jobs for Schooner Rosebud as well, total for jobs $6.79.

I’m not positive it is this David who commended the Hope’s Lady as it could have been his son David who was also a mariner. David was born 1789, so I’m thinking at about age 26 he would be a bit young to command Hope’s Lady, but that may be wishful thinking.

Summary of the documents pertaining to David Howes from the DHS archives:

Landing permit, Plymouth (North Carolina) 12 April 1815, David Howes, Master of the Schr. Hope's Lady of Harwich, permission to land granted, ballast only. 

Demand Note, Plymouth, NC, 13 February 1817, $2,738.05 received on board the schooner Hope Lady bound for Boston under my command, yr ob servt David Howes.

Custom House Receipt, Barnstable, 4 October 1817, Schooner Hope's Lady, Captain House, 1.45 tons, fees $3.23. Originals are available to view at dennishistoricalsociety.org.

Undated listing of Hope's Lady crew and charges, includes Esary Hous 4 times is charge, David  Hous 15 times is charge. Note: Esary is probably David's son Ezra born 1793.

Receipt, Dennis, 21 Feb 1818, Ezra Howes receipt for balance owed to David Howes of $4.99 from an original bill of $19.22 for timber and drawing.



  1. Chris...I was told Loring Eldredge Howes went to see with his father Shubeal Howes son of David at 15 yrs old and became a Master Mariner at 21. So your thoughts on David being too young may be inaccurate. Depending on the tonnage of the ships served on dictates what his license allows. One can actually work his way up to a very large ship in his lifetime. I worked my way up from 50 ton to 100 ton in just a couple of years.

    1. Thanks, Jim. You have a strong point about their ages and appreciate your sharing it with me. Chris

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  3. Hello Chris,
    A few years ago I used ancestry.com and found my ancestors' line of Nehemiah Howes- David Howes- Josiah Howes - Samuel Hoes - Elizabeth Paddock, etc.
    I am currently picking up where I left off with familysearch.org and find that David's father was not Josiah but Thomas. With some online search I came across your blog.
    I did find a link to the Cooke & Warren (Mayflower) lineage to the maternal lines of my great-grandmother Madeline Howes but am interested in finding the accuracy of her great-great-grandfather David Howes.
    I currently live in New Bedford, MA; downtown and few blocks from The Custom House that you mentioned in your blog but I am not sure what records are still kept there since they remodeled the building last year.
    Would look forward in chatting with you.

    1. Hi Jeff,
      David Howes' parentage is often incorrectly listed by researchers since his birth wasn't recorded, so it's easy to get confused! I wrote another blog entry on David Howes and the link to that is embedded in the above entry, if you haven't already seen it. I know that Nehemiah was a sea Captain as well; I have a little bit of info on him I could share with you. My email is listed in the top left side of this blog. Chris