Asa Eldridge holds the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a sailing ship, which is quite remarkable.
Having Eldridge/Eldredge/Eldred ancestors, I was interested to see how Asa fit in with my folks. Does everyone interested in genealogy do whacky things like this?! Miles mentions he was the son of John, grandson of Barnabas and that he descended from William 1 Eldred, an early Yarmouth settler. From there I was able to dig up Asa's line to William 1 Eldred/Eldredge: Asa>John>Barnabas>John>John>Samuel>William. This makes Asa a distant relation of mine (5th cousin 3 times removed).
Asa married Eliza Hallet in January 1835. She was a distant cousin of his from Roxbury, Mass. They did not have any children. Since Asa didn't have direct descendants, it makes me all the more appreciative that Vincent Miles told his story.
After an illustrious career, on 23 January 1856 Asa left Liverpool as commander of the steamship Pacific and was never heard from again. Miles gives examples of how treacherous the North Atlantic was that winter because of ice much further south than usual. It seems that a collision with a mass of ice is how the Pacific and its 45 passengers and crew of 141 met their end on or about January 28. A week after that the crew of the Edinburgh reported seeing floating debris in the area that would have come from a passenger vessel. A captain of another vessel that left Liverpool three days after Asa reported his vessel was damaged by heavy ice fields.
|The Pacific Source: Wikipedia|
In 1992 divers off the coast of North Wales, 60 miles from Liverpool, found a wooden wreck they believe is that of the Pacific, although Miles believes more information is needed to confirm the wreck's identity.
As I was writing this, I quickly looked up Eliza Eldridge's death. She died in Boston on 15 August 1895 at the age of 87 years, 6 months. She is recorded as Eliza Eldridge, maiden name Hallet, widow of Asa Eldridge, daughter of George Hallet and Eliza Gordon. Strange that I just mentioned my late sister in this post and as I was scrolling down the page looking for Eliza's name, I came across the name Mary B. Rollins who died the same day. That is also my sister's name.
Also tying in with mariner ancestors, I watched the 1939 movie Captains Courageous with Spencer Tracey. A great old movie about Gloucester fishermen that featured the Canadian schooner Bluenose, a vessel my sister was very interested in. It also has a scene at the famous Fisherman's Memorial in Gloucester where sadly one of my ancestors' name is inscribed on the cenotaph. It amazes me how studying my family history makes me see so many connections I would otherwise just pass by.