Luther J. Briggs, Sr.
Record of Shipping

Luther Briggs, Sr.'s, biography

New Bedford:

Wilmington & Liverpool Packet Ship, John Briggs, master, perhaps a cabin boy, (crewlist), late August 1827-24 June 1830.

Frances, John Briggs, master, Luther was third mate, (crewlist), abt 1 August 1831-22 April 1832.

William Hamilton, William C. Swain, master. Luther was first mate (crewlist), 28 May 1834-21 August 1837.



New York City:

(square brackets contain additional information that is not a part of the quote, or is an interpretation of parts that are difficult to read)

24 January 1851, "New York," Black Ball line (67 days sailing)

New York Herald notice, 25 January 1851

"ship New York (pkt) [packet], Briggs, Liverpool, [departed] Nov. 1 [8?] with mdse [merchandise] and 385 passengers to C. H. Marshall & Co. [owners of the Black Ball line]. Dec. 23 lat 43-22 lon 43-60 spoke Br. bark British Queen 13 days from New Brunswick for Dublin. Dec. 25 lat 43-00? lon 43-23? passed packet ship Universe, Bird, from NY for Liverpool. The NY experienced heavy weather nearly the entire passage with strong westerly gales, lost sails, etc."

passenger list: 19 dead, one woman "committed infanticide," one boy crushed? right foot.

ship cleared from New York on 30 September 1850 (NY Tribune, 10/1/50, p. 8). "Marshall" (Alexander C. Marshall) is named captain. He wasn't the regular captain of this ship.

1 May 1851, "New York" (26 days)

New York Herald notice, 1 May 1851

"ship New York (pkt), Briggs, Liverpool, 26 days, with mdse and 361? passengers to C. H. Marshall & Co.. Between lat 46 and 45 and lon 48 and 50 passed a great many large islands of ice. The NY has been 11 days from Sable Island with light variable winds."

arrived in Liverpool 4 Apr 1851 (NY Tribune, 14 Apr, p. 8)

21 August 1851, "Yorkshire," Black Ball line (36 days)

New York Herald notice, 22 August 1851

"ship Yorkshire (pkt), Briggs, Liverpool, July 17 with msde and 414 passengers to C. H. Marshall. 16th inst. lat 41-30 lon 65-30 spoke Br. brig Hope."

Sailed 2 June (NY Tribune, 3 June), arrived in Liverpool 15 June 1851 (NY Tribune, 3 July, p. 8) or 23 June (NY Tribune, 10 July, from Lloyd's List, 25 June) or 24 June (NY Tribune, 7 July, report from ship Baltic.

5 or 6 January 1852, "Yorkshire" (49 days)

New York Times notice, 6 January 1852

"Ship Yorkshire, Briggs, Liverpool, Nov. 18, mdse and pass. to C. H. Marshall." The ship arrived in quarantine at this time, not at port.

New York Times notice, 16 January 1852

"Packet-ship Yorkshire, Briggs, Liverpool, Nov. 18, mdse and 429 pass. to C. H. Marshall. Had heavy weather on the passage, and took a pilot on the 61th [sic; probably 6th intended] inst. The Y. is detained at Quarantine with the small pox on board. Had 9 deaths and 4 births."

A Tribune report (10 Nov), quoting Lloyd's List of 3-? Oct., says Yorkshire arrived at Liverpool on 20 October, "with loss of bowsprit, having been in contact with A. A. of Liverpool, from Tralee to New York, which received slight damage and proceeded."

A Tribune report (2 Dec), quoting Lloyd's List of 19 Nov., says that Yorkshire sailed on 17 November. Siddons left about 6 days earlier.

15 April 1852, "Siddons," Dramatic Line (28 days)

According to a New York Post advertisement throughout January of 1852, Capt. Eben Howes was to sail this ship on the regularly scheduled departure date of 26 January. The ad stops on that date and the next notice of the ship is on 6 February, when the ship was cleared for passage with Luther Briggs as master. Yorkshire was next cleared to sail on 17 February with Capt. Edward Young (NYT, 18 Feb., p.4). Later in the same article is a notice that the ship had sailed with Briggs as master. This is also reported in the same-day issue of the Tribune.

New York Tribune notice, 15 April 1852

"Ship Siddons (packet), Briggs, Liverpool, March 18, mdse and 385 passengers to Spofford, Tileston & Co."

11 March 1852, New York Tribune (26 Mar issue) reports that Yorkshire, Briggs, arrived off Liverpool. This was from Lloyd's List, issue of 12 March, which may not have known about the change of captains. The 20 March issue of the Tribune reports that Siddons, Briggs, "adv" (similar to cleared, but what does it stand for?) Liverpool for New York on 11 April and Yorkshire, Briggs, on 1 April.

27 August 1852, "Siddons" (41 days)

New York Times notice, 25 August 1852, the ship Hibernia reports that it sailed in company with the Yorkshire and the Siddons from Liverpool.

New York Times notice, 27 August 1852

"packet ship Siddons, Brigg [sic], Liverpool, July 16, merchandise and passengers to Spofford Tilletson & Co."

The passenger manifest lists 423 people, 2 died on the passage and there were 2 stowaways.

The ship was cleared to sail from New York on 25 May and sailed the following day (NYT).

31 December 1852, "Siddons" (48 days)

New York Herald notice, 1 January 1853

"Ship Siddons, Briggs, Liverpool, Nov. 13 with mdse and 414 passengers to Spofford, Tileston & Co. Dec. 28 off Nantucket, South Shoal, spoke bark Suchliff (so understood) from St. Domingo for Boston (undoubtedly Br. brig Sutle)"

Advertisement in the Post through most of September 1852

"For Liverpool - Dramatic Line - Packet of 26th Sept. - The splendid and favorite packet ship SIDDONS, Capt. Luther J. Briggs, will sail as above her regular day. For freight or passage, having very fine accomodations, apply on board at pier 14, East River, or to Spofford, Tileston & Co., 48 South St."

The ship sailed 28 September (NYT 9/29)

3 May 1853, "Siddons" (39 days)

New York Herald notice, 3 May 1853

"arrived packet ship Siddons, L. I. [sic] Briggs, Mr, 39 days from Liverpool with mdse and 423 passengers to J. Collins. 2 deaths & 2 births on passage."

a notice in the NYT says that the ship had sailed either on or by 31 January, probably the latter (2 Feb. issue, p. 8). Arrived in Liverpool on or just before 8 Mar (Liverpool Mercury, 8 Mar 1853, p. 7)

27 (26 according to manifest) August 1853, Siddons (30 days)

New York Herald notice, 27 August 1853

"Siddons (pkt), Briggs, Liverpool, 7/17, with 420 passengers to J. Foster, Jr. One death and one birth."

Ship manifest says that the cabin passengers included Mrs. L. J. Briggs, Masters Thornton and Luther Briggs and Miss R. R. Thornton. The ship supposedly was "spoken to" in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on 17 May (NYT 5/30, p. 8; lat 43 24, lon 56 12). This must somehow be an error, since it returned on 3 May and left again on 1 June (NYT 6/2, p. 8) on more or less a regular schedule. The report probably confused months and meant April 17. Extracts from logbooks often referred to a present month as (the Latin abbreviations) "inst." and that previous as "ult." rather the names of the months.

The North American & United States Gazette of 1 June 1853 reports that Siddons was cleared at New York City on 31 May 1853.

2 March 1854, Empire State, Empire Line/Black Star line (37 days)

New York Times notice, 2 March 1854

"ship Empire State (pkt), Briggs, Liverpool, 37 days with mdse and 76 passengers to D. & A. Kingsland. Was 13 [days] to [Fuskan?] blow heavily most of the time from SW to WNW. 2/11 lat 49 lon 34-10 passed one of Collins steamers bound E (the Atlantic). No dates, off [Tuskan?] saw ship John Rutledge from Liverpool to New York, also a ship supposed the Saratoga from do. for do."

The ship had been cleared to sail by 22 October 1853, New York Times (24 Oct. 1853, p. 8), and arrived in Liverpool about 27 December (Liv. Merc., 27 Dec.)

19 July 1854, Empire State (46 days)

New York Times notice, 19 July 1854

"ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, June 3, with mdse. and 655 passengers to D. & A. Kingsland & Co. Had 2 deaths and 1 birth on passage. Lat. 43, lon. 49 to 51, saw large islands of ice."

cleared 6 April 1854 (New York Weekly Herald, 8 April 1854, p. 112), arrived in Liverpool about 19 May (Liv. Merc., 19 May 1854).

29 December 1854, Empire State

New York Times notice, 2 January 1855, in "Memoranda" "The ship Empire State, arr. 29th from Liverpool, had 295 pass. had 3 deaths and 3 births on the passage, consigned to D. & A. Kingsland & Sutton"

New York Times notice (14 Aug. 1854), headed for St. John, New Brunswick, probably en route to Liverpool. Cleared 10 August.

14 June 1855, Empire State (43 days)

New York Herald notice, 15 June 1855

"ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, May 2, with mdse and 383 Passengers to D. & A. Kingsland & Sutton. 5/29 lat 41-18 long 50-15 saw ship City of Mobile from Liverpool for New York. June 1 lat 39-08 ling 56-15 passed ship Ashburton, steering E (from Trinidad for Falmouth). June 19th at 5 PM 513 miles E of Sandy Hook, passed steamship Washington, hence for Southampton and Bremen. The ES had one death on board during the passage."

New York Times notice, 24 February 1855, cleared on 23rd to sail from NY to Liverpool

17 October 1855, Empire State (NY Post notice, 10/18 "arrived yesterday forenoon," manifest dated 10/18) (37 days)

New York Herald notice, 18 October 1855

"ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, Sept. 11 with mdse and passengers to D & A Kingslands & Sutton. Oct. 4, lat. 44-45 lon. 49-10 saw a large island of ice, same day lat. 44-30 lon 50 spoke [to] schr. [schooner] Cohasset, of Provincetown, with 340,000? to leave for home in about 4 days. 12th lat. 40-35 lon 68-45 passed ship Sir Rob. Pell bound E (probably the Hamburg ship), same day lat 40-35 lon 68-40 passed a whaling ship showing a blue & red with a white swallow tail signal bound E. The E.S. took a pilot from boat No. 11 170 miles from New York." (1)

Ship manifest says 282 passengers, including Joseph Doyle, a 15 year-old stowaway. Cleared 16 July (Boston Daily Advertiser, 18 July, no page).

27 April 1856, Empire State (47 days)

New York Herald notice, 27 April 1856

"ship Empire City [sic], Briggs, Liverpool, 3/11, with mdse and 516 passengers to D & A Kingsland & Sutton. 4/3 lat 42 lon 36 fell in with ship Eudocia of and for St. John, NB, from Liv., with rudder gone, stern post started, fore yard broken and leaking badly; had thrown overboard large quantities of cargo, took off the crew and passengers in all 60, including 8 cabin, from lon 25 to 55 had a continuation of gales from SW to NW."

The New York Times also reported that this was the "Empire City" and gave the usual master of that vessel, Mr. Daniels. The ship was quarantined for a small pox outbreak. Articles about the latter and the ship manifest confirm that this was the "Empire State."

The New York Herald, 1 Dec 1855, Empire State to sail the following Monday (3 Dec), Pier 8, North River, apply on board or to Demarest & Jones, 40 So. St or 38 Old Slip. Another notice, 14 Nov 1855, says the ship was to sail 17 November.

12 September 1856, Empire State (40 days)

New York Times notice, 12 September (also in the Herald):

"ship Empire State, Briggs, from Liverpool, Aug. 3, with merchandise and 321 passengers to D. & A. Kingsland and Sutton; Aug. 5, lat 49, lon 25, passed a ship of about 600 tons and English build, and as far as we could judge and see, no person on board. Sept. 7, lat. 40 30. lon. 69, passed tha Argonaut, of Boston, stg. S. S. E. Same time, took a pilot from boat No. 19. Sept. 8, passed ship Robert Bell [sic; Pell], bound E. the E. S. had no births or deaths on the passage; been 18 ds. from the Banks, and 8 ds. from George's Shoal.

Cleared 10 June (NYWH, 14 June, p. 192)

4 February 1857, Empire State (52 days)

New York Herald notice, 4 February 1857

"ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, 12/13, with mdse and 109 passengers to D & A Kingsland & Sutton. 1/9 lat 45-30? lon 43-30 saw ship Casilda steering ESE, same day Jas. Brown, seaman of Bristol, E., fell from the fore yard overboard and was lost."

Cleared 18 October (NYWH, 25 October, p. 344)

23 June 1857, Empire State (41 days)

New York Herald notice, 23 June 1857

"ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, 5/13, with mdse and 568 passengers to D & A Kingsland & Sutton. Had two deaths and 2 births on passage."

Cleared 24 March (NYH, 25 March, p. 5)

26 January 1858, Empire State (62 days)

New York Times notice, 27 January 1858

"ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, Nov. [26 or 28], with mdse and 33 passengers to D & A Kingsland & Sutton"

The passenger list was entered at customs on 26 January. All the passengers were on the poop deck.

25 July 1858, Empire State (44 days)

New York Herald notice, 26 July 1858 (also appears same day in NYT)

"ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, June 2 with mdse and 265 passengers to D. & A. Kingsland & Sutton. 21st inst. lat 40-57 lon 67-20 took a pilot from boat J. M. Waterbury, July 22nd lat 40-57 lon 67-20 passed ship City of New York, 7/23, lat 40-22 lon 70-20 passed ship Calliope and Rufus Choate both bound E., 24th lat 40-20 lon 71-15 passed a three masted side wheeler steamer steering E. The E. S. had been 20 days West of the Banks with light winds & calm, 6/24 lat 52?-7, lon 33-30 in a dense fog, came very nearly in contact with US steam frigate Niagara, hailed but could not make out what was said. Had one birth and two deaths onboard during passage."

12 April 1858, Empire State, New York Times notice (21 Apr., p. 8), SS Saxonia exchanges signals with Empire State at 3 AM, lat 45 15, lon 36 20, from NY to Liverpool.

Cleared 24 March, sailed 26 March (NYH, 25 and 26 March, pp. 8 and 2 respect.)

18 July 1858, Empire State, New York Times notice (24 July 1858, p. 8), exchanges signals with ship Eastern State, lat 41 59, lon 62 25, for New York, sailed from Liverpool 2 June.

17 July 1859, Empire State (Post notice, arrived Sunday, 17th; manifest dated 7/18) (36 days)

New York Herald notice, 18 July 1859

"ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, June 11, with mdse and 252 passengers to D. & A. Kingsland & Sutton."

12 September 1859, Empire State

New York Times notice

"[cleared to sail] Empire State, Briggs, Mobile, D. & A. Kingsland & Sutton."

There is no notice of arrival of the Empire State in New York until 30 October of the following year. There is an advertisement in The Mobile Register, 1 November, for sailing to Havre, France, and mentions accomodation for 1000 bales of cotton.

New York Times, notice (16 Feb. 1860, p. 8), Empire State at Havre 31 Jan.

30 October 1860, Empire State (34 days, from Cardiff)

"Empire State, Briggs, Cardiff, 34 days, with railroad iron to D. & A. Kingsland & Sutton. Has been 13 ds W of the Banks, with light winds and very pleasant weather; previously had S and SW winds, with heavy rains every day. 28th inst. off Nantucket, took pilot from boat J. D. Jones, No. 15."

New York Times notice, 4 September 1860, news from Manchester that the Empire State sailed from Liverpool to New York "on the 18th." That must have been August 18th, and then there was a stop at Cardiff soon after, where they remained for about a month.

11 April 1861, Empire State (44 days)

New York Times notice, 13 March 1861, ship "due and expected to arrive" in New York from Liverpool. There was a discrepancy in this somewhere, given that the ship was off Cork, Ireland on 9 March.

New York Herald notice, 11 April 1861:

"ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, Feb. 26, with mdse & 32 passengers to D. & A. Kingsland & Sutton."

New York Times notice, 17 December 1860, sailed for Liverpool on the 16th, also an ad says Dreadnought Line, to sail 11 Dec. from pier 8 (NYH, 8 Dec., p. 12). Cleared 13 Dec. (NYH, 14 Dec., p. 2). 9 March 1861, sighted off Cork (NYH 30 Mar 1861, no p.)

14 February 1862, Empire State (65 days from Genoa)

New York Herald notice, 14 February 1862

"ship Empire State, Riggs [sic], Genoa, 12/11, passed Gibraltar 26th with mdse to D. & A. Kingsland & Sutton."

New York City port records of the value of cargo list $5,947.60 for this trip. One cabin passenger came as well. NYH, 30 July 1861, ship cleared to sail from Liverpool to Genoa via Cardiff on 13 July. 17 July 1861, ship at Newport, England (NYH 6 August)

16 September 1862, Empire State (44 days)

New York Herald notice, 16 September 1862

"ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, 8/4, 4th ult., with mdse and no passengers to D. & A. Kingsland & Sutton. Had nothing but westerly winds and rainy weather the entire passage. August 16 lat 48-29, lon 92-30 signalized ship Russell Ellis, bound East, 19th lat 45-54, lon 28-59 spoke bark Czarina, of St. Johns, bound East. August 17, lat 47-25 lon 28-24 spoke ship Nonpareil, hence, August 9th for Liverpool, 1st lat 46-03 lon 44-58 passed bark Arthur, Megland, from Sunderland, July 21st for New York, 10th inst. lat 42-33, lon 68-27 signalized ship Chimborazo bound East [prob. 10th] inst. lat 40-43 lon 66-49 spoke brig Nyverheld, Bessinger, from Cardiff, June 25 for New York. "

26 April 1863, Empire State (45 days, via Cardiff)

New York Herald notice, 26 April 1863

"ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, 3/10, with mdse and 26 passengers to D. & A. Kingsland & Sutton. Had light winds and pleasant weather most of the time"

Arrived in Liverpool about 14 December 1862? (Liv. Merc. 14 Nov.), left Liverpool on 11 Dec. (Liv. Merc. 13 Dec.), was piloted to Great Orms Head, Wales, by the tug United States, "winds SW, fresh gale." This probably means a strong wind, but something likely happened to the ship soon after. Report from Cardiff, 30 December 1862, "The American ship Empire State was surveyed yesterday, when it was recommended that the vessel should come into dock to discharge a portion of her cargo; she came in this afternoon." (Boston Daily Advertiser 16 Jan.) The ship's arrival in New York in April with only 26 passengers, with no evidence of a separate trip made over the winter suggests the ship had to be repaired and was detained. Nothing further in UK papers has been found about it, but the ship was back in Liverpool in March, given the NYC arrival notice.

29 September 1863, Empire State (46 days)

New York Herald notice, 30 September

"ship Empire State, Briggs, Liverpool, Aug. 14, with mdse and 30 [sic; should be 34] passengers to D. & A. Kingsland & Sutton. Had very light winds most of the passage. 8th inst. lat 42 40 lon 38 10 saw a whaling bark boiling [their whale blubber]: 20th lat [43 or 48] 36 lon 54 30 passed what appeared to be the hull of a schr. lying on her braodside."

The schooner may have been Rush, Capt. Currier, which was reported on the same day to have sprung a leak in heavy winds on the 11th of September and sunk. The captain and 5 crew were taken off the boat. Cleared 30 May (NYH 31 May, p. 2).

value of cargo from NYC port records: $8,431.00

17 March 1864, Empire State

New York Times notice, 18 March 1864, p. 8

"Ship Empire State, Briggs, New Orleans 15 ds, with sugar, etc., [and molasses, NY Tribune, 18 Mar.] to D. & A. Kings and Sutton & Co. "

sailed for New Orleans 22 December 1863 (NY Tribune, 23 Dec.)

Empire State was reported sold in a Boston Daily Advertiser notice dated 11 April 1864. It next sailed under Capt. Wilson.

Nunquam Dormio

This ship sailed from Bath, ME, on 30 July 1864. It was newly built there for Capt. Benjamin J. H. Trask, Jr. Luther is named as captain in the 3 August 1864 issue of The Boston Daily Advertiser. They sailed to St. John, New Brunswick, then on th Liverpool, where a 16 September newspaper notice say it had arrived.(Liverpool Mercury, p. 3) It was involved in a legal dispute and was apparently sold while there to a New York owner or owners. Ads for the ship appear in a Liverpool paper in October and November. It appears later under the navigation of a Capt. Cousins. The ship was built in the shipyard of Frank C. Moss and had a 948 ton berth.

1 July 1865, Victory, Red Cross Line (39 days)

New York Times notice

"arrived ship Victory, Briggs, Liverpool, 5/23, with mdse and 659 passengers to Daniel [sic; David] Ogden. One birth. In lat 45-50 lon 46 -15 passed large iceburg."

Cleared 14 March 1865 (Boston Daily Advertiser, 16 Mar 1865))

3 December 1865, Victory (39 days)

New York Herald notice, 3 December 1865

"ship Victory, Briggs, Liverpool, 10/25, with mdse and 396 passengers to David Ogden. Nov. 24 off Nantucket shoals passed ship Plymouth Rock, hence for London; 27th lat 39-10 lon 71-20 passed brig J. & H. Crowley bound S.; 12/1 Archibald Cool died of pneumonia. Passed Nantucket 6 days ago had heavy weather since."

18 May 1866, Victory (47 days)

New York Herald notice, 18 May 1866

"ship Victory, Briggs, Liverpool, 4/1, with mdse and 714 passengers to David Ogden. Was up to lon 33-45 in 7 days from port; since then had heavy westerly weather ost of the time. One birth and five deaths. 13th inst. lat 42 lon 65 was in company with ship Corsica from Liverpool for New York. "

The ship was cleared for Liverpool on 19 January (NYT, 1/20)

29 November 1866, Victory (46 days)

New York Herald notice, 30 November 1866

"ship Victory, Briggs, Liverpool, 10/15, with mdse and 205 passengers to David Ogden. 11/20, lat 40-50 lon 67-15, passed ship Resolute steaming E., 23rd lat 40-15 lon 68 passed bark Cathleen of Pictou steering E., Nov. 2, at night, George Sharpe, a seaman, fell of the jibboom and was lost. Had four deaths on passage, all children. Had rough weather. Been 11 days from Georges Shoals."

10 June 1867, Victory (47 days)

New York Herald notice, 11 June 1867

"ship Victory, Briggs, Liverpool, 4/30, with mdse and 260 [passenger list has 262 names] passengers to David Ogden. 6/3 lat 41-05 lon 66 passed steamship Manhattan and two other steamers bark rigged bound E. Arrived in lower bay June 8 during the gale from NE. Took a pilot from the Hope No. 12 25 miles East of Sandy Hook, June 4."

sailed from New York on or by 30 January 1867 (New York Tribune, 31 Jan. 1867).

6 November 1867, Victory (cleared to sail from New York to Savannah for "Murray, Ferris & Co.")

New York Herald notice, 6 November 1867. Notice of her arrival in Savannah on 30 November. Other ships out of New York were travelling in a triangle to Liverpool via Savannah. This is confirmed for Victory with an advertisement in a Savannah paper for this particular trip, placed in the paper on 23 December, "For Liverpool, the First Class Ship Victory, Briggs, master." No report found of an arrival in New York, but may have been gone until the next arrival report the following May.

25 May 1868, Victory (42 days)

New York Herald notice, 25 May 1868

"ship Victory, Briggs, Liverpool, 42 days with mdse and 652 [passenger list has 590 names] passengers to David Ogden. Experienced heavy westerly weather the first part of the passage, had three deaths (infants)."

Victory was in the Mersey and outward bound on 11 April. (New York Evening Express, 23 Apr 1868, p. 1)

(1) "In the 1860s, pilot boats were sailing craft. The New York pilots sailed out to sea on these boats, sometimes long distances from shore, in search of large incoming ships. The pilot, wearing a beaver hat as a sign of his importance, would board the large ship from the pilot boat and direct a safe entry into the harbor." From Maritime New York in Nineteenth-Century Photographs, Harry Johnson and Frederick S. Lightfoot, Dover Publications (1980). Pilots were also used to guide ships to and from Liverpool through St. George's Channel south of Ireland. See this photograph of a