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     John was the master of various trade schooners. (2) . He was probably the master Thissel who sailed the schooner Lark, which arrived home from Martinique on 21 March 1785. (3) He again sailed the boat for the "West Indies" in December of that year. (4) By late 1786 a captain named Howland seems to have taken over the helm, but Thissell is again the captain's name when the ship arrived in port in March 1789. In July of 1790 John was master of the schooner Relief, registered by the owners Thomas and John Stephens. Nothing futher on this trip has been found, but surely involved the West Indies. Betsey was a two-year old when registered in 1791 for owner Benjamin Lovett with John as master. A newspaper notice in July says that the schooner was in port after sailing from Point a Petre, Guadaloupe (French Guyana). John sailed St. Peter, another Lovett schooner co-owned by John Smith, shortly after it was registered in February of 1792. A log for St. Peter places John at the helm in the Fall of 1793. (2.5) Martinique (Martinico, Isle de France) was a popular trade destination.
     John sailed for owner Thomas Stephens again, departing shortly after 18 August 1794 on the schooner John. (2.75) He returned on 26 December with a lengthy report on military maneuvers in the West Indies. (2.85)
     The Salem Gazette reported that Sally, Capt. Thistle, was 120 days out from Salem for the "Isle of France" (hereafter referred to by its present name Mauritius) when it was south of Port Elizabeth on the tip of Africa. The 125 ton boat had been made at Pembroke, Massachusetts, and registered on 28 November 1795. (5) It was out of port by the 1st of December, heading for India. John was one of the owners as well as master, the rest of the consortium being Benjamin Lovett, Thomas and John Stephens, William and Nathan Leach and Hale Hilton. The voyage was its first major trip, and is said to have been one of only two Beverly ships to trade on that route. (6) On 5 August 1796 Capt. Nathaniel Silsbee reported Sally among the ships that were embargoed there "in consequence of the preparation of Six Frigates for a secret expedition, and was taken off as soon as they sailed." (5.25) Capt. Felt of Boston sailed from Mauritius with Sally and other ships that were embargoed and arrived in Boston after 118 days.(5.5) They would have sailed from the island about 4 September. Another report says that ships sailing eastward were allowed out of the port on 7 August, but by 29 August, Sally and others were "all ready to sail, but embargoed." (5.75) The trip home is elaborated on in the Salem Gazette: (6)

The Schooner Sally, lately commanded by Capt. Thissel, arrived at Beverly on Tuesday last from the Isle of France...Capt. T., on his passage, a little to the S. W. of Bermuda, was boarded by a Privateer belonging to that Island, by the master of which he was very politely treated. The Captain of the schooner being very sick, was offered Poultry, and other articles, from the Privateer, but a squall coming on, prevented his receiving them. In the morning, when the Privateer was first seen from the schooner, she had in company a vessel, which Capt. T. was told was a valuable Spanish prize from the Havannah, that she had captured; but in the chase for the schooner almost lost sight of her. The Privateersmen were on board the schooner but very few moments and did not discover any disposition to molest them. They immediately made sail again for the Prize.
The embargo may have been to blame for the disastrously small cargo they brought back - 7 of indigo and a few dollars worth of other merchandise. No wonder the privateer rushed off after their prize. Sally arrived back at Beverly harbor on 17 January 1797. John's sickness en route had been fatal. The Salem Gazette reported his death in this way: (7)

     John's wife Lucy had the misfortune to experience men from three generations of her family dying at sea. Seven years after her husband died, her son Joseph drowned in Jakarta, Indonesia. Her son John, who had commanded a boat in the war with France in 1799, died in St. Lucia in 1809. His son John, master of the brig Persia, was caught in a storm off Cape Ann when returning home from "a foreign port" (which was Trieste, carring rags) in 1829. The ship was wrecked. The Thissels are buried in the Hale Street section of Central Cemetery, Beverly.

children of John and Lucy (Lovett) Thissel (Beverly vital records):

i. John b. 4 August 1773
ii. Hannah b. 24 November 1774
iii. Joseph b. 25 October 1776
iv. Lucy b. 10 October 1778
v. Anna b. 6 July 1780
vi. Peggy b. 18 March 1783
vii. Joanna b. 22 June 1786
viii. Ezra b. 21 July 1788
ix. Betsy b. 21 February 1791
x. Clarissa b. 10 July 1794
xi. Zilpah b. 28 July 1796

vital records sources: John's birth and marriage dates come from the Beverly vital records. He was married by Rev. Enos Hitchcock at the "Second Church of Christ" of Beverly, better known as the Second Congregational Church in North Beverly. His death was reported in numerous newspapers, most extensively in the Salem Gazette shown above.

1. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War
2. Essex Institute Historical Collections (EIHC) (Betsey, 7 March, vol. 39, p. 202; St. Peter, 21 Feb., vol. 41, p. 358; Relief, 30 July, vol. 41, p. 327; Sally, 28 Nov 1795, p. 363;
Betsey cleared for West Indies (Thistle) by 13 March 1791, Salem Gazette, p. 3.
St. Peter, Diary or Loudon's Register (NY), 9 March 1792, p. 3, 28 Feb list of vessels sailed out of Salem.
Salem Gazette, 15 May 1792, p. 3, St. Peter had arrived from St. Martin's.
Salem Gazette, 1 Dec 1795, p. 3, Sally cleared for India.
2.5. John Duncan Phillips Library, Salem, MA, log book collection, microfilm #91, reel #68.
2.75. A. Frank Hitchings and Stephen Willard Phillips, Ship registers of the district of Salem and Beverly, Massachusetts, 1789-1900 (Salem:Essex Institute, 1906), p. 98. The ship was registered on that date, and the 19 August 1794 issue of The Salem Gazette, p. 3, says that the ship had been cleared for sailing to the West Indies within the previous week.
2.85. The Salem Gazette, 30 December 1790, p. 3.
3. EIHC, vol. 79, pg. 241. Salem Gazette, 22 Mar 1785, p. 3. He may have taken over master's position from (Humphrey?) Aubens, who was cleared to take Lark to Virginia within the week before 18 October 1784. Aubens arrived again by 20 Dec
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
5.25. Salem Gazette, 3 January 1797, p. 3.
5.5. Boston Price Current, 2 Jan 1797, p. 3.
5.75. Salem Gazette and Massachusetts Mercury, 30 December 1796, p. 3.
6. Salem Gazette, 20 January 1797, p. 3.
7. Ibid.
. His estate was settled on 7 March 1797, Essex County probate #27428.

all text and photographs © 1998-2005 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted

Schr. John was reg. 18 Aug 1794, John Thissel, master