Historical Figures

Mentioned in Spirit of the Turtle

Absalom Boston (1785-1855). Boston’s claim to fame was being the first African-American whaler to captain his own ship, the Industry, in 1822 with an entirely black crew. Boston was in fact part Indian: his mother was Wampanoag. He resided in Nantucket, Massachusetts. After his career at sea, he became active in business and politics. He is credited with leading the abolitionist movement in Nantucket and successfully campaigning to have the Nantucket public school integrated. It is little wonder Solomon in Spirit of the Turtle was so captivated with Boston’s tale; he was certainly worthy of admiration.

Thomas Welcome Roys (1816-?). Roys’ role in history is dubious. An ambitious whaler, he was indeed the first to journey to the Arctic with a whaling ship in 1848. He was also among the first to experiment with using firearms to pursue whales in the 1860s. With the invention of whaling rockets, the whaling industry ramped up its efforts, killing ever larger number of whales. Thanks to intensive whaling some species such as sperm and right whales faced near extinction.

Benjamin Rush (1746-1813). Rush was an impressive figure in American history. A founding father who signed the Declaration of Independence, he was in many ways a man ahead of his time. He believed firmly in social justice, supporting abolition and rights for women. A doctor, he was influential in America’s temperance societies because of his concerns about alcohol consumption from a medical rather than moral standpoint. He dispelled many false beliefs about alcohol’s beneficial effects on the body and identified many alcohol-related health issues.

No comments: