LOWER-DELMARVA-ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > LOWER-DELMARVA-ROOTS > 2004-12 > 1102979192
From: "craig o'donnell" <>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 18:06:32 -0500
>While searching censsus records I find in the Hoopers Island area at the
>same time a Lewis ancestor's occupation as Sailor and another listed as
>oysterman and another as waterman. In the late 1800's was there any
>difference? My Grandfather James Mathew Lewis jr. was Captain of the
>skipjack Martha Lewis. Any input would be appreciated. Jeff Sarvey
As an aside -- "Captain" is also a courtesy title for any boat
owner/operator on the Chesapeake and I'm sure elsewhere (like the
Mississippi). It doesn't really matter how large or small the vessel is.
I'm just basing this on informed guesswork, but a Sailor was a seagoing man
(US Navy, or in merchant vessels). An Oysterman would be a fella whose
profession was catching oysters. I'm not sure that implies he owned a
vessel and had a crew, or was a crew member, or owned his own skiff or
canoe and went at it single handed.
A "waterman" can mean many things and I'm at a loss. It may simply be the
term he used to describe himself in the sense of "fisherman," he went after
whatever was in season at the time.
Or it could mean he was in the local freight trade, perhaps. The local
boatmen on the Delaware River were early on referred to as "shallop men".
Local delivery truck drivers, so to speak. We forget that a lot of local
passenger and freight traffic went by relative small boats around the Bay.
I hope someone has a better answer <chuckle>.
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|Sailor/Cap'n/Waterman by "craig o'donnell" <>|