Collection Facts

Extent: 
290 items

Historical Context

In 1836 brothers, John Hewlett Jones and Walter Restored Jones, along with 32 other local investors founded the Cold Spring Whaling Company. During its operation, the Cold Spring Whaling Company financed 44 voyages on 9 ships. John H. Jones was the principal agent for the company until it was disbanded in 1862. He coordinated the voyages by hiring whalers and outfitting the ships from his General Store in Cold Spring. Walter R. Jones recruited investors and located ships for the fleet using his connections as the president of the Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company. Amos and Samuel Willets, of the ship chandler shop A & S Willets, obtained stores and gear for the voyages and sold whale oil and bone on behalf of the Cold Spring Whaling Company.

The Bark Alice was built in Newbury, Massachusetts and sailed under Captain Thomas Hale as a coastwise trader. She was originally outfitted as a brig then modified to a bark. The Walter R. Jones arranged the purchase of the Alice in from Thomas and Josiah Hale. The Hales continued to own partial interest in the Alice during her Cold Spring Whaling voyages.

The Ship Sheffield was built by the Smith and Dimon shipyard, New York in 1831. The Sheffield was built as a transatlantic packet ship with weekly service to Liverpool. The Sheffield broke records for eastbound Atlantic crossings by completing the journey in just 16 days and with an average of 17.8 days over her career as a packet. In 1843 the Sheffield was driven ashore on Romer Shoal off of New York in a storm. The 130 passengers and crew were rescued by a Staten Island steamboat after about 12 hours. The Sheffield was repaired and returned to service but the newer packet ships were smaller and faster. The Sheffield was purchased by the Cold Spring Whaling Company in 1845 and was the third largest whaler in the country for the next 15 years.

Although the Cold Spring Post Office added “Harbor” to the town’s name in 1826 to avoid confusion with the upstate New York town of Cold Spring, the residents of Cold Spring Harbor referred to the town as “Cold Spring” for the majority of the nineteenth century.

The Knight collection was donated to the Whaling Museum in 1972.

Scope of Collection

The Knight collection is made up of financial records and business correspondence for the Cold Spring Whaling Company between 1836-1862. The majority of the records relate to the voyages of five of the Cold Spring Whaling Company’s vessels: Alice, Huntsville, Monmouth, Nathaniel P Tallmadge, and Sheffield.