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Andrew Jackson Sandsbury (1830-1902)

Andrew Jackson SandsburyAndrew J. Sandsbury’s first whaling voyage to the Pacific was as a boatsteerer aboard the brig Sea Queen of Westport (1851–55), followed by two voyages on the Nautilus of New Bedford, as second mate (1855–59) and then first mate (1859–64). He served as mate of the South Shoal Lightship between 1867 and 1869 before making one final whaling voyage in the bark Spartan of New Bedford (1869–72). He rejoined the South Shoal Lightship in 1872, serving until 1892. He was mate for Captain Thomas S. James until 1881, when he himself was appointed captain of the lightship. His brother William Penn Sandsbury also served on this lightship for many years. In 1892, after a terrible, storm-tossed season on the lightship, Andrew was appointed keeper of Brant Point Lighthouse, where he served until declining health compelled his resignation in 1898.

When seas were calm aboard the lightship, Sandsbury wove rattan baskets, probably learning the craft aboard from Thomas James and others. His work remains today highly prized.

Andrew Jackson Sandsbury Obituary:

Andrew Jackson Sandsbury in uniform

Photo Courtesy of the Nantucket Historical Association

“Captain Andrew J. Sandsbury died at his home on Dover Street yesterday morning, after a protracted illness. He was a man of sterling qualities, and of old school type. His life was almost wholly on the sea, many years of it spent in the whaling service. For 21 years he was on the South Shoal Lightship, nine of them as mate under Captain Thomas James and twelve years as master. On leaving the ship he was appointed keeper of Brant Point light, where he remained for a few years, until failing health compelled his retirement. Deceased was a member of the local Odd Fellows and Masonic organizations. He leaves a widow and a daughter.”


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