Item C4 -
Braddock Hathaway (New Bedford) Two Older Framing
New Bedford’s most famous black smith and edge tool maker, Hathaway worked
through much of the first three quarters of the 19th Century
when New Bedford was the largest whaling port in the world. Oddly, he is not
known to have produced “whalecraft” (harpoons, blubber spades, blubber pikes,
etc), confining his production to chisels and slicks, axes, adzes, draw knives,
wedges, etc. The trade sign of his smithy, a large wooden axe, is currently in
the collection of the New Bedford Whaling museum. Recent research by that
museum’s senior curator, Dr. Stuart Frank, uncovered details about B.D.
Hathaway’s family that deserves some note. Hathaway (1806 – 1897) married
Harriet Richmond (1805-1886) and the pair had at least three sons. The older
two joined their father in the blacksmithing business (one died in 1863 at
Gettysburg), but the youngest, Henry Clay Hathaway (1842-1931) went whaling.
From the time he was 14 years old, he made several trips on whalers, advancing
from a green hand at age 14 and to ordinary seaman, then “boatsteerer”
(harpooner), and by the late 1860s he was 4th Mate
on a very famous voyage of the whale ship Gazelle,
from New Bedford to Australia. This cruise was ostensibly a whaling one, but in
fact it was designed to rescue an Irish Fenian patriot John Boyle O’Reilly, from
an Australian penal colony to which he had been banished for a 20 term by
O’Reilly was successfully rescued and on the way back to New Bedford in the Gazelle he
shared a cabin with Henry Hathaway and struck up an enduring friendship with the
blacksmith’s son. Hathaway made one further whaling trip, as 3rd Mate
on the Gazelle, saw his Captain (David R. Gifford) die, and subsequently he gave
up whaling. He was then appointed New Bedford City Marshall, and next as the
captain of the night watch for the New Bedford City Police. In 1876 he was
appointed as the city’s first Chief of Police. In 1878 he entered a new
career—that as a captain of a merchant vessel, the bark Veronica,
carrying cargo, passengers and immigrants between the Azores and Cape Verde
Islands and New Bedford. After this he served in several businesses (coach
making, real estate, auctioneer) and was involved in a number of civic
enterprises (United States Shipping Commissioner, New Bedford Board of Aldermen,
Chairman of the City Council on Public Instruction, trustee of the New Bedford
Free Public Library, etc. He was honored by Irish Societies in many U.S.
cities, and became a living symbol of the Fenian rescues and American enthusiasm
for John Boyle O’Reilly’s Irish republican spirit. Hathaway died in 1931 at the
age of 89.
The framing chisels are in the 1 ½” and 2” working
widths. They have identical B. D. Hathaway marks, that that on the smaller size
has been over struck with a later (S. Kern) mark. The DAT lists the mark S.
Kern has having been a blacksmith from Kernsville, VA who made edge tools (and
others) in the first half of the 19th Century. It is possible that
this could be the source of the secondary mark. Both chisels are of the same
construction, with similar original handles having iron ring reinforcements.
Both are pitted (the 2” size moreso), and will need some work to bring them into
using condition. Together they make a nice pair of old framing chisels made by
an important New England blacksmith. Good
RETURN to forsale list.