The Duxbury Rural & Historical Society

Mary Ann Weston Winsor

East Brother Light House, Richmond, CA (Source: East Brother Light Station, http://www.ebls.org/)

Mary Ann Fearing Weston Winsor (1820-1803)

Voyages: c.1853, 1866, 1871

Ship: Bonita, Continental 

Mary Ann Fearing Weston was born in Duxbury, MA to Hiram Weston and Olive Little. In 1844 she married Capt. Charles Frederick Winsor (1819-1890). Capt. Winsor was the son of shipbuilder Nathaniel Winsor, Jr. and Hannah Loring and, as such, was born and raised in the house that is now the DRHS Headquarters at 471 Washington Street.

Capt. Winsor commanded ships for his family’s Winsor Line. Mary Ann joined him on at least three voyages. In the 1850s, possibly aboard the Bonita, she and her daughter, Minnie Granville Winsor (1850-1931), voyaged to Liverpool, England and took up residence in Mrs. Blodgett’s boarding house for a time while their ship was in port.

In January, 1866 Mary and 16 year-old Minnie, voyaged again with Capt. Winsor, this time aboard the steamship Continental. Interestingly, the ship sailed from New York to San Francisco with female passengers destined to be mail-order brides in the Northwest Territory. These women, known as the Mercer Girls, have an interesting story all their own. According to author Gershom Bradford (nephew of Minnie Granville Winsor Bradford), Minnie helped navigate on the passage.

When anchored in San Francisco Bay, the Winsors had the opportunity to meet in and mingle with Duxbury folks who were also in port. Capt. John and Jane Bradford were there with their daughter, Ellen, aboard the Frederic Tudor as well as Capt. Gershom Bradford, II, aboard the United States Coastal Survey schooner, Marcy. Minnie fell in love with and married Capt. Gershom Bradford, embarking on a life at sea as a mariner’s wife.

Capt. Charles F. Winsor and Mary Ann remained on the west coast. Between 1880-1887 Charles was the keeper of the East Brother Island light house. Mary Ann most likely joined him, living in the lovely, albeit remote, Victorian light keeper’s residence on the island. After her husband’s death in California, she lived with her daughter and son-in-law in Washington, DC. Mary Ann F. Weston Winsor died in 1903 and is buried in Mayflower Cemetery in Duxbury, MA. Her daughter, Minnie Granville Winsor Bradford, is also on this list.

 

Sources:

Bradford, Gershom. “A Short Voyage” in In with the Sea Wind: the Trials and Triumphs of Some Yankee Sailors, Barre, MA: Barre Gazette, 1962.

Bradford Family Collection, DAL.MSS.024, Drew Archival Library.

Stebbins, Ellen Bradford. A Home on the Rolling Deep: Seen Through Journals, Letters, and Mists of Memory, [West Roxbury], 1939

 

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