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Marcia Alden Packard Welch (1813-1877)

Voyage: 1836-1837

Ship: Eliza Warwick

Marcia Alden Packard was the daughter of Capt. Henry Packard and Mercy Alden. She was a descendant of the Pilgrims John & Priscilla Alden and was raised in a house built on Alden land (the location of the Percy Walker Pool on St. George Street, Duxbury, today). In 1836 she married Capt. Robert Welch (1804-1873) and she departed on her “honeymoon” voyage aboard the Eliza Warwick, the largest of shipbuilder Ezra Weston’s fleet at the time. Her neighbor and girlhood friend, Charlotte Bradford, described Marcia’s voyage in a letter dated Feb. 4, 1837:

Marcia has met with a sad accident during her voyage, the sixth day out they had a very severe gale, the worst time that Capt. Welch ever knew…it was a very bad time and the vessel was thrown on her beam ends, came very near oversetting and Capt. W was thrown down struck his head and put his little toe out of joint and otherwise injured. He was carried to the cabin senseless, wherefore Marcia got out of her berth thinking he was dead and the vessel rolled and sent her across the cabin. She then got into bed had a crying spell and then got up and helped Sidney Smith set the toe and do it up as soon as it was done there was a trunk got loose and come against it and put it out again. Capt. W was confined to the cabin five days and when he arrived at Mobile had not been able to wear a boot or shoe. After this they struck the Bahama banks and lost two anchors, so that poor Marcia’s voyage in which she did not expect any bad weather has turned out rather sadly.

In 1845 the Welchs adopted a daughter, Marcia Lillian Welch, from Madeira, Portugal, indicating that Marcia Alden Welch may have gone to sea again. By 1855 the family was living in Brooklyn, NY where Robert Welch had become a marine insurance underwriter. She is buried in Mayflower Cemetery, Duxbury.


Bradford Family Collection, DALMSS.024, Drew Archival Library

Letter from Welthea Smith to Sidney Smith, July 1836, Private Collection

Marcia Alden Packard Welch (1813-1877). Original painting by Cephas G. Thompson (1831), in the collection of the DRHS.
Grave of Marcia Packard Welch, Mayflower Cemetery, Duxbury, MA.