The New Bedford Whaling Museum's Moby-Dick Marathon is an annual non-stop reading of Herman Melville's literary masterpiece. The multi-day program of entertaining activities and events is presented every January. Admission to the Marathon is free.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Melville's Relations, Pt. 2: Siblings

Allan and Maria Melvill had eight children, all of whom survived to adulthood:

Gansevoort (1815-1846), a gifted lawyer and Democratic politician in New York City.  He helped Herman get his first book, Typee, published.  He died at age 31.
Gansevoort Melville at about age 21

Helen Maria (1817-1888), who married Harvard-trained attorney George Griggs (1814 or '15 - 1888).  Reputedly a bit of a curmudgeon, George had met Helen through his friend Lemuel Shaw (my pseudonymous namesake), who was in turn a friend of the Melvill family before becoming Herman's father-in-law.

Herman (born in New York City at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1, 1819; died in bed between 12:00 and 1:00 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 28, 1891).  I understand he was a writer of some sort.

Augusta ("Gus") (1821-1876), with Fanny, one of the two maiden sisters who lived with Herman and his wife at Arrowhead.  My sense is that Gus was one of life's Marthas; she helped to keep the family in touch as her mother aged.

Gus in her mid-30s

Allan (1823-1872), a lawyer who practiced with Gansevoort in New York and eventually became the wealthiest of the eight Melville children.  His first wife was Sophia Eliza Thurston (1827-1858); they had five daughters, of whom four survived to adulthood.  His second wife was Jane W. Dempsey (died 1890). 

Allan in his mid-20s

Kate (1825-1905), who became the second wife of John Chipman Hoadley (1818-1886) and bore him two girls.  The family lived in Lawrence, Mass., where John managed a locomotive-manufacturing business before he started his own business producing a portable steam engine he had designed.  He also became one of the original trustees of MIT. 

Fanny (1827-1885), Herman's other maiden sister.

Tom (1830-1884), who went to sea on a whaler at age 15 and thereafter rose to become a captain in the merchant service.  He married Catherine E. Bogart (1842-1928) relatively late in life. 

Tom Melville at about age 35

As you can see, this was an accomplished generation of Melvilles -- much more so than their father and his brother, Uncle Thomas.  

(The biographical data in this and related posts are drawn from Hershel Parker's 2-vol. Herman Melville: A Biography [Johns Hopkins Univ., 1996 & 2002], Laurie Robertson-Lorant's Melville: A Biography [Clarkson N. Potter, 1996], and Stanton Garner's Civil War World of Herman Melville [Univ. of Kansas, 1993].)

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