Albert Crary Burrows Collection ~ Mystic River Historical Society : from his great-grandfather to his grandchildren, a family story, this cherished collection was preserved by Albert's granddaughter, Doris Burrows Sommer, and was given in her memory, by her children, Jean Sommer Wilkinson and Carl Michael Sommer.

Captain Albert Crary Burrows, Sr. (1837-1904) was a descendant of one of Mystic's founding families. The bulk of this collection, including photographs, account books, journals, ships logs, letters, certificates, bills of lading, and deeds, is from the 19th Century and relates to Albert and his era. However, many items are contemporaneous with a broader time span from the Revolutionary War to the Great Depression. Albert was born in Colchester, Conn. His mother died when he was a baby and a few years later he moved with his father and new step-mother to Dodges Island in Mystic. He was fifteen years old when his father, just back from the Gold Rush, gave him permission to go on a whaling voyage as a cabin boy. That could have been the last the world would hear of Albert because, as he wrote in a letter home, he fell from the rigging. He would have plunged to his death except he was saved by getting tangled up in the sails. In his memoir he described participating in the exciting and dangerous "Nantucket sleigh rides" even though he was just a kid. Albert went on to a maritime career, working on cargo ships and quickly rising through the ranks to officer. When steam technology came in, he was employed for years by the Mallory Line carrying cargo and passengers between Liverpool, New York, and Galveston. Albert made over one hundred transatlantic trips, and recorded vivid descriptions of the places he saw and some of his experiences, including fires, explosions, a ship wreck, and a mutiny. For anyone searching for genealogical information about the Burrows family, the collection contains details that will enrich the sometimes dry family tree statistics. Of all the documents within this collection, Albert's memoir may be the most compelling. It's both broad in scope and personal in nature. He may have written it to record the events of his life, but in doing so he painted his own portrait. Albert emerges as a smart, quick-thinking, daring man, who was also humble and kind. He comes across as someone you'd like to know - and in a way you can, at least a little bit, through the words he left us!

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Albert Crary Burrows Collection ~ Mystic River Historical Society