Rochester history: Captain Judah Hathaway

Mar 31, 2021

The writer of this piece, Connie Eshbach, is the vice president of the Rochester Historical Society. This is part of a series of Rochester history briefs.

Captain Judah Hathaway, born in 1832, began his maritime career in 1849 at the age of 17. He shipped aboard the whaler, " Hickley", under Capt. Alan Besse. They sailed around Cape Horn and were at sea for 4 years. Having worked his way up to first mate, he sailed from Marion on the schooner, "Admiral Blake".

During the Civil War, New England whaleships and schooners were at the mercy of the Confederate Navy when sailing in southern waters. The “Alamaha” of Marion, commanded by Capt. Gray with Capt. Hathaway as first mate was taken captive by a Confederate ship, the “Alabama.” The ship was burned and those on board were sent in chains to Fayal in the Azores. Hathaway shipped out once more, this time as Captain of the "William Wilson" in 1867.

The next year he retired from the sea and began a second career as a miller at the perennial mill site downstream from the Eastover Farm area (now The Pines at Hathaway Pond). He also partnered with his son-in-law Isaac Hiller and Robert Hiller to turn cut over swamp land into cranberry bogs. Hathaway lived out his years in his home at 56 Marion Rd.