Westport Point: The Whaling Brig “Kate Cory” at her Home Port in 1862


The small town of Westport, Massachusetts, is located in the undulating countryside between New Bedford and Fall River and occupies the peninsula between the east and west branches of the Westport River. Both wide stretches of water afford magnificent views from the high ground at their sides. At the southern end of this peninsula, nicely protected from the ocean by the promontory of Horseneck Beach, is the village of Westport Point with its harbor, established in the early eighteenth century, still in working use as a fishing port. In 1856, it became home port to a single whaling vessel, the brigantine Kate Cory.

Originally built as a schooner in 1856, the Kate Cory was two years later converted to a brigantine, which apparently afforded steadier motion in heavy seas while cutting in whales. After only five voyages to the Atlantic sperm whaling grounds, however, she was destroyed off the coast of Brazil by the Confederate raider Alabama. This scene shows her nestled at her home wharf at the foot of Main Street while a group of men prepare to leave the Cory store with its outfitting shop and sail loft kept to service locally registered vessels.

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