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0087. James Meader (1802 - 1852) Gender: M
Born: 1802-12-24 in Northampton, MA
Died: 1852-11-17 in New Bedford, MA

0087. James Meader (1802 - 1852)

James Meader, son of William Meader (1750-1829) [0031] and Deborah Skiff (1748-1785), was born in Northampton, MA December 24, 1802 and died November 17, 1852. He married Deborah Wilbur, circa 1826 and they apparently lived in New Bedford.

He sailed with Captain Edward Barnard, husband of his sister Susan [0088], in the ship Mentor. Thomas M. Colesworthy, son of Mary Meader [0092], was First Mate. On May 21, 1832 the Mentor was wrecked on a coral reef, and James Meader suffered for years before he reached home again. Thomas Colesworthy was drowned in the same wreck. Some of the story is told in The Family Magazine, 1837 issue, in an article on the cruise of the Vincennes:

It may be necessary to mention that the Pelew [Palau] islands are surrounded by a reef which makes out to sea, with a current running around it so rapidly that vessels which unwarily approach too near the land in light breeze are sometimes carried among the breakers and wrecked. This incident lately befell the ship Mentor, Captain Barnard, which was cast away on a shoal to the northward of Babelthoop [Babelthuap Island], when the crew betaking themselves to the boats, were afterward captured by the natives in their canoes, and three of them detained. Captain Barnard and six others being permitted to depart. It was to rescue these men that the Vincennes went to the Pelew [Palau] Islands.

Upon anchoring at Corrol [Koror Island], information was received that two out of the three Americans were still at Aracolon, and a demand being sent for them, answer was returned that they were hostages for three chiefs who had gone away with Captain Barnard to receive certain presents which had been promised to the natives for their services in facilitating his departure from the island. This accorded with an account which had been previously obtained of Captain Barnard's having been thrown on Lord North's Island, and escaping thence, leaving a number of men behind. The Vincennes accordingly sailed for Lord North's Island, where she arrived on the 9th of December 1835, and found one of the Pelew chiefs who was in ill health, and gave an account of the nine who landed there, saying that two had been taken off by ships in passing, while all the rest except himself had died. An armed party being landed the next day to search the Island found confirmation of this story, and the ship returned with the recovered chief to the Pelew islands.

Upon her arrival at Corrol an expedition was fitted out consisting of one hundred and twenty-two officers and men, who proceeded to Aracolon, and after an absence of four days, returned to the ship, having recovered Meader and Davis in exchange for the Pelew survivor.

James Meader's wife, in the meantime, thinking him dead, re-married. On his return he came to his early home and remained as one of the family, but his mind was affected and his health poor owing to the treatment he had received from the natives on one of the Palau islands, called by the natives Tobee [ed: so the source. Not in atlas. Could it be Melville's Typee, which he visited with his native friend Toby?], where he was held as prisoner.

A small book, called Holders Narrative, published in 1836, gives a detailed account of his sufferings and rescue. Melville's Typee was published in 1846 in London.

Article James Meader, Shipwrecked presented at the Meader Reunion, September 2008 Adobe PDF document <a href="">James_Meader_M0087.pdf</a>
- from Annette Alden Penningroth Donner (a Meader)
(2010-06-08 23:39:21 Glenn Meader)