Facts and Events
From S1 (ie as reported by Charles F Sparrell):
JAMES NEWTON SPARRELL I - Family tradition: James came from London. His father was an English mariner and his mother was a French Huguenot. James and a brother came first to the Carolinas. James met Ruth Vinal on a voyage north, married her and settled in Scituate. James was a short, stocky, man of dark complexion. I (Charles F Sparrell) have searched the Church of England Parish Records which generally begin about 1600 and which have been collected and published by the Mormons. The only records of the Sparrell name occur in the area below the Tower of London in what is now known as the Docklands or East End of London. For example, Millicent Sparrell, child of James and Elizabeth Sparrell was christened at St. Mary's Whitechapel on 21 Jan 1634. There are numerous records of the Sparrell family in the records of St. Mary?s Whitechapel and St. Dunstan?s Stepney, but I cannot find a record of our particular James. However, the area below the Tower was the port of London for 500 years and was home to many English mariners and French Protestant refugees during the 17th and 18th centuries. If James' parents were married in a French Calvinist Church their marriage and James' baptism would not be found in the Church of England records.
James and Ruth Vinal were married January 10, 1767 in the First Parish Meeting House in Scituate.
In 1771, James purchased a small cape cod cottage fronting on Scituate harbor at the present corner of Beaver Dam Road and Front Street. The house was torn down 100 years later.
April 28, 1770, Captain Sparrell cleared the Boston Custom House outbound for Nova Scotia.
January 1, 1774, Captain Sparrell cleared the Boston Custom House inbound from Philadelphia.
(The problem here is which calendar is being used, Old Style or New Style)
Since his estate was inventoried in January 26, 1774, James presumably died without time to settle his affairs in January 1774. The inventory suggests that he was master of the schooner Hannah, named for his daughter, that he made his own barrels and that he was engaged in fishing and trading. The list of debts submitted by Ruth Sparrell to the probate court, indicates that he was deeply in debt and left her in dire straits with three small children and no assets.
Samuel Deane (History of Scituate, 1831) reports that in 1770 upwards of 30 vessels out of Scituate harbor were engaged in the mackerel fisheries. He further states that by 1828 there were 35 vessels of from 50 to 150 tons carrying six to 15 hands. More than 15,000 barrels of mackerel were taken in 1828. He also states that in winter these vessels were employed in the coastal trade carrying fish south and returning with plantation products.
Salt mackerel packed in barrels of brine was purchased by planters as acheap source of protein to feed their slaves. Prior to the Revolution,the Scituate sea captains traded lumber and salt mackerel for sugar and molasses in the British West Indies and salt mackerel for flour, tobacco, rice and indigo in the Carolinas and Georgia.