Jonathan Lambert Genealogy
76. JONATHAN LAMBERT was born Feb. 11, 1772, and married (date
unknown) Mary Smith (whose mother was also named Mary), who died in 1814 and was
buried Apr. 5. The indications are that after Jonathan embarked upon his voyage
to the south Atlantic, referred to below, his wife lacked means of support, and,
as they do not seem to have had any children, she was taken care of by the
overseers of the poor.
Jonathan lived on Court street, in Salem, and was a mariner. In Bentley's Diary
we find prayers were asked, Sept. 11, 1814, for Samuel Lambert and wife, on the
death of brother Jonathan. " This is the bold adventurer that seized upon an
Island in the Great Ocean & collected a few companions to inhabit it, & gave
notice that he should supply all circumnavigators. He perished when fishing in
his boat with some of his Companions. He was a man of real genius & intrepidity.
Nothing common would satisfy him & he had acquired all that general knowledge
which observation in Men & manners could supply. He had a ready tongue & good
pen, an enquiring mind & a power to know & possess what circumstances could give
him, at the instant they appeared. I knew him intimately well."
In Mass. Historical Collections, series 2, vol. II, page 125, is printed a
letter from Benjamin F. Seaver, agent for the proprietors of the islands of
Tristan d'Acunha, to his Excellency, Earl Caledon, Governor, &c., of the Cape of
Good Hope, &c.
" Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, March 1st, 1811.
" My Lord,
" In compliance with your Lordship's request, I take the liberty of describing
the situation and extent of the islands of Tristan d'Acunha, as well as what may
be done towards the settlement of the large island.
" In December last, when on the coast of Brazil, having fallen in with an
American ship, I understood that there was a man on board by the name of
Jonathan Lambert, a native of America, who had resolved to establish himself on
the large island of Tristan d'Acunha, for the purpose of cultivating the soil
and breeding poultry, with other stock, expecting it would be an inducement for
vessels passing in that tract to touch for refreshments, whenever it might be
known. On the 28th January, ultimo, being in sight of the Islands . . . I
determined on despatching the Charles' boat ... for the purpose of taking some
fresh water; when Mr. Lambert with two other men were found, and reported that
they had been landed twenty days ... there was a spot of ground Lambert had
cleared for a garden; full two acres were laid out in neat beds, with radish and
cabbage plants growing in great luxuriance, and more than one inch above the
surface, Indian corn, potatoes, and the pumpkin vine, with the water and
musk-melon were also above ground... . Mr. Lambert expressed to me his desire
that I would communicate to your Lordship that he set out with views which he
trusted would be considered by the British Government and the honourable East
India Company laudable, and deserving their protection and assistance. . . . And
whenever the sanction of the British Government, h e then would most solemnly
declare himself allied to that government; and by permission display the British
flag on the island, reserving to himself always the governorship, provided an
equivalent could not be agreed upon." (He desires assistance and a small vessel
to carry some colonists from Cape of Good Hope with cattle, &c.)
Benjamin F. Seaver.
Jonathan Lambert died Oct. 19, 1813.
An administration of the estate of Mary Lambert of Salem, "singlewoman ",
intestate, was granted April 20, 1814, to James Odell of Salem, gentleman. It is
to be noted that she is called "singlewoman ", whether through error or because
she had been separated or deserted by her husband is not clear. The inventory,
dated Marblehead, Apr. 21, 1814, included 2/3 of an old dwelling house and 4
poles of land, 1/3 set off to Doctor Fuller of Middleton, $136.50. Capt. James
Odell presented the inventory. Among the debts is " town of Salem's demands,