Abel F. Hayden

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Abel F. Hayden
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Boston, Massachusetts, USA
DiedApril 11, 1899(1899-04-11) (aged 63–64)
Port Townsend, Washington, USA
CitizenshipUnited States
OccupationMaritime pilot
Spouse(s)Emily A. Mayo
  • Abel T. Hayden (father)
  • Caroline A. Beck (mother)

Abel F. Hayden, (1835 – April 11, 1889) was a 19th-century American Maritime pilot. He was one of the oldest Boston pilots, serving for over thirty years. He helped bring in the USS San Jacinto, into Boston Harbor in 1861. Hayden was owner of the pilot-boat D. J. Lawlor, that was struck by a fishing schooner Horace B. Parker, in 1895.

Early life

Hayden was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1835.[1] His father was Abel T. Hayden, a pilot in the Boston Harbor. His mother was Caroline A. Beck, daughter of Captain Charles A. Beck keeper of the Long Island Head Light.[2][3][4]


Hayden started in the pilot business in 1853, piloting packet boats to and from Cohasset, Massachusetts. He piloted the Neponset River from Milton Lower Falls down to the ship channel. He was boatkeeper for the Coynette.[1]

In 1858, Hayden received his commission to pilot vessels in Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay. He joined the pilot-boat William Starkey, No. 2, and was in command of the pilot-boats Phantom, Friend, Haze, Clarence Barclay, Edwin Forrest, Pet and Gracie.[1]

In November 1861, during the American Civil War, Hayden was dispatched by the government to Newport, Rhode Island to bring the steamer San Jacinto to Boston. On board were two Confederate diplomats James Murray Mason and John Slidell who were taken from an British mail packet RMS Trent. Captain Hayden anchored the San Jacinto in the channel, and the two men were moved to Fort Warren. They were then released on New Year's Day, 1862, and taken to Provincetown, Massachusetts, to board HMS Rinaldo for passage to London. The incident strained United States relations with Britain and came to be known as the Trent Affair.[1]

His last service was on the pilot-boat D. J. Lawlor, in 1882.[5] Hayden was one-third owner of the Lawlor, along with James H. Reid and William V. Abbott. Hayden was the boat master.[6]

After the Lawlor was lost in the collision with the fishing schooner Horace B. Parker in 1895, he retired. On the advice of his doctor, he moved with his wife and two sons to the Pacific coast.[4]


Hayden died on April 11, 1899 in Port Townsend, Washington.[4] He was one of the oldest Boston pilots, serving for over thirty years.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Capts Hayden and Reid". The Boston Globe. Boston, Massachusetts. 1889-08-11. p. 23. Retrieved 2020-10-21 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. "Have We A Vasa Among Us?". Bangor Daily Whig and Courier. Bangor, Maine. 5 Feb 1855. p. 2. Retrieved 2020-10-22 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. "Miscellaneous Items". New England Farmer. oston, Massachusetts. 20 Aug 1853. p. 3. Retrieved 2020-10-22 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Death of Capt Abel F. Hayden, and Old Pilot, Reported From Port Townsend". The Boston Globe. Boston, Massachusetts. 11 Apr 1899. p. 2. Retrieved 2020-10-21 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. "Shipbuilding by Robert F. Sullivan" (PDF). www.weymouth.ma.us. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  6. "Record of American and Foreign Shipping 1883". Mystic Seaport Museum. New York. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  7. "The Yacht Frolic Found Near the "Race Horse" Her Mast Broken, No Trace of the Bodies of the Victims". The Boston Globe. Boston, Massachusetts. 11 Apr 1899. p. 2. Retrieved 2020-10-21 – via Newspapers.com.

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