The last whaler in Sag Harbor, Myra, sailed away in 1871.
During the 19th century, Sag Harbor, New York became one of the busiest ports in the northeast, where whalers of many nationalities could be seen walking the streets. In the bustling village young men from the East End often found work as whalers, a job that promised them the possibility of earning more money than they could make on the farm, and the chance to see places they had only dreamed of or heard about from other whalers. These young local men, together with foreign whalers, brought culture and customs, stories and lore from distant lands to Sag Harbor. During this time period Sag Harbor became a truly international port town, where diverse cultures came together for one pursuit: the hunt of the mighty whale.1
After a century of being a premier whaling port, Sag Harbor's last whaleship, the brig Myra, departed in 1871. Considered one of the smallest ships, weighing just 116 tons, she made several voyages. During one cruise a United States Cruiser detained the Myra off the coast of Africa, under suspicion of being a slaver. After much discussion, Captain Henry A. Babcock finally convinced the naval officers that his ship was peaceably and legally engaged in whaling only. In 1871 this last, lone, remaining ship was sent to sea again under the command of Captain Babcock. The Myra's last voyage lasted three long years, and at the end of that time the wind and sea had reduced her to a useless wreck. The ship was condemned and broken up at Barbados in December 1874, the last of a proud and worthy fleet that sailed from Sag Harbor to the four corners of the world searching for the leviathan of the deep. 2