Joshua Slocum

Joshua Upham Slocum (1844 - aft. 1909)

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Captain Joshua Upham Slocum aka Slocombe
Born in Mount Hanley, Annapolis, Nova Scotia Colonymap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married (to ) in Sydney, Australiamap
Husband of — married in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United Statesmap
Descendants descendants
Died after in Lost at Seamap
Profile last modified | Created 4 Mar 2014 | Last significant change: 9 May 2019
19:55: EditBot WikiTree edited the Biography for Joshua Upham Slocum (1844-aft.1909). (Renaming category: American Notables) [Thank EditBot for this]
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Joshua Slocum is Notable.

Joshua Slocum was the first person to sail single-handedly around the world. He left Boston on 24 Apr 1895, and after a voyage exceeding 46,000 miles, reached Newport, Rhode Island, on 27 June 1898.[1]

Born in Nova Scotia in 1844, he was a naturalised American seaman, adventurer, and noted writer. In 1900 he wrote a book about his journey, Sailing Alone Around the World, which became an international best-seller.[2] Although he thought of himself as a sailor first, he was clearly as gifted a writer as he was a shipwright and navigator. His other books include Voyage of the Liberdade and Voyage of the Destroyer.[3]

Joshua began his life at sea at the age of sixteen, when he left home after the death of his mother, who had given birth to his eleventh sibling. He and a friend signed on at Halifax as ordinary seamen on a merchant ship bound for Dublin, Ireland.[2]

Shortly before Christmas 1870, Slocum put in at Sydney, Australia. There, in about a month's time, he met, courted, and married Virginia Albertina Walker. Their marriage took place on January 31, 1871. Miss Walker was an American whose New York family had migrated west to California at the time of the 1849 gold rush and eventually continued on, by ship, to settle in Australia. She sailed with Slocum, and, over the next thirteen years, bore him seven children, all at sea or in foreign ports. Four children, sons Victor, Benjamin Aymar, and Garfield, and daughter Jessie, survived to adulthood.[2] His second marriage in 1886 was to his cousin Henrietta Miller Elliot.[4] They had no children.[5]

Captain Joshua Slocum inspires the wanderlust of both spirit and intellect – deciding to conquer a frontier is then followed by how to conquer a frontier. He sailed with a one dollar tin clock, the $15 price tag to replace his chronometer being too steep. The clock and the constellations were his navigation system, along with dead-reckoning and the occasional chart (except when an unwelcome goat came aboard and ate his charts of the West Indies along with his straw hat).[6]

His last voyage was alone aboard the Spray, in 1909, at the age of 65. He set out once again on a long, single-handed voyage. This time he headed for the Orinoco River and the headwaters of the Amazon. He never arrived and was presumed dead. In 1924, Joshua Slocum was declared legally dead.[2]


  1. Kernaghan, Lois, "Joshua Slocum," The Canadian Encyclopedia, (March 4, 2015), online encyclopedia, : 22 April 2019)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Wikipedia contributors, "Joshua Slocum," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed April 22, 2019).
  3. Joshua Slocum
  4. "Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910," database, FamilySearch ( : 11 March 2018), Joshua Slocum and Hettie M Elliott, 22 Feb 1886; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 823,138.
  5. Brian D. Murphy, “SLOCUM, JOSHUA,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 13, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 22, 2019,
  6. Slocum, Joshua, Sailing Alone Around the World, Century, New York, 1900.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Joshua by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Joshua:

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Images: 4
Joshua Slocum
Joshua Slocum

Slocum aboard the Spray, Sydney Harbour
Slocum aboard the Spray, Sydney Harbour

Chart from the 1895-1898 voyage
Chart from the 1895-1898 voyage

Captain Joshua Slocum, on the Right.
Captain Joshua Slocum, on the Right.


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On 30 Apr 2019 at 05:57 GMT Paula (Hawkins) Reinke wrote:

Nice profile! I can see why this was chosen as Profile of the Week. Congrats.

On 24 Apr 2019 at 14:35 GMT Steve Cousins Phd wrote:

No significant DNA match, but I do have in-laws to ancestors that are Slocombes to one of my 3rd great uncles (I think?), in Ilfracombe, Devon. It might be worth looking for 17thC Slocombes in that area for the link back to England?

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Joshua is 15 degrees from Meriwether Lewis, 21 degrees from Alex Stronach and 13 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.