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Capt. Samuel Hadlock, Jr. home
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Portrait of Captain Samuel Hadlock, Jr. (1792-1830?)
painted by Heinrich Gottfried Krug,
at Hamburg, Germany, in the year 1824

courtesy of C. Aygun

God's Pocket, by Rachel Field, chronicles the fascinating life of Captain Samuel Hadlock, Jr. of Cranberry Isles.  He was a showman forerunner of Buffalo Bill Cody and P.T. Barnum -- and a Great Cranberry Island favorite son.

In early life Capt. Hadlock tried sealing and whaling in the far north, but soon conceived the idea of mounting an exhibition of Northern Curiosities.  He went to Labrador, Canada, and personally acquired a fine set of relics such as stuffed seals, snow shoes, native weapons and utensils, etc.  Starting in 1821 he toured Europe with his traveling show.  The show featured an Eskimo couple who demonstrated kayaking and harpooning -- arts little-known at that time.

For four years Capt. Hadlock hired halls and gave his show in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and Germany.  He was sometimes invited to perform before royalty.  He kept shrewd observations and records of his travels in a daybook, written in a lively style with quaint misspellings, which eventually found its way into the hands of Sammy Sanford, his grandson.

Capt. Hadlock last left Great Cranberry Island in the Minerva, his own vessel, to capture more seals in Labrador.  Vessel, crew, and captain never returned.  That is why the date of his death is approximate.  Years later, other captains found Hadlock's old rifle among the Labrador natives, and learned that he was found on the ice, frozen in a shooting posture.  No further news of the vessel or crewmen was ever discovered.
Silhouette of Captain Samuel Hadlock, Jr.
cut in London, England, in the year 1824

from God's Pocket by Rachel Field



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