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Capt Elias C Ackley

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Capt Elias C Ackley

  • Birth 15 Apr 1826 Mays Landing, Atlantic County, New Jersey, USA
  • Death 1 Mar 1873 Mays Landing, Atlantic County, New Jersey, USA
  • Burial Mays Landing, Atlantic County, New Jersey, USA
  • Memorial ID 73357520

In Memory of Elias C. Ackley

Elias C. Ackley was a Sea Captain who transported goods like coal, lumber, and grain. He was born in Mays Landing, New Jersey, the son of Jessie Ackley and Millie (Champion) Ackley. He was named after his maternal grandfather, Elias Champion.

The following contains a bit of family lore taken from a notarized letter dated 1988 and written by his granddaughter, Alice Joslin McKeen Beckley. It has been paraphrased with a few notes added and removed, it isn't the original complete letter. [Please note: The word Indian is used rather than Native American, to be faithful to the original text and the time period in which it was written.]

As a young man Elias was an adventurer, who is said to have left home when he was 12 years old. He rambled all over the country, and at one time lived with some Indians.

He fought in the Mexican War, c. 1846-1848 and "he was asleep in his tent one time and a Mexican soldier got in and slashed his cheek."

Elias and a friend sailed around Cape Horn to California, during the California Gold Rush.
They staked a claim called "Poor Man's Creek," and began fluming in 1852. He kept a diary, and was very much in love with Mary Ann Joslin.
He knew that her father, Hosea Joslin, was not too keen about the idea of Elias marrying her. Hosea felt that Elias was "too much of a rover" to settle down.

Throughout his diary he kept writing Mary Ann's name. He wrote to one of his half-sisters that he had Mary Ann's promise to marry him, but her father hadn't given his consent (but had put him on 3 months good behavior).

Elias and his partner started home in 1854, over land this time. They were crossing the desert when they were attacked by robbers. Their gold was stolen, and their throats were cut. They were left to die. Some Indians found them, took them to their village and nursed them back to health, saving their lives.

Elias and Mary Ann were married by the Reverend James R. Bryant on February 9, 1855, in Mays Landing, New Jersey, with Hosea Joslin (probably Mary Ann's brother, not father) and her brother Mark Joslin as witnesses.

Elias was a sailor, and then became a sea captain of the schooner "The Tolly." A ship's log still exists in the family, though it has been misplaced.

Another family story was that when The Tolly was ship-wrecked off Long Beach Island N.J. in a raging gale, Mary Ann was walking the floor worrying about him. Suddenly she heard his voice saying "Let her go boys!"
When he returned, he told of the main mast being broken and his sailors trying to hold it, but finally he had to tell them to let it go.

Another time onboard the ship, he contracted Scarlet Fever.
The cargo was North Carolina pine. They put him in the hold and left him there, perhaps to die. They didn't want the Scarlet Fever to spread. When they checked on him they found him cured, and felt it was the pine tar that made him well.
Another time in a terrible storm he was washed overboard,
and another wave put him back on the deck!

Elias suffered with "sickness in the lungs."
He remembered that an old Indian had given him a recipe for an Indian Vegetable Syrup. Three doctors had told him they could do no more for him and he must die. Mary Ann made the Syrup and it was said to have cured him at the time. Family still has the recipe, and upon researching the ingredients we're quite sure it helped, as the plants are still used in natural remedies.

Despite losing The Tolly, Elias continued going to sea as a livelihood. In 1873 he was unloading his vessel, slipped and fell overboard, and his clothes were soaking wet. He didn't take time to change, because he wanted to attend a School Board meeting.

The Board was trying to get rid of a teacher that he felt should not be fired. He sat in the cold room in his wet clothes.
He sickened and died on March 1, 1873 aged 46 years, 11 months and 14 days.
His wife Mary Ann had flyers printed and she sold the Indian Vegetable Syrup until she died in 1880.

His (and Mary Ann's) children were:

Margaret J. Ackley (1859-1863)
Jesse C. Ackley (1861-1862)
Roxanna J. Ackley (Wagner, Friendlich) (1863-1943)
Emma C. Ackley (1867-1867)
Elias Ackley (1868-1868)
Mary Ellen Ackley (McKeen) (1870-1962)
Asenath Palmer Ackley (Lacy) (1872-1963)

Family Members

Half Siblings



Died March 1st 1873,
Aged 46 yrs. 11 mo. 14 dys
Weep not for me I am not weary now

  • Created by: greatgrands
  • Added: 14 Jul 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 73357520
  • greatgrands
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Elias C Ackley (15 Apr 1826–1 Mar 1873), Find A Grave Memorial no. 73357520, citing Union Cemetery, Mays Landing, Atlantic County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by greatgrands (contributor 47420642) .