That the Old Annisquam Customs House on River Road is also the site where Rudyard Kipling wrote parts of his 1897 novel Captains Courageous, which follows the adventures of fifteen-year-old Harvey Cheyne Jr., the arrogant and spoiled son of a railroad tycoon. The novel originally appeared as a serialization in McClure’s, beginning with the November 1896 edition.
The book’s title comes from the ballad “Mary Ambree”, which starts, “When captains courageous, whom death could not daunt”. Kipling had previously used the same title for an article on businessmen as the new adventurers, published in The Times of November 23, 1892.
The last photo is of a pot beside the Customs House that was once used for boiling down whale blubber to oil used for the lighting of lamps. Whales were brought to the Customs House and cut up, then boiled down for their oil. Whales are now valued in New England for their sheer majesty and whale watches are a popular excursion and business, but whale hunting and harvesting was once a major industry in the colonies. During the 18th and 19th century, whaling was a lucrative business with whale oils used for lighting and whalebone used for many other products. Hundreds of ships left New England harbors each year on dangerous whaling expeditions that sometimes took them all over the globe. With the emergence of crude oil, interest in whale oil plummeted around 1850 and the industry thankfully went into demise.
Another very interesting tip courtesy of Allen Estes.