This article is for quizzes on Monday December 14th...

Benjamin Spooner Briggs (April 24, 1835 – probably November 1872) was an experienced United States seaman and master mariner. He is famous today for being the Captain of the merchant ship Mary Celeste when she was discovered unmanned and drifting in the Atlantic Ocean near the Straits of Gibraltar, on December 4, 1872. The lifeboat was missing, yet the Mary Celeste herself was still under sail and there were signs of a sudden and unexplained abandonment. Benjamin Briggs, his wife Sarah and two-year-old daughter Sophia Matilda, along with the crew of the Mary Celeste, and the lifeboat, were never found and presumed lost.
In 1871 Briggs and his brother considered giving up the sea and buying a hardware store in New Bedford. In 1872, however, Benjamin Briggs bought a share in the brigantine Mary Celeste, owned by James Winchester, and made modifications to the cabin to house his family. In late 1872, two-year-old Sophia and his wife Sarah accompanied him on the ill fated voyage from Staten Island, New York, to Genoa, Italy. Their son Arthur stayed with his grandmother at Rose Cottage, Marion, Massachusetts, to attend school.

The following month Briggs' ship was found inexplicably abandoned in the Atlantic Ocean near the Straits of Gibraltar. Briggs, his wife and daughter, and the crew of the Mary Celeste were never found. Their fate remains a mystery.

author profile image