George Tyng’s Father Was A Sea Captain

The museum has received a copy of Before the Wind: The Memoir of an American Sea Captain, 1808-1833 by Charles Tyng, Susan Fels (Editor), William La Moy (Preface). The hardcover book of 270 pages was issued by Viking Press in June, 1999. Lovett Memorial Library also has a copy of the book.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

Charles Tyng (1801-1878) was 13 years old when his father sent him as a “ship’s boy” on the Cordelia which traveled to China and back to Boston . The voyage appalled him and he swore never to go to sea again. However, his father shipped him out again and, by his fourth voyage, he was determined to “get out of the forecastle as soon as possible”; gain a promotion and become an officer. He was promoted to third mate at the Start of his next voyage and continued to rise until, at the age of 22, he was given command of the brig Cadet. He continued to prosper and eventually became a successful ship owner and merchant. In 1878 Tyng wrote his memoirs, a fascinating eye-witness narration.

Charles Tyng was the father of George Tyng (1842-1906), who was the manager of White Deer Lands from 1886 to 1903. George Tyng was responsible for moving the headquarters of White Deer Lands to the station which, at his suggestion, was given the name of Pampa by railroad officials. The sons of George Tyng were Charles (born c. 1870-71), George McAlpine and Francis Carrillo.

Francis Tyng, for whom Francis Street in Pampa is named, helped his father in the mining business in Utah after he left Pampa and wrote “Grandfather Sails,” a transcription of the manuscript memoir written by his grandfather the sea captain.

Francis was the father of Dorothy Lorraine and Charles who with his wife Kathie was in Pampa when the Texas State Historical marker for the Pampa Post Office was dedicated on October 25, 1992.

Dorothy Lorraine Tyng married William T. McEwen and Susan McEwen Fels is their daughter. Susan Fels has done her own transcription of the sea captain’s original manuscript with an introduction containing unusual biographical information on her great great grandfather and his family.

Before the Wind has received many favorable reviews:

“A novelist’s eye for detail and a storyteller’s flair make this yarn a page turner.” — New York Times Book Review, W. Jeffrey Bolster.

“He told a wonderful story with clarity and touches of dry humor.” – The Atlantic Monthly, Pheobe Lou Adams.

“This never-before-published time capsule of U.S. maritime history is also a remarkable reminiscence. … This is no business memoir but an exotic travelogue through the maritime world of the 1820s.” Booklist, May 1, 1999.

“Before the Wind belongs in the sea chest of any sailor–armchair or no.” – C.B. Delaney.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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