Mariner Men

Two Ships at Anchor


My mother’s maternal line is Cole-Marriner. Marriner is an English surname with medieval French origins, deriving from the word mariniera sailor/seaman. However, as seaman and sailor were already popular occupational descriptions prior to the Norman invasion of Britain, it is possible that the French term might have had a more specific meaning. It is speculated that the Marriner surname was given to traveling merchants who purchased goods overseas.

The first known Marriner in our family tree is George Marriner (my 7th great-grandfather, maternal mother’s side).  In 1733, he was licensed to run a ferry between Newington and Dover, New Hampshire. Then, in 1739, George was in Eliot, Maine, where he was licensed to run a ferry between Kittery to Falmouth, Maine.  George Marriner, a ferryman, was a mariner both in name and profession.

This discovery made me wonder whether or not we had more kin who plied their trade on the water. After much research, I have discovered other “mariner men” within the branches of our family trees (both direct and extended).

Donald Robert Oker (husband of my spouse’s 1st cousin once removed, maternal mother’s side) served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.

Walter Caimi (my spouse’s paternal grandfather) was enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for several years. In 1933, he spent a month on the USS Argonne, before being stationed on the USS Arkansas. He served aboard the Arkansas for two years, before being stationed at the Naval Ammunition Depot in Portsmouth, Virginia, where he remained exclusively until April 1936. In May 1936, Walter traveled to the Naval Ordnance Plant in South Charleston, West Virginia. He was only in West Virginia for a month; however, in that brief time, he met his future wife, Reba. Then, for the next six months, Walter served back and forth between Portsmouth, Virginia and the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. He was back at Portsmouth once again in November 1936. In January 1937, he and Reba were married in Charleston, West Virginia. Walter remained stateside from that point on, retiring from the Marines in December 1940.

In December 1939, Walter’s brother Renzo Caimi (my spouse’s paternal great-uncle) also enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Marine detachments served aboard Navy cruisers, battleships, and aircraft carriers. Marine detachments acted as a ship’s landing force, manning the ship’s weapons, and provided shipboard security. They also took were key to amphibious assaults. Renzo opted to join the Amphibious Corps. After basic training, Renzo boarded the USS Chaumont, bound for Hawaii, a U.S. territory. Starting in May 1940, Renzo was stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He was still stationed there when the Japanese attacked. Renzo continued to serve in the Marines throughout World War II, fighting in the Pacific Campaign.

Cletis Leroy Watts (my maternal grandfather) was a coxswain (cox) in the U.S. Naval Reserves during WWII. A coxswain is the person in charge of a boat, particularly its navigation and steering. In World War II, coxswains piloted landing craft—boats and seagoing vessels used to convey a landing force (infantry and vehicles) from the sea to the shore during amphibious assaults. Cletis, nicknamed Red—a native of Missouri—passed through the Miami area at some point during WWII. It was here that he met his future wife, Florence Jean Cole, at a movie theater. Jean worked as a ticket seller, and Red thought she was so pretty, he went to the movies several times just to see her.  The two were married in Dade County, Florida in 1944.

Frank William Darby (husband of my maternal second great-aunt) was a carpenter’s mate, second class (CM2) in the U.S. Naval Reserves during WWII. He served on the USS Sparrow in the Pacific Campaign. He married Thelma Marriner in 1942.

Stephen Earl Noell (my great-grandfather, paternal mother’s side) was a seaman apprentice in the U.S. Navy during WWI. He was at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Chicago. A seaman apprentice is the second lowest enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy. Those in the general deck and administrative community are seamen apprentices. They wear white stripes on navy blue uniforms and navy blue (black) stripes on white uniforms. After the war, Stephen moved to Washington County, Maryland, where he met and married Thelma Ardinger. However, he went back to Chicago briefly, showing up in the 1930 U.S. Census for Cook County, Illinois.

Howard Wilbur Cole (my great-grandfather, maternal mother’s side) served in the U.S. Coast Guard during WWII. He was stationed in Miami. They would patrol the Gulf Stream during the evening hours to make sure the German submarines would not enter American waters.

Capt. George Record (my spouse’s 4th great-grandfather, maternal mother’s side) was the captain of an artillery company under Col. Rees Hill‘s Regiment, Pennsylvania Militia, on the Niagara frontier during the War of 1812. Although he was not in the Navy, Capt. George Records was present at the Battle of Lake Erie, fought on 10 September 1813, defending the naval yard. Nine vessels of the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of the British Royal Navy. This ensured American control of the lake for the rest of the war and was one of the biggest naval battles of the War of 1812.

In 1775, Christian Ardinger (my 6th great-grandfather, paternal mother’s side) began operating Ardinger’s Ferry near Williamsport, Maryland. Twenty years later, in 1795, the ferry was sold to Peter Light, and its new moniker was Light’s Ferry. Eventually, the ferry was passed down to Robert Lemen (who married Sarah Light, granddaughter of Peter Light) and was converted into a cable ferry. In 1861, Union forces under Captain Abner Doubleday used this ferry to cross into Virginia for raids. In 1863, Doubleday again crossed the river by fording while pursuing Gen. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia as it advanced on Gettysburg. A month later, following Lee’s defeat, 70,000 confederate soldiers crossed at Lemen’s Ferry. The ferry was then passed down to Robert Leman’s daughter Elizabeth Virginia Lemen and her husband Charles Andrew Ardinger (my 4th great-uncle, son of my 4th great-grandfather, Charles Godfrey Ardinger, paternal mother’s side). This ferry, which had stayed in our extended family for generations, was decommissioned in 1909, when a bridge spanning the Potomac River was erected.

Capt. William Raiford (my 8th great-grandfather, maternal father’s side) was certified as a Master and Ship Captain. His certificate was signed May 1716 by Capt. Jonathan Steele of Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland.

Capt. John Paine (my spouse’s 8th great-grandfather, maternal father’s side) was born in 1685 in Massachusetts and died on 17 December 1765, in Freetown, Bristol, Massachusetts.

Capt. Matthew Strickland (my 10th great-grandfather, maternal father’s side) was the son of James Strickland of Crosswaite and Lyth. Like his father before him, Matthew was a Mate, Master, and Ship Captain.

Capt. Christopher Hussey (my spouse’s 10th great-grandfather, paternal mother’s side) and his wife Theodate Bachiler sailed for America in 1632 on the ship William and Francis. Their family was one of the original purchasers of Nantucket. Christopher Hussey was also the captain of a whaling ship. Supposedly, according to family legend, Christopher Hussey was the first Nantucket whaler to harvest a spermaceti whale, although historians speculate that it might have been one of his sons or grandsons.

Capt. Tristram Hull (my 11th great-grandfather, maternal mother’s side) owned a ship named The Catch, was part owner of the bark Hopewell, and made frequent long sea voyages. Customs entries show that he was engaged to a considerable extent in trade with the West Indies.

Capt. Thomas Lorrin (my 11th great-grandfather, maternal father’s side) was the son of Capt. John Lorrin and his wife, Anne Vyearye. Like his father, Thomas was certified as a Mate, Master, and Ship Captain. Thomas Lorrin hired out to Barker and Associates of London; Charles City County, Virginia; Amsterdam and Rotterdam; Bruges and Brussels.

Capt. James Strickland (my 11th great-grandfather, maternal father’s side) was a Mate, Master, and Ship Captain. He worked out of Morecambe & Liverpool, Lancashire.

Capt. John Lorrin (my 12th great-grandfather, maternal father’s side) and his wife, Anne Vyearye, were married on January 8, 1613 in Honiton, Devon, England. John Lorrin was certified as a Mate, Master, and Ship Captain. The Lorrin family originated in France.

Abraham Vardal (Vardel) (my 12th great-grandfather, maternal father’s side) was a sailor/mariner. He and his wife, Sarah Webster, married in 1610 at St. Leonard, Eastcheap Parish in London.


#familytree     #genealogy    #mariner

Categories: Caimi-Culatina Line, Cole-Marriner Line, Extended Families, Harwick-Bush Line, Noel-Ardinger Line, Spangler-Kenney Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Mariner Men

  1. Pingback: Military Service – Tales of a Family

  2. Pingback: In Service to Our Country – Tales of a Family

  3. I love your information, especially how you included all the men in your family who loved the sea. Your short poem was a nice touch too.

    Liked by 1 person

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