Derby, Elias Hasket
Derby, Elias Hasket
Derby, Elias Hasket (dûrˈbē), 1739–99, American merchant, b. Salem, Mass. He inherited the considerable wealth and maritime business that his father, Richard Derby (1712–83), also of Salem, had acquired in trade with Spain and the West Indies previous to the American Revolution. In the Revolution, Elias increased his wealth by fitting out a number of successful privateersmen. After the war he was a pioneer in exploring new trade routes, his ships being among the first to carry the Stars and Stripes to the Baltic and Asia. His most lucrative trade was with the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. The success of his enterprises was partly due to his wise selection of captains and supercargoes. His mansion, built in 1797 by Samuel McIntire, was reputed the finest in Salem in its day. His son, Elias Hasket Derby, Jr. (1766–1826), b. Salem, made several remarkable voyages for his father's firm and took over the business after his father's death.
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Derby, Elias Hasket(1739–99) merchant, shipowner; born in Salem, Mass. He inherited his father's merchant business and used his vessels as privateers during the American Revolution. He became very wealthy and expanded his business to the farthest ends of the globe after the Revolution; his skippers were among the first Americans to reach the Baltic, India, the East Indies, and China. Although he never went to sea himself, he chose his captains wisely and he only lost one vessel during his career. He remains known to this day for the fine homes and furniture he and his family commissioned from the leading architects and cabinetmakers of their day.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.