1710Abraham Robinson and his brother-in-law Joseph York were given a grant of land in Plum Cove “to try whale’s oyle in.”Economy and Industry, Land Ownership, Maritime & Fishing Industry

Minutes of Town Meeting, March 7, 1709/1710. Gloucester Town Records, 1694-1762, 1762, p. 82.
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Minutes of Town Meeting, March 7, 1709/1710. Gloucester Town Records, 1694-1762, 1762, p. 82.

The inventory of Abraham Robinson’s estate describes some of the tools used in the whaling fisheries but the extent to which the two men actually engaged in whaling is unknown. Sperm whales were the most valuable although not the only species to migrate off Cape Ann in the Gulf of Maine. They were valued for their oil, which burned odorless and smokeless, and was rendered from a whale’s head; and for the ambergris, a waxy substance formed in the digestive tract that was a fixative ingredient in perfume with a musky smell.

Babson, John James, and Samuel Chandler. History of the Town of Gloucester, Cape Anne, Including the Town of Rockport. Procter Brothers, 1860, http://archive.org/details/historytownglou00changoog Gloucester Town Records, 1694-1762. Vol. 2, 1762, https://archive.org/details/GLOOriginalRecords16941762Images/mode/2up
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