Young men like Jared, from city and country, were eager for adventure as well as attracted to the promise that "wages were equal to and in most cases superior to those in merchant ships." They responded to ads similar to this typical one:
WANTED LANDSMEN: 1,000 stout young men, American, wanted for the fleet of whaleships now fitting out…None but industrious young men with good recommendations taken. Such will have superior chances for advancement. Outfits to the amount of $75.00 furnished to each individual before proceeding to sea.
Jared was married to Rebecca Ripley in 1847 in Edgartown. They had three children, two daughters who died in infancy and one son, Alymer, born in 1854. Rebecca died from childbirth complications in 1858. All three of his children's births and his wife's death happened while he was away at sea.
In 1861, 35 year old Jared returned to Edgartown as a widower. For almost three years he had been a sad and lonely man at sea while Rebecca's family, the Ripleys, continued to care for his sole surviving child, Alymer. Much to everyone's surprise, after a whirlwind romance, he married a 21 year old school teacher, Helen McClellan Clark, on June 5, 1861. Helen's youthful vitality and sense of adventure brought Jared great happiness and, soon, more children.
Martha's Vineyard Museum