The whaling industry was financially profitable for many. The town of Edgartown gave handsome proof. Some captains built grand mansions not far from Edgartown harbor. Many of them included a railed rooftop platform, sometimes with an enclosed room, known today as "widows' walks".
With many men away for so long, responsibilities for home, family and businesses often fell to the women left behind. It is likely that many of these women became stronger and more self-reliant than other women of that time period. Still, wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of the captains and all of the ships' crew members missed their men. Life was often difficult for those at home while men young and old were "a-whaling".
Martha's Vineyard Museum