Nathaniel Bowditch grew up in Salem, Massachussetts, a city dominated by tall masted ships from foreign lands. Nathaniel Bowditch was too small to be a sailor, but he was a mathematical genius. When he was 12 yearls old, he was apprenticed to a ship's chandler. From that time until he turned 21, he would work from sun-up to sun-down selling things like marline-spikes, belaying pins, and hemp rope, as well as keeping the books for the chandlery.
After he turned 21, he went to sea. His mathematical abilities would come in handy when captains bought and sold their cargo. Nathaniel had an amazing ability to navigate; on his third voyage he navigated his ship to port in the midst of a monsoon. On his last voyage, he became a hero to all sailors, when he brought his ship into Salem Harbor in a thick fog, which had not allowed him to check his position for three days. Today, Nathaniel Bowditch is known as "the Father of Modern Navigation".
This report prepared by Nathaniel Ford