The Bowditch was built in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1837-1838. In 1851, Theodore Chase, the ship's owner and a wealthy Boston merchant, hired John K. Stickney to captain the boat on a trading voyage to Calcutta, India. Stickney departed with the Bowditch in January 1852, after arranging for his wife Emma to stay with his father. After sailing through difficult weather, the ship safely reached Calcutta on May 10. Just before its scheduled July 18 departure, the Bowditch suffered damage in a flood, which delayed its return to Boston. Following the necessary repairs, the ship made a safe return journey to the United States. On this trip, the Bowditch carried ice and other goods, returning with a variety of exotic items including indigo, seersucker, saltpeter, and ginger. Little else is known of Stickney, though he may have owned land in San Francisco prior to 1852. Theodore Chase sold the Bowditch in 1856, and its new owners eventually re-christened the ship Martha A. Nott . The ship's final journey took place in 1860, when it sailed to France and was stranded in the Gironde River.