Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | January 1, 2012

A New Year at Sea [1847,1858 and 1860]

Whaling wifeMary Brewster, FRIDAY JANUARY 1st 1847: “Went on shore this morning on California; stopped an hour or so then came back. The boat stopped alongside of Capt. Mallory’s ship and husband went on board for a few moments. I did not get out but remained in the boat. At 12, we were at home where we found Capt. Bottum’s boat with Mr. [Paul] Burtch who took dinner with us. Our dinner for new year’s day was boiled beefsteak, nice potatoes, and mince pie and cheese. The boats at 4 got to the ship with a nice whale. They got off the head-gear and then left it till morning. (Larboard Boat, 35-barrel whale).”

Mary Lawrence and Minnie/courtesy Francis F. JonesMary Lawrence, [Fri.] JANUARY 1 [1858]: “Another new year has opened upon us. The old year which opened upon us so fresh and smiling departed in sadness, for a cloud was hung around our pathway; even at the very threshold of the new year one of our number left us, never again to return. May not he sad news come to us from across the sea that any of our loved home faces have passed to the spirit land during the past year. As far as we have heard from, they have been mercifully preserved. God grant that it may not be otherwise. Saw four ships during the day. In the afternoon a high wind prevailed with rain.”    

NOTE: By the date of Mary’s journal entry, this was an old picture, taken when Minnie was a baby. By 1858, Minnie was six years old going on seven.

Eliza Williams, [Mon.] January 1st, 1860: “This first day of the year is a very beautiful day indeed, the Sun shining in all its splendor, a nice little breeze cooling the hot air of this latitude , and everything quiet like the Sabbath — for such is the day — a fitting day for meditation, as the past year has just rolled away, and this is the first day of the new year and the holy Sabbath, too. Oh, may we all aboard of this Ship be enabled to keep God ever before our eyes this year in all we do and say, and live as becometh Christian People, though we can’t enjoy the privileges of religion as the People do at home. The Men are all reading about the deck excepting those on duty. The Cabin Boys have been learning their lessons from the primer and reciting it to me. It really appears to me that the hogs, hens and ducks do not make as much noise as usual — the reason, I suppose, that they do not get driven about as much as on a week day. Have seen nothing today but a few tropic birds which are very handsome, being perfectly white with a few black spots on the wing and tail. Saw a school of Porpoises at a distance off, but they did not come near the Ship. The Ship is heading south-southeast, and we are in Latitude 9.52 south, Longitude 172.7 east.”


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