Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | February 19, 2012

19th February [1847 and 1858]

Mary Brewster, FRIDAY [Feb.] 19th [1847]: “Had just been to my breakfast when three boats’ crews came on board from the Brooklin & Hibernia, bound to the Island after their mining utensils. Mr. White mate of the H- came below an hour or more. He said he had been married 17 years and out of that time had been about 2 years with his family. Such is the sailor’s lot — always from home and their families grow up and scarcely known their Fathers save once in 3 years and they can hardly realize they have families. Some indeed act here as though their wives and children were not in the least regarded by them, and when out of their sight was truly out of mind. Such are not worthy of the appellation of Husband nor as friend, should they be countenanced by those who profess good morals and principles, neither should they associate with them — I have written four letters this afternoon and as usual read this evening. At 10 this evening we were once more anchored in our old place whale bay, near to the ships.”

NOTE: If before reading this entry, you were questioning WHY a woman would choose to go to sea with her husband rather than remain behind where it was safe and sound, Mary makes it quite clear what she thinks and indirectly expresses why she and many other whaling wives lived at sea with their husbands – the long years of absence from one another and the fear of infidelity, to mention but two reason. Although Mary made no mention of financial concerns, when husbands departed for three (or more years), whatever money he left for the care of his family, had to last until he returned – if he returned.

Mary Lawrence, [Fri.] FEBRUARY 19 [1858]: “Sent a boat with a little trade to see if we could get a few hogs and some bananas, but nothing could be obtained. A canoe came off to us with natives, also a boat. The latter brought a hog to sell, which we brought for three fathoms of cloth. While the boat was ashore, one of our Kanakas, Johnny Boy, ran away. It is bad enough for a Kanaka that has been brought up among partially civilized people to run away in such a place as this, but that white people and Americans should choose a home among savages and cannibals is surprising. Captain Dinman had three to desert him at Oomoa. After four days had passed, one repented and turned back. The others kept their hiding places.”

Eliza Williams did not make any journal entries between Feb. 16-19, 1860.

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