Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | April 15, 2012

April 15, 1860

Mary Brewster did not make a journal entry for this date in 1847.

Mary Lawrence did not make any journal entries from April 12-15, 1858.

Eliza Williams, [Sun.] April 15th [1860]: “We have had a beautiful day. It is almost warm enough to walk the deck without a shawl. It is the Sabbath* and everything is very quiet. I would like much to be at home today, to go to Church.”

* NOTE: About honoring the Sabbath (Sunday) while at sea:

Many whaling wives looked forward to a quiet Sunday or Sabbath; if their husband required the same of himself and his crew. The day, observed by religious women as a day of rest on land, was also attempted while at sea.  To ‘rest’ or observe the Sabbath meant that even domestic duties such as sewing were not done on Sundays. Instead, the day would be spent reading, or ‘self-improvment’ through religious literature such as the Bible or sermons, or meditating, or perhaps writing introspectively in their journals.  As noted by Joan Druett (see She Was a Sister-Sailor, page 47, footnote 52), some captains even made sure the ship’s decks were scrubbed in preparation for the Sabbath.  As a seaman, Luther Ripley wrote 28 March 1846, “Employed in washing saw nothing at 4 oClk scrubbed the decks preparatory for the sabbath also crossed the equator.” On Sunday, Ripley wrote, “nothing done this day except washing shaving & reading.” One captain who agreed with ‘keeping the Sabbath holy’ (and I can’t remember the source) told his men and his wife, “If I see a whale on Sunday, I’ll know where to find it on Monday. Hence, the Sabbath could be observed and they would go after the whale on Monday.

However, many captains did not keep the Sabbath and if there were whales to be gotten, they went after them, regardless of the day.  For example, as Lucy Ann Crapo noted on a Sunday in 1866, “boats had been lowered, the men pulled gallantly, but they returned with no success, she then wrote, ‘This Sabbath breaking to answer for and nothing gained….Query: is there ever anything gained in breaking the Sabbath?’ ” (Joan Druett, She was a  Sister Sailor, page 67-68). As Joan noted on page 68, “Most preachers at that time would have answered her [Lucy Ann Carpo] with a resounding , Nay!”  Or Lucy’s journal entry for 1 Aptil 1866, ” ‘A beautiful Sabbath day, and I regret to record here that its beauty has been marred…by lowering the boats…I do not enjoy my Sabbath, when its observance is disregarded by myself, or others around me.’ ” (She was a Sister Sailor, page 89).  


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