Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | April 23, 2012

April 23, 1860

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

Mary Lawrence did not make a journal entry from April 22-24, 1858.

Eliza Williams, [Mon.] April 23rd [1860]: “This morning it rained quite hard and was rather foggy. As soon as I was up, I heard that there was a Ship ahead, and I was in hopes that it was the South Boston, for we thought we might see her about here. To my Joy it proved to be. My Husband came to the skylight and told me that I might expect to see Mrs. Randolph, for he was going to speak the Ship in a few moments. Very soon he came down and told me to hurry and get ready to go on board. I was not long getting Willie (her toddler) and myself ready. We went aboard before breakfast and stayed till evening. We had a nice gam and spent the day very pleasantly.    Mrs. Randolph is not at all well. She was very much pleased to see me and said that this is the first day she has sat up all day for some time. She has not been on deck for 6 weeks. She has been seasick ever since they left the [Sandwich/Hawaiian] Islands – 5 months.  Calm or blow it is all the same. She is getting over it some, she thinks, since that came into this Sea [the Japan Sea]. They have a little son, 9 months old. He is the most pleasant, quiet Child, I think, I ever saw, and well for her it is, for she has not been able to take care of it [infant son]. She has an excellent Cabin Boy. He does everything for the Child, washes, irons, and even sews for it. He washes and dresses it, feeds it, and puts it to sleep. I don’t see what she would do without him. He is an American Boy.   We got our letters — one of them from home — and feel very thankful to hear that our Dear little Boys, [two older boys Eliza left behind; Willie was born during this voyage of which Eliza writes] Father, Mother and all are well at that time, which was in June [1859] *.  I regret much not getting more letters but feel grateful for what we did get. We think we will stop about here a day or two, as we have seen several Whales today, and I shall see Mrs. Randolph again, I hope.”

* NOTE: As noted here and the blog entry for April 19th, letters were of vital importance to wives living at sea. And yes, the fact that it took ten (10) months for Eliza to get letters from home was not that unusual – sometimes as much as two years would pass before letters were received.  Remember,during the 19th century, there was no “official” postal service to deliver letters sent to America’s whaling ships working across the world’s oceans.  For example, often letters sent to men and women at sea would be addressed in a the following manner: Mrs. Captain Thomas W. Williams, the ‘Florida’, Pacific (or Indian) Ocean.  The only way letters could be sent/received was by way of other ships in and out of ports, or if they should meet ‘speak’ and/or ‘gam’ as they neared one another while at sea.


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