Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | March 18, 2013

The Main Cabin – Shared Living Quarters, Part 4 (of 5)

The Main cabin was also referred to as the Mess cabin or the Forward cabin.  The captain and his wife entered the Main cabin from their After (Aft) cabin. Joan Druett quoted Henrietta Deblois (a whaling wife aboard the Merlin 1856): “It is 8 by 10 feet….It is our dining room and contains an ‘extensive’ table of black walnut and what sailors call a ‘Scotchman’ [strip of wood] to keep the dishes from falling off when the vessel rolls. But in spite of the ‘Scotchman’ and our hands, dishes will sometimes tumble off. There are two long seats fastened to the floor each side of the table — at the head the Capt. has an armchair.”

Joan Druett then continues (page 6, She Was a Sister Sailor), “These three cabins – the stateroom, the after cabin, and this forward cabin — formed the extent of the wife’s accommodations on the ship, and one of these — the forward cabin — had to be shared with three or four mates or officers….”

Below are photos of the Main cabin:

Charles W Morgan 2008 010

This photo above, was taken looking forward (toward the bow) of the ship. At the forward-end of the “Scotchman” table and surrounded by the table, is the middle or mizzen mast. To the right of the photo (starboard side of the ship) is the captain’s private pantry. The door on the port (left) side leads to staterooms for the Steward and/or Cabin Boy, and just beyond that, but aft (behind) the blubber room, are the cabins for the Cook, Cooper, and Boatsteerers. The other door (partially open) to the left side of the photo, is the cabin door for the stateroom of the Second and Third Mates (officers).

Charles W Morgan 2008 035

This photo of the main cabin (second from the top) was taken facing the port side (notice the corner of the Scotchman table) and shows the first door (left side of photo) leading to the First Mate’s cabin. The second door is the Second and Third Officers’ cabin; the last door top right of photo) is the same door as above, leading to the staterooms belonging to the Steward and/or Cabin Boy, etc.

Charles W Morgan 2008 037

The last and third photo above, is looking toward the stern (back of the ship) and shows the captain’s private after cabin with two doors; one on the starboard (left side of the photo) and the other on port (right side of the photo). The door at the left leads to the after cabin, the stateroom and the captain’s head (toilet).


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