Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | August 14, 2013

14th August [1859 and 1861]

Mary Brewster did not make a journal entry for this date in 1849.

Mary Lawrence and Minnie/courtesy Francis F. Jones

Mary Lawrence, [Sun.] AUGUST 14 [1859]: “The French ship Jason ran off for us this morning wishing to speak us, which he did about nine o’clock. Captain Hache came on board. I had seen him before; he is a Frenchman but talks very good English. His boat’s crew all wore heavy wooden shoes, which looked very queer to us. Before dinner Captain Freeman of the Tybee came on board; in the afternoon we had an addition of Captain Jenks of the Mary to our party, and after tea Captain Soule of the William C. Nye came on board. The Jason took two right whales on Kodiak; the Mary and the William C. Nye each took four off Cape Thaddeus. Captain Soule expects to find his wife and child in Honolulu when he arrives at that port in the fall. Some ships within a few days found it quite difficult to get through the Strait, but it does not appear to give the fleet any alarm, so I will not let it trouble me. I think more of the whales now that anything else; it seems as if I should fly when I think it is the middle of August and not a whale yet. What shall we do? Where shall we go? Captain Soule says that he saw three bowheads today going very fast to the south. In consequence of that Samuel thinks he will lay aback tonight and he may see whales tomorrow. Eleven ships in sight.”

Eliza Williams, [Fri.] August 14th [1861]: “It has been quite an unpleasant day. It has been raining hard and a strong breeze but for all that we have got the other whale alongside and have cut it in. It was a very bad job as it has lain longer than the other and the oil was running right out of the blubber. We lost more than one half the head and it was a nice one. They saw that they would lose it, they took all the precaution they could, they made the bone fast with ropes, but for all that, the largest half sunk. The other half went overboard but it did not sink, the ropes holding it. We sent a boat down and they secured it and towed it ashore; then took it on the beach and cut the bone apart and loaded their boats with it and brought it on board. We have lost about the whole head in all and will lose a good deal of the oil too. It is a rainy bad time to cut the whale in and we have a dirty looking ship. We are a dirty looking people altogether, not except the baby [her daughter], the dirt has got all over the ship. Our neighbors are the same and a good many other ships, if they are Eliza Williamslucky enough to get oil. I for one can put up with it first-rate if we can only get a good season’s catch and then go home. We have got a very convenient ship to take a good deal of oil on. She is large and we have a plenty of room but not quite as much help as we could do with, nor all as good, but they all have to work hard now, and early and late, my husband as hard as any of them and broke off his rest and sleep as much as any one. Little Siss and I are deprived of our nice promenades on deck for they are so lumbered up with casks and bone, and so dirty, that it is quite impossible to walk at all. Willie goes up once in a while and tumbles around in the dirt [blood and oil etc. from processing the whale]. 


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