Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | October 27, 2013

27th October: A RARE Opportunity

Mary Brewster did not make any journal entry for this date in 1848

Mary Lawrence did not make any journal entries from October 27-29, 1859.

Eliza Williams, her husband and their two children, aboard the Florida anchored safely in San Francisco Bay on the afternoon of October 26, 1861; ending a three-year whaling voyage. 


Okay all you loyal subscribers (and first-time visitors, too) – I have no idea what to post for today’s blog — any requests?  Anything you would like to know more about (please, limit your requests to the 19th century U.S. or 1800’s) but that which I haven’t yet covered, or covered to fulfill your satisfaction or quell your curiosity?  Let me know via the comment box at the bottom of the page and OVER THE NEXT MONTH, I will do my best to fulfill each and every request….and if I can’t, I will let you know that, too.



  1. Karlee, a truly great blog! Several things that might be added:

    Other species of whale hunted (example: California Grey whales or mussel diggers, mentioned often by the whaling wives). These might also include North Atlantic bottlenosed whale, pilot whales or blackfish, which were quite frequently taken), beluga or white whales, also called sea canaries, narwhals, etc. You might also have more about finbacks, the most common rohrqual (sp) since it seems that some of the whalers with poor luck in 1859 and 1861 are desperate enough to try catching those. The sea elephant is worth discussing, since their oil was virtually indistinguishable from whale oil and New Londoners in particular sought them out.

    It might be interesting to discuss some of the whale by-products that were given to or used by women: scrimshaw (“accept dear girl this busk from me carved by my humble hand, I took it from a sperm whale’s jaw ten thousand miles from land” if I recall one inscription correctly), baleen (not only for corsets but many other applications as well), ambergris (yucky)

    One last possibility would be to talk about the various peoples both encountered by whalers, and often recruited to work on board: Kanakas and Cape Verdeans are the most common, but virtually every race and nationality were represented on board.

    Oops, another thought: the Glass family from Tristan da Cunha were of mixed race, and had very close ties with New London. Members of the family served on board New London whaleships, and at least one became a captain. A branch of the family settled in New London.

    • Thanks for the suggestions, Over the next few months I will try to address some or all of your suggestions.

  2. I would like to know more about Louise Boyd and Adm. Peary’s wife both arctic explorers. tks

  3. Hi Karlee;
    Two thoughts came to mind after reading your request. The first, would be about “navigator wives” …were there many, and how they learned to Navigate. The second one, did any of the women learn to speak some of the foreign languages that they would have encountered on their voyages. That would have been of immense help to their husbands to say the least.

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