Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | November 11, 2013

November 11, 1859

Mary Brewster did not make any journal entries from November 6-11th [1848].

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NOTE: Mary Lawrence’s journal entry for NOVEMBER 1, 1859 is three pages long (eleven paragraphs). Additionally, she did not make any entries between November 2 through December 1. Therefore, the journal entry for this date will be divided into eleven installments, a single paragraph will be posted for the next eleven days (or through November 11).

Mary Lawrence, [Tuesday] NOVEMBER 1 [through 30] 1859: “….On our way home called at Captain Wilcox’ to get some New Bedford papers. After we arrived  home I sat down, as I usually do on the receipt of home papers, to look over deaths and marriages. Samuel had stepped out, and I was left alone. Shall I ever forget my sensations when the first paragraph on which my eyes rested was the death of my dear father. What a shock and how unexpected! Can it be that I have seen him for the last time? Oh, how fondly I have anticipated meeting Father, Mother, brothers, and sisters once more. It has been the great wish of my heart. Oh it is so hard that I could not have heard one word in connection with his death. It seems as if it could not be, the thought that he is no more, that he died when I his eldest daughter was far away, that I never more shall see him. Oh, it almost overpowers me, and my poor mother, I fear that the blow was too heavy for her to bear. With what a sad heart shall I return home. I feel as if his vacant place would be more than I can bear.”

With this entry, Mary became silent and did not make another journal entry until the Addison left the port of Honolulu, on December 2, 1859 for the final voyage toward home.  I am unfamiliar with the mourning customs of the mid-19th century (my next topic in which to study) but I believe I can safely make a couple of assumptions about the “why” of her silence: Perhaps as she mourned her father’s death, it was customary for a young woman to remain silent (and quiet within her in own thoughts) in the loss and respect for a beloved parent; or perhaps because she remained at Honolulu for three – four weeks she didn’t take the time to write in her sea-journal. I will investigate both possibilities and at a later date, let you know of my discoveries.

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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.

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