Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | December 31, 2013

31st December [1848 and 1859]

Mary Brewster, SUNDAY [Dec.] 31st [1848]: “Last day of the year has been pleasant with breezes from SSW. All drawing sail out steering N. Have read most of the day and written a letter to send home the first chance. One year today I was nearing my native land with every breeze that came, today am far, far from it and not the least expectation of seeing it till 2 more years have passed — I am happy perhaps as I was then. My home is here and though I am deprived of society and many of the enjoyments of home I willingly resign them and feel no vain longing for such blessings as are to be found there and on the land. I long to see my husband free from this veracious business and away from such ragamuffins as are on board this ship, whose only business is to get on board of ships to be well kept and fed for a few months, plan all the mischief possible, make men that would be good because naturally they know so little that they cannot be very bad uneasy, then run away the first chance, such is more than half of the number who start on a voyage like this with no character nor principle.   LAT. 38.53   LONG. 159.27.”

As for January 1849, Mary Brewster was nearly consistent in making daily journal entries and as a reflection of that, I will most likely make daily posts as well.

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Mary Lawrence, [Mon.] DECEMBER 31 [1859]: “We are very near Aitutaki [LAT. 18°49’59″S and LONG. 159°45’00″W of the Cook Islands in the southern Pacific] now, and according to the east longitude reckoning, our Saturday is their Sunday, so we decided to keep this day. If not, it would be necessary for us to lay by two days. Our sick people have about all recovered. Afternoon, about 4 P.M. Mr. Baird, mate, went ashore with a boat’s crew. One ship laying off and on, which we spoke after tea. We found her to be the French ship General Teste, Captain Le Mercier. Samuel went on board for a short time. Mr. Baird returned about 8 P.M., loaded with pineapples, bananas, coconuts, etc., from the missionary’s family, bringing a cordial invitation from them to us to come on board early in the morning and stop with them as long as possible. They also sent me a bottle of milk.”    (BELOW: an aerial view of Aitutake)

During January 1860, although Mary’s daily entries remained sporadic, her first two entries for January 1 and 2 are quite extensive.

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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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