Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | March 16, 2014

16th March 1849

Mary Brewster, SATURDAY MARCH 16th [1849]: “Finds me again on board and quite pleased to get back. Had a very pleasant visit and found the Governor & family very different from the Guamites in point of education and appearances. We labored under the disadvantage of not being able to understand each other and all our conversation was through an interpreter. I came on board this morning accompanied by the daughters of his excellency who spent the day with me and they enjoyed their visit very much — pleased with the ship &c [etc.].

Guam is the principal island of the group & Agana the chief town is situated about 5 miles from the harbor and the sea coast — The generality of the houses are of light structure of bamboos elevated a few feet from the ground by supporting posts and roofed with thatch, though there are a few of coral stone in a clumsy and dungeon-like form mostly without windows. The government buildings consist of a church, college, palazzo, guard house, jail, commissariat, two depots of artillery and two review posts all in a most miserable style —

The natives of the island cannot be praised for their industry or advancement, perhaps if under a more liberal government & Religion the state of advancement would be higher. The Catholic is the only religion here….

The females all dress alike with a gay skirt and a short sack which is usually short and leaves a space exposed between the skirt and sack or Camissa as they call it. Their hair they turn back from the forehead and brought all in a round bunch behind, this is the fashion and all the little girls are fitted in the same manner–

The island has a fertile soil and luxuriant climate, every requisite to encourage and reward the exertions of an industrious people.

Monday we leave and our supplies will be small as we can get only a few sweet potatoes, no yams * to be had at any price. The winds and the want of rain has spoilt the fruit trees, and where we expected to get oranges by the boat load we are glad to buy by the dozen or less.

We have had a couple of our men helped out of the ship by some of our brother whalemen, they was stolen by Capt. Winters of the ship Richmond though he denies there being on board.

There is no peace in port for when captains & officers will rob one another of their crews it is high time to up anchor and get out of bad company.”

* NOTE: Although Mary Brewster wrote of a seeming drought when she was at Guam, Eliza Williams had quite a different experience eleven years after Mary Brewster. Eliza Williams wrote 6 March 1860, “….On the Island they raise yams, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, corn. They have nice sweet Oranges, Limes, Bananas, Mummy Apples [Papaya] and Bread fruit….”


Mary Lawrence did not make a journal entry for this date in 1860.


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