Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | July 3, 2014

July 3, 1849

Mary Brewster, TUESDAY JULY 3rd [1849]: “Early this morning we were underway in company with the Plover and got out of the bay. Had not gone far before we saw ice. Accordingly hoisted up the boats and as it was broken and in small patches we got clear. Towards latter part the wind began to blow and as we were beating to windward it was very uncomfortable. The rigging had got rotten in so much wet weather and every time we tacked ship I’d hear cry, brace parted — and last of all topsail sheets parted. Passed a large village where our friends Notocken lives. It was the largest settlement on the coast. The mountains are covered with snow and for a mile the shore is surrounded with ice. As we could not fetch to windward of the island and the wind was blowing fresh from ahead we came to anchor under a small island in a fine smooth bay, but as usual we had to push our way through the ice to get there — During the afternoon we came very near to hitting a large ice berg. It grazed the ship taking some of the sheathing. Fortunately the ship came round and it did not do much damage — had we hit it, it would have stove a hole for they are as hard as rocks. At 11 we came to anchor — saw several whale, a small species called greybacks [possibly California gray whales or small belugas] not worth catching.”

NOTE: During July 1849, while in the Bering Sea, Mary Brewster made daily journal entries through July 18th. After that, her entries were more sporadic.


Mary Lawrence’s husband’s ship, the Addison arrived at her homeport of New Bedford, MA at sunrise on June 14, 1860



  1. Charles Melville Scammon in Marine Mammals of the Northwest Coast of North America listed alternative names for the California Grey Whale: “Hard-head”, “Mussel-digger”, “Devil-fish”, “Grey-back” (“indicative of its color”), and “Rip-sack”. There was a population of grey whales in the western Pacific also.

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