Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | August 4, 2014

August 3-4, 1849

Mary Brewster, FRIDAY AUGUST 3rd [1849]: “Scene changes — from dismal to more dismal — Early this morning saw whale. The bow boat went alone and fastened [harpooned a whale]; whale hit the boat [broke it] stove it badly, knocked the men overboard and we all felt anxious as we could see only 4 men. Got a boat started and it did not seem to me they would get away nor the boat — they did however and brought the men to the ship. All were there, one a kanaka [native Hawaiian] badly hurt. We did not think he could live. Another one had his lip badly hurt and wrist sprained; said it was broke but he could use it so we were not alarmed. The third [whaling] brother was examined and not a bruise could be found he was nearly frightened to death; did not speak during the day. Those who were hurt was brought into the house, wounds sewed up, dry clothes put on, and then put below, this took till about 8 o’clock — I had no appetite for breakfast. A [another] boat was sent to pick up the [stoven] boat and oars and this took up the rest of the forenoon.”

“We were close in shore and calm. I thought we were nearing the land and was on the point of speaking when they sounded and found we were going 3 knot stearn towards the land. Down went the anchor. Several of the natives came on board, I saw many a familiar face amongst them, having seen them down in the bay. They brought several articles of no value and a few common furs which we bought for tobacco. They are very sly and will cheat in trading. [They] will show all their poor stuff first and if they cannot pass it off, they will soon show their best. They will not let a thing come up to the ship till they are paid for it — their demand is usually for rum, but as we have no liquor they have to get it somewhere else….”


Mary Brewster, SATURDAY [August] 4th [1849]: “Thick weather all day no whale in sight. Spoke John Elizabeth New London [CT], Capt. Chapel on board part of the day. Our sick men are doing nicely and will soon get well. So ends this week we are one whale better off. Ships in sight doing nothing; wind from the North, we are bound there first chance — ” 


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


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