Diary of the Voyage of Naphthali Coffin to the Goldfields of California
March 2, 1852 – August 12, 1852
Provided by Thomas Britton
Naphthali Coffin, my great-grandfather, was born in Gilead, Maine on 13 Feb 1822. He was a direct descendant of Tristram Coffin who was an early American immigrant and founder of Nantucket. Nap was married to Rose Anna Wheeler who was born in Calais, Vermont on 18 Aug 1827. They had two children, Abbie and Ferdinand, my grandfather, born 16 May 1850. Rose Anna lived to 07 Nov 1909 and died in Barre, Vermont.
Like most people of the day Nap worked hard eking out a living as a farmer and with other assorted jobs such as shoemaker. When the news of the California Gold Rush spread, Nap and thousands of others believed in the instant riches waiting for them in California. A once in a lifetime opportunity to make enough money to escape from the hardness of life as a farmer. In 1852, Nap painfully left behind his wife and small son and joined his great-uncle David on a 15,000 mile sea journey to seek their fortune.
The arduous journey south around Cape Horn and back up to San Francisco held many unknown challenges and ultimately ended in disappointment. The young man from Northern New England saw things few others had. The striking wildlife, exotic Rio De Janiero, the mountainous coast of Chile and much more created an adventure that is well captured in Nap’s account. The fifteen thousand mile journey took 162 days. 155 days (five months) were spent on board the Grecian with the other 339 passengers. During this time Nap shared his 7’ by 5’ room with a fellow passenger.
By 1852 tens of thousands of miners had found the easy gold and many mines were played out. Uncle David died six months after arriving. While this diary only includes the sea trip it is easy to imagine the hardships faced upon his arrival through the eyes of others seeking their fortunes. Remarkably there is a well written book based on the diary of Charles H. Harvey who sailed on the same trip as Nap. Charles kept his diary through the months after he arrived and it is probably very representative of the hard times Nap and his uncle had.
There is no way of knowing when and how Nap returned to Vermont. Daughter Abbie was born in 1854 so we can assume his stay was relatively short and probably painful. Nap returned to farming and died on 10 Sep 1861. He is buried in the cemetery behind the church in Orange, Vermont.
This well written diary reveals a lot of the personality of Nap. He was a strong family man and missed his wife and son. He talks of poetry. The strong religious tones in the diary reflect the long history of the strict adherence to religion found throughout the chronicles of the Coffin family. He was thoughtful in his writing. He enjoyed fiddling and singing on board. He was a patriot with a strong reverence for flag and country.
I have included this picture almost reluctantly because it presents a severe portrait of Nap and his Roseannah. The writings of his diary reflect a strong young man, deeply in love and ready for adventure.
The California Gold Rush
To really understand the mystique which led to this 15,000 mile journey it is important to understand what drew so many men to this quest. The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was discovered by James Wilson Marshall at Sutter's Mill, in Coloma, California. News of the discovery soon spread, resulting in some 300,000 men, women, and children coming to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. Of the 300,000, approximately 150,000 arrived by sea while the remaining 150,000 arrived by land.
These early gold-seekers, called "forty-niners," (as a reference to 1849) traveled to California by sailing boat and in covered wagons across the continent, often facing substantial hardships on the trip. While most of the newly-arrived were Americans, the Gold Rush attracted tens of thousands from Latin America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. At first, the prospectors retrieved the gold from streams and riverbeds using simple techniques, such as panning. More sophisticated methods of gold recovery developed which were later adopted
around the world. At its peak, technological advances reached a point where significant financing was required - increasing the proportion of corporate to individual miners. Gold, worth billions of today's dollars, was recovered, which led to great wealth for a few. However, many returned home with little more than they started with.
The effects of the Gold Rush were substantial. San Francisco grew from a small settlement to a boomtown, and roads, churches, schools and other towns were built throughout California. A system of laws and a government were created, leading to the admission of California as a free state in 1850 as part of the Compromise of 1850.
(Excerpted from the Diary of Charles H. Harvey)
Nap and Uncle David spent 162 days (originally estimated at 90 days) on the clipper ship the Grecian. There is little chance that Nap had any previous knowledge of the costs of passage or of types of ships that would be sailing to California, but his selection of the clipper Grecian was both fortunate and sound. Although there must have been many times on the voyage when he questioned his judgment - or the chance - that caused him to choose the Grecian, when one reads records of similar voyages of other vessels, he must conclude that it was probably a fortunate choice. For example, there was the Challenge, whose captain, Robert Waterman, aspired to achieve a record time from New York to San Francisco. The voyage was described as “Hell Ship" Nine of the crew died, and the captain was later tried for murder on the high seas but was acquitted There is no accurate record of the number of ships that were lost with all hands on board en route to the fabled gold fields nor is there a list of vessels that turned back or beached in the Falkland Islands, Rio, Valparaiso, Talcahuano, or elsewhere along the coast of Central and South America. Unlike these unfortunate vessels, the Grecian survived - at least for a time.
In terms of beauty and speed, the clipper ship occupies an important and romantic place in American maritirne history. Its heyday occurred in the decades of the 1840’s and 1850’s. Scholars still debate what a clipper ship was and how it carne to be so-called. Owners of vessels at that time attracted customers, by claiming their vessels were clipper ships - even when they clearly were not.
Two scholars give the following technical definition of a clipper ship:
The clipper ship was a sailing vessel of peculiar construction, designed for great speed rather than capacity. It had a long sharp bow, generally flaring outward as it rose above the water and a long, clean aft. The entrance lines were hollow, the masts were set with a great rake, and the yards were very square. A great sheer enhanced the appearance of a beautiful model and in every way the clipper ship ranked among the most handsome vessels ever put afloat.
The New (1975) Encyclopedia Britannica describes a clipper ship in part as a:
classic sailing ship of the 19th century, renowned for its beauty as well as speed. Apparently starting from the small, swift coastal packet known as the Baltimore clipper, the true clipper evolved first in U.S. and later in British yards. In its ultimate form it was a long, slim, graceful vessel with projecting bow and radically streamlined hull carrying an exceptionally large spread of sail on three tall masts. The emphasis on speed came partly from the desire to bring the first tea of the season back from China, and partly from the competition with the overland route across North America to the California gold fields. The American "Flying Cloud" made the voyage from New York to San Francisco in a record 89 days, and the British "James Baines" set the transatlantic sailing record of 12 1/2 days from Boston to Liverpool.
The Grecian was built in 1851. She was designated a "medium" clipper, a new design that ernphasized a "flat-floored" shape in its midsection. Earlier voyages around the Horn by slender, sharper-bowed clippers, had proven that this "sharp" design was poorly fanned for optimum speed.13 She was a large ship-indeed the largest vessel ever built in the Portland, Maine, area to that time. There is no agreement as to her tonnage. The official government registrations list it at 1,130 tons. A New York newspaper advertisement for the ship cites it as a "1,500 tons, copper fastened clipper ship. In any case, the vessel was sufficiently large to carry what was, up to that time, a record number of passengers around Cape Horn, over 330 men, "women and children.1s
Although there is confusion about the ship's tonnage, it is definitely known that the Grecian was launched September 27, 1851, at the shipyard founded by James B. Cahoon and George Turner at Ferry Village on Cape Elizabeth, now part of South Portland, Maine. Shortly after its launching, Adam Smith of New York purchased the new, large clipper ship for sixty thousand dollars and sailed her to New York. It was logical for New York to become the home port of the Grecian for that city was the principal East Coast point of departure for California bound ships.
The captain of the Grecian on its maiden voyage around Cape Horn was an experienced sailor, Frederick Ilsley (also spelled Isley in some sources). He was a member of the seafaring Ilsley family of Portland, Maine. His parents were Henry and Elizabeth (McLellan) Ilsley. Frederick Ilsley served in the United States Navy for a time and was listed as a midshipman, February 2, 1829. Nothing is known of Captain Ilsley's later maritime career nor the date and place of his death.
Newspaper advertisements claimed that the Grecian would sail for California on February 28, from its pier at No.4 East River, but the ship did not depart until March 2. In spite of hardships, storms, smallpox, near mutinies, food and water shortages, and hazards never dreamed of Naphthali and his fellow passengers, sick and well, made it to San Francisco from New York in 162 days, including' the two days they were in quarantine in Rio because of the cases of small pox on board.
The Diary of Naphthali Coffin
The diary below is based on a transcript prepared by my cousin Edna Blackmer. In her original, sentences were separated with spaces, but with little punctuation. My edits have been mainly replacing the spaces with periods to make it a little easier to read. Based on other diaries I have seen this one is especially well written with many interesting observations.
Tuesday, March 2, 1852
We left New York for Rio De Janeiro. Our Officers names are Capt. Ilsley, first Mate Gorden, second Mate Clemons and third mate Mitchell. We left Pier No. 5 at five o'clock with fair winds in our favour. After being out at sea about two hours I was taken with seasickness. I was very sick. I had the advantage of many of our passengers. Some of our passengers could not vomit, but I for one vomited up everything a grate many times before I got through with the seasickness. I never shall forget the first week after leaving New York. There was not an hour I think but what I was sick. All the food I ate I vomited up for about ten days. I think I suffered everything that a seasick man could suffer in the time. I was weak in this time. Oh, if I could of had the Companion that was far from me. One that oft has held my aching head and soothed my weary limbs to of cheered my gloomy midnight hours. It would have been pleasant to have.
Very rough sea with high winds. 700 miles from New York.
Friday, March 7, 1852
The wind was not in our favour. Our ship was we thought going to the Bottom. At fifteen minutes past 10am we lost our main mast and fore masts. It was a scene to behold. The confusion was soon over. 1,250 miles from New York
Thursday/Friday, March 11 and 12, 1852
After I was over my seasickness, my appetite was returning good. I was in good health for a few days. On the 12th day I was taken unwell. I was taken with a severe pain in my left side. It went from my side to my bowels and kidneys. I was in grate distress for two days and nights. I used mustard on my bowels. This was my first relief. After this sickness I began to improve as to my health. I was well about one week when I was taking again with the same complaint. It commenced in my right side. It was so severe in ten minutes that I could not sit up. The pain went into my kidneys causeing difficulty with my urine. The physician was called to me. He did not know what my trouble was, some said one thing, some another. The first medicine that I took was Castor Oil and Spirits of Turpentine. I vomited it up within ten minutes from the time I took it. They then put a mustard poultice on my side and bowels. This relieved the pain for a few moments. I was taken on deck and every attention paid to me that could be on board the ship. Many seemed interested for me. I had hot water applied to my feet and bowels. It eased the pain for a few minutes. It would then come on again. It seemed worse than ever. They gave me (physic) until I thought I should vomit myself to death. I was washed in brandy and had medicine pouring into me for one week. I received about six or eight injections. It was to no affect. It seemed as though every medicine worked against me. Note I had in my stomach 16 pills, 2 drops of Castor Oil and 5 tablespoonfuls of Salts. This at last gave me relief.
No one can imagine my suffering until they have had the same distress. I had no passage of my bowels for about eight days. Had it not been that God of mercies who gives us Life and bestows upon us all of the blessings I must eventually gone down to a watery grave. I heard no one say, but what I should get well. In my presence My Physician said I could not live. Passengers were surprised when they saw me on my feet. I shall never forget my sickness on this ship. I laid on deck every day, while I was sick on my couch almost as hard as board. William P was my nurse. He attended me with grate care. No one could done better. With the exception of that Companion that was far from me, one that would cheerfully I trust watched over me and shared my troubled if She had been in my presence. Often did I wish you my companion was with me. My pen cannot discribe my feelings. Give me home and Wife to take care of me in sickness and in health.
Very warm. Declared this day that we had the small pox on our ship. There was a grate excitement among our passengers. It is a cloudy day. Wind fair and a good breese. From the equator 1940 miles. At noon this morning Mr. John Morrill died with the Small pox. He was thrown into a watery grave. There was a solemn time I can assure you. He was from Troy, New York.
Wednesday, March 24, 1852
Calm and very warm. 1500 mls from Rio Jenerio. 15 cases of small pox.
Tuesday, March 30, 1852
Calm winds. We saw land about 40 miles to the East of us. It was the coast of Brazil.
Sunday, April 11, 1852
On Sunday we discovered the grate range of mountains that lie along the coast of Rio Jenerio. They are high and mountainous as far as the eye can extend. Between these Mountains in the Valley are sugar plantations. The traveler would naturally think that people would not inhabit such a mountainous country, although it presents to the Seaman the most pleasing scenery.
Monday, April 12, 1852
The Mountains in this place are not so high at the seashore as they are a short distance back. These Mountains are covered with green shrubery bareing different kinds of frute such as oranges, lemons, bananas and many other kinds of vegetation such as Coffee, Sugar Cane, Grapes Coconuts and Pine Apples. I will not try to discribe them all. This evening about six o'clock pm we passed through the Chanell into the Harbour of Rio Jeneiro. On our right hand is a most beautiful fort. It is built upon a Mountain. It is made of granite stone. It is built upon a Mountain that is about fifty feet high from the water. Canons are placed in every direction in the eye of the traveler as they pass by it. They gave us the signal that there was a fort. The signal was a streem of fire that arose from the center of the fort about 30 feet high from the roof of the building. Then the Officer asked us whare we was from and whare we was bound. Our Capt answer was from NY and bound for San Francisco. On our left as we passed through the chanell is a mountain that is 900 feet from the sea. It is almost perpendicular. The first American that ever went round Cape Horn climbed this high and huge Mountain. On the top of it he spread the Star Spangled Banner and waved the free flag of North America. He was the first and the last man that ever ascended this steep prisipice.
Tuesday, April 13, 1852
Rio Jeneiro is a most romantic place in the world. It is surrounded in every direction by mountains. The buildings are not made with any workmanship. Most of them are small. This city is filled with slavery. The slaves are of the darkest colored Negroes. They wore no apparel with the exception of a small piece of cloth buttoned around their waist. The Roman Catholic have the power in South America. We have an American consul in Rio Jeneiro for to manage our American affairs that is connected with this nation. On Monday morning the Custom House officer came alongside of our ship and inquired whare we was from and whare we are bound and how many passengers and if any sickness on board. Our Capt answered one case of small pox and have had forty cases of the same. We having sickness on our ship we was querenteened and not a man allowed to go ashore. The Officer wished to know if we wanted Medical aid. Capt answered no. Our Captain wished to know how long we should have to lay whare we was. The Officer said three or four days. We had every necessary thing brought to us that we wanted. They brought us fresh Beef, string beans, radishes, new Onions, oranges and bananas, limes just picked from the tree.
Wednesday, April 14, 1852
About five o’clock pm the city reporter came along side our ship and said that we was out of querentine and after the customs house officer came aboard our ship we could go ashore.
Thursday, April 15, 1852
This morning we went ashore to see the City of Rio Jenerio. A grate many curiosities we saw there. The first object that I saw was the long eared muels that is used in this place and Negroes carrying heavy burdons on their heads without touching it. Negroes Wenches bare as they come into the world as far down as their waist and Negroes babies naked as they come into the world. The market presents to the spectator every kind of fruit that can be thought of. This market is dirty and filthy. The owners are Spanish and Blacks. There is no regulation nor fancy to Streets. They are very filthy. They are laid out very narrow hollowing in the center of the street. When the travler ascends to the top of the mountains thare he can see the wonderfull works of nature. Fine Building surounded with all kinds of frute. On one of these mountains I plucked from the trees Oranges, Bananas and Coffee. This was very plesant to me.
Friday, April 16, 1852
Provisions are very high in Rio. I bought me a dinner in Rio. I had one egg and a small peice of ham, three cups of coffee and some Bread and Butter and my bill was 75 cents. Other things in the same proportion. The princible milk is Goat's milk. For a small cup of milk and bread is 25 cents. The price of Goat is fifty to sixty Dollars. I did not explore Rio as I should if it had not been for the Yellow Feavor. It is verry sickley here.
Saturday, April 17, 1852
I went ashore three days in succession. It cost me 90 cents to come and go. I was very much fatigued when I arived to the ship. I was more at home on the ship then I was in Rio Jenerio. The land seemed to me to be in motion. It was a very curious sensation to me. I bought 220 Oranges $1.10 and fifty Limes for 25 cents. A lime is smaller than a lemon and for the same use. The Oranges and limes are green. I have rolled them in papers to keep them from rotting until we get into cold weather so that I can eat some of them then. I have not eaten an Orange nor any other kind of frute since I left home. I did not think it safe to eat it in this climate. There is a celebration in Rio Je. This day Emporer arives into this City from his country seat and lives in the citty through fall and winter and then returns again to his country seat. It is a grate day with this nation. the Emporer here is considered thare supreme Being. If God was regarded as the Emporer is this would be a happy and prosperous nation. Bands of music and the Militia are in service to the honour of the Emporer Don Pedro. The Emporer was drawn through the main streets of the Citty by six horses of ordinary specimen. The harnesses were costley and Beautifull. His carriage cost 35,000 Lbs. It was presented by Queen Victoria to Don Pedro the Emporer of South America. As he passed through the streets he was guarded by Officers and Soldiers with bands of music to accompany him. When the Soldiers and Officers passed by the Emporer each one shook hands with him and kissed his hand as a token of love and honour to his Majesty.
Sunday April 18, 1852
This is Saboth morning with me, but if thare is any people that disregards it is the people of Rio Jenerio. We have this morning Market Boats along side our ship loaded with frute such as Oranges, Bananas, limes and water melons. The passengers soon bought all of the Negroes frute. Small boats are coming to our ship to carry passengers to the shore. Thare is grate confusion with our passengers this day. Thare has not been an hour I think for the last week, but what thare was a drunken man on board our ship. It is a scene for a moral man to behold. Cursing and swearing is almost the only language that can be heard from our passengers. I have said our passengers were in confusion and so they are.
Thare has been several fights on our ship this day. In the first place one of the sailors come aboard the ship this morning drunk and one of the Officers of the Ship in his drunkiness took him and abused him. The Sailor mad in his drunkness went and got a weapon and struck the second mate and the blood run as though he was butchered with a knife. The Second Mate struck at the sailor. He was so drunk he fell himself. The Sailor run and the Mate after him. When Mr. Gorden discovered it he arrested them both and put them in irons for safe keeping. This creates a grate excitement on the ship. During the Saboth Day about five o'clock pm one of our Sailors insulted our first mate. He was arrested and put in irons. With this excitement we can hear the sound of the fife and drum with Bands of music and soldiers drilling in the Navy. This is on God's Holey Day. If any moral man was in this ship he would naturally think by the appearance of our ship crew that thare was no God. They are thare own supporters and no end to man. About eight o'clock this evening our second mate went and prepared himself with pistols and swore in his drunkness that he would kill the first mate if he could find him. He pursued him. Mr. Gorden, the first mate, passed the second mate in disguise and went into his room and loaded a revolver and a double barrelled pistol and gave order for the third mate and sailors to arrest the second mate and put him in irons. The first mate said the first man that attempted to assist the second mate he would shoot him dead. This was another excitement. Soon after this riot I retired to my bed and soon went to sleep. About two o'clock I was awoke out of my slumber by a rush of people on deck. A fight commenced. One was knocked down and beat. Knives were drawn and lives threatened. This ended the riots for the night. 500 people will make a grate confusion in times of a riot.
I think thare was never a more wicked and miserable lot of people together than thare is on this ship. Many of them are gamblers and they gamble day and night. Swareing and drinking is thair main business. No man can sleep unless he can sleep with gambling by his side as thick as bees around a hive. If any moral man or woman could look upon the misery that lies in the bosom of some of our passengers he would learn how to appreciate the contrast between being placed with such crew or be returned we will say perhaps with the Companion of his bosom and his own dear family and thare enjoy the blessing that God bestows upon us dayly. It is a true marvel that a man is never to old to learn. On Sunday evening we received our last water boat and eight lively Hogs. We received about 200 casks of water with other provisions in Rio Jeneiro.
Monday, April 19, 1852
We sailed from Rio Jeneiro. Most of the passengers were glad to leave that port. We had but little wind. We made but little headway on our passage.
Sunday April 25, 1852
Sunday morning with a heavy squall about 10 o'clock. Sails reafed, very rough sea. Sailed 216 miles last 24 hours. Several sick on the ship. Some sick by eating frute, some with small pox, some seasick.
Wednesday, April 28, 1852
I could but weep this morning to think that God in his grate mercies was bestowing upon me so many blessings of Life that I am a Spared Monument of God mercy whilst others around me are sick and some taken from time to eternity and I still amongst the Living. Oh that I may praise and reverence My Maker and My God the few days that is allotted me to live in this wicked world. That I may be prepared to meet my God in peace when time with me will be no more. Sidney Storm died this morning and is ready to be launched into a watery grave. The cause of his sickness was by eating frute and drinking. The corpse lay upon the deck ready for buriel. It is a solemn scene but our Saviour Says in his holey word it is better to go to the House of Mourning then to the House of feasting for the Living will lay it to Heart.
Friday, April 30, 1852
This morning is severe cold. It was a very cold night. I was up most of the night. The sea was so rough I could not Sleep. Wind high and sea rough. Wind in our favour. Our ship rolls and tumbles like an egg shell. It was very difficult to stand upon the ship it was so rough. Last night was not the first night that I have been without sleep since I came aboard of the Grecian. There has not been 10 nights since I left New York but what I have been up from 1 to 4 times in a night. Sometimes I get something to eat. Sometimes I cannot find anything that I can eat, but one thing I can always find that is my pipe, my old friend. I have slept on a hammock since I was sick. It is a very easy place to sleep. Last night I left it and went into my room. It was to cold to sleep in my hammock. It hangs about seven feet from floor. It rocks the same as a cradle when the ship is in motion. It is a much better place to sleep then my birth is in warm weather. This morning I have some cold, my throat is sore and my head aches. It is by course of being up in the cold last night. My appetite is good as necessary.
My health is good this morning. Some Sleepy. I did not get much rest for the past week it is very cold. It is impossible to keep myself warm. I shall never forget the many hours that I have sit alone in my room, yes, those gloomy midnight hours that I passed in watching the motion of our Ship and thinking of thee My Dear Wife, one that is far away, one that seems though far away to cheer my heart. Were it not for the Roseannah I should pass many more gloomy hours then I do when I think of thee Dear Wife. It warms my heart to love and happy it is for me to think that there is one that thinks of me when far in distant climbs, one that shares my gloomy hours and shares with me my toil and hardship as I pass along this dreary voyage.
Sunday, May 2, 1852
My health is good this morning. Grate excitement through this Storm of Wind. Such Wind I never saw. Our Ship seems nothing but a bauble on the waves of this wild Atlantic Ocean. It snowed this morning with us. A tremendous gale long to be remembered. Our steward and our cook fought a battle this Sunday morning. Grate excitement. Sailed SW 160 miles
Monday, May 3, 1852
My health is good this morning, not but little sleep for the past 24 hours. Days are very short, nights are long and tedious. The Sun rises about 10 past seven and sets about four o'clock PM. Severe cold in this Latitude.
Seas so rough that it's with great difficulty that I can stand by holding on. Last night I commenced composing some Poetry. I have not finished it. I have many things to entertain myself. Sometimes I am reading, Sometimes Singing, Sometimes writing and fiddling, Sometimes smoke a pipe a little or a segar, often listen to the various opinions of our passengers. It is very amusing to me and see the sad faces that's here on this ship.
Tuesday, May 4, 1852
Dear Companion, much of my time is devoted in thinking of thee, one that is far away. Yes, happy is the hours that are spent in thinking of thee. Would I be miserable or not were it not for thee. Yes, unhappy would I live unhappy and dreary would the hours pass away. It cheers my very Soul to think that there is one that lives and loves the barer of these lines. One that thinks of me though far away one that shares my pleasures and sorrows of the Day. Ah, that little one, that Babe, that last I saw in it's Mother's arms, that little one that clung to me as I was about to leave my home with its mother weeping over it. It fills my heart with grief to think of that hour. Oh, may we three meet again.
Wednesday, May 5, 1852My health is good this morning. We have not any distance for the last twenty four hours. Wind ahead driving us back this morning. The Forkland Islands are in far view to us. Thare are covered with snow. Very high mountains. It is very cold here.
I will try to describe our living to the reader. Our food our hogs would refuse. Dear Wife, if I could go to your table and eat the crumbs that falls to the dog I should think that I was well to live, but that privilege I am deprived of. There has been several days that some of the passengers have not had either knife or fork to eat with. Our principle living is sea bread and salt meat, sometimes we get tea or coffee, but it is so poor that I cannot drink it. Everything is so nasty. It is enough to turn a strong man's stomach. Thankful I am Dear Wife that you do not know my situation and my fare on this ship. My pen cannot describe it to you. We get such fare as I have described twice in twenty-four hours. In the morning we get our Breakfast between nine and ten o’clock and our supper between four and five in the evening. Such is our fare. Dear Companion, I hope through the mercy of God that I shall be spared to live to return again to you.
Thursday, May 6, 1852
My health is good with the exception of a lame back. My appetite is good, but nothing to eat that is good. We had some corn bread and salt beef. I had one piece of corn bread and some meat and some coffee that was not fit for hogs to drink. This was our breakfast. Our supper was not so good. Hard times.
Friday, May 7, 1852
My health is good this morning. I had a good nights rest. This morning we had some applesauce and some soft bread and coffee. For our Supper was fresh meat, very fat, made into a stew. It was the same as hogs fat with a little Bread cooked with it. I ate some of it as I was obliged to do so. This is going to California! I guess Roseannah, if you should be here and see us twenty four hours you would say that you had seen enough of human nature, but I have one thing to comfort me. That if I live I shall some time get to my journey's end where I can have something that is fit to eat. It is very cold here. I am so cold that I cannot hold my pen; still I have my drawers, pants, overalls woolen and cotton shirt on.
Saturday, May 8, 1852
This morning my health and spirits are good. Nothing new to write only I saw a Whale (spout) for the first time. It is very cold here this morning. The deck is covered with snow. We make but little headway. We are in a calm. Very near Cape Horn. Our fare was the best that it has been since we left Rio (de Janeiro). We threatened to throw the Negroes overboard if they did not give us better fare so they have done a little better.
Sunday, May 9, 1852
This is God's Holy Sabbath. My health is good. It does not seem by the appearance of our passengers, but it is Sabbath. With in it is the same here as it was at home and I hope that it will always be the same. Oh may I regard the Sabbath Day and keep it Holy.
Monday, May 10, 1852
My health is good this morning. This morning the sea is smooth and beautiful. Wind is light but in our favour. It rains here this morning. Much warmer than what it has been. About 2 o'clock pm Statens Land was discovered laying South West from us. It is an island and lies near Cape Horn. Thare is nothing to be seen but high mountains covered with snow. I am surprised that South America is so mountainous. No man can form a correct idea of a country untill he explores it.
Wife I have not much to write, but I will try to find something to devote myself a few minutes. In the first place our living is much better than what it has been. Rosannah, it seems a long time since I saw you, although I never was sensible of time passing away so quick as it has since I sailed from New York. Time flyes fast. It has been 69 days since we sailed from NY. The time that I spend on this ship is lost. This long voyage is dreaded by me, but I am here and I must indure it. I hope and trust that it will be all for the best. This is ten o’'clock in the evening. I sit in my room meditating on the past and future events of human nature. Man in the natural state is nothing more nor less than a beast. That is a man that has given himself up entirely to all the sinful lust of this vain sinfull and wicked world. One that does not regard neither God nor man, one that cares not what he says or what he does to injure his fellow beings, one that will lie cheat and steal, one that has perhaps left his Companion who is a kind and virtuous wife who considers her husband the same and bids him go and be a virtuous husband and when he is out of his Companion's presence he says in his sin and folly that he can go where he pleases or with who he pleases and do what he pleases to satisfy the sinfull lust of this world and break the vow that he has made to his Companion who he had left behind. Such a man I consider worse than a brute of creation. Such men I think we have with us and plenty of men on our ship that any person would think the finest of gentlemen. The first sight you will see them in their drunkedness and so I might mention other things connected with out ship's crew but I will forbear. Wife often have I thanked my God that I was never led away into the many vices that is carried on in this wicked world and I hope by prayer that I be led in that path that God will prosper and justify me.
Tuesday, May 11, 1852
My health is good this morning. Dear Wife I have nothing to do but write, so I will write to you. It seems a great while since I saw you and Bubby and it will be a great while before we see each other if we live. Often do I think of thee. I hope that it will be the will of God that we shall be spared to meet each other in this world, but if time should otherwise determine, may we be prepared to meet each other in Heaven where parting will be no more. I did not consider nor imagine our long separation. If we ever meet again on the shores of time you said Dear Wife that we did realize our separation. We did not, no more than a child, but as it is I hope that it is all for the best. I have one thing to comfort me -that I am not a gambler nor drunkard nor I have least fear of being led into those vices nor do anything Rosannah but what I should be willing for you to see and to know. I will return to you if I live and you live an honest husband and it is my least fear but what I shall find you my virtuous wife the same as when I left you.
Note: We had a little trouble with one of the waiters. He threw a handfull of knives at me. They went all around my head but did not hit me (he was started of very quick I assure you)
Wednesday, May 12, 1852
My health is good this morning. I have spent the day in fishing for birds. I caught one. It’s called the Sea Pigeon. We have grate assortment of birds here. Birds of the most beautiful plumage. I am thankful we have got so near past Cape Horn. So long dreaded I think we shall pass it without any trouble. I have often thought our ship might be lost and we go down as thousands of ships have on the account of having so much wickedness on our ship and it is through the mercy of God that our ship and passengers so many of them have been spared this far for wickeder I think never cross the seas unless they was regular Pirates then what we have got on our ship.
Thursday, May 13, 1852
Health is good. Nothing to write of any consequence. Rather Colder Head Winds driven back near Stratens Island. This Island was in fair view this morning. It was the southern part of Stratens Island. Tack ship S.S.E. Anxious to get around Cape Horn.
Friday, May 14, 1852
Health is good this morning. Wind in our favour SSW. Are thinking to clear Cape Horn this morning. 50 miles south of Cape Horn. If the wind keeps us on this tack we shall pass around we think Cape Horn. It is quite rough tonight although nothing to what we have had. It has snowed very fast here today, been very cold. With us it is as cold here this day as it is in the winter with us in the most of the winter months, although I am not prepared to judge as I would be at home as we have just come from one of the hottest climates in the world. It takes as many clothes to keep me warm as it does in the winter at home. Since I have been writing this evening our ship has been tacked and now we are sailing SSE direct of from our course. This is the 4th day since we have been sailing back and forward trying to clear Cape Horn. Wife, it is discouraging to me to think of so long a voyage to California, if I live to get there. But I am here and must put up with it. It is a general time of health on our ship. I have spent most of the day in fishing for Birds. I have caught one. I had a good dinner of Sea fowl. I saw an old whale and a young one together near the ship. The first that I have seen. I am anxious to get around Cape Horn as this is the most dangerous part of the voyage. We expect to get more plesent weather when we get into the Pacific Ocean
Saturday, May 15, 1852
My health is good this morning. Almost discouraged in thinking of our long voyage to California. It is now almost three months since I sailed from New York. Our prospect is three months more before we arrive, if we live, in California. 74 days since we sailed from New York to Cape Horn. Dear Companion this night is the most feerfull night that I ever witnessed by Sea or by land. Often I have heard of Cape Horn, but what did I know about it until I saw it. Nothing, no more than an infant child. If you could see our situation this night you would say Lord Save us or we perish.
The words come into my mind, Oh, it is a feerfull night. There is danger on the deep. The wind rores like thunder. Our Ship is sailing fast. It rolls so that I have to brace myself to sit in my room which is seven feet long and about five feet wide. Every few minute’s waves brake over her Bullworks, sometimes more and sometimes less. Water is running on deck like a Brook. Whilst I have been writing this evening we was in the greatest danger. For a few minutes the ropes gave way that was connected with wheel and rudder and the helmsman had no power to steer our ship. Had it not been seen at the time and every effort used to lash the ropes we should have been buried in the deep, deep sea. The Little Sailor Boys was holding on to have the ropes lashed. They cried for the danger. Our ship is poorly manned for so large a ship. There is but 14 able bodied seamen and 8 boys, in full 22 where there ought to be 30 able seamen. Our Capt. said we might be thankful that we was saved from the deep.
Wife I should like this night to be on land with you. Although I'm contented with my situation unplesent as it is, I never have seen the hour when I regretted that I started for California. I hope by the kind protection and mercy of God that I shall be spared to live through my jurney and be prospered in all the lawfull pursuits that I may enter into and return to the Companion of my bosom and to that little Son that I have left behind and there injoy the society of them the remainder of my days that alotted me to live here on earth in peace and prayer to God. While I have been writing here this evening I can hear some cursing and swearing some playing clarinet, some flute, some barking like a dog, and some blaring like a wolf and in fact all kinds of sounds you can think of. It is one of the greatest manageries I think that can be found.
Oh whare is the friend that my heart used to cheer far, far away, Oh far away.
Sunday, May 16, 1852
My health is good this morning. As usual everything was turned up side down that was not lashed fast. We had rather poor fare, all I had for my breakfast was salt beef and applesauce and mouldy biscuits. Our living is hard. Often have wished that I could sit down with you Dear Wife and eat a meal of victuals. The time will come I hope when we shall meet And then I guess I'll have something good to eat, Rosannah Coffin
Monday, May 17, 1852
My health is good this morning with the exception of a light cold. Nothing special to write this evening. Our living is poor. All I had for my super was salt beef and hardtack. I think it rather hard fare for me.
Tuesday, May 18, 1852
I have some cold this morning, sore throat, good apitite. Wind in our favour with a beautifull breeze. We last night passed from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific Ocean. We doubled Cape Horn this last 24 hours and happy we are to think we are clear of the Cape, the most dangerous part of the seas. We had plenty of noise last night. Several were drunk on our ship and also our Commander was intoxicated with the rest.
Thursday, May 20, 1852
My health is quite good this morning. My cold is some better than it has been. Land discovered this afternoon. It was the cost of Patagonia. For a few days past I have had some extras for a few meals. I have got me a tin plate which I take some fat pork, cut it in slices and fry it in my tin plate with fire that procedes from a candle. Any person would smile to see me cook in my stile. This meat when it is cooked makes me think of home. Companion I like to be with you this evening. Your company would be the most agreeable to me of anything on earth. Often, yes very often, do I think of you and the many hours that we have spent together, but now we are separated from each other, but I antisipate the time when we shall meet each other again in this world and enjoy each others society as we have done before.
Friday, May 21, 1852
Nothing new to write this evening. My cold is much better. There is a very rough sea, waves run mountain high. I shall not sleep much tonight. The sea is so rough the waves brake over in grate quantities of water. Everything is turned upside down, dishes broke, one of our tabels was broke down. I could not sit to the table without holding on with both hands. We are going faster than we ever run before, say for the last six hours run at the rate of 15 miles per hour. This is about 10 o’clock in the evening. We have a dreadfull night. It is dark and fearfull. The wind roars almost like thunder. The water is about 2 feet deep on our ship's deck.
Saturday, May 22, 1852
My health is good. Nothing new to write. It is a general time of health on our ship. Merry hearts to think we are so near Valparaiso where we can go ashore.
Sunday, May 23, 1852
My health is good. This is a very cold and cloudy morning. Our living is poor. Most of the time I make my meals of salt beef and hard tack. We have some other changes, but they are cooked in such shape that I cannot eat them. Each one has to steal his knife and fork and hide it or else he would not have any to eat with nor dish to drink in, so I look out for no one. I have got knife and fork, drink dish and small spoon and a large one so I am equipped as the law directs. I do think that I can take care of no one. I keep some sugar, some hard tack and some salt pork locked in my trunk, so that I can fry me a piece of meat when I want it. My spider is a tin plate of the first kind and a candle is my fire and wood.
Monday, May 24
My health is good. I have not slept more than three or four hours in a night for some time. Our passengers are hollering and screaming the most of the night so that no person can Sleep unless they can sleep in hot water.
Tuesday, May 25, 1852
My health is good. This day this has been one of the finest days that we have had for the last thirty days. It has been quite warm so that our passengers can sit on deck without suffering from the cold. Some are playing checkers, some cards and chess and some fishing for birds. I have spent most of the day in fishing for birds. Many of our passengers are washing as there has not been much washing done since we left Rio on account of the cold and rough weather that we have had.
Wednesday, May 26, 1852
This morning is fine and delightful. The sea was very calm. We made but little headway on our passage. Head winds some of the time which prevented us from sailing on our right course. Our passengers are very anxious to get to Valparaiso so they can once more put their foot on dry land and enjoy the various privileges which the land affords. Washing has been carried on extensively with many of our passengers. Some of them are fishing for birds. Some beautiful birds are sailing around our ship. They are called the albatros and they are very large. They measure from 8 to 18 feet from one point of the wing to the other. They are of the most beautiful plumage. I have been fishing some today. I have skinned five birds that I have caught and have their down on the skin stretcher on a board. I made my dinner today of hardtack and raw mackerel. It was the best that I could get on the ship. It is a general time of health on the ship. There is several passengers got the mumps. Charley Ward has got the mumps in the room with me.
Thursday, May 27, 1852
This morning is very stormy. The wind blows very hard. Last night was very rough. The waves run mountains high. Our ship was tossed in every direction. During this day the principle business that has been carried on is bird fishing. Mr. Hanes caught two Albatroses. They weighed about twenty lbs. They measured ten feet from the point of one wing to the other. I have spent most of the day fishing birds. I caught two birds. One that measured 7 feet from one point of one wing to the other. Its colour was mostly black. I skinned him and streched it on a board. I have got his head and bill and some of his wing bones as it is a grate curiosity for any to see. We have made no headway for the last twenty-four hours. The wind against us. My health is good this morning.
Friday, May 28, 1852
This morning is rough and windy. The sails are full, ploughing the waves with grate rapidity. Our ship rolls so that the yard arms nearly meet the water. At each roll I have been sitting on the quarter deck fishing for birds. Sometimes I could almost reach the water and then I would soon be up some 25 feet. A grate part of the time is rather unplesant for me. Uncle David is sick a bed with strong simtoms of a feavor. It takes up part of my time in waiting upon him and also William P. is quite unwell. Some seasick with a severe headache. This ship is a hard place to be sick on. We are sailing off from our course with speed. Everything almost presents itself unpleasant. We have had winds to trouble us and our living is miserable. It is not worthy to be called living. We have no sugar, a very small quantity of butter alloted to each mess, plenty of Salt mete, Hoss, as we call it and hard tack. We had this morning a small warm biscuit dealt out to each man and no more I think that this is rather hard living. So we go Sailing NE by North. 420 mi from Valpariso. My health is good with the exception of some cold.
Saturday, May 29, 1852
This morning is cold and windy. Seas run high. We are most of us cross to think of our long passage on the Grecian. This is the 89 day since we left NY. A little more than one half of our way to California. It is discouraging to think how much time we are almost wasting away on this ship. We are 100 mls farther from Valpariso than what we was yesterday and we are still sailing off from our course with a strong wind. No lat or long today. I have spent most of the day in taking care of Uncle David. I am in hopes that he is some better this afternoon
Sunday, May 30
This morning presents itself to us on the ship plesent and beautifull. It does not seem here by the appearance that it is the Sabath Day. Some of our passengers are preparing for washing, some are fishing for birds. Many of them do not regard the Sabath no more then the brutes of the field, but I thank my parents that I was taught to regard the Sabath Day and keep it Holy. The wind blows very strong through the day. Much stronger it blows this evening. Our ship is tossed around as though it was a small canoe. The sea is tremendous rough this night. It will make many of our passengers think of how the most unplesent of all places in this world is the Atlantic or Pacific or in fact any Ocean, lake or river in a heavy gale of wind. It makes every object gloomy and unplesent. We are sailing West direct from our course. We are about 300 miles from Valpariso. We saw land this morning. It was the mountainous Island Mocca SW from us. It is quite cold. We have not the Lat nor Long taken this day. I have been waiting upon Uncle David today. He is much better then what he has been. William P. is quite slim. He has got a severe cold. My health is good for me. No one can imagine how hard it is to be sick on this ship unless they have experienced the same. Our living is very poor. Everything is dirt. No person can keep clean where we are, but here we are and here we must stay for the present. 89 days since we left NY and we have about 6400 miles to go a straight line to San Francisco.
Monday, May 31, 1852
This morning presents itself as one of the most frightful mornings that we have ever witnessed on our passage. The storm commenced about Sunday noon. The wind blowed a perfect gale. There was but little sleep on the ship. For the last 24 hours everything was turned upside down. The wind began to abate about noon today. We was all thankful when the storm was over. The for tack was carried away last night. Every sail was furled with the exception of our main top sheet and that had two reafs in it. We made no headway. We only floated. Sometimes we was sailing W sometimes NE. Our direct course was N. We did not get the lat or long today.
Tuesday, June 1, 1852
Most of our passengers are discouraged to think of our long passage and how slow we are going. Along our passage our living is poor. We had meat for supper. It was most raw. We had to eat it or nothing. We sometimes have tea and sometimes get none. We are deprived of our rights. We have no sugar. We are lowered on butter -it is a verry small piece once a day. The cobber passengers fare well on this ship. The agreement was from Mr. Smith that we should have the same living on the ship as the cobber passengers did. We are making an effort to see if we cannot have better living. My health is good as it has been for the journey.
Wednesday, June 2, 1852
This morning is plesent and beautifull. The sea is calm. We are about in the same place that we was three days ago. We have not made 10 miles in the last three days. We are sailing first on our course and then on another. We have tried to clear this point of land with 12 different tacks, but have not cleared it. We are in hopes of clearing this point on our next tack. The land that we can see is very mountainous. It looks beautiful as we pass by it. The shrubery is green and bountiful. We are about 200 miles from Valparaiso. We have seen several whales today. Our passengers had a great time with Mr. Johnson. He was just drunk enough to make fun. It was equal to Barnum Museum to see him perform. We are all very anxious to see Valparaiso. It is a general time of good health on our ship. We had baked beans for our supper. We was all satisfied with our supper. My health is good and hurrah for California. We never had baked beans until we had a Yankee Steward. He said baked beans and we had them. Our fare is much better than what it was a few days ago when we had Darloes for Stewerds.
Thursday, June 3, 1852
This morning is somewhat cooler than it has been. For several days we had a fine breeze, but not in our favour. The wind seems to be against us on every tack. We have sailed forward and back. This is the 5th day to cleer land. Conception, we are very near to it this afternoon. We have not made probably over 25 miles for this term of time. We are thinking to cleer this point on our next tack. This lies NE from us we are sailing. We passed along the coast of Conception. Land there was a beautiful island that presented itself to us being a short distance from the main land. This island was off the lee side being NE from us. There was a beautifull cape that was connected with this island. It extended along the cost NW from the main island. This cape was level and beautifull. It was covered with green shrubbery. the main island is almost square by all appearances. It is between 2 and 3 hundred feet from the water. It is almost perpendicular on the summit of this island. It presents to seamen the most romantic scenery we have seen.
Friday, June 4, 1852
This is a cold and cloudy morning. The wind blows like a hurricane. It commenced blowing about 4 o'clock yesterday. It is still blowing stronger and the sea rougher then I have ever witnessed since I came to sea. The fore sheet was carried away this morning about 4 o’clock. Every sail was furled except the main top sheet and that was reafed. This has been the longest storm or rather tempest that we have had. It lasted 26 hours. It was fearfull and dangerous. Little did we know but what we might go down to watery grave as thousands have in bygone days. We could not sleep much last night. I did not sleep untill four o'clock this morning. Then I went to sleep and slept until about 8 o’clock at this time. The ship was roiling and tumbling as though it would soon go to the bottom. When I awoke this morning everything was wrong side up. It looked worse between decks then a barn yard after a long storm. There was about one hundred dollars worth of provisions distroyed last night. I had for my breakfast some soft tack and apple sauce that I could not eat and some hoss mete and some coffee that is as bitter as gall without sugar or molasses. This is our fare. I had for my supper some stewed beans. There is ten in our mess. We all had to eat out of our mess pan without drink of any kind. We had some hard tack. We had no knives or forks unless we had them hid away. I have no fork. I eat with my knife and fingers. It was very amusing to see the waiters bringing down the stewed beans. One of them made a miss step as he was coming down the stairs and fell and threw his pan with about 4 quarts in it some feet and covered over 2 or 3 of the passengers as though they was planted. It created a grate laugh. The heaviest roils that we have had in this gale or storm was tonight about five o'clock. There was several feet of water on deck. When she roiled every object was in motion on this ship. It was thought by some that she would never rise again. We have not made much the last 24 hours. We are near land, Conception. No observation taken. My health is good as usual.
Saturday, June 5, 1852
It is plesent this morning and quite calm. The sea is not very smooth after so long a storm as we have had. We are sailing this morning near the seashore. All that we can see is mountains. They run up almost perpendicular some 2 to 3 hundred feet in some places. These mountains are the most of them covered with green shrubbery. We can see the remains of balconies on some of the mountains where they have burst forth there fire and smoke from the towering hights of them. It is very plesent to the traveler to look upon mountain scenery as they pass along the coast of Chile. The captain decided to go ashore. Arrrived into this harbour and threw the anchor of our ship about six o'clock in the evening. Every man's on hand. Full of music. We have sailed today about fifty miles. Our course has been NNE. Every person has been looking for Talcahuano.
Sunday, June 6, 1852
It is very cold and stormy this morning. We are anchored in the harbour of Talcahuano. We made strong calculation to go ashore, but we are disappointed. We cannot go ashore on the account of the wind blowing so hard from the main sea and we being anchored so near a land bar that we cannot raise our anchor and spread sail before she will drift onto the land bar. The Captain of the Pioneeer, a steamship, not more than a cobb’s length from our ship, came aboard the Grecian this morning. He arived into this port the 5th day of June. There is great excitement on the Grecian today. We was 47 days from Rio to Talcahuano. It is 95 days from NY to Talcahuano. We anticipated being in California before this time. The Custom House officer came aboard the Grecian and gave us some information in regard to provisions and such necessary things that we wanted on the Grecian. He gave us the regulations of the place. There is a fine for man to get drunk or to fight or to carry revolvers or dirk knives or run horses in Talcahuano streets. Conception city lies 9 miles from Talcahuano. We have a tremendous storm this day. It commenced last night. My health is good.
Monday June 7, 1852
This morning presents itself to us in the Bay of Talcahuana, plesent and beautiful. We are every one of us looking for a boat to carry us ashore into the city. About 10 o'clock the small boats came along of our ship to carry us ashore. The small boats were crowded full until most of our passengers were ashore. I was in the first boat that went ashore and I was the first man from the ship Grecian that put his foot on soil in Talcahuana. This village contains about 4000 inhabitants. The principle inhabitants are Spanish. There is but few Americans in this place. This village presents itself to the spectator as one of the most dismal places. The buildings most of them look as though they had been buried beneath the ground for years and had just risen for the spectator to behold. There is not a two-story building in this place. The roofs of the buildings are covered with earthen that is manufactured from the clay. These buildings are owned by the richer class. The poorer class lives in huts made of sticks and straw. They are poor indeed. They have no floor in these huts. They live just the same as the brutes of the fields. It is not necessary for a man to get married. He can live with a woman as he pleases and all is right.
Tuesday, June 8, 1852
The complexion of the natives here is copper color. The most of them are very ignorant. The streets are narrow and filthy. Hollowing in the center so that the water can run in the middle of the street. There is considerable trade in this place. Most of the store goods are much higher in price than they are in the States with the exception of some few provisions that are raised in this country. The principle grain that is raised here is wheat and barley. They plow the ground with a wooden plough. It is made like a one tooth rake. There is a spine that is about 16 feet long and through the end of this spine there is a hole that is made through the spire and a stick put through this spire in a form so that it will hook into the ground. When the point of the plough gets dull they take the ax and sharpen it. It is very curious to see the fashions of this place. There ox yokes are made of a straight piece of wood and lashed to the horns of the ox for him to draw by. There is no iron about these yokes or ploughs. The ox wagons are about 18 feet long. The wheels are made about 2-1/2 feet in diameter and from 4-6" wide. The owners are not allowed by law to grease their cart wheels. They can be heard to make a loud noise some distance as they are made of nothing but wood. The soil is beautifull rich but very rough and uneven. It produces from 30 to 50 bushels of wheat or barley to the acre. The principle part of the soil that is cultivated is on the hills where the earthquakes has made its appearance. Talcahuano in 1835 was mostly destroyed by an earthquake. The water in the bay receded into the village and covered the buildings mostly up. It threw down and washed a grate part of the place away
There was several ships lieing in the Bay at this time. They was carried into the extream part of the village and when the water fell the ships were on high and dry ground. Earthquakes are very common here. There can be seen at this time one mountain that is burning. The smoke can be seen a grate distance. From it one year ago this winter the sea receded 4 feet. Every person young and old left their home and fled to the hills for refuge. As for fires or burning of buildings they have none here. There is but one stove in Talcahuano. They have a small cast iron dish that will hold about 1/4 part of a bushel. It is called in Spanish a pacazo. This is filled with charcole and fire so as to warm where it is necessary. Most of the cooking is done over the pacazo. There are many valuable cole mines in this place. The principle productions are wool, coal, wheat and barley. Horses can be bought for one ounce a piece. Mules are used here and any quantity of Jackasses used for carry burdens. Oxen and cows are very cheap
Sunday, June 13, 1852
This is a business day. More Horse raceing, bull fighting and cock fighting than on any other day in the week. Stores are open and a grate day for trade. There was a cock fight today at two o’clock. I was present at the time. There was as many as could get on the piece of ground. There was one pair of cocks that fought 14 minutes and the judge rang the bell. The next pair fought 11 minutes and it was over. The watchman or rather the saranos in this place go round and cry the time of night every half hour during the night. The law in this place is if a man dies that is in debt he must be put in irons so long a time before burial.
Monday, June 14, 1852
This is a fine and plesant morning in Talcahuano. I am staying at the Tremont House Board at
1.25 per day. This morning I saw a man Dead lieing on the beach. He was taken to the Caliboose. I went to Conception. Walked it in company with Mitchell and Bigelow. It was a grate walk for us. We was three hours making 9 miles. We was tired boys when we arived there. We was very hungry after ariving there. We soon got something to eat and then commenced tramping. It is a much prettier place than Talcahuano. There is but few good looking buildings in Concepcion, although it is a very rich place. There is a Catholic meeting every morning here.
Tuesday, June 15, 1852
The streets are wide and plesant. Good sidewalks on the main street. In 1835 the earthquake destroyed the principle part of Concepcion. There is the remains of many buildings that was shook to pieces by the earthquake. There is about 9000 inhabitants in Concepcion. There is many rich stores. The principle inhabitants are Spanish. C Hallock and T. Gregory stopped in this place to learn the Spanish language. There is grate quantities of wines made of grapes that grow spontaneous in Chili. The wines are made in the country by the natives and brought to market in skins that hold from 1 to 4 gallons a piece. Mules are used to carry these burdens.
Wednesday, June 16, 1852
Every thing is wide awake in Talcahuano this morning. Passengers are preparing themselves to sail soon. They have the most of them got tired of this place. This evening there is a grate noise with about 12 or 15 of the Grecian passengers. They are going up and down the street hollering and screaming under the influence of intoxicating drink. About 9 o’clock there was taken to the caliboose 6 men. Their names Williams B, Young T, Willson, Teney, Isaac, one name that I do not know. They was taken to the caliboose and kept through the night untill morning.
Thursday, June 17, 1852
This morning they were released by paying 1/4 of an ounce a piece. They was a hard looking set of boys when they come out of the calaboose. Passengers are preparing themselves to go aboard the Grecian as fast as possible. At four o'clock the Grecian set sail from Talcahuano for San Francisco with a fair wind for our ship to clear the Bay of Talcahuano. Our Capt. put ashore 3 of the man in Talcahuano and ordered them not to come aboard of the Grecian again their names Butten, a Darky, T Wilson, waiter, Batcher, a stowaway. Mr. Clements left our ship and went aboard of the Julian, an American vessel from New York, as second mate. He was selected with cheers of respect when he left our ship. We was piloted out by an American that lives in Talcahuano. The Julian had no pilot and she run aground on to a sand bar soon after she set sail. The Grecian and the Julian set sail about the same time. We left the ship Julian lieing on the Bar in Talcahuano Bay. The Pioneer got out of cole about 9 days before she arived in Talcahuano. She burnt barrels of Pork and everything that she could in the ship. She drifted on to a ledge of rocks in a storm and sprung a leak. Passengers were alarmed.
Friday, June 1852
This plesent and beautifull day. We have a fine breeze direct on our course. We are sailing fast at the rate of 10 miles per hour. We are sailing NW-N 195 miles from Talcahuano with the Grecian ship and as merry a crew as ever crossed the seas.
Saturday, June 19, 1852
This morning is quite warm. It is some cloudy. Wind not in our favour. We are sailing NNWest. Many of our passengers got burned very bad in Talcahuano. They have got a receipt so they will remember Talcahuano. 119 days from NY
Sunday, June 20, 1852
We have a fine breeze this morning. Much warmer than it has been for many days. We are making fair headway on our passage. We are very happy to think that we are on the last part of our passage to California. It's a general time of health on the ship. Mr. Hall is sick by an injury from a fight in Talcahuano with one of our passengers by name of Big Mike. Made 90 miles sailing today.
Monday, June 21, 1852
It is much cooler this morning. It is some cloudy. We have a fine wind in our favour. Passengers are merry with smiling faces to think we are making such progress on the last part of our passage making 160 miles from Talcahuano
Tuesday, June 22, 1852
This is the warmest morning that we have had for the last 50 days. Everything seems plesent around us. We are sailing direct on course with stormsails set and square yards. Nothing new or interesting today. Made 180 miles the last 24 hours.
Wednesday, June 23, 1852
We are in much finer latitude this morning than what we have been in for some time. The decks are covered with passengers. It seems plesent to have it so warm that we can stay on deck without endangering our lives or suffering with the cold. Our living is poor. The butter is so strong that we cannot eat much of it. We have plenty of hard tack. We had fresh mete soup or rather slush for about 16 days every meal. I guess we got sick of it by this time. There is something said today about making preparation to celebrate the 4 of July. We are making but little headway although the wind is in our favour. We are today in the S East trade winds. They are very light.
Thursday, June 24, 1852
We have this morning dead calm. It is very warm and plesent. We are making but little headway on our passage, but we are hoping for more winds. No observation taken today. Many of our passengers are manufacturing ivory rings. This is the principle business of the day. Pop made his $11.00 today.
Friday, June 25, 1852
We have this morning the calm sea that we had yesterday. The sea is calm and almost perfectly smooth. It is plesent and warm. We are all wishing for more wind. Old Pop says he is tired of the old ship. Passengers are getting uneasy, but we must stand it. Old Pop says if two goes in together they must come out together. So it goes. All kinds of business is almost carried on our ship. The principle business is ring making out of whales teeth. I have sawed up two whale’s teeth for making ivory rings.
Saturday, June 26, 1852
This is the third day that we have had a calm. We made but little headway in this time. It is quite warm. Our passengers are complaining. They think they have so long a voyage to California. It seems very unplesent to me to see the old Grecian making so little headway. Nothing new or interesting today. Everything is still and quiet this evening. Some few of our passengers telling storys to amuse themselves. Mr. Remie from Hardwick, VT said that he heard of a man that felled two acres of heavy growth in one day and also a man that cut seven cords of wood in one day. I backed him. I told them I knew a man that cut seven cords of wood in one day. Mr. Greenwood said that he did not believe it. Old Pop said that he knew a man that would cradle eight acres of grain in one day and he had cradled six himself and he knew a man that would cut five cords of white oak wood in one day. I told him that I knew a man that thrashed 31 bushels of wheat with a flail in one day and that lifted a stone that weighed 660 lbs and that he was on the ship. Mr. Woods said that a man cradled 9 acres of grain in a day. Mr. Remie said he knew a man that cut a cord of wood in 40 minutes. Mr. Knowlton from the State of Maine said that there was a man that had a cow, a cow that he had to turn out into the Bay when she was going to calve. He turned her out one night when he expected her to bring forth and she did not and the next year he turned her out one night to bring forth and he went out in the morning and she had brought forth a calf and a yerling at one time. This was the last of story telling. 180 miles from St. Ambros.
Monday, June 28, 1852
We have no wind this morning to speak of. This is the 4th day since we have made but little
headway on our passage. The time begins to seem long since we left home for California. We are all wishing for more winds. There is nothing new or interesting with us today. Ring making is the principle business. Some are washing, some are mending. We have no observation taken today. This evening there is some fiddling and dancing with Gentlemen and Ladies. They promenaded on the quarter deck by moonlight. We have a plesent moon.
Tuesday, June 29, 1852
It still remains calm. No wind to fill our sails. It has been cloudy four days. The most of the time it is quite cool. We are running on our course with a light breeze. We are sailing NW. Some of our boys have had a spree. Today they made considerable noise. Rum will do grate things when it is used. There is not many days but what we can see the bad affect of liquor. We have a set of boys on the Grecian that will get drunk very often. Many are amusing themselves in playing cards.
Wednesday, June 30, 1852
Everything seems gloomy and unplesent. We are making no headway on our passage. This is the tenth day since we made but little progress on our passage. We have made some three hundred miles for the last ten days. Most of the passengers are getting tired of our long passage to California. We have not had the sun fair for the last ten days, although we have had no rain in this time. Some of our passengers have a drunken spree this evening. We have fiddling and dancing by moonlight on the quarter deck. Saw some black fish today.
Thursday, July 1, 1852
This is the first day of July. Now 100 days on board. Time begins to seem long. We have fair prospect for 60 days more before we land in our distant port. Everything seems unplesent. We are all hoping for more wind to carry us along. Our fare is poor. There is nothing on this ship that is plesent or agreeable. I for myself long for the time to come when we may land in San Francisco. We are making preparation for the 4th. We have fiddling and dancing on the deck by ladies and gentlemen. Some whales were seen today. We are making no headway. Passengers are healthy.
Friday, July 2, 1852
This morning we have but little wind and not in our favour. It is unplesent indeed for us to remain almost in one degree of latitude for about 12 days. There is nothing plesent or agreeable on this ship. Almost every subject seems corrupt, swaring, card playing, gambling, drinking is the main business that is carried on in this ship. There is not hardly a day but what there is someone drunk. This evening there is two or three drunk. We have very plesent evening. No lat taken today. We are sailing sometimes W sometimes E. It is quite cool.
Saturday, July 3, 1852
We have more wind this morning than what we have had for many a day, although it is not in our favour, but we are glad to see the ship move along. We are hoping the wind will come round soon in our favour. We are running at the rate of about 6 miles per hour. Nothing new or interesting this day. Time begins to seem long to us. Four months is a good while for one to ride on a ship at sea. It is a general time of health on this ship.
Sunday, July 4, 1852
This is the fourth Day of July, a day that is respected and celebrated by almost every free man born in America, but in honour to this grate and alustrous the Passengers of this ship do but little. Circumstances will not permit. This morning presents itself to us as plesent and beautifull. We had this morning brief discourse from Mr. Morrel. It was very interesting. The foundation of his remarks may be found St. John 3: 16. Psalm 149 was read for the instruction of our passengers. The hymn that was sung Man, thy fond pursuits forbear. Mr. Morse David C. and NRC assisted Mr. Morrel in singing. Never has there been such a time on this ship when there was such order as there was when Mr. Morrel was addressing the assembly on the ship. His discourse was about one hour. It seemed like home. Four months has passed and this is the first time that we have had a prayer offered in public on this ship. It seemed the most like home to me of any time since I come to sea. To sit down in silence to hear the Gospel preached from a man of God elect. At 12 o'clock this day the American flag, that free flag of North America, was raised in honor to this alusstrous day. Tomorrow is the day that will be celebrated on this ship. We are sailing NSW. This evening at sunset the cannon was fired and the flag lowered. Several of our passengers are on a spree. They make a grate deal of sport. At 12 o'clock this night the cannon was fired again. This ended the proceding and celebration of the 4th day of July on Sunday. Most of our passengers retired until morning.
Monday, July 5, 1852
This morning the canon was fired at sunrise. This is rather unpleasant morning. It is some squally. It did not last long. It was soon clear and plesent. Grate preparation are making this day. We have an extra dinner if we wish to buy it. There is three different prices. One table in the after cabin pay one dollar, one table the price is fifty cents and in the lower salon twenty-five cents a dinner. About 1:00 o’clock AM they commenced firing the canon. They fired it several times. With several small arms Mr. Gordon commanded the firing in a Man of War style. It went off in good shape. Mr. Gordon was dressed in Man of War style. Happy Jack was dressed in an Indian chief style. Commodore Morse is dressed in St. Patrick style and acts out the Paddy right from Cork in Ireland in grate ardor. This company created grate amusement. There was a grate hurrah through the ship this afternoon about 3 o'clock. Mr. Gordon went to his room and found his gold watch and chain was taken out of his trunk. Mr. Tucker said that he saw the man that stole it. Mr. Tucker said that it was Mr. George Reed, a passenger that has his wife and two children. A man that by every appearance is an honest and respectable man. Mr. Gordon says that he will take his revolver and shoot. He went to Mr. Reed and told him that he had stole his watch and chain and that he was a damn thief and if he did not give it up to him he would take his life before he arived in San Francisco. Mr. Reed told him in a cool manner that he did not steel his watch and that he knew nothing about his watch. Gordon swore he did and that he would search his person. Gordon searched Mr. Reed and did not find his stolen property. He then searched his trunk and room in vain. Most of the passengers was in favour of Mr. Reed. Tucker said that he saw Reed in Gordon's trunk, then he said he did not see him in the trunk, but near it. This created a grate excitement. Missis Reed cried as though she had no friends. I felt sorry for Mr. Reed and wife. This subject I leave at this time for farther alustration at some future time. About 4 o'clock this afternoon Mr. Chase read the Constitution of the United States of America. It was interesting. Good attention was paid to his reading. At sunset the canon was fired two or three times and the flag was lowered. The extra supper as I call it was to come off at six o’clock in the lower salon and the first table in the after cabin. We in the lower salon was to have ham, drawed beef stake, alamode cake, apple tarts, meat pie, mince pie and custard pie. There was about 75 sat at the table for supper. We sit about an hour before we get anything to eat and then it was requested by the steward that there should be one or two men from each mess go up to the galley and see that the supper was brought down in safety. Mr. Gordon was called upon to stand the galley with a drawn knife in his hand to protect those that was carrying supper to the various apartments of the ship. The agreement was that if the supper was not satisfactory to each man his money was to be refunded. Most of them paid in advance. I did not pay for I thought a good pay master payed after the work was done. We had about half that was on our bill of fare. There was grate dissatisfaction among the passengers. Those that did not pay will not and those that did pay are fighting to get their money back and will probably get it. There was several of our table mates that treeted the messes with wine. Commodor Morse bought some four or five bottles and got on to the table amongst the plates and dishes and walked the length of the table and treated every man on the mess and then hurrahed for the Commodor and the Indian Chief. Then some of the passengers went to breaking plates. This was soon ended. The waiters picked them up and carryed them away. This ended our fourth of July. We have dancing on the quarter deck. We have a fine breeze. Sailing direct on our course. Made 100 miles from Talcahuano.
Tuesday, July 6, 1852
This morning we have a bully breeze. We are sailing fast and direct on our course. Sailing NW. Made 200 miles. Nothing new or interesting. Mr. Gordon searched several of the passengers to find his watch, but did not suceed in his attempt. There is various opinions among our passengers in regard to the lost watch. Our living is rather poor today. Tonight our supper was hard tack, sea bass and palatives and cold water. Hard fare.
Thursday, July 8, 1852
This morning is plesent and delightfull. The wind still continues to fill the sails of the Old Grecian and bears us onward to our distant port. This morning one of our sailors met with a sad accident. About 4 o’clock he was passing by the Bake House and probably was hungry. He ran his hand into the window to find something to eat. The Baker, surprised, struck him with his knife twice. The first time he cut a slight gash. The second time he cut a gash some two or three inches long and severed two chords of his fingers and an artery. I saw it before it was dressed and it looked very bad. It was very painfull. We are sailing NW-W. Made 220 miles, about 750 miles from the equator. Our living is very poor. Hard tack and salt hoss is our principle fare. A petition of about 200 of the passengers has gone to the Captain for to see if we cannot have better living.
Friday, July 9, 1852
This morning we have a fair wind in our favour bearing us onward to our long sought port. This morning one Mr. Eleizer Whipple was found missing. He, it is supposed, jumped overboard during the feast. Mr. Woods said that he thought that he saw a man jump overboard about 2 o’clock last night, but was not positive. Mr. Woods went directly and looked over the Bullworks near where he had seen the man jump over, but could not see or hear anything from him. Therefore did not give any alarm, but probably it was Mr. Whipple. He has been sick for a few days, but nothing serious. He was a strong and muscular man. He was young and the picture of health. He was from Maine, Somerset County town of Salem. He left his wearing apparel and his money in his room. It appears almost as a premeditated suicide, although if he accidently fell overboard and the alarm had immediately been given he must have perished for the ship was running at the rate of 12 miles per hour. There is grate excitement in regard to the petition that has been up and signed by the passengers, although it was approved by the Captain, but the cooks say that they will not do any more cooking on the passage. Our living is very poor. Within a few days it has been worse than what it has ever been since we left New York. How we shall fare for the rest of the passage is unknown.
Saturday, July 10, 1852
It is plesent and beautifull this morning and altogether the warmest morning that we have witnessed since we left Rio Janiero. We have a fine breeze in our favour, but not so strong as it has been for a few days past.
Sunday, July 11, 1852
This is another of those fine mornings. With a good sailing breeze made 180 miles. Our passengers are all in good cheer to think we are making such headway on our passage. Four months and seven days since we left New York. We are 560 miles from the equator and about 3,780 from San Francisco. Our living has much improved in the lower salon since there was a change of cooks in the galley but still ,there is a chance for more improvement. There is several of our passengers sick with feavors on the ship.
Thursday, July 15, 1852
We have still a fair wind in our favour. About 75 miles north of the equator. We past under the equator about seven o’clock last evening. We rather expected a calm this morning, but we are happily disappointed. The cabin passengers are finding much fault because they have to fare the same as the passengers in the lower salon. The agreement was from Smith.
Tuesday, July 20, 1852
We had a fine shower this morning. It is now clear and beautifull sailing with a fine breeze. Making 155 miles. The passengers are the most of them enjoying good health. Those that have been sick are getting better. The boys have a grate time with boxing gloves on.
Thursday, July 22, 1852
We are in the same calm this morning making 30 miles. It is extremely warm this morning, but little air can be felt from any quarter. The planks are so hot that a man cannot indure to stand upon it but for a few minutes with his bare feet. Every passenger is trying to keep himself in the shade as much as possible. This morning many of the passengers are busily ingaged in fishing. Large schools of fish are along side the ship. I prepared my hook and line and went into fishing. I caught four in a few minutes. They was soon driven away. These fish are called the black dolphin. They weigh about 1 Lbs. apiece. I dressed them and had them for my supper. These were the first fresh fish that I had eaten since I come to sea.
Sunday, July 25,1852
We have a light breeze this morning. Sailing NNW making 85 miles. It is not so warm as it has been for several days past. There has been a grate excitement among the passengers this morning. There was several pieces of glass found in the bread that was given for the passengers to eat for their breakfast. It is thought by many that John the Chinese has made an atempt to poison the passengers in the lower salon. He made his threat that he would poison us with glass. He was heard to say to that affect last night. He would not cut the bread that John Huxley baked and went into the bake shop and made his own bread. Many things look suspicious. The Chinese was baker and was turned out for his threets. He is a treacherous villen and I think has made an atempt to poison the passengers on this ship, although I cut bread for my breakfast and found nothing in it, but I saw glass that was broken in the bread and it was prepared very fine. It never went in without hands. Mr. Streeter read a sermon today. His text was the 13th chapter and 14 verse of Romans. It was an interesting discourse.
Monday, July 26, 1852
It is quite warm with a light breeze. We are now about 1400 miles from San Francisco. We think that we are almost there although we expect not to get there with this wind for a long time. We are expecting the trade winds soon. Nothing new today. It is 146 days since we left New York City.
Tuesday, July 27, 1852
This morning our breeze is light. Making 105 miles. We are making more longitude than we are latitude as the wind blows from the north, the course that San Francisco lies in from us. We are hoping for a more favourable wind. We are getting short of provisions. We are low on water. It is hard to be dry and nothing to drink.
Friday, July 30, 1852
It is cloudy this morning. Grate appearance of rain. We have but little wind. It blows direct from the North. The same course that we wish to be, making 106 miles. We are 383 miles SW of San Francisco. Our provisions are getting very short. We are hoping that we shall have a fair wind. If not we must suffer worse than what we have since we sailed from New York.
Sunday, August 1, 1852
This morning we have a verry strong wind from the NE, making 175 miles. It seems like old times to see our ship roll and tumble as she glides along. Five months this day at five o'clock since we sailed from New York. We had a short text read by Mr. Straten this afternoon.
Monday, August 2, 1852
The wind still continues to blow strong from the NE making 216 miles. Our passengers are full of glee and rejoicing to think the wind is more in our favour and that we are making good headway on our passage.
Tuesday, August 3, 1852
We have no breeze sailing NW, make 116 miles. It is quite warm today.
Wednesday, August 4, 1852
A dead calm. The sea is perfectly smooth. Sailing NNW made 90 miles from San Francisco. I saw a shark today. He was caught but they did not hold him.
Friday, August 6, 1852
The wind still continues light. Sailing NW, made 70 miles. Our living is very poor. We have nothing that is fit for the hogs. To eat hard tack is the principle living we have, but very little meat and what we have is stinking meat.
Saturday, August 7, 1852
We have a fine sailing breeze in our favour. Sailing NNE made 102 miles. Mr. Mason is verry sick. Affects from a break that has settled down.
Sunday, August 8, 1852
We have fine breeze in our favour. Made 160 miles. From San Francisco 540 miles. Nothing new today Passengers are preparing to go ashore in San Francisco. It is very cool.
Monday, August 9, 1852
This morning we have a powerful breeze carrying us on our course made 292 miles. San Francisco 258 miles away. Sailing at the rate of 12 miles per hour. General time of health. One case of feavor on the ship. Extremely cold.
Tuesday, August 10, 1852
This morning is plesent and beautifull. Sea is very calm. Our ship moves along very slow for San Francisco. We are 68 miles from San Francisco Bay. Everyone has been looking for land. This afternoon we discovered land. A small island lieing SE from us. Passengers are preparing to land. There is one or two that is sick with the feavor, otherwise passengers are in good health.
The Grecian and Nap landed in San Francisco on Wednesday, August 11, 1852. This ended his diary.
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