At Last! In Full: Journal of a Voyage from Providence to Mobile 1836

Some notes:

  1. Many of the places on this voyage can be found by typing in their name to this website and then confirming approximate Latitude and Longitude when hovering over the place with your mouse: http://www.latlong.net/
  2. If I encountered a word that I just couldn’t recognize as a word, or if its spelling or meaning was questionable (due to Hersey’s handwriting being about as bad as my own), I put [brackets] around it.
  3. Longitude and Latitude: I admit I’m not great at reading abbreviations of those two but was able to plug in the coordinates, at any rate. I haven’t been able to use a symbol for degrees when typing, so use your imagination.
  4. For definitions of sails, ships, parts of ships, and actions taken on ships please look to the glossary at the end of this post. Anything I missed, sorry! Other definitions of words I didn’t know or thought somebody else might not know are at the end of each day’s entry.
  5. To download the handwritten journal, go here: http://backtracking.radapplehost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/journal_small.pdf

Journal of a Voyage from Providence Rhode Island Toward Mobile Alabama
In Ship Elisa and Abby, Capt. [Palmer] [??]
By David Hersey

Friday November 18th, 1836

Passengers and crew being all on board at 4 P.M. and visitors sent ashore, weighed anchor, hoisted jib, set fore and main top sails—dropped down the [zier with] a fresh breeze from WNW—discharged our Pilot at 5 1/2—made a west passage [lowered beam-tail (or boom-tail)], light found ourselves at sea a 7 1/2 [?]

At 10.40 P.M. the SE part of Block Island bore W by N—dist. per estimate 6 miles. Pleasant weather throughout the night.

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Block Island
http://www.blockisland.com/center/history/11912https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_Island

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Saturday, November 19th, 1836

This day commenced with light winds and pleasant weather—Smooth sea, ship under way drawing sail, —all pleasant, and perfectly agreeable, none being at all sea sick or at a loss of appetite for devouring “at least” a good portion of our Stewart’s celebrated Duff, a compound of flour, egg, butter, lard, raisins, spices, etc. etc. being served in the most [approved] manner, and latest style —as was acknowledged by Miss Stanton, Mr. Stanton, [Mr. Gardina] Mr. Watson, Mr. Matteson, Mr Handy, Mr. [Moary] and myself all passengers.

Latt per Obs[ervation] 39.59” Northern 71.35” W

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Duff
1. A stiff flour pudding made with fruit and spices and boiled in a cloth bag or steamed.
3. Slang for buttocks.

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Sunday November 20th 1836

This day begins with a still, small breeze, scarcely swelling our sails, or, causing an eruption of the briny waters, on which, our gallant ship so proudly rode.

Continuing so throughout the day, and being warm and pleasant, all without was as silent as the stillness of a summers day in some unknown, and uninhabited land—

But not so with those on board; though favored with every opportunity for reflection and meditation, we passed the time in a more cheerful, if not so becoming a manner—though to each other almost strangers, yet as familiar and fearless, as the subjects of a yankee fireside, in some cold eve, during the frequent calls of old Sam [Frost] whose liberality became so extensive as to demand their most assiduous exertions, for remunerating this friend, with a rarity oftener found in this clime, than that of a more northern latitude then we found per meridian [offs] this day at 12 noon which was 38.56” N 72.10” W.

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Assiduous
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assiduous:
Showing great care, attention, and effort :  marked by careful unremitting attention or persistent application

Brin·y
[ˈbrīnē]
ADJECTIVE
of salty water or the sea; salty:

Clime
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clime
: a climate : a place with a particular climate

Remunerating
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/remunerating
:  to pay an equivalent to for a service, loss, or expense :  recompense

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Monday November 21st 1836

Commences with strong gales and short sea—rather increasing with roughness, did, at 6 AM take in TG Sails, let Her drive till 9 AM, when single reefed top-sails, at 9 1/2 AM gale becoming heavier took in jib, and mainsail.

At 10 AM close reefed Top Sails, and furled mizzen sails—spanker boom being carried away

— At 11 AM moor ship to the S Eastward

—At 12 Noon set the foresail and close reefed mizzen topsail.

Continues extremely rough, with heavy seas—ship laboring hard, and shipping much water.

Passengers all sea sick and some rather low spirited. Am myself an exception however to the latter (though am somewhat sick of [seeing sicklies] for) think it a pretty fine time when find no more trouble or expense in being rocked or cradled than at present, as have only to turn in and go to sleep.

At all events shall try it, and give further accounts tomorrow.

Latt[itude] per obs[ervation] 37.75” North [] 73.11” W

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

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Tuesday November 22nd 1836

In connection with remarks of yesterday, have only to say enjoyed a fine snooze while rolling with the ship as old Neptune chose to administer till high 12 at night. From then, commenced this day with a severe gale from the southward which lasted till 7 AM when gale becomes more calm at 8 AM. Fished the spanker boom and set the spanker turned reef out the top sails and set jib and mainsail.

At 9 AM wind moderating, and inclining to the North and Westward, set all sail, below and aloft.

At 11 AM saw large quantities of gulf weed, tried the water, by throwing bucket, found the temperature 73 degrees. (Summer heat)—ends with very brisk gales and tolerable smooth sea. Ship under every drawing sail, and “going ahead”—

We have now fine prospects of having a speedy run across the Gulf Stream and trust our anticipations may be realized. Passengers are wholly recovered from sea sickness and enjoy ourselves well.

Latt[itude] per Obs[ervation] 36.22 North [] 73 West

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Gale
NOUN
a very strong wind:”it was almost blowing a gale” ·
[more] meteorologya wind of force 7 to 10 on the Beaufort scale (28-55 knots or 32-63 mph).a storm at sea.

Neptune: The mythical god of the sea. http://www.usmm.org/terms.html#anchor250581

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Wednesday November 23rd 1836

These 24 hours commenced with pleasant weather, and moderate breezes from the westward.

At 2 pm wind hauling to the south, took in steering sails. At 10:30 PM took in all TG sails—

At 12 midnight, single reefed top sails—

At 2 AM double reefed them and furled jibs, and mainsail.

At 4 AM close reefed them, wind and sea, increasing rapidly.

At 10 AM furled the fore sail and spanker.

Thus we rode with a heavy gale from W.N.W. with severe squalls and a tremendous sea, canting ship to North hand, and ship seas in [abundance]

Passengers all sick, but myself and two others.

Ends with thick, rainy dirty weather, atmosphere very dense and warm, and head winds of a [super-abundance].

Sun invisible and no observation— Latt[itude] per [19.NE] 34.15” North [] 72.49” West.

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Canting
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/canting?s=tverb (used with object)10.to bevel; form an oblique surface upon.11.to put in an oblique position; tilt; tip.12.to throw with a sudden jerk.

Hauled
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hauled4. Nautical To change the course of (a ship), especially in order to sail closer into the wind.

Hauling
Bing search engine
3. (especially of a sailing ship) make an abrupt change of course.

Squall
Bing Search Engine
a sudden violent gust of wind or a localized storm, especially one bringing rain, snow, or sleet:”low clouds and squalls of driving rain”

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Thursday November 24th 1836

Gale continued since yesterday, very rough and squally from the NWest up to 2 PM. This day, when moderated to such a degree as induced us to throw or turn out our reef from fore and main top sails.

This made sufficient sail for our noble ship to labour under, and do gustier to the foe, “on” which she was determined to rule, or in other words (of a less impervious nature) as much as she could, conveniently carry, and contend with the mighty billows of her own footstool.

Thus we let her work till 7PM when gave her a double reefed fore top sail, under which, she appeared somewhat relieved, and afterwards made her course at the rate of 6 knots an hour, though the sea was exceedingly heavy, and broke boldly over her decks.

At 8 AM saw a schooner standing to the South East—also during the morning saw immense bodies of gulf weeds.

7 on the sick list today, being 2 more than yesterday, as for myself am not in the number, but perfectly well.

 Latt[itude] per obs[ervation] 31.51”. N  72.40” West.

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Gustier
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/gustier
1. blowing or occurring in gusts or characterized by blustery weather: a gusty wind
2.given to sudden outbursts, as of emotion or temperament

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Friday November 25th 1836

This day beings, as the last closed with strong gales, and rough seas, making a continuance of disagreeable weather for those sick, and lowly inmates  (of our persevering though hard tried ship) who oft reiterate, “this going to sea is not what it’s cracked up to be”, and they had rather pay 80 or $100 and go by land (if to the South) than pay $30 and enjoy the pleasure of running to the leeward, and receive a draw of such bitters as are invariable imparted, and that too, in the most gratuitous manner.

But as for myself, can say to the contrary, though perhaps from the fact that have not become acquainted thoroughly with the business, as have trained in that company but one day, having the good fortune to find others of a more desirable character, such as the Duff and Apple Dumplin Societies which produce at present but low members and they are all officers, for myself have that of Mr. Contador General and I intend so long as maintain it, to do it justice [E.T.]

Ends with severe squalls, and as rough gales as before—(nothing worthy of remark).

Sun obscure, Latt per [] 30.18” [] 72.22” W

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Bitters—for nausea
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitters…
“Of the commercial aromatic bitters that would emerge from this period, perhaps the most well known is Angostura bitters. In spite of its name, the preparation contains no medicinal bark from the angostura tree; instead it is named after the town of Angostura, today’s Ciudad Bolívar, in Venezuela. In 1824, German physician Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert compounded a cure for sea sickness and stomach maladies, among other medicinal uses. [5] Dr. Siegert subsequently formed the House of Angostura to sell the bitters to sailors.”

Duff
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/duff
1. A stiff flour pudding made with fruit and spices and boiled in a cloth bag or steamed.
3. Slang for buttocks.

Duff and Apple Dumplin Societies—Possibly fictitious, based on author’s love for pudding and Apple Dumplings or Butts and Boobs.https://boingboing.net/2012/02/21/dirty-words-of-1811.html

Gratuitous
https://www.bing.com/search?q=gratuitous&PC=U316&FORM=CHROMN
1. Given or granted without return or recompense; unearned.
2. Given or received without cost or obligation; free.
3. Unnecessary or unwarranted; unjustified: gratuitous criticism.

Imparted
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impart
1:  to give, convey, or grant from or as if from a store her experience imparted authority to her words the flavor imparted by herbs
2:  to communicate the knowledge of :  disclose imparted my scheme to no one

Invariable
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/invariable
adjective
1.not variable; not changing or capable of being changed; static or constant.noun2.something that is invariable; a constant.

Leeward—Downwind. If you had to vomit while on the ship you would go to the Leeward side so that vomit does not come back in your face, or anyone else’s face.

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Saturday, November 26th 1836

Commenced with a severe gale from the westward, accompanies with squalls of no ordinary consequence, which lasted till 7 AM, (having [rocked], and [campboodlid] us to our satisfaction), when abated to such a degree, as allowed us the privilege of shaking reefs, out top sails and setting fore sail, —this working well, and weather becoming more favorable set main sail and jib.

At 9AM set Top Gallant sails, and Fore Top Mast Stay Sail.

At 2 PM gave Her her Studding Sails on her starboard side, and set the Main Royal Sail—thus being under all sails. She made her course with speed, much to the satisfaction of all on board, having had a continuation of gales, almost where since sailed from port. Ends pleasant and fine winds from the West—

The sick begin to feel somewhat encouraged, and appear much better, being for the first time since out, able to participate in the luxuries of a seaman’s favorite dinner—[with] Chicken Soup and Apple Dumplings.

[] 72.2.7” West Latt[itude] per obs[ervation] 28.39” North

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

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Sunday November 27th 1836

Weather continues fine and pleasant, having the properties of a fresh N West breeze and a warm sea to attract a large number of flying fish to the surface of the water, the sight of which was to most of the passengers on board, a great curiosity—their manner of flying being very peculiar—it’s much like that of the wild [pigeon], (though at a more rapid rate)—being in a straight forward line about 2 and 3 [feet?] from the surface of the water, then a short skip thereou’—never out of the water more and 2 or 3 minutes at a time—in every other respect but flying, they are like a small Alewife both in shape colour and size—

All were up and prepared for church early this morn, and something said about going, [] however none could find it, and in fact don’t know as any tried, presume however from conversation of most, that they would attend one with great pleasure had we the opportunity—the greater reason for appreciating the privilege when on land.

[]74.16” West. latt[itude] per obs[eravation] 26.40” North

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Alewife
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AlewifeA kind of fish

Thereou’(t)
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thereoutOut of that

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Monday November 28th, 1836

Commenced with moderate breezes and pleasant weather—ship under every drawing sail.

Middle and [latter] part very light, with baffling airs from the North and Eastward—and heavy swell from the North which caused ship to roll hard and becalm the sails—thus making a slow progression.

Nothing transpired during these 24 hours worthy of remark. All have been busily engaged in reading, writing, sewing, climbing, playing etc. etc. None appear discontented or sick, but cheerful and lively, enjoy ourselves well, and become acquainted at last as conversation will admit.

Not one single solitary sail to be seen on the horizon. Through the kindness of Miss Stanton, [received] a cover to this journal this day. Ends with light winds from the eastward, and tolerable smooth sea

[] 75.50” W Latt[itude] per obs[ervation] 25.57” N

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

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Tuesday November 29th 1836

Begins with light winds from the Eastward. At 2 PM jibed ship and shifted steering sails. Midnight (pleasant and smooth) weather and sea.

At 2 AM wind inclined to the South Westward, took in steering sails, and braced the yards accordingly.  Latter part very strong breezes from SW and heavy sea.

At 12 noon took two reefs in the top sails, took in jib and mainsail.

Ends with a severe gale from the westward, with thick rainy weather and squally clouds. At 8 AM saw two sail standing to the westward.

The sea serpent was supposed [to] the passengers as having been seen this morn, by the Capt. and myself we being out before the rest were up and asked each other a great many questions about his shape, size, tail etc.—all of which was credited by them. We finally concluded it an amphibious [elfat]

[] 76.27” W Latt[idtude] per [indifferent observation] 26.10” North

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

It is possible the sea serpent that they saw was a type of Eel, which is more common in the Bahamas (where the ship is). I have been unable to determine an Eel or sea snake that starts with the letters ”El” tough.

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Wednesday November 30th 1836

Commences with thick squally rainy weather. Strong gale and rough sea at 12:45 PM tacked to the North Eastward

At 1 PM took in jib and main sail—At 8 PM wore ship to the North and Westward. At 12 midday wore ship to the S and Westward. At 2 AM gale abated, set single reefed sails. At 4AM set whole top sales jib and mainsail.

At 8 AM more moderate set all top G sails and royals. Ends with fine pleasant weather. Ship under eery drawing sail possible and making very slow progress.  A Barque in company with us at the leeward which discerned at 6”30’ AM on our lee standing to the Westward. She showed her [members/numbers], but we having no telegraph could gain no information, say, where from, where to, or her name.

Saw large quantities of gulf weeds, some boobies and a [boatswain].

At 8 PM old Neptune was on board and caused no little sport among us. Being very active in sharing, and wasting a number of his boys—with a [spanish hoop], and salt water—have the good fortune myself to find a guy of Brandy which [exhausted] me from such exercises. Latt[itude] per obs[ervation] 25.46” North.

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Barque
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/barque
1 a :  a small sailing shipb :  a sailing ship of three or more masts with the aftmost mast fore-and-aft rigged and the others square-rigged
2:  a craft propelled by sails or oars

Boatswain
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boatswain
1:  a petty officer on a merchant ship having charge of hull maintenance and related work
2:  a naval warrant officer in charge of the hull and all related equipment

Boobies
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Booby+(bird)
1. Any of several seabirds of the genera Sula and Papasula of tropical and subtropical waters, having a pointed bill and tail, long wings, and a light-colored underside.
http://www.cruisertips.com/index.php/faq/31-about-cruisertips/56-terms
A type of bird that has little fear and therefore is particularly easy to catch

Guy of Brandy— a container with brandy, at least I think so. I haven’t been able to confirm that.

Spanish Hoop — I have not been able to find this

Telegraph
Not the typical telegraph we are used to seeing in old movies. This one was before the major improvements in electric communication. There was no reliable way to use electricity from ship to ship and these telegraphs were optical. They relied on different positions of propeller-like arms and a way to decode the message. If the barque that Mr. Hersey speaks of had one of these, it would display either “members”, which are the arms of the device, or “numbers” meaning an identification of some kind. Most likely members…but the handwriting appears to be able to go either way.

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Thursday December 1st 1836

Begins with very light indeed, hardly swelling sails. At 12:30 the [matlow islands], bearing SSE per compass.

At 5PM they bore from SE by S to S by West. Our barque still in company, and our sail the starboard bow. Throughout the night entirely calm with a long rolling swell from the [south]. At 4 AM a light breeze from the Southward. Braced the yards and set topmast and lower studding sails.

Made the Hole in Wall (on Abaco Island) at 8 O’clock, all much amused in viewing the arch through rock and adjacent country, which is very [barren] containing a few inhabitants, creoles who live principally on fish (which they catch in abundance) and kind of vegetable similar to our potatoes, the only thing they can raise.

Barque still in company, (have not spoke her yet) at 12 N the Hole in the Wall bore NE per compass. [dist] [per] 1st [at] 8 miles, from which take our departure for the Isaacs.

Hope we may have a fine wind to carry us safely through this rocky and dangerous region. All very pleasant for several hours during the calm [regal] as still as Terra Firma. Latt[itude] per obs[vervation] 25.47” North

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Hole in Wall

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL, ABACO: A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE (1) THE PAST

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Friday December 2nd 1836

Commences with very light airs from the [SW] at 2pm. Took in steering sails and braced the yards accordingly. At 7 PM tacked to the S Westward. At 11 PM tacked to the N westward. At 3:30 AM tacked to the Southward. At 5 AM tacked to the N Westward. At Noon tacked to the S Westward.

Throughout the 24 hours the weather has been pleasant and smooth sea. Nothing remarkable occurred throughout the day (Barque still in company).

From 3PM to 6PM five of our passengers besides myself joined in a fracas which was executed in style and with energy, there being 3 on a side to ascertain to whom the top of our cabin house (a beautiful platform on our quarter deck about 30 ft in length and 12 in width) belonged to—which was determined by Mr. Stanton. Mr. Gardina and myself, having claimed the same, and afterwards proved it such by our witted efforts in maintaining it. We had a pretty fair play or favor which lasted good 3 hours. The other party acknowledging at their being beat.

Latt per obs[ervation] 26.15” North

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Fracas
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/fracas
noun
1.a noisy, disorderly disturbance or fight; riotous brawl; uproar.

Tacked
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tacked
1. Nauticala. To change the direction of a sailing vessel, especially by turning the bow into and past the direction of the wind: Stand by to tack.
b. To sail a zigzag course upwind by repeatedly executing such a maneuver.
c. To change tack: The ship tacked to starboard.

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Saturday December 3th 1836

Begins with moderate winds from the [NW] ship under every drawing sail. At 9:40 PM tack ship to the Westward. At 2 AM turned reefs out top sails and set mainsails and TG sails. At 6:30 saw the Little Isaac leaving west. The Eastern Little Isaac may be known by a beacon on the island 30 or 40 ft high. The B Islands are all discernible. At 9 AM passed the mothers, which are 2 rocks discernible a few feet above the surface of the sea. At 10:30 am the [West] end of great [lase] bore SSE per compass, 3 miles dist. At the same time the [Her] and Chickings Islands, of[rocks] bore S W by S all above the [land] of the sea. At 11 AM saw the Bimini Islands bearing SSW, have we had a beautiful and most romantic scenery, there being at the SW part, a fine little harbor containing some 1/2 dozen sail at anchor, consisting of sloops and schooners, maimed by savages from the island as is supported from such information as is gained from those who have been wrecked and robbed on the island. Everyone on board was much amused by viewing the different islands and seeing fish innumerable, such as porpoises, dolphin, turtle, flying fish, Portague Man of War, Etc. Etc.

Barque yet in company, fine wind and weather, with prospects of a pleasant voyage yet..

[Latitude 23.54” North]

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Sunday December 4th 1836

Commences with fine brisk breezes from the North Eastward. At 1 PM passed the [Moseth Rock] at 5:30 PM the light house on the south part of Dogs [Key] bore East 3 miles dist. This house shows a very brilliant revolving light. Have passed all the islands and shoals from the Hole in the Wall, to [Mofss Key]. All throughout is a very dangerous, and bad route, there being so many rocks to, in every direction and a great many of them hardly discernible above the surface of the water.

At 12 midnight, being up with the Orange Keys squared off for Florida shore at 9:30 AM made the light, inside of Cary’s Fort Reef—Saw a number of houses thereabouts, having flat roofs and no window lights, as should judge from appearances. Nothing remarkable noticed. At 12 noon the Cary’s Fort light boat bore NE by N 1/2 N 19 miles.

We have as yet a continuance of fine winds, with prospects of a speedy run to Mobile, and that it may be thus—is the desire of all on board. Latitude 24.47”N

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Monday December 5th 1836

This day commences with fresh breezes and pleasant weather. Land visible on the Florida coast as far as the eye can discern, making our passage very pleasant. At 3PM passed the Somberro Key at a distance of 1/2 a mile. At 8 PM made Asland Key and West  Key [or West lights]

Throughout the night fair winds and fine weather.

At 8:30 AM made Tortuga’s light house bearing WNW list per Est 11 miles. hauled to the North and went to the East of the Isle steering North till [eldow] of them when made an course NW by N for Mobile. We are now clear of all the shoals and rocks which obstruct the passage from providence to Mobile having passed them all without the least accident, and have to all appearances (such as favorable winds) pleasant weather, a fair prospect of soon reaching our destined port. Although we enjoy ourselves perfectly on board and feel far different from a dislike to our situation—yet we rejoice at the hope of soon seeing a shore on which we can land. Long 82.57” West. Latt [24.57” South]

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Tuesday December 6th 1836

Begins with light airs and pleasant weather. Ship under all possible sail. Middle part, wind baffling and squally, took in steering sails, wind inclining Westward.

Latter part pleasant, and smooth sea, and entirely calm.

Nothing transpired of any particular moment during these 24 hours. We all however very frequently participate in amusements of various kinds when laying as still on the waters as we have today; there not being scarcely a ripple on its surface; our diversions to day consisted in finding opportunities for obtaining such articles from one of our passengers, (Mr. Handy) as very conveniently stowed after a desirable preparation had accompanied them.

These articles were of a very simple nature, making with the addition of Eggs a very salubrious and agreeable beverage, of which we partook as often as Mr. Handy or [Jr.] Handy would allow. Fine times enough to day.

long 83.51” West Latitude per indifferent 26.08” North.

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Salubrious
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/salubrious
Conducive or favorable to health or well-being.

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Wednesday December 7th 1836

Commences with an entire calm and remarkable smooth sea, there being scarcely a rise of water in sight. At 4PM a light wind from the NWest.

At 8 pm a sudden and very severe squall from the North. Took in Royals, steering sails, and TG sail. Clued down the top sails and double reefed them. At 4 AM gale increasing and ship plunging heavily, took in mainsail at 8 AM took in the jib. Ends with heat gale from NNW with a very rough sea indeed, a great contrast from yesterday. A then being as calm and pleasant as could possibly be realized or even imagined, while today as rough and unpleasant as a tremendous gale could effect.

Thus we see the frown of an almighty, and all wise God whose will is as wonderfully excited at sea, as on land, and whose protection of His creatures is as strikingly manifested to a few dependent beings in a ship at sea, as to a host of people on Terra Firma.

Long 84.08” West. Latitude per [observation] 26.46”

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Thursday December 8th 1836.

This day commences with a severe gale from the North, with very rough seas, ship laboring hard, and shipping great quantities of water.

At 8pm weather being more moderate, set the jib and mainsail.

At 12 midnight turned reefs out the top sails.

At 2 AM set Top and TG sails, at 4 am set steering sails.

Ends with strong breezes from the South East. Clouds looking very squally, and unsettled.

We are now within about 200 miles of our destined port and sincerely hope, we may be favored with a wind that will soon put us there, more on account of our business, than a dislike to the seas, as all but 2 of the passengers on their way to the South, for the purpose of doing a business which cannot be done at sea, if [bearly] traveling should like this well enough— that is, a long passage.

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Friday December 9th 1836

Begins with heavy winds and rough sea. At 12 M thick mists and a copious shower. With many pleasing sensations I have recalled the few past days, from whence we first met, which then we were strangers—But now I would almost say, it is with reluctance that we part. In this passage I anticipated pleasure and am happy so say, here I have realized it. Where our supreme Being have safely guided our ship over the lustrous ocean—and with sincerity—and not like ungrateful beings do we return our thanks to our Maker.

We now consider ourselves in the harbor of safety, have nearly reached the port of our destination in which a Pilot has just came to our assistance.

I have to say, I feel myself under many obligations to our captain and passengers for their innumerable kindness which I have received from them, which will long be held in remembrance by me. —S.S. Stanton

Since yesterday we have had a fine run, which has put us to present time in Mobile Bay. At 4 PM saw a Pilot Boat at a distance of 10 miles from us, which in about 1 hour spoke us and enquired if we were in want of a Pilot, receiving an answer in the affirmative. They soon supplied our wants. We’re now about 20 miles from Mobile all well.

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Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Pilot
Pilots often were needed for entrance and exit from bays that have difficult access. They sailed or rowed out to the ship in need and boarded to steer the ship through. This profession exists today in much the same way only more organized.
To read a little more about the Mobile Bay pilots, go here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/all-started-french-300-year-history-pilotage-mobile-bar-de-la-garza

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Concluded
Saturday December 10th 1836

After taking a Pilot we had a change of breezes which kept us off and on the [face], preventing our making a place of anchorage, not being able,  (in consequence of being deeply loaded) to proceed up the river to Mobile, until 4 pm when succeeded in doubling the point called “[Auns] Gratitude where found a bottom within 10 miles the city into which,” we dropped our anchor of sufficient weight to secure our invincible ship, on board of which, we now remain, anxiously waiting the arrival of the steamer [Matchman] which plies daily between Mobile and Pensacola), to take us to the port for which we have so long made our course, and that thus far, successfully.

That we may by another meridian sun behold this land of enchanting hopes, are the unquenchable and indubitable desires of all on board.

This days views have been particularly pleasing and inspiring to all true [Jackson folly] on board, having witnessed, while laying on and off this part of Florida coast, the tract of land, called the 17 Pines and on which Gen. Jackson routed the largest body of Indians, ever united against our armys, and completely sallied them, taking 17 of their principal chiefs, and killing 5 others, with a large number of their depredators— the 17 pines spoken of, were the hiding places of the 17 chiefs, who were so gloriously taken.

*******

Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

17 Pines
As of yet I haven’t been able to confirm this exact battle, exact terminology, or location of “17 pines” due to some inconsistencies in who was where and when and “17 pines” search not producing helpful results. But I will keep looking. I suspect this has to do with the  Seminole Wars and was in Pensacola.  Gen Jackson had a satisfying military career and was heavily involved in military actions involving the natives during presidency, so it’s possible that people would refer to the army as “Jackson’s” even if it was lead by somebody else. For a brief history, visit this site or just about any other…https://www.biography.com/people/andrew-jackson-9350991?_escaped_fragment_=

Depredator—one who depredates
http://www.dictionary.com/
1.to plunder or lay waste to; prey upon; pillage; ravage.verb (used without object), depredated, depredating.
2.to plunder; pillage.

Indubitable
http://www.dictionary.com/adjective
1.that cannot be doubted; patently evident or certain; unquestionable.

Jackson Folly (or Jolly): No idea what this officially means. I take it to be fans of General (at the time) Andrew Jackson.

Meridian Sun
Meridian sun the sun at its full height, as at midday

Plies (ply)
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ply
3. To traverse or sail over regularly

*******

Conclusion
Contintued Sunday December 11 1836

This days sun dawned upon us, seemingly at a later period, much, then our astronomical [seisure] had predicted, —all being up before “day break” making preparations to abandon our much loved and beautiful ship, for a home whose habitation is situated on a more permanent element, than that of Her, -this, (though to me quite unpleasant, having had such complete enjoyment during the short time I had trusted to Her capacity for ridding the stormy billows of her own sphere having proved her truly worthy, even at time of the severest trials when the caprices of a high wind, [easesed] the buffetings of an indignant squall which oft terminated in a tremendous gale, yet she proved herself a one [cofferas] and coffer fastened—“always this side up” and that to “with care”, this however I repeat it was affected at 10 AM at this hour the [Matchman] was made fast our side, our baggage put on board and we at last bid adieu to our highly esteemed ship and took lead of her efficient and skillful commander who promised to be up the next day, and faithful seamen and with hearts of gladness interspersed with feelings of regret, did we recede from her decks, to that of the Steamer where we walked fore and aft, viewing the delightful scenes of a beautiful bay, and romantic shore, as we approached and landed at the city (at 12 o’clock) of Mobile Alabama. So ends our voyage from Providence by David Hersey.

*******

Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Coffer
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/coffer
1.A box or chest, especially one for valuables.
2.Coffers, a treasury; funds: The coffers of the organization were rapidly filled by the contributions.
3.Any of various boxlike enclosures, as a cofferdam.
4. Also called caisson, lacunar.
Architecture. one of a number of sunken panels, usually square or octagonal, in a vault, ceiling, or soffit.

*******

Observations while in Mobile Alabama
[Mansion House Rutting Room]

Monday Dec 12th 1836

After landing from Steamer [Matchman] did with no little difficulty secure lodging (after running all over this city) at this hotel, which is a large, spacious and commodious house (kept by Mr. Cullin a very accommodating gentleman and a [“true democrat”]) situated on the corner of Washington and main street having at one corner (fronting on Washington Street) the Post Office where mailed a letter (this morn) to [Mr JC] and papers to Miss E.H.M. [A.P.J.K.S.M.] and [WM] all at old “Yankee Town” —attended church last Eve heard a very interesting discourse delivered by Mr. Hamilton (the Pastor) on the subject of “repentance”—He very fully enforced the information of an immediate repentance and clearly not forth the advantages derived from “doing God’s service”

[Need] an introduction (this day) to a Miss [Houard], from New York—now at this house. Think her a very pretty girl, “on a short acquaintance” (“but not a [bringing] to E.H.M.”) She has the appearance of being very cold and rather [messaline], “not a faired, fastidiousness” which produces a contaminated affectation, to me very disgusting (no more).

Have strolled all over the city, “seen all the fashions” and concluded to leave here tomorrow for New Orleans and 10 AM.

Having had a fine time with several old Providence friends, whose entertainments consisted of giving me introductions to a [member or number] of [Southernty]-taking me about town, down to the markets, into Coffee Houses, counting rooms, hotels etc. etc.

All very amusing being actively different from our Northerners. On the whole am much pleased with Mobile and People.

*******

Definitions/Further reading for this entry:

Affectation
Dictionary.com
noun
1.an effort to appear to have a quality not really or fully possessed; the pretense of actual possession:an affectation of interest in art; affectation of great wealth.
2.conspicuous artificiality of manner or appearance; effort to attract notice by pretense, assumption, or any assumed peculiarity.
3.a trait, action, or expression characterized by such artificiality:a man of a thousand affectations.
4.Obsolete.strenuous pursuit, desire, or aspiration.affection; fondness:his affectation of literature.

Commodious: meaning roomy and comfortable

Faired: Possibly meaning straight; directly, as in aiming or hitting

Fastidiousness
Dictionary.com
adjective
1.excessively particular, critical, or demanding; hard to please:a fastidious eater.
2.requiring or characterized by excessive care or delicacy; painstaking.

Messaline
Soft, lightweight silk dress fabric.
Or
Messalina (wife of Claudius with a reputation for promiscuity, supposedly conspiring against her husband and executed later for it]

*******

Tuesday Dec 13th 1836

[nothing after this]

Glossary

affectation
Dictionary.com
noun
1.an effort to appear to have a quality not really or fully possessed; the pretense of actual possession:an affectation of interest in art; affectation of great wealth.
2.conspicuous artificiality of manner or appearance; effort to attract notice by pretense, assumption, or any assumed peculiarity.
3.a trait, action, or expression characterized by such artificiality:a man of a thousand affectations.
4.Obsolete.strenuous pursuit, desire, or aspiration.affection; fondness:his affectation of literature.

Alewife
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AlewifeA kind of fish

Assiduous
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assiduous
:  showing great care, attention, and effort :  marked by careful unremitting attention or persistent application

Barque
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/barque
1 a :  a small sailing ship
b :  a sailing ship of three or more masts with the aftmost mast fore-and-aft rigged and the others square-rigged
2:  a craft propelled by sails or oars

Bitters—for nausea
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitters…
“Of the commercial aromatic bitters that would emerge from this period, perhaps the most well known is Angostura bitters. In spite of its name, the preparation contains no medicinal bark from the angostura tree; instead it is named after the town of Angostura, today’s Ciudad Bolívar, in Venezuela. In 1824, German physician Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert compounded a cure for sea sickness and stomach maladies, among other medicinal uses.[5] Dr. Siegert subsequently formed the House of Angostura to sell the bitters to sailors.”

Boatswain
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boatswain
1:  a petty officer on a merchant ship having charge of hull maintenance and related work
2:  a naval warrant officer in charge of the hull and all related equipment

Boobies
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Booby+(bird)
1. Any of several seabirds of the genera Sula and Papasula of tropical and subtropical waters, having a pointed bill and tail, long wings, and a light-colored underside.
http://www.cruisertips.com/index.php/faq/31-about-cruisertips/56-terms
A type of bird that has little fear and therefore is particularly easy to catch.

Brin·y
of salty water or the sea; salty:

caprice
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/capricesc.
A sudden, unpredictable action or change: the caprices of the wind.

Canting
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/canting?s=t
verb (used with object)
10.to bevel; form an oblique surface upon.
11.to put in an oblique position; tilt; tip.12.to throw with a sudden jerk.

Clime
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clime
: a climate : a place with a particular climate

Close-reefed
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/close-reefed
adjective, Nautical.
1.having most or all of the sail reefs taken in.

Coffer
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/coffer
1.a box or chest, especially one for valuables.
2.coffers, a treasury; funds: The coffers of the organization were rapidly filled by the contributions.
3.any of various boxlike enclosures, as a cofferdam.
4.Also called caisson, lacunar. Architecture. one of a number of sunken panels, usually square or octagonal, in a vault, ceiling, or soffit.

Contador General—Bing translater: General Accountant

Clued (also clewed)
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/clewed
4. also clue Nauticala. One of the two lower corners of a square sail.
b. The lower aft corner of a fore-and-aft sail.
tr.v. clewed, clew·ing, clews
1. To roll or coil into a ball.
2. also clue Nautical To raise the lower corners of (a square sail) by means of clew lines. Used with up.
commodiousmeaning roomy and comfortable

Creole
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/creole
: a person whose ancestors were some of the first people from France or Spain to live in the southeastern U.S.
Further reading: http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Bu-Dr/Creoles.html

Depredator—one who depredates
http://www.dictionary.com/
1.to plunder or lay waste to; prey upon; pillage; ravage.
verb (used without object), depredated, depredating.
2.to plunder; pillage.

Duff
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/duff
1. A stiff flour pudding made with fruit and spices and boiled in a cloth bag or steamed.
3. Slang for buttocks.

Duff and Apple Dumplin Societies—Possibly fictitious, based on author’s love for pudding and Apple Dumplings or Butts and Boobs. https://boingboing.net/2012/02/21/dirty-words-of-1811.html
Faired—Possibly meaning straight; directly, as in aiming or hitting

Fastidiousness
Dictionary.com
adjective
1.excessively particular, critical, or demanding; hard to please:a fastidious eater.
2.requiring or characterized by excessive care or delicacy; painstaking.

Fished
Oxford dictionary—Bing search
Mend or strengthen (a beam, joint, mast, etc.) with a fish.

foresail
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/foresail
1:  the lowest sail set on the foremast of a square-rigged ship or schooner — see sail illustration
2:  the sole or principal headsail (as of a sloop, cutter, or schooner)
Also see http://www.nytimes.com/1861/11/14/news/injuries-to-the-vessels.html

Fracas
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/fracas
1.a noisy, disorderly disturbance or fight; riotous brawl; uproar.

Furled
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/furled?s=t
verb (used with object)
1. to gather into a compact roll and bind securely, as a sail against a spar or a flag against its staff.

Gale
NOUN
a very strong wind:”it was almost blowing a gale”

Gratuitous
https://www.bing.com/search?q=gratuitous&PC=U316&FORM=CHROMN
1. Given or granted without return or recompense; unearned.
2. Given or received without cost or obligation; free.
3. Unnecessary or unwarranted; unjustified: gratuitous criticism.

Gustier
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/gustier
1.blowing or occurring in gusts or characterized by blustery weather: a gusty wind
2.given to sudden outbursts, as of emotion or temperament

Hauled
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hauled
4. Nautical To change the course of (a ship), especially in order to sail closer into the wind.

Hauling
Bing search engine
3. (especially of a sailing ship) make an abrupt change of course.

Indubitable
http://www.dictionary.com/adjective
1.that cannot be doubted; patently evident or certain; unquestionable.

Imparted
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impart
1:  to give, convey, or grant from or as if from a store her experience imparted authority to her words the flavor imparted by herbs
2:  to communicate the knowledge of :  disclose imparted my scheme to no one

Invariable
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/invariableadjective
1. not variable; not changing or capable of being changed; static or constant.
noun
2.something that is invariable; a constant.

Jib
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/jib?s=t
Any of various triangular sails set forward of a forestaysail or fore-topmast staysail.

Meridian Sun
Meridian sun the sun at its full height, as at midday

Messaline
Soft, lightweight silk dress fabric.
Or
Messalina
(wife of Claudius with a reputation for promiscuity, supposedly conspiring against her husband and executed later for it]

Mizzen Sail
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mizzen
:  a fore-and-aft sail set on the mizzenmast

Neptune: The mythical god of the sea.http://www.usmm.org/terms.html#anchor250581

Pilot
Pilots often were needed for entrance and exit from bays that have difficult access. They sailed out to the ship in need and boarded to steer the ship through. This profession exists today in much the same way only more organized.
To read a little more about the Mobile Bay pilots, go here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/all-started-french-300-year-history-pilotage-mobile-bar-de-la-garza

Plies (ply)
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ply
3. To traverse or sail over regularly

Reef(ed)
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/reefed?s=t
noun
1.A part of a sail that is rolled and tied down to reduce the area exposed to the wind.
verb (used with object)
2.to shorten (sail) by tying in one or more reefs.
3.to reduce the length of (a topmast, a bowsprit, etc.), as by lowering, sliding inboard, or the like.

Remunerating
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/remunerating
:  to pay an equivalent to for a service, loss, or expense :  recompense

Salubrious
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/salubrious
Conducive or favorable to health or well-being.

Spanker Boom
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Spanker+boom
(Naut.) a boom to which a spanker sail is attached.

Spanker Sail
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/spanker
Nautical.a fore-and-aft sail on the aftermost lower mast of a sailing vessel having three or more masts.a designation given to the mast abaft a mizzenmast, usually the aftermost mast in any vessel.

Sphere
Bing search engine
2. an area of activity, interest, or expertise; a section of society or an aspect of life distinguished and unified by a particular characteristic:”political reforms to match those in the economic sphere” ·

Squall
Bing Search Engine
a sudden violent gust of wind or a localized storm, especially one bringing rain, snow, or sleet:”low clouds and squalls of driving rain”

Tacked
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tacked
1. Nauticala. To change the direction of a sailing vessel, especially by turning the bow into and past the direction of the wind: Stand by to tack.
b. To sail a zigzag course upwind by repeatedly executing such a maneuver.
c. To change tack: The ship tacked to starboard.

Tail
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_nautical_terms#T
The loose end of a rope that has been secured to a winch or a cleat.

Telegraph
Not the typical telegraph we are used to seeing in old westerns. This one was before the major improvements in electric communication. There was no reliable way to use electricity from ship to ship and these telegraphs were optical. They relied on different positions of propeller-like arms and a way to decode the message. If the barque that Mr. Hersey speaks of had one of these, it would display either “members”, which are the arms of the device, or “numbers” meaning an identification of some kind. Most likely members…the handwriting appears to be able to go either way.

TG Sails or Top Gallant Sails
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/topgallant
a sail or either of two sails set on the yard or yards of a topgallant mast.

Thereou’(t)
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thereout
Out of that

Wore ship
https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/wear-ship
Past tense of wear ship
To change the tack of a sailing vessel, esp a square-rigger, by coming about so that the wind passes astern

********

Additional reading

More definitions of nautical terms:

http://www.usmm.org/terms.html

This is what I found on the Ship Eliza and Abby:

The ship itself is from Ireland or Scotland, I for some reason can’t find the link for that. But other than an arrival in Jamaica I can find nothing else for it’s career so far.

Here is a lawsuit involving the ship Eliza and Abby: https://law.resource.org/pub/us/case/reporter/F.Cas/0008.f.cas/0008.f.cas.0461.3.html

For more info on types of ships:

http://www.ageofsail.net/aoshipty.asp

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