Log of the Whaler Sheffield - Pt. 4

Footnotes to Long Island History

MAY 12 1949


Thomas R. Bayles

(Editor's Note: This is the fourth of five articles which Thomas R. Bayles has adapted from the log of the old whaler Sheffield. They describe events of a voyage out of Cold Spring Harbor from 1845 - 1848)

       "Thursday, May 20, 1847. At half past eleven saw sperm whale, lowered and struck three and got one, lost four lines and cut one, took one along side until morning."

       "Wednesday, the 26th. Stowed down 1900 gallons of sperm oil."

       "Sunday, June 7th. Struck and drawed, spoke ship Fanny of Sag Harbor, had got 700 barrels of oil on the coast of Chile."

       "Saturday, June 12th. Spoke ship Fanny, Columbia and Crescent of Sag Harbor in company."

       "Sat., June 26th. Spoke ship Splendid of Cold Spring. 5 whales. Stowed down 3764 barrels of oil. Spoke ship Seine of New Bedford, 4 whales."

       "Friday, July 2nd. Strong gales and rugged weather. poor unfortunate creatures."

       In his comment this time and on the next day he says "Don't know when we will get another whale."

       "Thursday, the 8th. At 2 P.M. saw a dead whale took him along side and cut him in."

       "Sunday, July 11th. Stowed down 1976 gallons of oil, which fills the main hatch."

       "Tuesday, July 20th. Stood in to the land; At 11 a.m. two boats Mr. Halsey's and Mr. Payne's went on ashore and returned at 4 P.M. Report seeing tract of wild animals and plenty of seal and ducks, but no fish.

       "Tuesday, August 3rd. Fine, beautiful weather; employed in cutting in blubber and stowing down oil, all very dirty and tired but encouraged."

       "Tuesday, Sept 7th. Got through cutting in at 4 P.M. and thank God for it, for a more disagreeable time I never saw on board ship; nothing goes right with our honorable, (captain) but everything wrong; he sets himself up as the model of perfection. I long for the time when we shall turn our ship towards home."

       "Saturday, Sept 18th. Rugged weather, double reef topsails at 10 a.m. lowered and struck and killed a whale: the waist boat got badly stove in, and one of her men, Scudder Abbott received a compound fracture of the right arm; he is however doing well under the doctor's care. Took our whale alongside and cut him in; thank God things are no worse.

       "Wednesday, the 6th. Early this morning Scudder Abbott had a heavy fit; he seems convinced that his end is near at hand and often speaks of his dear parents at home. At 4 P.M. George, a native of Tahiti died of consumption.

       "Thursday, Oct,7th. At 8 a.m. hove our ship to, ran our colors up to half mast and committed our dead shipmate to his watery grave."

       "Monday, the 11th. Passed through the straits of Nadeske the Island of Matue on our starboard and the Island Rankole on our larboard, and shaped our course for the Sandwich Islands."

       "At 11 a.m. Poor Scudder Abbott breathed his last. He has left at home a fond father and mother to mourn his melancholy end, and he was their only child. His remains will be committed to the deep tomorrow morning, "till the sea shall give up its dead."

       "Tuesday, the 12th. At half past eight this morning we hove ship to, displayed colors at half mast, and committed Scudder Abbott to his last resting place."

       "Monday, Nov 8th. There are two men off duty with scurvy."

       "Thursday, the 18th. Received on board 400 gallons molasses from the Sharon, of Fair Haven.

       "Thursday, the 25th. Took a pilot at 11 a.m. and at 12 o'clock came to in outer roads of Honolulu and anchored, and in afternoon captain went ashore."

       "Wednesday, Dec. 8th. Shipped 12,500 pounds bone on the Marie Helene for Boston."

       "Thursday, the 9th. sold 464 gallons sperm oil to Mackie & Anthon at 83 cents per gallon.'

       "Saturday, Dec. 11th. Sold 1480 gallons of humpback oil to ship Marie Helene of Valparaiso.'

       "Saturday, the 25th. Birthday of our Lord and Saviour. Variable weather. Got off a raft of water casks; all ready for sailing the first fair wind."

       "Monday, the 27th. All ready for sea. At 1 P.M. searched the ship for deserters, and found one man, a deserter from the South America; the crew have mostly refused to do duty on account of this searching."

       "Thursday, the 30th. Employed in sail mending and humbugging."

       "Humbugging" in the language of the sea was any odd job that the crew thought uncalled for or unnecessary.

       "Saturday, Jan 1st, 1848. All hands employed sucking their fingers; the captain ashore riding."

       "Friday, Jan 7th. Capt. White came aboard and steered for Owhyhee in company with bark Bayard of Sag Harbor, Capt. Fordham."

       "Tuesday, the 11th. Standing in for Karakakoa Bay. Employed in mending boats; chased a school of black fish with no success.

       Blackfish are a species of small whales yielding from one to five barrels of oil each. 

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