A Sealing Voyage to the Falkland Islands aboard the Schooner Breakwater of Stonington

I’m now researching a sealing voyage to the Falkland Islands that was made in 1830 and 1831.  At least three of the men involved in this expedition were Indians, including Moses Brushell, Henry Shantup, and Charles Skeesucks.  Here are some excerpts from an account of voyage of the Schooner Breakwater of Stonington, Connecticut written by Daniel W. Lamb in 1896:

So having obtained A release from Capt Smith and pay for work I had done for him up to the latter part of July I shipped on board the schooner Break Water A fore and aft schooner of about 90 tons, Manned by the following named crew. Capt Daniel Carew of Stonington, first mate Oliver York, of Stonington Second mate, Mr Coffin, of Stonington third mate, Robert Sutton, of Stoneington. Steward, Matthew Flores A Portuguese of the Western Isalnds, these were A family by themselves on board the vessel and lived in the cabin. The following were the crew they lived in the forecastle. Cook Solloman Heding A Negro, hands before the mast Robbert Allison of New York, Alexander Collins New York, Thomas Canada New York ____ Duryea Carpenter New York, Edmund P Irvin New York Daniel OBrian New York Moses Brushell of Groton A Pequot Indian, James Freman of Groton A Negro Frank Joseph A Portaguese of Western Isalands. Horrace Robberts Rhode Isaland. Edward Gardner of Rhode Isaland A Negro. These names together with my own show A crew of thirteen men before the Mast and four in the Cabin in all seventeen…

After making due preparations we took in water and on Thursday Aug 12: AD 1830, we weighed Anchor And set Sail and shaped our course for Bonavista one of the Cape Verd Isalands to get salt to salt Seal skins. Three other Vessels in the same buisness and owned by the same company Sailed with us at the same time. They were the Brig William Capt Wilbur the Schooner Harriet Capt Davidson and the Schooner Free Gift Capt Hall. We Sailed Eastward between Montauk Point, and Block Island, near sundown and the last land in sight to us was Lantern Hill, in the North East part of Groton (now Ledyard) and I saw no more land for forty days…

…on the 27th of September after completing our buisness at Bonavista and taking on A couple of Goats to make us some fresh meat we weighed anchor and in company with the brig William and the schooners Harriet and Free Gift, we put to sea and shaped our course for Patagonia. We had fair wind and pleasant weather till we crossed the Equator but the heat was to great for our dog which we wanted to catch wild hogs when we should get to the Falkland Isalands. he died but fortunately we got one from the Brig William. Of course after crossing the Equator we had to look to the North to see the sun at noon, The officers of these vesels had fine times visiting each other for ten or 15 days till after we crossed the Equator and till Capt Hall of the Free Gift became suspicious that his vessel was not Seaworthy. So A council of the officers of the four vessels was called on board of her and she was condemed as being not sea worthy. Accordingly it was decided to divide her stores of provisions and her crew equally between the William the Harriet and the Breakwater and then set her on fire. So when they had completed the work of dividing her Crew and her stores and sails they hove her too with flying jib set and set fire to her. And so we witnessed the sad sight of A vessel burning at sea and thus ended the career of the Free Gift after serving her owners about twenty four years. Those of her crew who came aboard the Breakwater were Capt Hall of Stonington Wm Kenedy of Maine Alonzo Hedding and Pharao Hedding Negroes and brothers of Groton and Shumtup A Pequot Indian of Groton. We soon parted company with the Harriet and William and saw the Harriet no more…

During the season our crew took 1,000 fur seal the skins were worth $8 apeace and the captain having A chance to send them home by A vessel just going to stoneington sent them and that was our seasons work. But we intended to stay and have the benefit of another sealing Season and while
thus waiting we aimed to catch what game we could for our provission. We coasted along the coast visiting cape Blanco, near which was once A settlement now abandoned and not far from an extensive salt pond we visited Port Desire at the mouth of the river and Port St Eliza in Camarone Bay…

*****

Image

Crewlist for the Schooner Breakwater, 1830. 

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