Sailor's life

Please see my 'Contact' page re email address.

The following is a good example of what can be in the possession of a living relative, and may be currently unkown to you. In 1970, whilst gleaning as much family history as I could from my relatives, I asked my 82-year-old maternal granddad if there was a family bible. He replied that he had never seen one. I asked him if he had any brothers or sisters, and if they might know of one. He said he would ask his brother, who was a solicitor in London, and offered to write to him; then, almost as if it wouldn’t be of any interest to me, he mentioned a younger brother in Scotland. I had never heard mention of him before, so I asked if he would also write to him. Granddad felt that he wouldn’t be able to help, as he was the youngest child. I pointed out that the youngest was often the last to leave home and that he may well have items from their parents’ home as a result; so, he agreed.

The result was that the older brother had no knowledge of any such items, but the younger brother replied, enclosing some old family papers. He wrote that he had found them in their uncle Will’s home, when he died, and was going to burn them. He decided that it would be a shame to destroy them, so he had kept them all these years in case someone was interested; he also said that I could keep them!

When it arrived, it was 16 double-sided, hand-written pages by my granddad’s grandfather in the 1890s. Part of it was five generations of his family tree from his grandparents (b.1764) to his grandchildren, which included my granddad as a boy; the rest was the story of his childhood and education, followed by his life at sea as a merchant seaman on sailing ships in the 1840s. It included being shipwrecked; a friend being washed overboard near cannibal occupied islands and his rescue with a long-boat; keeping a turtle alive to sell to a London restaurant; finding a dismasted abandoned ship at sea; finding a full barrel of rum floating in the ocean (all alone, but not for long!); crewmen with yellow fever and the poor care they received; the ships and masters that he had sailed with; the mileage he had sailed; and so much else there isn’t the time or space to put them here.

I think you get the point!

Since writing the above, I have decided to put this very interesting story on this website. I've done this both as a subject of interest and to emphasise my point about tracking down your own family records before starting on official records, as 'later' may be 'too late'. I also feel that I owe it to him to pass on his little bit of our Nation's History. I have copied the original document as it was written in 1892, though some of his comments were more acceptable in the 19th century than they would be today. Nowadays we would, hopefully, be more tactful! I hope that you enjoy reading it.
Chris Drakes

Biography of Births, Marriages & Deaths in connection with the Davis' Family
from 1764 to 1892 compiled by Albert Wish Davis

“William Davis was born near Exeter, Devon, his wife, Elizabeth Williams was born at Okehampton, both in 1764; they were married 1792; and they both died aged 71, in 1835 & were buried in Castle St. Chapel Burial Ground, Exeter. Issue: - William Davis.

William Davis, son of the above, was born at Exeter 7th October 1794, his wife Anna Priddis was born at Exmouth, Devon 31st January 1797; they were married at St. Sidwell's Church, Exeter 18th May 1817. He died at Weymouth 22nd October 1858, aged 64; and she died at Weymouth 3rd July 1875, aged 78; they were both are buried at Wyke Regis, Dorset.

Issue, all born at Exeter: -

William John Davis was born 7th August 1818, he died at Exeter on 3rd April 1843, age 25 years. He was buried in the Lower Cemetery, Exeter.

Albert Wish Davis was born 26th July 1824.

Frederick Adolphus Davis was born 24th August 1827, he died in infancy and was buried in Bartholomew Church Yard, Exeter.

Adolphus Priddis Davis was born 16th June 1833, he died July 1835 Exeter aged 2 years & was buried with his Grand Mother Priddis in a vault at Glenorchy Chapel, Exmouth, Devon.

Walter Priddis Davis was born 30th January 1835.

Emily Anna Priddis Davis was born 4th November 1837, she died at Exeter 1839, aged 2 years and was buried in the Lower Cemetery, Exeter.

Albert Wish Davis 2nd son of William & Anna Davis, was born 26 July 1824 at Exeter, his wife, Louisa Bailey was born at Weymouth March 30 1832, they were married at St. Mary's Church, Weymouth 19th September 1852, by Revd. J. Stephenson.

Issue, all Born at Weymouth: -

Adolphus W. Priddis Davis was born 2nd September 1853, and died Southampton 20 May 1854, he was buried at Southampton.

Walter Priddis Davis was born 10th August 1857, he married Annie Pullman at Upway Chapel, Annie P Grace Davis their daughter was born (?). Annie Davis died (?) & was buried at Broadway Church Yard 18(?).

Albert William Davis was born 2nd August 1862.

Dinah Bailey Davis was born 31st May 1864, and married William J. Ricketts Married at Gloster St. Chapel, Weymouth. Their issue: - Ernest, born (?), and died 1887. Edwin J.; Florence E.M.; Albert Wish D.

Rhoda Davis was born 22nd July 1867, she married William J. Bavis at Maiden St. Wesleyan Chapel, Weymouth. Their issue: - Eva L.; Mable E. Wish.

George Bailey Davis was born 24th (? 25th) March 1869, and he died 5th March 1870, and was buried at Weymouth.

Charles Davis was born 10th March 1873.

William & Elizabeth Davis who were born in 1764 were: -

Parents to William Davis born in 1794;

Grand Parents to William John - Albert Wish - Fredk A - Adolphus P - Walter P - & Emily A P Davis;

Great Grand Parents to A.W.P. - Walter P - Albert Wm - Dinah Bailey - Rhoda - Geo Bailey - & Charles Davis;

Great Great Grand Parents to Annie P G Davis - Eva Louisa Bavis - Mable E Wish Bavis - Ernest - Edwin John - Florence Evelyn May & Albert Wish Davis Ricketts.

Mable Eva Sylvia Ricketts (b.1902), Edwin John Ricketts (b.1888), Dinah Bailey Ricketts, née Davis (b.1864)

The domestic life of Albert Wish Davis
26th July 1824 to November 1892 (he died 1899)

“A Concise Biography of some of my Dear Relatives who has done with time & crossed the Jordan Compiled by Albert W Davis.

William Davis my Grandfather was born in the year 1757 [1764] & I think in the parish of Littleham, about 12 miles from Exeter, his parents dying when he was young - He knew but little about them from what I have heard they were quiet, & humble people - My Grandfather knew what hard work was in his boyhood - My Grandfather was a House Painter & carried on the Business at No 5 Bartholomew St. Exeter for many years - He worked for many Title Gentlemen & a fair share of the Tradespeople in the City & was a Staunch supporter of the Independent Chapel & was a consistent member - He was much respected by the Citizens and Died in sure & certain hope of a Glorious Resurrection unto Eternal Life - Elizabeth Davis my Grandmother born at Oakhampton 1757 [1764] - as Her family did not reside in Exeter I dont know anything of them - she was Indulgent & very fond of we Children she was member of the Bryanites - and at times conducted their meetings - Dear Old Soul I hope she is in glory The Dust of the Above - are lain in one Grave awaiting the Coming of Christ William Davis my father born in Exeter 1794 learnt House Painting off his Father but afterward at a great outlay he was put with a Mr. Tucker to be made an Artist he made rapid progress in that proffession & soon commenced on his own account giving lessons to many gentry in oil & water Color Drawing - & He my Father was the First Tradesman in the City that could do Oak Graining - He was great reader of theological works & spent Hundreds of hours reading & studying the word of God - in his early days he belonged to the Calvinistic Chapel - but in his later day's the Baptist Chapel He was a dear kind hearted man & a loving Father - allways very absteinous seldom drinking anything but Tea or Coffee & never used Cigars or Tobacco - he never Joind. any pledge - but he had no Taste for those things -
My Father Died at the age of 64 years - 22 Oct 1858 - I trust to meet him in Heaven
Anna Davis my Mother was the 7th daughter of Thomas & Susanna Priddis of Exmouth, Thomas Priddis my grandfather was Master & Owner of his own Ship but Ship & Crew were lost - near North Yarmouth, Susanna my grandmother lived in Exmouth many years after the Death of her Husband - she died and was buried in a vault in the ground Adjoining Lady Glenorchy's Chapel - I have heard off those who knew her - that she was a God fearing humble Christian woman -
My Mother was the youngest of the Priddis family & was spared to attain the Age of 78 years & 6 months she met for many years with the Bretheren & Died trusting in the Rich Atoning Blood of Christ - for her Souls Salvation -
William John Davis my Dear Brother served an Apprenticeship with Mr T. Rowlands at South Molton - as a Painter - but shortly after he had served his term he received an Appointment as Clerk in Exeter General Post Office where he remained about 2½ years then died from Chill Aged 25 - he was a dutiful Son -
Wlter Priddis Davis my youngest Brother - was apprenticed to a Tailor Mr T. Robens of Weymouth - & afterward went to sea in P&O Steamers visiting various parts of the world then settled down in Weymouth - been a Guard for the G W Railway - in whose service he now is (Nov 1892) -
And now as to myself - what account can I give of my stewardship - let us see 1st by the Will of God on the 26 July 1824 - I a poor Sinner was born in Exeter Devon at the Age of 3 years I was sent to a Lady School - conducted by Miss Harker, from there to another School conducted by Mr James Marker - afterwards I was sent to a School in St. Sidwells Conducted by Mr. Beaden he was a dissenter but a pains taking good man - every morning before the School duties began, the Master read a few verses from the Bible & offered Prayer finally I went to Mr. John Quickes Accademy, King's Alley & that finished up my Schooling & I went to work for Mr. Huckelbridge in Exeter to Learn Plumbing & Painting &c. in 1840 I went to Southampton & workd. there House Painting - 1841 I came home to Exeter & in Febry. 1842 I went to Plymouth by th Quicksilver Mail Coach - inside Passenger & on the 4th March I Joined the Immigrant Ship & Sailed for Hobart Town South Australia & I continued following the Sea's visiting various parts of the World until Novbr. 1849 - then I bid farewell to the Sea's, A descriptive account of each Ship I sailed in & a few incidents that occured & also some of the hardships I endured during my 7 & ½ years at Sea - I hope to give in detail Later on -
Well after enduring 7 & ½ years of a Sailors Life - in March 1850 I came to Weymouth & went too work at my trade House Painting, and on the 19th Sepbr. 1852 I was married at St. Mary Church Weymouth - now it is Novbr. 1892 - so I have been married over 40 years but by the goodness of God toward me for near 69 years Here I am -
Albert Wish Davis enjoying a fair share of Health, Praise the Lord - with reference to my second name Wish I am calld. after Mr. Thomas Wish - my Mothers uncle he resided near Exmouth; it is not a common name - but I find my Brother had a Son - Albert Wish, my Daughter Dinah Ricketts has a son Albert Wish, and my Daughter Rhoda Bavis has a girl, Mable Wish - God Bless them, - well on looking back over my Lifes History Truly I can say & I trust it is with holy reverence & deep contrition of Heart - Goodness & mercy has followed me all the day's of my Life - If I call to recollection my Temporal Mercies - What do I see - Truly I see God has been with me guiding & preserving me, and through the Lords Mercy - it mattered not if I were in a Calm or in a Storm in a Climate were the very Air was full of pestilence & fever - or surrounded by the Dying & the Dead - or shut up in a Hospital ward in the East Indies Bombay suffering from Yellow Fever - and have seen poor fellows dying all around me - all this I passd. through whilst following the Sea - but the Lord brought me safely out of all these dangers - yes - and it was at a time when I was in - spiritual darkness - but now I see by Gods grace - that evenn then God loved me - altho at that time I was spiritually dead in Trespasses and Sin - what about Trials, Troubles, sorrows, persecutions &c. - have I had any during my sojourn down here - Ah yes - I think I have had my share of them But the sorest Trial or the deepest Trouble if sanctified - makes all things work together for good - but to who - not to the ungodly not to the Sinner in his Sins - but it is promised by God - to those who are associated with a living Christ - to those who are brought out of natures darkness - and knows what it is to be under the Shelter of the precious Blood of Christ - then come Life come Death all will be well - for time & also for Eternity - And when it shall please the Lord to call me home - I trust I shall be found ready & waiting to meet that call & that it may be with my Soul absent from the Body & present with the Lord And my Constant Prayer is that all my Family - my Wife, my Children, my grand children, son's in law & all others connected by natures ties might possess the constraining Love of God in their Hearts and that Gods Holy Spirit may rest upon them & show each one then Standing before a Holy God, and that at last we shall meet in that Home which Jesus is gone to prepare for all his Blood bought Children.”

                                                                                                              copyright Chris Drakes

An original 1831 pen & ink drawing of a sailing ship on fire at sea

The private life of Albert Wish Davis, a merchant seaman on sailing ships
4th March 1842 to 9th November 1849

“The names of the Ships I sailed in, & a few incidents that occurred in each ship - On the 4th March 1842 I joined the full Rigged Ship “Orleana” at Plymouth bound to Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land with about 350 Immegrants & of 680 Ton Register & on the 11th March we sailed & arrived out July 10th - a favourable passage of 102 Day's a few days after leaving Plymouth a young Sailor fell of the starboard Studding Sail Boom & was drowned - it cast a solemn gloom over the ship - we also lost another sailor who died from natural causes after a few day's Illness & we had the body sewn up in canvass with a 7lb shot put in at his feet and at 7 bells - that is half past Eleven we consigned him to the deep - all we Sailors received orders to clean ourselves & follow the Corpse from the Fore castle to the gang way; were we met all our officers - the Captain reading the Burial Service - we also - buried 4 passengers children who died; after landing our passengers &c. at Hobart Town we sailed on 24th July for Bombay taking the North West Passage that is Via Torres Straits - when another sailor named Wm. McLeod fell overboard, we cut away our Life buoy & he grasped it but he was in the water over ½ Hour before we picked him up - with our Jolly Boat - he was a good swimmer and could have reached the shore - but had he done so he would probably have been scalpd. & his body eaten, as the natives were cannibals. I was thankful he was saved as he was my messmate & chum, we passd. Java, Timoor, Sumatra & crossed the China Seas & arrived at Bombay Sepbr. 16th it is a fine Harbour - we employd. about 20 darkeys Lascars to help load Ship & our Officers gave a trip up the River in a Native Boat - (they call it a Bungalow) puild. by 8 Hindoos it was enjoyd. by us all & saw many curious sights - another Trip they gave us in the Town & showed us the Public Builds. & the Market were we bought Pine Apples & other choice fruits - Dining on Curryd. Fowl at an Hotel - Charged. 7d each in Decbr. I was sent ashore to the Hospital with Yellow Fever - but by the Lords goodness I soon recovered - whilst poor fellows were dying on my right & left - On many occasions in the night have I seen poor Fellows not able to move in their beds - calling the Blackmen nurses - to come to them & bring rice water for them to drink - and these Black rascals - have been coild. up asleep on the floor in the ward - & I have seen a young Fellow an Englishman who was nearly well - Jump out of his Bed & Whack those Lazy Blacks for neglecting those poor fellows - on March 4th 1843 we sailed from Bombay for Liverpool with Cotton - Dye Nuts - & Cinnamon as a Cargo - passing on our passage Madagascar, & the Cape were passed - & on arriving at St. Heleana we anchored for one day took in fresh provision & a Cask of Water Cress for to prevent scurvey amongst the crew - we saw the Residence of the Great Napoleon when he was there in exile and the Beautiful Willow Tree over his grave - we sailed from St. Heleana & arrived at Liverpool 12th July 1843 - this ended our Voyage of Thirty 3 Thousand Five Hundred Miles - all hands paid off - I left Liverpool for Dublin & from Dublin to Plymouth in a passenger Steamer then from Plymouth to My Home Exeter in a 8 Horse road Waggon - In June 1844 untill March 1845 I sailed in My Cousin F. Bartletts Ship Coasting name of Vessel was the Naiad of 180 Tons - we traded to Hull Newcastle, Cardiff, Pentuin, Dartmouth, Exmouth &c. In April 1845 I went to Plymouth & I Joined the Barque John Bromham 330 John Capt. John Barratt for Charlotte Town Prince Edward Isle with Cargo & 5 Passengers on our passage a Sailor was washed off the Jib boom & drowned - it happened near the Banks of Newfoundland there I first saw Iceberg's - very large ones - we also caught some fine Cod fish - we Arrived out in May & on the 20th was I transferred to a New Ship Called the Fanny - a Brig of 232 Tons - Capt. John Smith - I was at work Rigging & Painting of her untill July 18 when Sailed for Liverpool & arrived home after a splendid passage of 18 days from the Gut of Canso - North America to Cape Clear - Ireland - arriving at Liverpool we discharged Cargo & Loaded again for Charlotte Town Prince Edward Island & sailed Sept. 4 & arrived out Oct 4th & on the 27th we sailed for Newcastle & arrived there Nov 25 - discharged Timber & loaded Coal & sailed for for Plymouth Dec 28 arrived 7 Jan 1846 discharged Cargo & took ballast for Liverpool - arriving there we loaded with General Cargo & 3 passengers for P.E. Island arrived out 30th May - on our passage out we met with a Quantity of Field Ice - we also spoke the Brig - Traveller in the Atlantic & sent home Letters by her - also fell in with the Barque British Queen of Halifax - they were short of food we supplied them with Beef, Pork, & Bread, we also passed a Brig Dismasted in Lat 46”37 - Long 45”15 - we discharged our Cargo and proceeded to Three Rivers were we loaded Timber for Plymouth on 11 June we sailed & arrived home 5 July & on the 25 Sailed Again for P.E.Island with general Cargo & 11 Passengers discharged Cargo & loaded Timber & sailed Sept. 23 for Newcastle were we arrived 26 Octber. discharged Timber & Loaded Coal for Plymouth & Sailed 1st Decbr. & arrived 6th Decbr. & on the 24th Dec all hands paid off & the Ship Laid up - Febry. 12 Joined the Fanny again & Sailed on the 17th with a Cargo of Hemp from H.M.Dockyard Devonport for Liverpool - discharged Hemp & took in general Cargo & 20 passengers for P.E.Island & arrived there 19th May - discharged Cargo & then Loaded Timber for Plymouth - Saild. 13th June & arrived home July 16th - discharged Cargo & took in 5 Passengers & part of a Cargo & on 30th July sailed arriving at P.E.Island 3rd Sept. on the 16th we left P.E.Island for Newcastle - were we arrived 27 Octbr. 27 Novbr. we sailed from Shields for Plymouth with a Cargo of Coals arrived at Plymouth 16th Dec & on the 27th all Hands paid off & Ship was laid up - I remained on board the Fanny from 20th May 1845 untill 27th Decbr. 1847 - & on our last passage we Collided with a Russian Vessel in the Downs - & what with damages & Pilotage (we) that is our owner had to Pay £120 - to the Foreigner & Pilots. January 3rd 1848 I Joined the Schooner Lara of 88 Tons at Plymouth Capt. William Adams & Sailed with ballast for St. Ives in Cornwall and loaded a Cargo of Pilcherds packd. in Cask for Naples in Italy - we sailed on the 13 Janry. & having remarkable fine weather we soon crossd. the Bay of Biscay - & passing the Spanish & Portugese Coast we Arrived & passed the Rock of Gibralter and finally arrived at Naples in 19 Days from St.Ives -discharged our Fish & Sailed on the 19th Feb for Messina in Sicilly - arrived 21st but a revolution been on we sailed 23 for Constantinople going thro the Archepelego & then thro the Dardenelles & arrived at Constantinople March 1st were we lay untill April 15th then we received orders to go to Kertche - so we sailed up the Bosphorus then Across the Black Sea were we arrived on the 24th April - there we had to lay in Quarintine - thence on the 11th May proceded up the Fresh Water Sea of Azof & Loaded a Cargo of Russian Tallow for Plymouth - Arrived home July 25 thus ended our voyage - up & down the Mediteranen & Black Sea, time 6 & ½ months August 11th I went to Southampton from Plymouth by Steamer to join the Barque Florence of 350 Tons Capt. John Brumage on the 14th we sailed for for Quebec in ballast - but in the Night of Sept. 24th she struck on a reef of rocks near Cape Gaspe in the Gulf of St. Lawrence - & became a total wreck the crew after enduring hardships & privations were saved from a Watery Grave - by the Lord's Mercy - on the 29th Septbr. we the crew went to the Town of Gaspe in an open boat - there we found a Large full Rigged Ship - Calld. Wilson Kennedy - off New York -1129 Tons Water Logged we got a few days work on board of her - then we went to Douglas Town - the Town consisted of 25 old Wooden Shanty's - not a shop of any sort - in so calld. Town 9 of us had to pay 2/6 per day - each - for 3 meals a day - our food consisted of Boiled Potatoes & Salt Fish - for Breakfast & Tea - & for Dinner Boild. Salt Mackel & Potatoes no Bread, no Tea nor Coffee but plenty of Cold Water to Drink & the 2/6 had to be Paid in Advance every Morning - we had to sleep in our own Hammocks At Last a kind hearted Irishman living a little distance off - hearing of our Troubles - came & offered 3 of us food & lodging untill we could get away if we would help him on his farm - we gladly accepted his kind offer - went to the farm & set too digging up & Storing his Potatoes - we had a nice Cup of Tea twice a day & Barley Cakes for our Breakfast & Tea - after such privation - we now thought we were living on the Fat of the Land - Oct 15th a small Craft came & took us to Quebec - each of us having to pay 5 Dollars for our Passage up to Quebec - arrived up there Oct 25th Novbr. 1st I joined the Ship Emperor Capt. Beswick - 730 Ton at Quebec & sailed for Plymouth - & arrived home Novbr. 30 - & then left the Ship - as she was a leaky old Tub - the Pumps were kept at work all the way home - Dec 21 1848 at Plymouth I Joined the Barque Concordia of Charlotte Town Prince Edwards Island Capt. John Barratt - & on 2 Janry. 1849 we sailed from Plymouth for Sierra Leone West Coast of Africa Arrived Feb 4th took on board about 20 Niggers - & on the 8th we proceded to Yarra Bay & Loaded African Oak April 16 we landed our niggers & Sailed for Falmouth for orders & arrived 28 June - received orders to go to London we arrived July 4 - All hands paid off - on our passage home we Lowered our Boat & Caught a Bottle nose Shark - & Turtle the Turtle we kept alive untill we arrived at London where it was sold to a Restaurant Keeper - we also pickd. up in Mid Ocean a Cask of Rum & from Branded Marks supposed it had been on the water 18 months - July 23 1849 - re joined the Concordia & Sailed for Quebec - arrived Sep 10th loaded Timber & sailed again on the 30th for Plymouth arrived home Nov 8 & on Novbr. 9 1849 I left the Ship & bid farewell to the Sea - and I went to Oxford & went into Partners with a man in the Leather Glove and Gaiter Business - attending Great Markets in Northamptonshire Gloucestershire &c. - I finding money & my Partner finding wit but after trading together about 3 months I discovered he had out witted me to the Tune of over Five Pound's - we dissolved partners & I fell back on my trade, Painting &c. at Weymouth - On looking back on the past - I find I made 18 Passages Across the Atlantic Ocean - 13 passages in the Brig Fanny in charge of Capt. John Smith - 3 passages with Capt. John Barratt 1 passage with Cap' Brumage & 1 passage with Cap' Beswick & on the American Routes only I Sailed about Fifty Thousand Miles upon Calculation I Estimate from 4th March 1842 untill - 9 Novbr. 1849 I Sailed over One Hundred & Forty Thousand Miles Truly the Lord has been good to me -”

Since putting this on my website, I have had emails from one of his brother's descendants, and from someone in Australia whose ancestors, the Simpsons, were passengers on the Orleana during the same trip to Hobart Town in March 1842 when Albert Wish Davis was a crew member - the world is getting smaller!

Gary Hicks has been working on transcribing the Plymouth Shipping Registers (Devon, England) for almost ten years and has completed about 2,700 entries from these Registers covering 1814 to 1916. Copies of his work Plymouth's Other Fleet - The Merchant Shipping Registers of the Port of Plymouth 1814 to 1876 ISBN 978-0-9552265-0-2 are available on CD direct from him via his website. This is such a valuable piece of research; the following is the entry for the Barque Florence on which Albert Wish Davis was shipwrecked in 1848 (see above), and is included with his prior consent, for which I am most grateful.

FLORENCE – Barque –
                    Built Rustico & Launched 17 September 1842
Builder: Robert Orr (‘Ships and Seafarers of Atlantic Canada’ - Maritime History Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1998)          

No. Fourteen           Port of Plymouth               dated 12th April   18 43  
Name Florence          Burthen 330 1211 /3500 Tons     Thomas Peake Master,
When and where built or condemned as Prize, referring to Builder’s Certificate, Judge’s Certificate, or last Registry… built at Rustico in Prince Edward Island and launched the 17th day of September 1842 as appears by a former Certificate of Registry granted at Prince Edward Island the 26 September 1842 No. 48 now delivered up and cancelled in consequence of a change of owners
Name and Employment of Surveying Officer Richard Potbury  Tide Surveyor

One Decks, and Three Masts, that her length from the inner part of the Main Stem to the fore part of the Stern aloft is Ninety eight Feet three Tenths, her Breadth in Midships is Twenty two Feet seven Tenths, her Depth in hold at Midships is Seventeen Feet three Tenths, that she is  Barque
Rigged with a standing Bowsprit, square Sterned carvel  Built no Galleries, Woman Bust Figure Head.
Admeasure under the Act 5 & 6 William IV. Cap. 56     Tonnage per old Act 303 69 /94 Tons       
Subscribing Owners
George Peake, 32/64 and Thomas Peake, 32/64 both of Plymouth in the County of Devon, Merchants
[The Plymouth owners purchased the Florence from James Peake of Charlotte Town, Prince Edward Island, Merchant on 11 April 1843 recorded on this register.] [See The Peake Family]
Summary of transactions –   

Cancelled Vessel lost in the River St. Lawrence in the month of September 1848 per Letter of Collector of Quebec dated 20 October 1848 1    

Customs House Plymouth     26 May 1843          Richard Coaker
                  Plymouth     11 April 1844          John Edwin Brumage     

The Florence was damaged in collision on route to Quebec in 1843: “arrived at Falmouth the Florence, of Plymouth, for Quebec (with loss of bowsprit having been in contact with the Arundel, of Hull, 5th inst.” (Plymouth Devonport & Stonehouse Herald, 29 July 1843)

LLOYD’S LIST 9442, SATURDAY, 15 JUNE, 1844: “Charlottetown Prince Edward Island 27 May 1844 -  The Florence Brumage of and from Plymouth for Quebec was towed into this port 23 inst. after being on shore near Pictou and throwing overboard a great part of her cargo.  She had previously received considerable damage in the ice 11 – 13 inst. near Banks of Newfoundland.”  Again the Florence escaped destruction, was repaired and continued her North Atlantic trading.
“The Florence of Plymouth, 25th August, from Plymouth for Quebec to W. Stevenson, is a few miles below the Spalpeen, and it is feared will be a total wreck.”
The barque Spalpeen went ashore in thick weather on September 23rd near Cape Rosier (Quebec Gazette 5 October 1848).
“The schooner Violet, Southern, arrived yesterday morning, brought up part of the crews of the Florence and Spalpeen, before reported wrecked at Cape Rosier.”
These extracts from the Morning Chronicle and Quebec Gazette, from ‘Navigating the Lower Saint Lawrence in the 19th Century’, Gilbert R. Bossé, are reproduced by kind permission of the author.  For further information see the web-site of the same title.   
LLOYD’S LIST 10796, TUESDAY, 24 OCTOBER 1848 “(Griffin Cove 26 Sept) Florence, Brummage from Southampton to Quebec, wrecked Cape Rosier 23 September; crew and material saved.”

(Extracted entry from Plymouth Merchant Ships courtesy of Gary Hicks, who has since added an extract from Albert's story to his records)


An original pencil sketch of a horse’s head, signed ‘W. Davis 1831'.

His father, William Davis, was born on 7.10.1794 at Exeter, Devon. He was a house painter, artist, and oak grainer by trade. He taught painting to the local gentry in the Exeter area of Devon. He mainly painted 'Marine Subjects and 'Coach & Horses' scenes. One of his beautiful oil paintings of a coach & horses is still owned by one of his descendants. We tend to forget that, pre-railways, -cars and -planes, horses and ships were the major means of transport; unlike today, everyone would have seen horses as part of their daily lives.