Sunday, December 4, 2016

Part II - A Treasure Trove of History

John Preston's Journey from England to New York - 1833


John Preston 1808-1881
(This information was given to me when we first purchased the Preston-Gaylord Cobblestone Farmhouse in 1998 by John Preston's great-great-great grandson; Edward (Ted) Gaylord. His log was already neatly typed for my reference. I am unaware of the whereabouts of John S. Preston's original written diary of his experience crossing the Atlantic Ocean from England.  Note: I have not corrected any misspellings as my goal was to keep John Preston's words authentic).

John S. Preston: Born September 1, 1808 in Sutton upon Derwent, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. He died January 16, 1881 in Sodus, NY.  John S. Preston married Elizabeth Swales October 27, 1835.

John S. Preston's  1833 Journey from Hull, Yorkshire, England to Stanten Island, New York. Below are some of his observations as a passenger aboard the Ship Maida, with Captain Peckitt bound for New York, North America. The journey took seven weeks and three days. Below are some of his more interesting entries to his log. Some days were more eventful and more challenging than others with weather conditions and passengers becoming ill and dying. However, he scribes an entry each day for 52 days.

The journey begins on April 11, 1833 - John S. Preston, leaves Sutton with eight others to Hull, Yorkshire, England.
April 12, 1833- they board the ship, but do not set sail until April 17. John Preston describes each day, the direction in which they are going, the activities that take place; such as prayer services, other ships passing by, shooting a wild duck, playing dominoes as they sailed through the straights of Dover, across the Atlantic, and the weather each day. 

May 1st the ship is heaving heavily and most of the passengers are sick.
Saturday 4th fine weather the wind as (has) abated now blows a comfortable breeze but it is quite wrong for us being W we are now beating SW. One of Mrs. Booth's children has broke out in the small pox there is another child in the measles. About noon we saw a great deal, of Bottle Nose fishes about us. J. Burn & W Cobb were brought before the Justice T Walker and tried for quareling  below deck. They were fined 6q each.
Sunday 5th A.M. Cold foggy morning wind strong SW 8 O'clock P.M. A child dies of he small pox about 2 years of age.
M 6th A fine morning walking away merrily to the tunes of 6 knots. Right cours The carpenter employed making a coffin for the child. Our Magistrate took down all our names that were able Hand a bucket of coals from the fore hold and to make the fire. It was agreed that 2 should make the fire and keep in repare dureing the day, those that refused to be fined 6q each. In the evening the bell was tolled to summon the passengers to witness the funeral of the child. The service was performed by the Mate which was very solemn.
T 7th a violent shower of rain at 4 in the morning it cleared up shortly about noon the wind got up. 3 Oclock we were laid too under a close reefed main top sail all the canvas we durst not show. When a heavy sea struck the Ship with such a shock like a Clap of Thunder, the boxes tumbling one over another. Pots and pans went jingleing on among another and Women and Children crying for their parents. Such a sight as I never witnessed in my life. I was in bed that afternoon, some of them that was upon deck they were knocked down and thrown from one side to the other before they could recover and get upon their feet to catch hold of anything. In a few hours the wind rather abated and we got clear of the horror.
10th a fine breeze last night. Mrs. Hague was delivered of a girl but still born. 6 Oclock PM we was spoke by a ship called Elizabeth of Greenwich homeward bound from the West Indies in the longitude of 27 west our account, 30 west their account. 
15th a very fine morning the wind still holding in the afternoon we saw 2 brigs to windward rather squally towards night. I & Burn a little better today but cannot eat much our nurses are very kind & very attentive to us. They got us a chicken of the Captain and made us some broth which is a very great treat to us.
Sunday 19th 9 Oclock AM it is a cold foggy morning with showers of rain T. Burn & Shields are great deal better.  Wm. Cordukes from  Stockton near York has broke out in the small pox & Mrs. Stogdale an aged woman she has had them twice before, 2 O'clock we had a preaching by Mr. Harrison it still keeps very wet wind changeable from S to NW.
28th A fine day wind E a fare breeze we have now some stun sails sett. They took the sheep of of the boat this morning & washed them with salt water. All the passengers are now in good health except Mrs. Stogdale. She looks a sad look her face quite black.
31st  About 4 Oclock A.M. Mrs. Stockdale died about 7 she was taken upon deck & wrapt up in a tadpoleing & the Ship was fumigated & we had to breakfast upon deck. 9 Oclock the corps was put into the coffin her age was 45. When the Carpenter was making a coffin for the boy that died before, she was in good heath smoking her pipe laughing & joking with the Carpenter & asking him what sort of a coffin he would make her. Little thinking that she would want one so soon. About 4 O'clock PM the funeral commenced, the service was performed by Mr. Harrison her Husband & Relations wept very much. The Coffin sunk almost immediately after it was put into the water. We got but very little way on our journey today the wind being slack & quite contrary for us.
June 1st A fine morning wind a light breeze NE. They killed a tup sheep this morning that was lame weighed 19 1/2 lb a quarter. It belongs Mr. Waddle he said he gave 60 L for it in England. 3 Oclock P.M. a calm & hot weather. The Cook, T. Walker Wm Parker & Baxter from Hull stript and went into the sea and swam about the ship. Just after they had got out the water we saw 4 or 5 large fishes like sharks about 1/2 mile of.
6th Thrs a fine morning wind a light breeze saw steering NW by W.. 4 P.M. A calm & rain we saw 6 ships today 6 P.M. We saw a ship ahead she appeared to be lying too & a signal flying as through she wanted to speak to us, about 7 P.M. We cam up to her, she was allied the Richmond of Richmond, from New York. Southward bound she was a great fine ship. American built & had the American couplers flying which is a dark blue flag with 3 stars on it. They called out Ship ahoy & asked us were we were for. Our Captain told them New York, they then said we were to lower our boat they had a New York Pilot on board. All passengers were now on deck although it rained very fast. The pilot was a very respectable looking man, wrother yellowish completion; he said we were 60 miles from New York, we have now a light breeze from SE steering NW by w 3 miles an hour.
7th Rain all forenoon wind slack NE by E 10 Oclock P.M. It began to clear up. We met a pilot she was a beautiful little ship. They asked us if we had a pilot on board we said yes, they steered of to another ship to windward about 1/2 an hour after we declared land ahead about 12 miles off, it is a high hill with two lights one a revolving light. 6 P.M. Calm a very fine night, we have a fine view of the coast, we can see Stanten Island & Long Island ahead, we are weather of the South of the river mouth.  8 P.M. News boat came it had 4 Oarsmen & the Newsman, they said they left New York at 1/2 past 3 & should be back at 12 although it was 30 miles of. They brought us a paper direct from the press, with news of the loss of the Lady of the Lake with passengers on board. It is a very fine night the sea very smooth & calm we have a grand view of Sandy Hook Light House & some other one upon Long Island. About 11 Oclock we drop anchor 7 fathoms water.
8th A.M. We weighed anchor & sail up the river with a pleasant breeze but nearby ahead I never saw any sight so pleasing as the beautiful Land scales on both side of the river. We past the batteries about 11 AM they are built of brick there is one near the middle of the river. 12 Oclock we got curantine (quarantine) ground & anchor so after the Pilot left us. The quarantine ground & hospital is a beautiful place. There is a pleasant village near it. About 2 Oclock P.M. A Doctor came on board & we all has a pass before him in good health. Our Captain and some of the passengers went on shore and got provisions, we have had a long passage but pleasant 7 weeks and 3 days. 
10th A fine morning & warm, our Captain went to New York to engage a boat to take all passengers and goods to the Quorantine ground to be examined & from there to New York, as the ship was permitted to go until she got thoroughly cleared as she had had small pox on board they were very particular about it. Some of us went upon the Island today. Shields got engaged upon the Island to a Farmer for 10 dollars for one month. 
14th Friday we got to Troy. We then took the tow boat to Montsomer (Montezuma?). We pay a dollar and 50 cents for every 100 lb
18th we got to Montsomer (Montezuma), were then only 22 miles from Geneva, we sent our luggage by the boat and walked to Geneva we to Geneva about 2 Oclock, Mr, Rober Wride & T Horsley met us there. We stopped all night at Geneva, J, Burn T Horsley and myself stopped at Mr. J. Gultres all night. Robert Wride engaged me for Mr. George Harnot for 12 dos per month. Wm Wride engaged me to with a thrashing machine as soon has the thrashing begins, we set of (off) next day to Perry which is 60 miles. I stopped with Robert Wride for a few days. J, Burn stoped with T Brown. I began work for George Harnot on the 24th of June about 2 miles from Perry. We began harvest on the 20th of July. 

August 6 left Perry to go to Geneva.
7th begun thrashing for Mr. Wm. Wride for 18 dollars for month, for two months.

Stay tuned for Part III of A Treasure Trove of History where I'll share a hand written letter from Fannie Preston to her sister Lizzie in 1873.