Table of Contents
The Continent was built in Bath, Maine in 1850. Carrying 1032 67/95 tons, the ship measured 175 feet by 36 feet by 25 feet 4 inches. The ship contained three decks, three masts, a square stern, round tuck and a female figurehead. It was registered on July 5, 1854 in Philadelphia, but it sailed out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. The Continent carried cargo to many locations including Singapore, Akyab, and Hong Kong. The ship was owned by George Hussey, John P. Thomas, Thomas A. Green, Augustus P. Hamlin and B. Perkins. Copartners in the ship’s ventures were William A. Rotch, Leander A. Plummer, and William G.E. Cope, all of New Bedford, Massachusetts and Alexander Winsor of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. The Continent was mastered by John L. Gibbs as well as James E. Howland.
The ship records of the Continent consist of 41 folders, spanning 1861-1864, which contain crew lists, clearance papers, receipts, desertion lists and death certificates. During the years in which the records consist, the Continent, captained by James E. Howland, was traveling between Singapore, Hong Kong and Akyab, Burma, now known as Sittwe, Myanmar. The records also show that the ship made brief stops in Melbourne, Australia and Manila, Philippines. Most of the records are authorized by the United States Consulate in the countries visited by the Continent and show the procedures ships had to go through to legally enter ports and do business.
Many of the records in the collection are receipts from the United States Consulates acknowledging that Captain Howland had turned in a crew list, the ship’s register, and other articles. This was the first step toward legally entering a port. When the time came for the Continent to leave port, the ship was issued clearance papers from the Consulate stating that the ship had been cleared by authorities. In addition, before leaving port, the Consulate also kept track of men from their port joining the crew. Because of this, there are several crew lists of varying lengths included in the Continent’s records. The crew lists differ in description with some including physical descriptions, ages, countries of origin and wages.
The Continent’s records also include desertion papers and death certificates. There are several desertion records in the collection. The first acknowledges Thomas Pearson of Melbourne as a deserter in Singapore. The second was issued Hong Kong and lists the nine men who deserted there. The third lists Robert Jones as a lone deserter, and the fourth was issued in Singapore and lists the three men who deserted in Akyab. The records also contain death certificates for crew members who died on board the Continent. The first member to perish on the ship’s voyages was Robert Chesnutt. According to Captain Howland, Chesnutt died on or about June 9th, 1863 on the passage between Akyab and Singapore. The second member of the crew to die on board was S. Treadwell who fell from aloft on December 14, 1863. One record in the collection also acknowledges the finding of a stowaway named Horatio de Loasano after leaving an unspecified port.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to Collections
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 161, Series A, [Folder]
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 United States Code 552a) governs the use of materials that document private individuals, groups, and corporations.
Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction if the document does not infringe the privacy rights of an individual, group, or corporation. These specified conditions of authorized use include:
- non-commercial and non-profit study, scholarship, research, or teaching
- criticism or commentary
- as a NBWM archives preservation or security copy for research use
- as a research copy for deposit in another institution
If the researcher later uses a copy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," the researcher is personally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement and agrees to indemnify the New Bedford Whaling Museum from any legal action as a result of the error. Permission to obtain a photographic, xerographic, digital, or other copy of a document does not indicate permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, sell, distribute, or prepare derivative works from the document without permission from the copyright holder and from any private individual, group, or corporation shown or otherwise recorded.
Permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, prepare derivative works from, sell, or otherwise distribute the item must be obtained separately in writing from the holder of the original copyright (or if the creator is dead, from his/her heirs) as well as from any individual(s), groups, or corporations whose name, image, recorded words, or private information (e.g. employment information) may be reproduced in the source material. The holder of the original copyright is not necessarily the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is not legally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement when materials are wrongfully used after being provided to researchers for "fair use."
This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if fulfillment of the order is judged in violation of copyright or federal or state privacy law. This institution also places restrictions on the use of cameras, photocopiers, and scanners in the research room.
Materials in this collection were purchased by the New Bedford Whaling Museum in 2017. Accession #2017.24
Processed by: Angela Farias, 2017
Encoded by: Angela Farias, 7 July 2017
Akyab (Burma: District) -- Commerce -- United States
Bassett, Benjamin E.
Cope, William G. E.
Coppin, Albert Edward
Gibbs, John L.
Green, Thomas A.
Guam -- Commerce -- United States
Halich, Edward D.
Hamlin, Augustus P.
Hong Kong (China) -- Commerce -- United States
Howland, James E.
Locke, Horace B.
Manila (Philippines) -- Commerce -- United States
Melbourne (Australia) -- Commerce -- United States
Merchant seamen -- Mass. -- New Bedford -- Salaries, pensions, etc
Merchant ships --Mass. -- New Bedford
New Bedford (Mass.) -- Commerce
Olney, Charles H.
Plummer, Leander A.
Prince, Henry Gray
Rotch, William A.
Shipping -- Mass. -- New Bedford
Singapore -- Commerce -- United States
Thomas, John P.
United States -- Commerce -- Akyab (Burma: District)
United States -- Commerce -- Guam
United States -- Commerce -- Hong Kong
United States -- Commerce -- Manila (Philippines)
United States -- Commerce -- Melbourne (Australia)
United States -- Commerce -- Singapore
United States -- Diplomatic and consular services
Van Camper, E.L.
de Loasano, Horatio
- Exhibit Enhancements
- Discovery Center
- Herman Melville
- Captain Paul Cuffe
- Joshua Slocum
- Historic Women of the South Coast