ODHS 769


Logbook of the John Wells
(Bark)

In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Machine-readable finding aid created by: Rachel Adler
Funds for this project were provided by the North Pacific Research
Bureau.

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Old Dartmouth Historical
Society
Machine-readable finding aid created by Rachel Adler 8 October
2013

Description is in English





New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Whaling Museum: (508) 997-0046 Maritime Curator/Librarian: (508) 717-6837 E-mail: research@whalingmuseum.org



John Wells (Bark)

November 9, 1869 – November 11, 1871



ODHS 769

126 pages


Ransom, Nathaniel C.



Whaling vessel, out of New Bedford Massachusetts, mastered by Aaron
Dean, on voyage November 9, 1869 – September 12, 1871.







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Preferred Citation

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library: Logbook of the John Wells (Bark),
ODHS 769




Provenance

Gift of Mrs. Hayden Anderson.



Sponsor

Funds for digitization were provided by the North Pacific Research Bureau.

Related Manuscript Collections KWM 456, logbook of the 1844 voyage
ODHS 101, logbook of the 1854 voyage




Vessel History

Whaling vessel, out of New Bedford Massachusetts, mastered by Aaron Dean, on voyage Novemebr 9, 1869 – September 12, 1871; owner-agent: William O. Brownell; built at New York, N.Y., 1822;
altered from a ship in 1857; lost in the Arctic 1871 (this voyage).



Logbook Contents

Log, kept by Nathaniel C. Ransom, relating to a whaling voyage to the North Pacific
and Arctic oceans. It includes descriptions of types of whales and walrus seen or
taken, accidents at sea, arctic disaster, indigenous people, scrimshaw, shipboard
medicine, shipwrecks, and the making of yarn; and inventories of whale oil and bone.
Pages 96-112 contain the beginning of the Aeneid in translation.

Note: the page numbers used in this finding aid correspond to those found in the
physical logbook, not the PDF.

Blackfish (seen unless otherwise noted): Feb 21, 1870
(caught 2) p. 12; Mar 17 p. 15.

Bowhead whales (seen unless otherwise noted): Aug 19, 1870
p. 30; Aug 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26 & 27 (caught) p. 31; Aug 30, 31, Sep 1 (caught
2) ,2 (caught), 3 & 4 p. 32; Sep 5, 6, 7 (caught), 9, 10 (caught), 11 & 13
p. 33; Sep 14, 16 (caught), 17 (caught), 19, 20 (caught), 21, 22 & 23 p. 34; Sep
24, 25, 26, 27 (caught), 28, 29 (caught), 30 (caught), Oct 2 (caught) & 3 p. 35;
Apr 5, 1871 p. 55; Jun 5 & 8 (caught 2) p. 60; Jun 9 (caught) 10 p. 61; Aug 13
(caught) & 14 p. 67; Aug 16, 17 & 24 p. 68; Aug 27, 28 & 29 (caught with
the help of another vessel’s boats, the John Wells got
to keep half of it) p. 69.

Finback whales (seen): Nov 22 & 23, 1869 p. 2; Nov 26
& 27 p. 3; Jan 16, 1870 p. 8; May 5 p. 20.

Gray whales (seen): May 20, 1870 p. 21; Jun 6, 1871 p. 60;
Jun 31 p. 63.

Humpback whales (seen): Feb 9 & 10, 1870 p. 11; Feb 15
p. 12; Apr 14 & 19 p. 18; Feb 9 & 10, 1871 p. 49; Feb 11, 13, 14 & 15 p.
50; Mar 21 p. 53.

Killer whales (seen): Dec 13, 1869 p. 4; Mar 21, 1871 p.
53; Apr 25 p. 56.

Sperm whales (seen): Dec 12, 1869 p. 4; Jan 29, 1870 p.
10.

White whales (seen): Jun 11, 1871 p. 61.

Unspecified whales (seen): May 30, 1870 p. 22; Mar 7, 1871
p. 52; Mar 20 p. 53.

Walruses (seen unless otherwise noted): Jul 1, 1870
(caught 13) p. 26; Jul 10 (caught), 12 (caught 6), 13 (caught 8) & 15 (caught)
p. 27; Jul 19, 21 (caught 2), 22 (caught 33), 23 (caught), 25 (caught 5), 26, 27
(caught 19), 28 (caught 28) & 29 (caught 10) p. 28; Aug 1 (caught 22), 3 (caught
33) & 4 (caught 31) p. 29; Jun 23, 24 (caught 75) & 25 (caught 3 or 4), 1871
p. 62; Jun 26 (caught “a number”), 27 (caught a few), Jul 1 (caught 30) & 2
(caught 30) p. 63; Jul 6 (caught several), 7 (caught 4 or 5), 11, 13 (caught 20)
& 14 p. 64; Jul 20 (caught), 23 (caught 30) & 24 p. 65.

Porpoises (seen unless otherwise noted): Jan 6 p. 7; Jan
23 & 25 (caught) p. 9; Feb 1 (caught) p. 10; May 10 (caught) p. 20; Dec 25
(caught) p. 44.

Misc. creatures (seen unless otherwise noted): cowfish (a
small whale or dolphin) Dec 26, 1869 p. 6; grampuses Jan 1, 1870 p. 7; wild pidgeons
(caught a few) Feb 8 p. 11; skipjack (caught) Mar 2 p. 13; albacore (caught) Mar 5
p. 14; skipjacks Mar 10 (caught several) & Mar 12 (caught 3) p. 14; skipjacks
(caught 2) Mar 13 p. 15; albacore (caught 2) Mar 24 p. 15; skipjack (caught 3) Mar
26 p. 16; bear (caught) Jul 10 p. 27; skipjack (caught) Jan 4, 1871 p. 46; albacore
(caught) Jan 4 p. 46; chickens Jan 5 (caught a few) p. 46; chickens (caught a lot)
Jan 17 p. 47; ducks (caught a lot) Jan 17 p. 47; turtles (caught some) Jan 17 p.
47.

Places represented: Mocha Island Feb 6, 1870 p. 11; Hilo
Apr 2 p. 16, Nov 6 p. 39; Honolulu Apr 11 p. 17, Nov 11 p. 40; St. Lawrence Island
Jun 17 p. 24; Plover Bay Jun 19, 1870 p. 24, Jun 4, 1871 p. 60; Fox Islands Oct 15,
1870 p. 37; Ocean Island Jan 5, 1871 p. 46; Pleasant Island Jan 6 p. 46; Wellington
Island Jan 19 p. 47; Palau Island Feb 22 p. 51; Sulphur Island Mar 22 p. 53; Cape
Thaddeus Jun 1 p. 60; Cape Bering Jun 4 p. 60; Cape East Jun 15 p. 61; Diomedes Jun
15 p. 61; San Francisco Nov 5 p. 76.

Notable events: Dec 18, 1869 p. 5 the ship hit a shoal.
Aug 30, 1870 p. 32 the John Wells got news of the Hibernia and the Almira
being shipwrecked. Sep 19 p. 34 the fourth mate struck a whale, got afoul of it, and
capsized the boat. The crew and boat were saved, but the whale was lost. Feb 22,
1871 p. 51 the John Wells went to Palau Island in
search of humpback whales. When they arrived they talked to the natives, who said
they had never seen humpbacks around Palau Island, and thus the crew had “found
[themselves] fooled.” May 2, 3 & 5 p. 57 Nathaniel C. Ransom was crafting
scrimshaw (“spoiling ivory”). Jun 2 p. 60 the John
Wells
hit a large cake of ice. Jun 5 p. 60 the Japan reported losing 9 men; 7 drowned and 2 died ashore. Sep 8 p. 70
the second mate of the Emily Morgan accidentally shot
and killed himself. Sep 11 p. 70 the John Wells was
abandoned. 32 other ships were also stuck in ice and abandoned in the Arctic. All of
their crews survived the accident. Oct 17 p. 70 the crew buried a man who died
suddenly (cause unknown). Nov 6 p. 76 after arriving in San Francisco, the captain
bought the entire crew train tickets for Boston.




Subject Entries

Bowhead whale.
Finback whale.
Globicephala.
Gray whale.
Humpback whale.
Ice–Arctic regions.
Marine accidents.
Medicine, Naval.
Scrimshaws.
Seafaring life.
Shipwrecks,
Sperm whale.
Voyages and travels.
Walrus.
Whale oil.
Whalebone.
Whalers (Persons)
Whalers (Persons)–Death.
Whales.
Whaling–Massachusetts–New Bedford.
Whaling masters.
Arctic Ocean–Description and travel.
North Pacific Ocean–Description and travel. Dean, Aaron. Brownell, William O.





Ships Spoken or Gammed Include:



Arctic of New Bedford
(Bark)

Benjamin Cummings of New Bedford
(Bark)

Concordia of New Bedford
(Bark)

Contest of New Bedford
(Ship)

Cornelius Howland of New Bedford
(Ship)

Daniel Webster of New Bedford
(Ship)

Edward Everett of New Bedford
(Bark)

Elizabeth Swift of New Bedford
(Bark)

Europa of Edgartown
(Ship)

Gay Head of New Bedford
(Bark)

George Howland of New Bedford
()

Henry Taber of New Bedford
(Bark)

Hercules of New Bedford
(Bark)

Japan of New Bedford
(Bark)

J.D. Thomspon of New Bedford
(Bark)

Lagoda of New Bedford
(Bark)

Midas of New Bedford
(Bark)

Minerva of New Bedford
(Bark)

Ohio of New Bedford
(Ship)

Oliver Crocker of New Bedford
(Bark)

Onward of New Bedford
(Ship)

Progress of San Francisco
(Bark)

Reindeer of New Bedford
(Ship)

Roman of New Bedford
(Bark)

Sappho of New Bedford
(Bark)

Seneca of New Bedford
(Bark)

Thomas Dickason of New Bedford
()

Trident of New Bedford
(Bark)

Vineyard of Edgartown
(Bark)

William Rotch of New Bedford
(Ship)



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Last modified: February 18, 2014