ODHS 946

Logbook of the Nimrod (Ship)
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

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Old Dartmouth Historical
Machine-readable finding aid created by Rachel Adker 14 August

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

Nimrod (Ship)

April 1, 1858 – July 12, 1861

ODHS 946

257 pages

Howes, Willis

Whaling vessel, out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, mastered by Willis
Howes, on voyage from September 18, 1857 – July 14, 1861 to the Sea of Okhotsk,
Galapagos Islands, Bering Sea, and French Rock whaling grounds.

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Preferred Citation

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library: Logbook of the Nimrod (Ship), ODHS


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George Bodfish.


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

Related Manuscript Collections and Logbooks Mss 58: William Gifford Business Records
KWM 85, logbook of the 1860-1861 voyage
KWM 159, logbook of the 1857-1861 voyage
KWM 933, logbook of the 1842-1845 voyage
ODHS 730A, logbook of the 1861-1862 voyage

Vessel History

Whaling vessel, out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, mastered by Willis Howes, on voyage from
September 18, 1857 – July 14, 1861 to the Sea of Okhotsk, Galapagos Islands, Bering Sea, and
French Rock whaling grounds; owner-agent: William Gifford; built at Dartmouth,
Mass., 1841.

Logbook Contents

Log, kept by Willis Howes, relating to a whaling voyage to the Pacific and Arctic
oceans and Okhotsk Sea. It includes descriptions of whales seen or taken, children
on ship, cruelty and punishment on ship, women on ship, and the day to day
activities of crew members, including the making of yarn. It also includes sketches
of ships, drawings of whales, and sailing directions.

Note: the page numbers in the finding aid match those found in the physical logbook,
not the PDF.

Blackfish (seen unless otherwise noted): Apr 25, 1858 p.
10; Apr 12, 1859 p. 39; Jan 8, 1860 (caught) p. 74; Jan 22 p. 77; Jan 7, 1861 p.
176; Mar 9 p. 185; Mar 21 p. 187.

Blue whales (seen): Apr 16, 1859 p. 40; Jan 7, 1860 p. 74;
May 25 p. 104; Aug 27 p. 151.

Bowhead whales (seen unless otherwise noted): Jun 29, 1858
p. 26; Jul 20 & 23 (caught) p. 33; Aug 1 p. 35; May 26, 1859 p. 52; May 28 p.
53; May 23, 1860 p. 103; Jun 3 (dead whale) p. 108; Jun 6 & 7 p. 109; Jun 9 p.
110; Aug 11 & 13 (caught, 125 barrels) p. 147.

Finback whales (seen): Apr 1, 1858 p. 3; Apr 14, 1859 p.
39; Jan 22, 1860 p. 77; Apr 24 p. 90; May 25 p. 104; Aug 27 & 28 p. 151; Sep 11,
12 & 13 p. 155; Sep 18 p. 157.

Gray whales (seen unless otherwise noted): Jun 14, 1859
(caught) p. 58; Jun 16 (caught) p. 59; Jun 27, 1860 p. 118; Jul 3 p. 125.

Humpback whales (seen): Jun 25 & 26, 1858 p. 25; Feb
12, 1860 p. 81; Oct 9 p. 164.

Killer whales (seen): Sep 16, 1860 p. 157; Mar 13, 1861 p.

Right whales (seen): May 8, 1858 p. 15; Apr 24, 1860 p.
90; Sep 8 p. 154; Sep 11 p. 155; Sep 16 & 17 p. 157; Sep 19 p. 158.

Sperm whales (seen): Feb 3, 1860 p. 79; Feb 4 p. 80; Jan
4, 1861 p. 175; Jan 13 p. 178.

Unspecified whales (seen unless otherwise noted): Jun 3,
1859 p. 55; Jun 7 p. 56; Jun 17 (dead whale) p. 59; Jul 9 (caught) p. 65; Jul 23
& 25 p. 68; Aug 7 p. 71; Jan 15, 1860 (caught 2) p. 76; Jul 4 p. 125; Aug 31 p.

Puffins (seen): Apr 16, 1858 p. 11; Apr 14, 1859 p. 39;
Apr 27, 1860 p. 91.

Misc. creatures (seen unless otherwise noted): walrus
(caught) Jul 3, 1860 p. 125; fur seals Aug 28 p. 151; fur seals (caught 2) Aug 8 p.
154; whale birds Sep 11 p. 155; shark (caught) Feb 1, 1861 p. 184.

Places represented: Okhotsk Islands May 26, 1858 p. 19;
Cape Alevin Jun 4 p. 21; Shanter Islands Jul 11 p. 30; Cape Elizabeth Jun 11, 1859
p. 57; Rocky Point Jun 27 p. 62; Eagle Point Aug 26 p. 72; Cape Farellones Jan 12,
1860 p. 75; Fox Islands May 9 p. 97; Cape Thaddeus Jun 1 p. 107; Cape Bering Jun 22
p. 115; Plover Bay Jun 23 p. 116; St. Lawrence Island Jun 26 p. 117; St. Paul’s
Island Sep 7 p. 153; Aitutaki Dec 19 p. 170; Sunday Island Jan 30, 1861 p. 182;
French Rock Feb 3 p. 182; Bay of Islands Feb 19 p. 184.

Notable events: May 30, 1859 p. 54 the captain of the
Kingfisher was taken down by a line that had struck
a whale. He had saved three of his men but was not able to save himself. Jun 9 p. 57
a crew member died of consumption. Aug 27 p. 72 the General
crashed into the Nimrod. Captain
Howes hoped that the Nimrod and the General Williams could assist each other in fixing the
two ships, but the General Williams sailed away. Sep 9,
1860 p. 154 the [first] mate was found in the act of badly beating one of the crew
members. (He was presumably punsihed for this but the text does not elaborate.) Jun
27, 1861 p. 211 the captain discovered that the cook had failed to keep his galley
clean. The cook was put in the rigging and given 12 lashes. July 6 p. 214 the crew
saw a comet in the sky.

Illustrations: drawings of ships i-ii; drawings of sperm
whales p. 175, 178.

Subject Entries

Blue whale.
Bowhead whale.
Children and the sea.
Finback whale.
Humpback whale.
Seafaring life.
Sperm whale.
Voyages and travels.
Whalers (Persons)
Whalers (Persons)–Death.
Whaling–Massachusetts–New Bedford.
Whaling masters.
Women and the sea.
Arctic Ocean–Description and travel.
Hilo (Hawaii)–Description and travel.
Islands, Bay of (N.Z.)–Description and travel.
Kermadec Islands–Description and travel.
Kuril Islands (Russia)–Description and travel.
Okhotsk, Sea of–Description and travel.
Pacific Ocean–Description and travel. Gifford, William, 1798-1866.

Ships Spoken or Gammed Include:

Abraham Barker of New Bedford

Agate of Honolulu

Amazon of Fairhaven

American of Edgartown

Arnezar (Bark)
Atlantic of Nantucket

Bartholomew Gosnold of New Bedford

Bowditch of Warren

California of New Bedford

Caulaincort of France

Cicero of New Bedford

Covington of Warren

Cynthia of Honolulu

E.L. Frost of Honolulu

Eliza Adams of New Bedford

Empire (Bark)
Francis Henrietta of New Bedford

George Washington of Wareham

Good Return of New Bedford

Harrison of New Bedford

Helen Mar of New Bedford

Herald of New Bedford

Indian of Liverpool (Clipper

Isabella of New Bedford

Japan of New Bedford

Jireh Swift of New Bedford

John Wells of New Bedford

King Fisher of New Bedford

Lagoda of New Bedford

Lewis of New Bedford

Marcia of New Bedford

Mary El[l]en of England

Mary Frazier of New Bedford

Massachusetts of Nantucket

Massachusetts of New Bedford

Midas of New Bedford

North America (Ship)
Ocmulgee of Edgartown

Omega of Edgartown

Omega of Fairhaven

Oregon of Fairhaven

Oscar of Mattapoisett

Pioneer of New Bedford

Roman II of New Bedford

Superior of New Bedford

Thomas Dickerson (?) of New
Bedford (Ship)

Thomas Nye of New Bedford

Vernon of Honolulu

Vernon of New Bedford

Vigilant of New Bedford

Walter Scott of Edgartown

Warren of New Bedford

Washington of New Bedford

Waverly of New Bedford

William Gifford of New Bedford

Wolga of Fairhaven

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Last modified: July 30, 2014